Beauty & Shopping, Skincare

You’ll Want to Steal These Products From Your Man’s Grooming Regime. Here’s Why. – Denise Li

Denise Li makes a case for raiding your man’s stash of grooming products.

Is there ever a good reason to steal from your man’s skincare stash, considering that it’s women who face an abundance of choices where that particular category of product its concerned? We’ve got lotions, serums, moisturisers and every step in between to deal with acne, roughness, dryness, flakiness, rosacea, pigmentation and …

Therein lies the problem.

The Material World team and I have the luxury of finding about the latest skincare technologies and products as part of our jobs. But I can imagine how bewildering it must be for other women to walk into drugstores and the beauty sections of department stores and feel completely overwhelmed by choice. These days, it’s not merely enough to cleanse, tone, moisturise. Besides serums, you can even use products that you can use pre-serum to help your expensive serums absorb better! And many of us use not one but two cleansers in our daily evening regimes. That’s not even taking into account eye products, makeup primers, and what have you.

Everything about the women’s skincare industry seems to be geared towards inflating the number of products we use in our daily routines because that’s how companies get us to spend more.

The male grooming industry, however, operates on slightly different principles, because it assumes that there are fundamental differences between what men and women want out of their skincare regimes. For men, it’s always about getting the maximum results using the bare essentials. The assumption here is that men don’t want to spend longer than they have to (5 minutes, tops) on putting product on their faces, so the challenge here is to create a complete skincare regime that requires no more than three steps.

If you’re tired of having to figure out which step in your skincare regime that primer is supposed to be, or consider yourself to be low-maintenance, or sick and tired of being told to spend more and more money on products that might be unnecessarily or superfluous, it might not be a bad idea to check out the more all-encompassing male skincare ranges out there.

The good people at Kiehl’s passed me their brand-new men’s skincare range, Oil Eliminator, awhile ago, and rather than unleashing it on the first unsuspecting man that passed, I decided to try out the regime for myself. Here are my thoughts:


(L-R): Oil Eliminator Deep Cleansing Exfoliating Face Wash For Men, Shine Control Toner For Men, 24-Hour Anti=Shine Moisturizer For Men

Oil Eliminator Deep Cleansing Exfoliating Face Wash For Men

This is definitely a product I’ll consider using over the long term. For a “deep-cleansing, exfoliating” product, I found that it did the job well without making my skin feel dry and taut after that – a problem I’ve encountered using other cleansers geared towards men. I liked the clear, gel-like texture of the product, and that the crushed apricot seeds – the exfoliating ingredient – were in tiny granules so it didn’t feel abrasive on skin at all. As my skin is sometimes rough and flaky, this might be a good product to use to get rid of the dead skin cells and surface debris.

Oil Eliminator Shine Control Toner For Men

My favourite product in the range because EVERYONE and not just men should have access to a toner that you can spray directly on your face, instead of requiring cotton pads to apply. It can also be used as a cooling facial mist – I’m going to leave this in my office table as it’s going to come in handy after running around outside. It leaves my skin feeling refreshed and dries quickly too.

Oil Eliminator 24-Hour Anti-Shine Moisturizer For Men

Disclaimer: My priority now is to deal with my dry, dehydrated skin, so this isn’t the most suitable of moisturisers for me. But here’s why it’s a super cool product all the same: It has Aerogel, which has been used in space exploration. Aerogel is the lightest solid material on earth and, when used in skincare, can vaporise sweat droplets an absorb an amazing four times its own weight in oil. Aerogel is also the reason why this moisturiser feels so weightless on skin. Over time, it will eliminate shine from skin, and is supposed to help pores look less obvious.

Final thoughts: I think one of the best things about this men’s skincare range is that the products don’t have that overly musky or masculine scent. I found the scent of the products to be pretty neutral and fresh, and the Face Wash even smells a bit minty. All the products are oil- and paraben-free. The Face Wash is also sulphate-free. The only product I won’t use is the moisturiser as it’s not suited to my skin type, but the Face Wash and Toner are definitely keepers – regardless of whether you’re male, female, or have dry skin. If you’re trying to get your guy to commit to a skincare regime, this comprehensive, yet minimalist one is as good as they come.

The Kiehl’s Oil Eliminator range is now available at Kiehl’s outlets islandwide. For a complete store listing, click here. The range was given to was given to Material World for review purposes. All opinions are the author’s own. This post is neither paid for nor advised by the brand. Please read our advertising policy here.

Have you tried a men’s skincare range before? What are your thoughts on it?

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Beauty Review: Kiehl’s Micro-Blur Skin Perfector

[Material World x Elizabeth Arden] Don’t Let Stress Kill Your Skin

Getting Over My Beauty Bad Habits

Beauty & Shopping, Makeup

Beauty Review: Kiehl’s Micro-Blur Skin Perfector – Denise Li


Denise Li didn’t believe that there was anything she could do about her enlarged pores until she came across THIS product. 

Before using Kiehl’s Micro-Blur Skin Perfector, I hardly ever used makeup bases. Brands will tell you that a base will help even out your complexion or help make your foundation last longer, but I never liked the idea of so many layers of makeup on my face.

Kiehl’s Micro-Blur Skin Perfector, however, is more than just a makeup base. It also doubles up as a skincare product that’s supposed to transform the look of pores and improve skin’s texture over time. You can use it as the final step in your skincare regime, or under makeup.

First Impressions

The product glides on like dream when you apply it. No surprises there as a sneak peek at the ingredient list confirmed what I’d thought – it contains silicones. That’s why it goes on so smoothly! However, I did find it a lot more lightweight compared to similar products by other brands. When it’s applied, my skin had that soft focus effect, and pores looked immediately less obvious, without that waxy finish.

Before: No makeup After using Micro-Blur Skin Perfector: Redness and enlarged pores look a lot less obvious

Before: No makeup
After using Micro-Blur Skin Perfector: Redness and enlarged pores look a lot less obvious

Lipo Hydroxy Acid (LHA) and lentil extract are also supposed to help refine skin texture, diminish lines, and reduce the appearance of pores over time.

I liked this product’s finish and texture when it was used on its own, but will it stand up to the foundation test? Some makeup bases with silicones will make you look “painted” when you apply foundation – kind of like you’re wearing a mask.

Dream Team

I used Micro-Blur Skin Perfector with Kiehl’s Actively Correcting & Beautifying BB Cream SPF 50/PA+++, and I’m loving the very natural finish I get with using these two products together. In fact, I’d highly recommend using these two products if you’re going after that “nude” makeup look.

Using Micro-Blur Skin Perfector and Kiehl's Actively Correcting & Beautifying BB Cream

Using Micro-Blur Skin Perfector and Kiehl’s Actively Correcting & Beautifying BB Cream. Gives skin a natural glow! (None of the pictures in this post have been digitally retouched in any way)

What I also like about this BB cream, in addition to its natural finish, is the fact that it is hydrating and has an impressive SPF. In fact, I have started skipping using sunscreen because of the awesome protection it offers.

Another great thing about using these two products together – that I haven’t experienced with other base makeup products – is the fact that even after long hours of wear, my skin does not look shiny, and the colour stays true all day. Oh, and the BB cream is fragrance-, paraben- and mineral oil-free, and both these Kiehl’s products are non-comedogenic. My only complaint is that the Micro-Blur Skin Perfector should come in a larger size; at the rate I’m using it, it’ll be gone in just over a month!



This post is in no way paid for or advised by Kiehl’s. The writer was given the Micro-Blur Skin Perfector and Actively Correcting & Beautifying BB cream for review purposes. You may read our advertising policy here. Kiehl’s Micro-Blur Skin Perfector will be available at Kiehl’s outlets from May 2014. For a full listing of Kiehl’s stores, click on this link

About the Author: Denise Li is a founder of Material World and a freelance writer-editor. Before that, she spent a few years in the Features section of CLEO and Cosmopolitan Singapore. She considers Chiang Mai her spiritual home and makes it a point to head there for a yearly pilgrimage. She’s also a fitness buff and enjoys boxing, running and the occasional yoga session. Follow her on Twitter @DeniseLiTweets.

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Beauty & Shopping, Skincare

Beauty Review: Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream Intense Hydration – Denise Li

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream Intense Hydration is made for those with dry skin. So why exactly is Denise – perennial sufferer of oily combination skin – raving about it?

I’ve been struggling with a whole host of skin-related issues in the past few months. My skin looks dull because my pores are clogged, I’ve been even more prone to whiteheads and blackheads than usual, and I’ve also had to deal with some massive whoppers where zits were concerned.

I put it down to my skin being oilier than usual. Perhaps it is playing havoc because it doesn’t like being subjected to UV rays and pollution one minute, then being in a freezing cold air-conditioned environment the next?

So, imagine how surprised I was when I had my skin analysed just before a facial a couple of months ago. “You have combination skin,” declared the facialist, “But some parts are dehydrated.”

Naturally, I panicked. This was uncharted territory: oily skin, I knew how to deal with. But dehydrated skin?

After doing some sleuthing, I found out that there is a HUGE difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin. Dry skin is skin that doesn’t secrete enough oil. Dehydrated skin, however, can happen to anyone regardless of skin type and here’s why: the skin’s outermost layer is compromised, which can be attributed to a whole host of factors including sun exposure, or using the wrong type of skincare products. See, products made for oily skin often contain ingredients that dry out or irritate the skin, affecting its barrier function. As a result, skin loses its ability to retain moisture. Hence, oily AND dehydrated skin.

I wondered how my skin was going to fare just before I left for Europe in December, so it was timely that Nicolette from Kiehl’s passed me a bottle of their Ultra Facial Cream Intense Hydration just before I left.

Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream Intense Hydration

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream Intense Hydration

This product is supposed to help improve skin’s barrier function, while retaining a super lightweight texture. I think Dr Geoff Genesky, head of Kiehl’s Skin Care Laboratory, Research and Innovation Manager said it best when he said, “I compare the technology in this product to today’s high tech sports fabrics. Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay ascended Mount Everst carrying with them close to 20kg each. Explorers making that same climb today would only need to carry half of that weight thanks to lighter high-tech fabrics and technology that offer support benefits without excess weight.”

During my trip to Europe, I took the opportunity to give my skin a break and pared down my skincare regime. While I was tempted to layer hydrating serum upon hydrating serum on my face and apply yet another moisturising mask every couple of days, I really didn’t know how my skin would act in the cool, dry climate. So, my skincare regime comprised of just two steps: cleansing, and moisturising with the Ultra Facial Cream Intense Hydration.

True to its claims, it had a really light texture that took less than a minute to sink into my skin. Yet, my skin immediately softer, smoother and more supple. I used it day and night, and I didn’t need to re-apply it at all, even though my skin was subject to harsh, “whipping” winds when I was out walking on the street.

In the two weeks that I was in Europe, my skin was more calm and looked more radiant than it had ever been. After a couple of days, I even found it in me to skip my daily staple – foundation.

Here’s the proof:

"Look, Ma! No foundation!"

“Look, Ma! No foundation!”

The secret of this moisturiser lies in Enriched Hyaluronic Acid. This basically has two hydrating molecules that work to “break” upon application to skin, delivering concentrated hydration pockets that leave skin hydrated for 24 hours. As a result, the outermost layer of skin has an increased ability to capture moisture, “filling the cracks” of dry skin.

I never thought that I would fall in love with a product made with dry skin in mind, but there you go.

Since coming back from Europe, I’ve been using this as part of my nighttime skincare regime, and I’ve noticed an improvement in the condition of my dehydrated skin – I no longer have dry patches on my cheeks.

I’m really curious to see what those of you with dry (not necessarily dehyrated) skin think of this product. If you ever try it out for yourself, drop me a line to let me know!

This post is in no way paid for or advised by Kiehl’s. The writer was given the Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream Intense Hydration for review purposes. You may read our advertising policy here. For a full listing of Kiehl’s outlets in Singapore, click on this link

About the Author: Denise Li is a founder of Material World and a freelance writer-editor. Before that, she spent a few years in the Features section of CLEO and Cosmopolitan Singapore. She considers Chiang Mai her spiritual home and makes it a point to head there for a yearly pilgrimage. She’s also a fitness buff and enjoys boxing, running and the occasional yoga session. Follow her on Twitter @DeniseLiTweets.

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