• Everything You Need to Know About Glycolic Acid!

    A little late in the game, I recently discovered the beauty of glycolic acid pads (or peels). I’ve seen them around, but always had the misconception that my skin was going to literally peel off if I used them, so I’ve always stayed away. Ya feel?

    After a friend explained to me what glycolic acid pads are really all about, I decided to give them a try. The glycolic acid ingredient is an active compound that contains many benefits for the skin. It can treat everything from dullness to dry skin! While some products have a higher percentage of glycolic acid, I tend to go for ones that have a lower percentage, so that I can use them consistently for better results. After using glycolic pads, I find that my skin is  more smooth and bright! These products are great for all skin types from sensitive (me) to acne-prone skin.

    Keep reading to check out some of the products I recommend—all are great anti-aging products!

    MALIN + GOETZ RESURFACING GLYCOLIC PADS

    The Malin + Goetz glycolic pads come pre-moistened in a jar, which is great for the home. Swipe your face with these in the evening, and you’ll take up with a radiant glow—trust me!

    MURAD RAPID RESURFACING PEEL

    I love that these glycolic pads are individually packaged. These are great for travel, a time when skin tends to act up—with glycolic acid and vitamin C ingredients, the dullness in the skin will instantly go bye-bye!

    PHILOSOPHY THE MICRODELIVERY TRIPLE-ACID BRIGHTENING PEEL

    These are individually packaged as well! These Philosophy peels contain three acids and are great for brightening, tackling the appearance of dark spots, no matter what your skin type or skin tone.

    Let me know what you think of glycolic pads. Which ones do you use and do they work for you?  

    xx,
    Courtney Xu

  • A Dozen Fragrances To Fall For

    12 Fall Fragrances

    You Need To Try ASAP

    I can still remember my prepubescent years like it was just yesterday—tweenage Courtney obsessing over body sprays from Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works. Fortunately, for the greater good of mankind, I outgrew my predisposition for absurdly sweet fragrances and gravitated towards lighter floral scents.

    With refined tastes and an expanded knowledge of what actually “smells good”—touches of subtle musk and basil as the leaves begin to turn color—I present you a dozen of my favorite fall perfumes.

    Enjoy!

    Notes: white mimosa, orris

    Notes: galbanum, jasmine, cistus labdanum, fig leaf accord, narcissus, jonquille absolute, neroli, geranium, vetiver, orris butter

    Notes: turkish apricot, fig leaf, green tea

    Notes: pear, freesia, amber wood

    Notes: basil grand vert, neroli, white musk

    Flying Notes: bergamot essence, petit grain essence, orange flower absolute, almond flower, ylang ylang essence, neroli bigarade essence, musk, moss, arial accord
    Flower Market Notes: crushed leaves, freesia, sambac jasmine, jasmine infusion, tuberose infusion, rose from grasse, peach, cedarwood, oak moss
    Beach Walk Notes: bergamot, pink pepper, lemon, ylang ylang, coconut milk, heliotrope, musk, cedarwood, benzoin

    Notes: lime, grapefruit, bergamot, basil, jasmine, rhubarb, petitgrain

    Notes: greens, gardenia, creamy musks

    Notes: neroli, grapefruit, cassis, bergamot, peony, tuberose, jasmine sambac, vetiver, sandalwood

    Notes: absinthe mist, apricot blush, incense, jasmine essence, dewy honeysuckle, white camellia, captive musk, honey, ambrox

  • Get Unready with Me!

    Good night, Moon ?

    As promised, here’s the “evening edition” of my advanced skincare routine!

    “What’s the difference between my morning and evening skincare routines?” you ask.

    Well, truth be told, not much. Just a whole range of different products selected specifically for a more in-depth and attentive cleansing and moisturizing process. I mean, the magic does happen overnight.

    If you haven’t already checked out Rise & Shine With Me, I highly advise you do that first. Otherwise, let’s get ready to take it all off and count some sheep!

    Mario Badescu Enzyme Gel Cleanser
    Mario Badescu Seaweed Cleansing Lotion
    Kleenex Cotton Soft Pads

    Behold my favorite cleanser and toner duo! Mario Badescu always comes through, never upsets, and solves practically all skin concerns. I love using Kleenex’s Cotton Soft Pads to apply my toner. Betcha didn’t know they also have superb facial cleansing wipes!

    SK-II Facial Treatment Essence

    I like to pat some treatment essence on before applying my serums and moisturizers. Doing so rejuvenates my skin!

    La Mer The Regenerating Serum
    La Mer The Eye Balm Intense

    You know you’re an adult when you hoard anti-aging products. Better sooner than later. Or, like, better sooner than never! La Mer’s The Regenerating Serum and The Eye Balm Intense are, in my very humble opinion, the best products to use. A little goes a long way, and I’ve noticed a difference in my skin after just a few weeks. My complexion looks more revived and less dead. Best of all, the cold tip of the eye cream applicator is super soothing and helps to reduce puffiness.

    Philosophy Renewed Hope in a Jar Overnight
    Amore Pacific Moisture Bound Sleeping Recovery Masque
    The Estee Edit Pink Peony Overnight Water Pack

    After serum and eye cream, comes moisturizer. I like using a moisturizer (or cream during winters) that is specifically formulated for overnight use. These babies always leave my skin feeling extra smooth and supple when I wake up!

    Fresh Sugar Lip Serum Advanced Therapy
    Drunk Elephant Lippe
    Malin + Goetz Lip Moisturizer
    Herbivore Botanicals Coco Rose Lip Conditioner

    Voilà! More evidence of how much I love lip products. I like to keep my lips super hydrated (all the time), especially overnight. Check out Lip Care 101 for more info on all things lips!

    Altchek MD 5 Minute Clay Renewal Mask
    Philosophy When Hope is not Enough Gel-Oil Mask
    Mario Badescu Flower & Tonic Mask

    Like exfoliating, treating the skin with a facial mask (at least once or twice a week) is important. No excuses, because there is a mask for everyone. Here are some of my favorite masks ordered from least to greatest amount of time needed (to fit everyone’s time and budget needs). Altchek MD’s Clay Renewal Mask takes just 5 minutes, Philosophy’s Gel-Oil Mask suggests 10 minutes, and Mario Badescu’s Flower & Tonic Mask requires 20 minutes. If you’re super-duper lazy and don’t want to smear product all over face, throw on a sheet or gel mask! Your skin will thank you.

    Do you recommend any skincare products? Tell us what your skin-loving favorites are in the comments down below! 

  • Rise & Shine with Me!

    Advanced Skincare Routine: Morning Edition

    As of late, I’ve been obsessed with all things skincare. Better late than never, right?

    Makeup, while a lot more fun to talk about, isn’t really my “essential.” Regardless whether I’m having an extra drowsy morning or super lazy evening, I always make sure to take care of my skin. No exceptions!

    Even though skincare can be an investment, I always think it’s worth it in the long run.

    Step aside face wash and moisturizer, here’s the low down on my morning routine!

    Foreo Luna Mini 2
    Philosophy Purity Made Simple
    Malin+Goetz Grapefruit Face Cleanser

    I have so many favorite cleansers, and it’s hard sticking to just one! Using the Foreo Luna Mini 2, however, makes cleaning my face a lot more fun. I noticed that my skin looks and feels healthier after every Luna use!

    You can’t go wrong with both of these cleansers. They definitely do the job and they work for all skin types! After cleansing, follow up with toner to remove any last traces of makeup and dirt. It’ll leave your skin feeling hydrated.

    Philosophy The Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash
    Mario Badescu Strawberry Face Scrub

    Don’t forget to scrub-a-dub-dub at least twice a week. You want to get rid of all the dead skin that accumulates on a regular basis. You’ll also unclog your pores in the process! DO NOT, however, exfoliate daily (unless the product says that it’s okay to do so) because over-exfoliating can cause irritation and redness. Moderation is key!

    Amore Pacific Moisture Bound Rejuvenating Serum
    The Estee Edit Late Night Eraser

    I think putting on eye treatment and serum is my favorite part of my morning routine because doing so feels like doling out extra brownie points for my skin. If you’re have super tired eyes in the morning, please try Estee Edit’s Late Night Eraser. The cold metal applicator tip wakes me up in a good way (no cranky Courtney here) and my eyes don’t feel and look as tired. I try to use serum before moisturizer as often as possible because serum helps to firm the skin while making it look radiant! I’ve also been a huge fan of Amore Pacific for the longest time so I don’t think I’m ever letting them go.

    Murad Hydro-Dynamic Ultimate Moisture
    Amore Pacific Moisture Bound Refreshing Hydra-Gel
    Sunday Riley Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream

    Like face cleansers, I can never stick to just one moisturizer. I choose my moisturizer depending on the season and how I’m feeling in the morning. During the hotter seasons, I tend to go for a lighter moisturizer, like an oil-free gel and on brisk winter mornings, I go for a more light and creamy formula.

    Coola Daydream Mineral Primer SPF 30
    Coola Mineral Liplux SPF 30

    Don’t forget that SPF! I cannot stress how important this step is, even in the dead of winter, when the sun seems to be on a hiatus. Guess what? It’s not. The sun is secretly gleaming its UV rays right at you.

    One of my favorite SPF-infused brands is Coola! They’re good at giving you what you need (moisturizer, primer, setting spray, etc.) while throwing in some SPF!

    In simpler terms: cleanse, tone, scrub (exfoliate at least twice a week), then dab eye product, serum, moisturizer, and SPF.

    Let me know in the comments below what your must-have skin-loving products are! Stay tuned for the Evening Edition 😉

  • TheLoDown