My Simple Morning Skincare Routine


Hey girl hey!

I’ve updated my morning skincare routine just a little bit since I did a post about 5 months ago, and thought that I’d share. After moving to Vietnam and being blessed with one of the worst breakouts I’ve had in recent memory, my skin is finally back to normal. I can’t say for sure what did it, but since I’ve re-introduced some of my favorites back into my routine, my skin has forever been thankful.

My focus on my morning skincare routine is giving my skin hydration, without too many products. It’s just so hot and humid here, that I try to not slather my face in creams during the day. Short, simple, sweet is my motto.

I start by washing my face with the only cleanser that really matters, the su:m37 Miracle Rose Stick. I know, it’s discontinued, but if you search, you can still find some lurking around on Ebay. Just know that if you can get your hands on it, you’ll never want to use another cleanser again. I’m going to be absolutely devastated when the inevitable happens and I run out. I can’t even think about it.

After I cleanse my face, I use the Innisfree Rose Clear Skin toner. I just apply some on a cotton pad, swipe, and done. It’s a simple, no fuss toner, but it’s hydrating and smells nice. It also leaves my skin super soft!

After my toner, I apply another holy grail item for me – the Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence. I wrote a review about it ions ago, and it is still one of my all time favorite skin care items. I’m not sure why I stopped using it, but I’ll never stop. I pour a little into the palms of my hands, and gently press the product into my skin. Yes, I know that you’re supposed to apply it right after washing your face but I’m bending the rules a little bit. The effects are still the same – glowy, bright, clear skin. I can’t wait to try the mist!

Then it’s time for my serum. My serum of choice lately has been the su:m37 Time Energy Skin Resetting Repairing Serum (reviewed here!). This little glass bottle has really helped with clearing up my breakout. It’s lightweight, absorbs into the skin immediately and isn’t sticky or tacky. As the product name states, it really does “repair” your skin. My acne is practically non-existent, and I don’t even have the little annoying bumps around my jaw anymore. Again, I pump about 2 pumps into my palms and gently press the product into my skin. I’m almost out of this serum, and definitely plan on repurchasing.

My last step is my emulsion. Depending on my mood, I either grab the su:m37 Water-ful Rebalancing Gel Lotion (reviewed here), or if my skin is being hormonal and weird, I reach for the Innisfree Jejubija Anti-Trouble Lotion. It’s a lightweight, slightly watery emulsion that absorbs into the skin quickly and doesn’t leave it sticky or feeling heavy. It’s the perfect emulsion for summer, or if you’re dealing with acne. It also contains salicylic acid, which is one of my acne care heroes. It’s non-irritating, and has a light, but refreshing scent. It’s definitely one my favorites!

I skip a cream during the day because it’s just too hot for all of that. Depending on what I’m doing, I’ll either apply my su:m37 sunscreen, or if I’m going out, I’ll apply my NARS tinted moisturizer since it has SPF 3o.

What’s your morning routine? Let me know in the comments!

All of the above items were purchased at If you’re a first time customer, enter my sponsor code 05632401 to get $5 off your first order! 

Holika Holika Aqua Max Sebum Control Moisture Cream Review

holika1I developed an almost immediate addiction to Korean cosmetics during my first visit to South Korea back in 2012. I’m a sucker for pretty packaging and they have it nailed. There’s a dearth of the shops here in Canada though so I was pretty pumped to find out that Holika Holika had recently opened up on Queen Street West in Toronto. While it wasn’t a store I shopped at in Korea, I decided to check it out anyway.

They have cute packaging similar to an Etude House or a Tony Moly and a full range of creams, lotions, masks, make-up, and more. The personal service (and free samples!) was exactly as I’d come to expect from Korean cosmetic shops. K-pop was playing on the stereo, and for a minute I could almost imagine I was back in Gunsan.

I was on the hunt for a new daytime moisturizer since my Oil of Olay wasn’t cutting it for me anymore. I have combination skin, but I’m more concerned about my forehead, nose, and chin being oily than I am about my cheeks being dry, so the girl at Holika Holika recommended I try the Aqua Max Sebum Control Moisture Cream. Remember, just because you have oily skin doesn’t mean you should skip the moisturizer! You just need to find the right one.


The packaging was cute and the price was right ($28 for 120ml) so I gave it a chance. I’m really happy I did. It has a gel-like consistency which is something I’m not used to. My moisturizers have always been white creams. Do North Americans not make gel moisturizers? I gotta say, I’m a fan of it for summer. It’s cool going on and absorbs really well. I think during heat waves I’ll keep it in the fridge for max coolness. On first application I thought it felt watery and couldn’t imagine that it would hydrate well, but it kept my skin moist without getting greasy.

The Aqua Max has a light clean smell but isn’t overpowering. Hard to describe but, to me, it’s just fresh. It contains oats, aloe, and Himalayan raspberry leaves which means a nice blend of oil zapping and skin hydrating goodness.

Apparently, this product used to be called Water March but now has slightly new packaging along with a new name. It comes in a cute clear glass jar with a faux-cork lid, but don’t be turned off by a tub – it’s also comes with a spatula. I’m totally using this jar for something else once I’ve finished off the cream. It’s hella cute.

Aqua Max Moisture Cream is available in three versions:

  • Sebum Control (green) for those with oily or combination skin
  • Nutri (pink) for those with seriously dry skin
  • Ultra (blue) for those with normal to dry skin

I took a chance on a new store and new product and it worked out great. The only question now is, can I get it shipped to Newfoundland?

Melissa Hogan may have a career in web design & development but she was bitten by the travel bug and has fallen completely under its spell while making St. John’s, NL Canada her homebase. She wants to inspire others to get out there and see the world, push their limits, and look good doing it. Melissa blogs at, tweets as @avalonmel and does all things Facebook at


My Packing Tips!

tumblr_n7fg0vwDIf1st5lhmo1_1280As a frequent traveler, packing is something that I have to deal with quite often. There are tons of videos out there detailing awesome packing tips, but packing has never been one of my strongest traveling skills. I prefer to say I’m great at navigating, shopping, and avoiding street hawkers. I usually wait until the last minute, then have a royal freak out 5 hours before the plane takes off. I always make it to the airport though!

But sometimes, while packing, I realize I do have a method to my madness. One of my favorite packing items are packing cubes. I bought them when I went backpacking through Europe and I have been obsessed with them ever since. I have 4 – I put shirts in one, pants/dresses in another, underwear in another, and beauty items in the last one. It keeps everything super organized and you don’t have to worry about making a huge mess digging through your suitcase every day.

Even though I’m somewhat of an organized packer, I am 100% definitely an over packer. I like to be prepared. You never know if it’ll rain or if you’ll be stranded at the airport or if there’s a typhoon…(yes, I may also be a bit of a worrier). I gotta have options! If I’m going away for a weekend, I’ll bring 2 pairs of shoes (one dressy, one casual), and possibly a third for the gym. Always research where you’re going and what kinds of activities you’re going to do. For example, when I went to Bangkok, I knew that I wanted to go to the Grand Palace and some temples, so I had to make sure I brought clothes that were appropriate. For a typical weekend trip, I’ll pack anywhere between 4 to 5 outfits. Thankfully, my wardrobe is pretty neutral, so most of my pieces can easily be mixed and matched. I’m a big fan of maxi dresses, as you can style them with jean jackets for cooler weather, you can throw a scarf over them if you’re going to a religious site, and they can easily be dressed up for nights with some jewelry and fierce makeup.

Now beauty packing for me is a whole different story. As you all know, I am very serious about my skincare. I have different products I use for my AM and PM routine, and that can get a bit crazy when trying to pack for a short trip. I always try to save my samples for this very reason. Again, I research what the weather for what country I’m traveling to and tailor my skincare around that. When I went to Mui Ne, I  knew I’d be at the beach 95% of the time so I didn’t bring much makeup and focused on suncare and overnight masks at night to soothe my skin from being in the sun all day. When I went to Bangkok, I knew it would be a million degrees so I definitely had to pack a face mist, my Clarisonic, and a lightweight daytime moisturizer. If I don’t have a sample size of a product, I’ll decant it into a mini plastic bottle.

And now for a topic that no one wants to talk about but inevitably happens – your period. During my last two trips, my period decided to unexpectedly grace me with its presence. I’m quite sure the worst possible thing to happen during a 7 hour bus ride in the middle of Vietnam is for your period to start. Now, I always make sure to pack Carefree panty liners, since you just never know how long you’ll be without a bathroom … and no one wants any accidents! Trust me, I’ve learned from experience.

What are your packing tips? Let me know in the comments! Carefree Author Logo So soft, so thin, so absorbent. Carefree® Acti-Fresh® daily liners leave you feeling nothing but fresh. Get $0.50 off any Carefree product at

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Energizer Personal Care via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Energizer Personal Care.

August Favorites

augustfavorites Hi everyone! I’m back with another monthly favorites post. I know it’s been a looong time, and posting has been so sporadic, but it’s for a good reason! My magazine, Glamtrotting, has officially LAUNCHED! I am just so overwhelmed with gratitude to my team, so happy and so proud. Make sure to head over to to pick up your copy today!

And now on to the beauty bits I’ve been looooving recently:

I first heard about Etude House’s Dust Cut line from, another Korean skincare blogger. I’m not the biggest fan of Etude skincare, but the dust cut line had me intrigued. It’s described as a skincare range to protect against dust, pollution, and other elements. Considering the pollution in HCMC is out of control, I just knew I had to get my hands on the mist. There’s also a face mask (which I bought), and a face wash, but the mist is the product that intrigued me the most. It creates a barrier on your skin to protect it from the dust and to stop all of the particles from sticking to your skin. So far, I’m OBSESSED. It really does work. I had noticed that my skin would always look dull by the end of the day, now, my makeup looks fresh and lasts much longer. Seems gimmicky, but I love it.

With every purchase of $100 dollars or more from, Alice includes a free Sulwhasoo sample gift set. I have 2 sets now, and never really got around to using them until we went to Bangkok and I wanted to pack travel sized items. GIRL. Why did I not start using them sooner?! Sulwhasoo is the truth, the way, and the light. The products in the photo are the first care serum, the essential balancing emulsion, and the concentrated ginseng renewing cream. I use them at night, and when I wake up, my skin is positively radiant. I don’t know how they do it, but I’m happy they do. I wish I could afford an entire closet full of Sulwhasoo. I’d cry happy tears forever.

When I went to the Saigon Flea Market a few weeks ago, there was a woman selling imported cosmetics from the US. When I saw the GIANT tube of Dr. Pepper Lip Smackers, I bought it immediately. People love the watermelon and strawberry Lip Smackers, but Dr. Pepper is where it’s at. I love that it leaves a tiny hint of color, plus the scent is amazing. It brings back so many childhood memories!

I’ve been dying over Benefit’s Gimme Brow for ages now. I first tried it in Korea, but I could never bring myself to pay over $30 for a tiny little tube of brow gel. But I finally went ahead and splurged in Bangkok and I AM SO HAPPY. Gimme Brow is a brow volumizing fiber gel that fills in your sparse areas, and tames your brows all at once. It’s amazing and instantly makes me look more polished. For someone that hates to spend a million years doing their makeup, it’s a godsend. Just swipe some on, and bam. Gorgeous brows. Love, love, love.

The next two items are from TheFaceShop, purchased here in Vietnam. Yes, I know I feature a new mascara every favorites post but I like to switch mine up. I’m prone to styes so I never like to use the same mascara for long. I do have to say that the Extreme Black Force mascara from TheFaceShop is definitely the best out of the ones I’ve previously mentioned. It has a rubber brush, which I’ve come to realize is my favorite kind of brush. It’s inky black, and makes your lashes look like falsies in the best way. People always ask me where I get my lash extensions, then are shocked when I tell them it’s just mascara. And that luxe looking gold bottle next to the mascara is The FACEit Collagen Liquid Eyeliner. My stash of Clio Kill Black Liner ran out, and I was desperate for another liner, when the lady at the store swatched this one on me. It was instant love. I haven’t used a liquid liner in AGES, so there was a big of a learning curve at first (and eyeliner all over my face), but after that, it was smooth sailing. It’s sweat proof, waterproof, and I got caught in a downpour on the back of a motorbike proof. The Clio pen is easier to use, but I like the look of the liquid better.

When I went to Bangkok, I stocked up on My Beauty Diary sheet masks. I’d always heard how great they are, so you know I had to put them to the test. Verdict? They’re FABULOUS! Sheet masks can be pretty hit or miss with me – sometimes I don’t see any results. But the My Beauty Diary masks pack a punch. Almost instantly, your skin is glowy, dewy, and brighter. It’s like a facial in a sheet mask. I bought a million different kinds, but I really like the caviar and red wine ones.

And last is a little buy I got from Boots in Bangkok. I’ve always loved Soap and Glory, but had only tried their products in the travel size. Since my feet are in sandals 98.9% of the time, I was in desperate need of a foot cream that wasn’t heavy or sticky. Heel Genius is soooooo good. It’s slightly thicker than your average body lotion, but it sinks into your feet almost immediately, and leaves your feet silky smooth. I use it on my feet before I go to bed and can’t stop rubbing my feet together as I fall asleep. It’s divine!

And that’s it for August. I’m currently testing a bunch of new things so my September favorites will hopefully be awesome! I’m so glad to finally get back on track with blogging. Don’t you ever worry, even with a job and Glamtrotting, I’ll always blog here! I love you all too much!!!!!

w2Beauty Haul #2


I’m back with another w2beauty haul! My skin has *finally* cleared up after a disastrous few months with a jawline breakout, so I decided to treat myself to some goodies. I’m now stuck with some pretty awful scarring, but I’m hoping that eventually everything will return to normal. This haul features a lot of products I’ve already tried and loved, but there are some new finds as well. I’m trying to create a baseline skincare routine that I can stick to, and switch just one product out at a time, to keep my skin calm.

First, from the left, we have some Missha Blemish Clear Patches. I haven’t reviewed any blemish patches yet, but know that I am obsessed with them. I usually keep mine on at night, since I don’t like wearing them in the day when everyone can see them. If you have one of those big, nasty, ugly whiteheads, one of these blemish patches can help dramatically. I like to keep them on hand for that time of the month, when my skin tends to get a bit cray cray.

Up at the top is a new toner – the Innisfree Rose Clear Skin toner. I’ve only been using it for a couple of weeks, but I really like it. It smells great and it leaves my skin hydrated and smooth. Let me know if you’d like a full-on review!

Next to the toner are two of my long-time favorite Innisfree products – the Jejubija Anti-Trouble lotion and the spot essence R. The lotion is an amazing if you suffer from acne. It’s lightweight, non-greasy, and absorbs quickly. I’ve talked about the spot essence previously, and whenever you have a nasty little blemish, just sleep with this on and BAM. Your blemish is dramatically decreased by the next morning. Whenever people ask me about an affordable acne care line that works, I always point them in the direction of the Jejubija line. It’s great!

The Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence is another favorite of mine that I definitely had to repurchase. I literally used my last one until I had to use a q-tip to scrape the contents from the sides and bottom…yes it’s that serious. Whenever my breakout would flare up really bad, this was the first product I’d reach for. It really calms your skin and decreases the amount of angry, angry blemishes. I haven’t done a full review, but I am definitely planning one because everyone needs to buy this. It’s really that great.

Ohhhhh the Missha First Treatment Essence. Skincare is a passion, and I’ve tried so many different things, but once I got this back into my life, I just knew that it’s forever going to be a staple. The full review is here, and nothing has changed. Seriously, this stuff is a miracle worker. I used it the first night I got it, and the very next day it looked like I had a whole new face. I don’t understand it. It’s obviously made with fairy dust, and I’ll continue to repurchase forever and ever. I also bought the First Treatment Essence sheet mask because I obviously need to let the magical fermented amazing-ness sit on my face for 30 minutes. I haven’t tried it yet because I’m a sheet mask hoarder, but expect a full report soon.

I’ve heard so many good things about the Banila Co. Clean It Zero so I obviously had to get one. Kerry’s blog is the skincare Bible, so when she said she liked it, I just had to get it. Initial thoughts? I really love it! I haven’t had much luck with Banila Co., so my expectations weren’t that high, but it’s really great. I’ve been using my Sulwhasoo Gentle Oil Cleanser for like 6 months now (and it’s STILL not finished, omg), but I think I like the balm texture better. It leaves my skin smooth and clean, without any film or greasiness. I’ll definitely be doing a full review on this one.

This is now my 4th (!!!!) tube of Benton High Content Steam Cream. If that isn’t a testament to how much I love this stuff, I don’t know what is. It’s definitely my cream of choice (full review here), and Johnny is hooked too. I just have to keep a constant supply in stock because if I run out, it’s a skincare disaster for me.

I’ve never been a big shopper at The Face Shop, but one of my all-time favorite products are the Herb Day Cleansing Tissues. I’ve purchased a few packages over the years, and even though I try a lot of face wipes, I always come back to these. They are so unbelievably soft and smooth, and won’t irritate your skin like most face wipes do. They can remove all makeup, including waterproof mascara and eyeliner. I love them because they’re just so convenient to toss in your gym bag, or in your carry-on for travel days.

All items were purchased at If you like anything you see, head over to w2beauty and make sure to use my sponsor code 05632401 to get $5 off your first order!

1 2 3 4 65