My Injectable Filler Experience at Skin Refine Medspa

Posted: April 22, 2019

LIPS

Lips still swollen, but I really loved how they looked here (This was taken about a week after)

I’ll be honest and admit that I too, was sucked into the whole Kylie Jenner pouty lip craze but it took me 2 years to finally bite the bullet and schedule an appointment for lip fillers. To be fair, my top lip has always been uneven on one side and I always had to overline the left side so it somewhat matched the ride side. I went into Skin Refine for my first lip filler appointment back in July 2018. Sandy is the master injector at Skin Refine and she recommended that I use Restylane instead of Juvederm. They’re both made out of hyaluronic acid, but just different brands (Think Mercedes vs. BMW). She mentioned that Restylane lasts a little longer than Juvederm and there is a less chance of bumps. The photo on the left is a few days after my initial appointment – as you can see, my lips are pretty huge and still swollen. They warned me that I would like my lips more during the swelling period (they were right!).

PAIN

6/10 in terms of pain. I have a pretty high pain tolerance but the lips are a sensitive area and they do have to poke you about 10 or more times! They do numb you beforehand and the filler is laced with lidocaine, but you can still feel the pinch of the needle and feel the filler going in. It actually feels really weird but the entire process is quick and the results are worth it! Your lips will feel tender/sore/hard for a few days after, and then the filler will soften up and your lips will be back to normal!

BRUISING

I went in thinking that I was only going to use half a syringe but we ended up using the whole thing! It’s recommended to take arnica tablets before and apply arnica ointment after the treatment to prevent bruising. Also, avoid alcohol, green tea, and any medications that could thin your blood. I wouldn’t say that I bruise easily, but I did end up getting a few bruises on my lips a few hours after the procedure. The bruises darkened over the next few days but then quickly disappeared. You’re able to wear lip products a few hours after/the next day so it was pretty easy to cover up, and there was no pain associated with the bruise, just a little tenderness.

TOUCH-UP

The filler lasted about 5 months until I saw the results decrease a bit so I went back for a little touch-up. About half a syringe of Juvederm Vollure was used this time around and again, my lips were swollen for about a week. Minimal bruising this time. The photo below are my lips a couple days after the procedure. Keep in mind that I still overline them a little bit but when I don’t have any lip product on them, they look super natural (and even!!) and most people can’t tell that I have filler.

PRODUCT & PRICE

Restylane Defyne

Duration: Effective for up to 18 months from baseline with re-treatment at 4.5 or 9 months

Price: $750 per syringe ($650 if you mention my name when booking)

Juvederm Vollure

Duration: Up to 12 months or longer

Price: $750 per syringe ($650 if you mention my name when booking)

After first touch-up, volume and shape was restored

THE VERDICT 

It’s been about four months since my last touch-up and my lips are still looking good – the shape and volume are still present and I don’t feel like I need to go in for another touch-up anytime soon. I was told that when you get filler over filler, the results will last even longer and you can slowly build that up. I’m 110% satisfied with my lip fillers and I can’t say enough good things about the entire experience and the results. Skin Refine is a beautiful facility and the staff are experienced and professional. I don’t think I’ll trust anyone else with my face other than Sandy.

(Fast forward 3 months)

Okay, I’m hooked. Injectables are like magic. They’re made to enhance your natural features and my interest has skyrocketed ever since I got my lips done. People have been getting a non-surgical nose job using filler, defining their jaw line, and removing dark under eye circles among many other uses. I’ve been so intrigued, so I went back for more!

CHEEKS

I’ve never really had defined cheekbones and that’s probably just the way my face is structured. I wanted to see what filler could do for me in terms of lifting my cheeks and giving me a more “naturally” contoured face. So I recently went back to Skin Refine and Sandy used two syringes of Restylane Lyft on my cheekbones – one on each side. She mentioned that you have to “build” cheekbones, so I wasn’t going to get intense cheeks after one syringe, but that it was going to be a very subtle change and a slight lift. See photo below for my before (right) and after (left).

It’s hard to see in photos, but you can tell that the light hits my face a little higher in the photo on the right vs. the photo on the left. I can notice an enhanced curve of my cheekbone from the side so the results are most visible at an angle. Most people couldn’t even tell that I got filler in my cheek! I definitely wasn’t expecting too much, but I am pleased with the results because applying contour and highlight is so much fun now! I notice that my highlight is higher and my contour is slightly deeper.

PRODUCT & PRICE

Product: Restylane Lyft (contains 0.3% lidocaine)

Overall duration: Up to 12 months

Price: $750 per syringe ($650 if you mention my name when booking)

PAIN 

4/10. They numb you for this procedure as well but you’ll still feel the pinch and filler going in. The difference was that this time, I could even hear the liquid going in as well as feel it. Super weird experience! Sandy applied a lot of pressure in the area after the procedure to “secure” the filler and my cheeks felt sore after and for the next day or so. I slept on my back for two nights to avoid disturbing the filler and the day after I found it kind of hard to smile. So I had RBF for two days but now, 5 days later, everything has gone back to normal and there’s no more soreness. I would definitely say that the lips are more painful than the cheeks.

BRUISING 

No bruising!!

THE VERDICT 

Overall, I’m satisfied with my initial experience with cheek filler. Will I get it again? Maybe! I hope this post was helpful in sharing my experience with injectable fillers. I am in no way encouraging anyone to go out and get fillers, but for those who are intrigued and/or interested, I say go for it! As you can see, the results are subtle most of the time, and you can always build it up later on if you decide to. Make sure you do your research beforehand when choosing a medical spa. I recommend going to Skin Refine Medspa in Sunnyvale because their staff are top-notch and they know what they’re doing! If you don’t believe me, check out all their 5-star Yelp reviews! They offer free consultations as well. If you decide to book, be sure to mention that I referred you to receive $100 off your injectables!

My Drunk Elephant Collection

Posted: April 3, 2019

I recently started getting into clean skincare and Drunk Elephant caught my eye. Not only is their packaging super cute and user-friendly, but they’re advertised to be “effective, non-toxic formulas that reset skin to a healthy state”. Their products are on the pricier end, but I think of skincare as an investment. Take good care of your skin with clean products and you really will see a difference. Here’s a breakdown of which Drunk Elephant products worked for me and what didn’t:

T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial ($80– 4 out of 5 stars. This product is an AHA/BHA “facial” that “resurfaces to reveal greater clarity, improve skin texture and tone and a more youthful radiance”. It’s recommended to use this when your skin is feeling normal, a.k.a no breakouts, problem areas, etc. I use this once a month and find that my skin does feel very soft afterwards and the texture has improved slightly (Side note: I found that the texture of my skin has improved overall with a combination of my DE products). Although it does sting quite a bit when you first apply it, it only lasts about a minute or so and then it goes away. Then your face just feels sticky and shiny. Instructions say to leave this on for 20 minutes but sometimes I leave it on for a bit longer ~30 minutes. The only con to this is the scent – it smells like play-doh or crayons. It’s weird, but the smell also goes away pretty fast so it doesn’t bother me. This product won so many awards over the years and although I don’t know if it makes a huge difference for me, it does do what it’s supposed to do. Quick tip is to ask for a sample of this at Sephora so you can see if your skin has a reaction to it since this is high in AHA/BHA.

Lala Retro Whipped Cream ($60) – 5 out of 5 stars. I first got this moisturizer in one of those product subscription boxes a long time ago and was indifferent about it. Probably because it was in such a small container and I only used it when I was traveling since it was a sample size. A few years later, I was looking for a new moisturizer and saw that Lala Retro had amazing reviews and marketed towards people with very dry skin (me). So I gave it another shot and I seriously love it in combination with all my other products. I think you have to create your own “cocktail” of DE products to get the best result, so I usually use this over the Virgin Marula Oil and alternate between the Lala Retro and Protini. I also like this because it’s kind of mattifying; when I put this over the oil, it diminishes the shine! This cream has a thicker consistency than the Protini so I use this when I feel like my skin needs extra moisture. I only use this at night before I sleep.

Protini Polypeptide Cream ($68) – 5 out of 5 stars. This cream is also AMAZING. The Protini is formulated with amino acids, polypeptides and water lily to improve skin texture and firmness. When talking to a Sephora employee, she mentioned that this is more for “preserving the skin” and Lala Retro is for “over the skin” to lock in moisture. This a lighter cream and I use this a couple times a week, on days when I’m not using Lala Retro. I tend to use this on it’s own and not with the Marula Oil. I don’t find this to be as moisturizing but I think this keeps the texture of my skin smooth and skin clear. Oh, and I LOVE the packaging of all the DE creams. It’s both sanitary and convenient!

Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil ($40/$72) – 5 out of 5 stars. This is truly a luxury facial oil. I’ve tried other oils in the past but I feel like this marula oil really locks in moisture. I also love how quickly it absorbs and it’s non-greasy. It does leave a little shine on your face but as I stated above, I use the Lala Retro Whipped Cream on top and it cancels out the shine – not that the shine matters much anyway because I only use this before I sleep. The next morning my skin always feels super soft and hydrated. This oil is the perfect add-on to any skincare regimen. It is pricey, so I haven’t gotten the full size yet, I got a sample of it with the Sukari Babyfacial and then a larger sample size using my Sephora points. The sample sizes have lasted me all this time because you only need about 1.5 pumps to cover your face. A little goes a long way! I’m definitely planning to purchase the full size once Sephora’s spring VIB sale comes around this month.

B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum ($52) – 2 out of 5 stars. My least favorite product out of the bunch. This serum is meant to “replenish nutrients, visibly brighten, and deliver intense hydration throughout the day”. I feel like this is a pretty basic serum. I don’t find that it really “delivers intense hydration”. It sinks in pretty quickly and then just feels like…nothing. I do try to pair this with my Lala Retro and/or Protini but it just doesn’t have the same effect as when I pair the creams with the marula oil! Wouldn’t recommend this product for someone with very dry skin like me, but I could see this serum being a decent one for people with combination/normal skin.

And that’s all…for now! My next new Drunk Elephant purchases will probably be during the Sephora spring sale and I’m debating between the C-Firma Day Serum or the T.L.C. Framboos Night Serum. But I’m always open to new skincare brands to try so leave your favorite products in the comments below!

A Cool Review – My experience with CoolSculpting

Posted: November 3, 2018

A few weeks ago, I decided to try out CoolSculpting. CoolSculpting is a non-invasive fat-freezing procedure that uses cooling techniques to eliminate fat in problem areas. I’ve been self-conscious about my upper arms for as long as I can remember. For those who say that anything can be achieved with diet and exercise, let me tell you! Even back when I was 105lbs, I still had excess fat there! This was my problem area that I’m self-conscious about, so I wanted to see if CoolSculpting could help reduce the fat and possibly help tone my arms.

I went to Skin Refine Medspa in Sunnyvale to have this procedure done and as always, the staff were extremely kind, knowledgable, and made me feel at ease. I’ve also gotten laser hair removal and lip fillers from Skin Refine (leave a comment if you want a post on either or both procedures!). We took some ‘before’ photos, and Jamieson, the technician/nurse, marked my arms to map out where the applicator was going to go. Then, I made myself comfortable and the procedure began!

The procedure itself took 1 hour and 10 minutes total, the CoolSculpting done one arm at a time, at 35 minutes each. It felt cool at first, then colder, and colder, and then felt like an extremely tingly, stinging sensation. This lasted for the first few minutes. After about 10 minutes, I got used to the feeling and that area became somewhat numb. Here and there I would feel the coldness and slight stinging, but the pain was very bearable and I had no problem sitting there for 35 minutes.

BUT, it wasn’t all painless. After the applicator is removed, a 2-minute massage is vigorously given to that area. It was explained as “breaking up the fat cells” and it helps improve the end results by 65%. I would say I have a pretty high pain tolerance but this part was quite painful. After the massage was the most painful though. As the heat returned to my frozen skin, it became an intense, burning pain. The technician brought me hot towel to soothe my arm, which worked pretty well. The pain subsided after 10 minutes – so it really wasn’t bad at all. I felt completely normal afterward and was able to resume normal activity (just not the gym during that night). It’s been about one and a half weeks since the procedure, and the area where the applicator was put is still numb. It’s a weird feeling, but it doesn’t really bother me and there is no pain. I was told that the area would be numb for a couple weeks, maybe even a month.

I would say the only downfall of CoolSculpting is that you don’t know if it will work. The results are not immediate – it takes anywhere from 2-3 months to see the full results. The reason being your body takes that time eliminate the fat cells that were frozen and ‘killed’ during the procedure. Of course, everybody’s different, what doesn’t work for some may be amazing for others, and vice versa. I decided to take the gamble because it’s something that I’ve always wanted to try on my arms, so I’m eager to see if it worked! I will be going back to Skin Refine in 3 months to take ‘after’ photos so once I get my hands on those, I’ll update you guys on my results! For now, watch the short video below to see CoolSculpting in action! (Disclaimer: Still working on my video taking and editing skills…so it’s not the best. Also this video was made to post on my Instagram story so please disregard the blurb at the end)

Note: It is required to schedule a consultation before CoolSculpting because not everyone is a candidate. Call Skin Refine at (408) 245-7877 or visit https://skinrefinemedspa.com/.

 

Current Skincare Favorites

Posted: June 22, 2018

Nowadays I find myself walking straight to the skincare section instead of the makeup and it’s honestly the most overwhelming thing! There are so many products that work differently depending on your skin type, and I just want to try them all! I’ve been getting really into skincare lately and trying to find products that work for my specific skin type. I have eczema, dry, often flaky skin, occasional oiliness around my nose, and breakouts every so often. I wanted to share some of my favorite products that have helped improve my skins in terms of moisture and texture. I might make these posts a monthly thing since I’m always discovering new products!

My current favorite moisturizer is the Belif The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb ($38 at Sephora). I prefer the moisturizing bomb over the aqua bomb just because I have very dry skin and this cream really sinks into my skin and stays there, whereas the aqua bomb absorbs too quickly (which may works well for other people). I find that the moisturizing bomb works well both at night combined with my other products and during the day under makeup. I was using the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream as a daily moisturizer before this, and it just didn’t quench my skin’s thirst like this does! I’ve really been loving Belif products lately, which brings me to my next product,

The Belif Problem Solution Cleansing Foam ($24 at Sephora)! This was recommended to me by my best friend, and it’s quickly earned its place in my nightly routine. There were a couple weeks last month where I had a new pimple every few days, one would pop up right after the other. After using this cleanser, I noticed that it controlled my breakouts and helped clear up my skin. I still get the occasional pimple or two during my period, but I definitely feel that this product made a difference. Using a pea-sized amount is enough to foam up your entire face so this product is definitely worth the money!

This next cleanser is one that use only in the mornings when my skin is clear and non-problematic. The Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser ($18 at Glossier). I bought this on a whim after waiting in line for 30 minutes at the Glossier pop-up in San Francisco. It took a while, but I’ve grown to love this cleanser for a light rinse in the morning. It has a light and relaxing scent, doesn’t foam up, and leaves your skin feeling refreshed and clean – just the way I want to feel in the morning!

Now for my night time routine! After coming out of the shower, I like to spray my face with Provence Beauty’s Cucumber Water with Hyaluronic Acid Face & Body Spray ($6 at Marshall’s!) You should always apply moisturizer on damp skin because it helps trap the moisturizer on the surface. This cucumber spray is formulated with hyaluronic acid, which is a moisture-binding ingredient that keeps your skin plump while providing anti-aging benefits. Additionally, it contains rose, aloe vera, and kelp extract – all of which contribute to radiant, hydrated skin! Facial sprays are a must for me. Another facial spray I love is Heritage Store Rosewater & Glycerin Spray ($8 on Amazon)After the spray is when I apply my Belif moisturizing bomb. Then, I will either apply the NARS Restorative Night Treatment ($85 at Sephora) or Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleep Mask ($45 at Sephora) depending on how my skin feels that night. If it’s dry and flaky, I’ll use the NARS Night Treatment, which is a gel to oil formula that creates an overnight moisture barrier. If my skin is feeling good but just needs a boost, I’ll use the Watermelon Sleeping Mask, which smells SO good. This is probably the best smelling skincare product I’ve ever used. You can use this as an overnight sleeping mask or just a 15-minute mask. This always sinks into my skin so I apply it like a serum. I highly recommend this product for plump, glowy skin in the morning! Lastly, I use my Rosebud Perfume Co. Rosebud Salve ($6 at Sephora) on my lips to keep them moisturized overnight. The only thing I don’t like about this product is the tin packaging which is hard for me to open (I can’t open anything) and the fact that I have to use my finger. They do have ones that come in a tube though, which I will probably purchase after I run out of this one.

Additional skincare favorites

Above are some additional favorites that have been a skincare staples for a long time. I used to never wear sunscreen because my face would always get itchy afterwards, but this Aveeno Protect + Hydrate ($7.50 at Target) sunscreen didn’t cause a reaction, and it works well under makeup! I’m not going to lie, 95% of the time I forget to put this on, but if there’s one sunscreen for the face that I recommend, it’s this one! One of all time favorite sheet masks is the Lanocreme Manuka Honey Face Mask (~$5 at TJMaxx). Honey does wonders for the skin, and this smells so good – like sweet almond jelly! I leave this on until it dries out (about 45 minutes), and the next morning my skin is always soft and hydrated. This is my holy grail. I just wish it wasn’t so hard to find because TJMaxx/Marshall’s doesn’t always carry it.

Last but not least, I highly recommend the Cosrx Acne Pimple Master Patch ($5 on Amazon) this patch WORKS. I leave this on overnight and it almost always flattens out my pimples and decreases the redness. I don’t know how or why, but it works. I will never stop repurchasing this. The only trick is that it only works on certain types of pimples. I find that it works best on pimples that have popped or are ready to pop. It will not work on cystic acne or large pimples that are mostly under the surface. You have to use your judgment here, because there are only 24 patches and I use them up fast.

Anyway, this was a super long post, but I hope this was helpful! I stand behind these products 100%, but what works for me may not work for you, so purchase at your own risk! I’d love to hear about your favorites, so leave a comment below! Next, I’ll be posting my holy grail makeup products, so be on the lookout!

 

Lash me up, girl!

Posted: March 23, 2018

When I find the perfect false lashes that compliment my eyes and work with every makeup look, I get a feeling of glee like, “These are the ones!” It’s tough to find lashes that are just right in terms of length, style, and comfort. Quick side note: I did receive lashes from the company for free in exchange for posts on Instagram, but all opinions are my own, and this post is written in appreciation for the brand! Lash Me Up Girl is a unique, up and coming company. I love that they have a country-style theme to their lashes. I have two pairs of lashes from them, in styles “Ready to Run” (pictured above) and “Buttercups”. Both styles are so lovely, I like to wear Ready to Run on a night out, and Buttercups during the day for a wispier look.

Photo courtesy of @lashmeupgirl

What’s most important to me when it comes to false lashes is not just the style, but the band. If something’s going to be stuck on my eyelid for hours at a time, it better be comfortable! Both lashes have a soft band that’s easily bendable to mold to the shape of your eye. You know that annoying feeling when your lash is coming off at the inner corner of the eye due to the band being too stiff? Not a problem with these! Lash Me Up Girl is still a young company, given that they don’t have a website yet, but you can still order lashes through their Instagram here. If you want stunning, great quality lashes, I highly recommend Lash Me Up Girl! And of course, you can use my code “Cecilleeelash15” to get any pair for only $15!

Lash style “Ready to Run”