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Korean emulsions: My new moisturizer choice

Remember when I raved about my improved skin and attributed it to switching to a different moisturizer type? One of the new elements I've added to my regime was switching from a normal, heavy moisturizer to an emulsion for my morning skin care routine. So what is an emulsion, and how is it used?

Korea Budget Trip: Budget for everything else, but not for Myeongdong

Last week, we visited South Korea for four days and three nights. As we wanted it to be a budget-friendly travel, we used the extensive public transportation Seoul had to offer and stayed in a motel. Of course, I had a side budget for possible hauls - in case I saw products that would be very hard to ship to the Philippines. Thanks, ERAP. /s

Note: I am the type of traveller who does not take too much pictures. I don't know but I feel taking pictures spoil the "moment". All I have are potato quality ones, too.

Roof of a rather plain structure in Changdeokgung Palace's
Secret Garden (to the disappointment of my companion
is not the Korea-novela)

We got around the city using the subway and integrated bus systems. The whole let's-use-the-public-transport thing is COOL as I believe the city is best get to known this way. However, I had elderly with me (they knew stairs would be frequent), and so it was difficult for them, plus they had the attention span of a 5-year old so it was crazy to keep them from getting bored during commutes.

I belong: Countless times during that brief tour, I've been spoken to
in Korean, for obvious reasons as seen in this selka
(what they call selfies there)
We visited Changdeokgung Palace, sat around Yeouido Park eating the best friend chicken I've ever tasted (no exaggeration there), got into a Han River cruise, explored Nami Island, took photographs of giggling senior citizen at the Trick Eye Museum, had coffee in a cat cafe (someone please bring this concept here in the Philippines), visited a Korean family and had a grand lunch, and of course went shopping in Namdaemun Market (for the folks) and Myeongdong (for me, haha).

"Why can't we have this in the Philippines?", I asked myself
as I recalled the savory chicken we just ate.
The weather was very pleasant at 10-20 degrees Celcius for me and my husband, whereas my mom and mother in law were trying desperately to hide their shivering during the first night - they did not want to wear proper clothing because they did not want to carry heavy jackets. My skin though felt quite happy with the autumn season - emollient sunscreen not melting off the face, sweat and heat not aggravating my pores. Skin heaven!

"Why can't we have nice things in our country?", I asked
myself as I still thought about the chicken.
Apart from the nice weather, I noticed there was significantly less pollution in Seoul as compared to what we've been used to here in Metro Manila. There is also less private vehicles, but more taxis instead bring the traffic to be as long as the stop light says red. People just really use public transport. I even saw really glamorous ladies ride the subway. As an engineer, the city's transport system itself is a tourist's marvel for me. Plus, the underground stations had a Missha or Nature Republic in them somewhere, so yeah.

Yellow trees are marvelous too. And so are the
ahjummas with their good skin.
My wallet had been suffering due to a 30% sale I took advantage of in one of the underground Missha's (they're very cheap yo, like 300 pesos cheap), when on Day 3 we visited Myeongdong. OH MY GLOB. All of the Korean skincare I could ever want is in that locale, and it took a lot of willpower to not overspend on products I will probably use months from now (just kidding, I'll be back in April...prepared). Did I mention they had cat cafes and dog cafes? 

Yes, I'm jealous. The cat may sleep during its shift!
And they're not to be disturbed.
Finally, during our last day, we visited a Korean family who felt like our family's "Korean version" and had the grandest lunch ever. The tables were crowded with plates, and I enjoyed it so much! Later that day, we also had enough time to check the Duty Free Shop in Incheon International Airport. A secret from me to you: some brands like Shiseido / La Mer are miles cheaper compared to their prices here. For example a Shiseido eyelash curler is priced around 800 pesos in the airport's DFS, which when purchased here would cost one 500 pesos more.

"Did you make that mess? You human tourists!"

I really enjoyed the brief stay in Korea - totally worth the time (I missed my work, huhu) and money. Hopefully, my school schedule would make it possible for me to go back in April. I can't wait!

Review: Nature Republic California Aloe Sun Block SPF 50 PA+++

Back again from a very long slumber from blogging, and with me, I bring yet another sun screen review born from haphazard purchases and what-not. So while I have the time to write this, here's a quick review on Nature Republic's California Aloe Sun Block.

Not to be confused with the Sun Milk version. That one's
for next time, as soon as my sunscreen stock runs out.

Progress Pics: 4 Months (Patience is Key)

My skin is at it's best condition ever, and I hope it's a plateau, not a mere peak.

Last June, I took a picture of my untouched cheeks (my skin "problem" area) which had literally huge pore issues. This was my skin, four months ago:


Four months later, I am glad to say my skin's pore problem somehow has improved, thanks to adding an exfoliant, switching to a less oily day moisturizer, and using face masks (yes, those creepy looking paper masks). Here's how my skin looks like now. (But please, disregard the fairer skin tone - the sunscreen I used prior to the now photo had a white cast!)

Sorry for the messy hair. It's because I hate
combing it.

It may not be quite evident in the photo, but changes to my skin include a smoother skin, and smaller, cleaner looking sebaceous filaments. I also feel like my skin became softer yet firmer - it bounces back, in a way. Application of cosmetics also became breezier. Yay!

I attribute the changes to ALL of the following:

1. I am now using an exfoliant every other day. I used to have none. Regular exfoliation helped me keep my pores and SFs at bay.

2. I switched my moisturizer with an emulsion (a lighter moisturizer of sorts, available from various Korean brands). My face does not look like an oil slick anymore so my pores are no longer emphasized by the shiny slick.

3. I started using sheet masks again. Every four days, I use a sheet mask instead of my usual night moisturizer. This made me skin plumper/more elastic thanks to the moisture boost.

I will post reviews on the emulsion and sheet masks when I can, so please stay tuned. And I hope you get to have a happy skin day, too!