A Few *Dates* Lined up for Valentine’s Day

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Valentine’s Day is coming up, which inevitably brings up the topic of dates. And have I got just the date for you…a red date (or two)! 😂 Okay, okay, not quite the kind of date you were hoping for, but hear me out.

Red dates were another discovery from my dear friend, M, backed up by the plugs of various Chinese supermodels. They can be consumed in various forms: teas, soups, or just eaten by themselves. And they’re beneficial in many ways, as well: good for your overall health, glowing skin, and to treat…insomnia? The first time M recommended these to me was when I told her I wasn’t sleeping well. Well, the “doctor” prescribed 2 red dates in the morning (“No more than 2 because they’re powerful and can give you nose bleeds!”) and I’ve been hooked, ever since.

Then, my worlds collided. I asked M for her mom’s red date tea recipe (see below). It calls for goji berries. And just before I was about to purchase some of my own, my friend E’s mom (they’re Korean…wait for the relevance) gifted me a bag of goji berries for Christmas! Around the same time, I noticed what seemed like sliced red dates on top of my Korean shaved ice. So I guess Koreans are in on the secret, too!

So now we had red dates AND goji berries popping up everywhere! Turns out goji berries are considered a super fruit–high in antioxidants, good for your skin, and according to E, “for womanly issues.” 🤣 I had to look that one up a little bit, but a quick Google search suggests they’re good for boosting fertility. Anyhow, E’s mom suggested 12-20 goji berries in hot water, daily. Again, no more than 12-20, as they, too, pack quite a punch.

I hope you’re all surrounded by love and good vibes this Valentine’s Day! But if your face is feeling washed out, or if you’re feeling tired or want to feel more “womanly,” give this recipe a go!

M’s Mom’s Red Date & Goji Tea
(Serves 1 teapot)

Ingredients (all available at most Asian grocery stores, but also on Amazon!):

Directions:

  1. “Wash” ingredients by flash steeping in hot water and strain the water out.
  2. Throw the ingredients into a teapot and refill with hot water.
  3. Drink throughout the day!

A Day in the Life: Flawless Skin

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M hates that people look up to her (she’s model tall). What she doesn’t get is that we look up to her because she’s a timeless beauty, inside and out. Well-mannered, but down-to-earth; gorgeous complexion, without a hint of makeup. So what are her secrets? Not to worry, I grilled her for our benefit.

*****

Beauty Regent: What’s your daily skincare regimen?

M: We should probably start with my nighttime routine because I shower at night. So…shower, then moisturize all over [head-to-toe] with a mix of baby oil and baby lotion (or any lotion, really,…I use a lot of L’Occitane), mixed together. I have really dry skin, so I moisturize A LOT.

Next, I focus on my face. I massage two pumps of Shiseido Perfect Cleansing Oil onto my face and then rinse off with warm water and pat dry with my hands. A few sprays of Nature Republic Argan 20 Essential Toner or Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist directly on the face.

Once or twice a week, I like to do a face mask. I know it sounds weird to put toner on, first, but it works sort of like a mask primer, if you will. I like masks from The Face Shop or Nature Republic. Don’t wash off the mask serum. After/optionally (depending on which mask I use), I might spray a few more sprays of the argan toner or Tatcha mist.

Whether or not I use a mask on that particular day, the next step is Qiora Moisture Balance DH. Don’t get too attached to this–I hear Qiora is discontinuing this line. The key is to find a good, heavy moisturizer. Finish off with SK-II Essential Power Eye Cream. Just gently pat a small amount around each eye. This stuff is expensive, but you get what you pay for.

And, of course, it’s important to get a good, full night of beauty sleep. Don’t underestimate it!

BR: So what about your morning routine?

M: I rinse with cold water to wake up, then moisturize with 1-2 drops Clé de Peau Radiant Multi Repair Oil, gently massaging it into my skin. Another application of the Qiora moisturizer and then I finish off with–MOST IMPORTANT–Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion Wetforce Broad Spectrum SPF 50+. Make sure to put this on all over! Face, neck, ears, behind the ears–SPF is key!

BR: So, really, no makeup?

M: The only makeup I use is lipstick. Usually just drugstore brands in berry shades!

BR: So…part of the reason I wanted to interview you was because your daily fluid consumption is…interesting. I don’t mean to poke fun, but at any given moment in the office, there might be 2-3 drinks on your desk. May I ask what that’s all about?

M: [Laughs] Yea, you can say I value hydration.

BR: Is there a rhyme or reason? Or just whatever you’re craving at the moment?

M: There are definitely some daily standards. Especially water. Have you heard about ‘yin yang water’? It’s half boiling mixed with half cold water. I drink 12-18 ounces of yin yang water with lemon when I wake up and will drink several more cups throughout the day. I usually drink chrysanthemum tea with breakfast and might have another cup or hot green tea in the afternoon. If I’m really tired on a particular day, I might have a small cup of black coffee. But (and this might just be me) definitely no caffeine after 1pm. I’d be up all night! I also stop drinking any-/everything about 30 minutes before bedtime so I don’t have to get up to use the restroom throughout the night.

BR: Tell me about the mysterious water-with-fuzzy-dots drink you finally turned me on to [sidenote: this is not the most attractive drink, looks-wise. If you suffer from trypophobia, steer clear. Otherwise, it’s really not as strange as you’d think…flavorless and kind of fun to drink!].

M: Chia water! Add 2 tablespoons of chia seeds to just about any drink–hot or cold. They go in as dry chia seeds, but the liquid makes them sort of…expand. And a gel coating forms over each seed. So don’t pour it into the liquid and then drink right away. Give the seeds some time to absorb the liquid and mix it from time to time so they don’t clump together. These are really good for digestion!

BR: Awesome! Thanks for the recos! Anything else you want to add? Don’t hold out on us!

M: Oh, there are a ton of “secrets” (and beverages!) I could share. My mom is half-Japanese and half-Chinese, so she has taught me a lot of the beauty secrets she grew up with, but I guess I’ll just “tease” your next post and recommend hot water with red dates (whole or sliced, but make sure to remove the pits). On the weekends, I drink this throughout the day. It’s said to be good for women.

BR: Ha! Yes, thanks for the plug. Wouldn’t have known the glorious benefits of red dates without you, but I’ll expand on that next time. Anyhow, thanks again for sharing with me!

*****

Hope you guys enjoyed getting to know M! I really admire her natural beauty. If my skin was half as good as hers, I probably wouldn’t wear makeup, either! I’m interested to hear your skincare routines. Please share, below! Or if you end up trying all or part of M’s routine, let us know how it goes!

An Egg-cellently Affordable Facial 🥚

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📷: instagram.com/itslindak

I don’t know about you, but I’m just the slightest bit obsessed with international supermodel (and the first Asian model to walk the VS Fashion Show), Liu Wen. Take a scroll through her Instagram account and you’ll see what I mean–casually gorgeous, jet-setting, with flawless skin. Well, then, you’d be interested to know that she achieves this look with a few secret weapons, one of them being…the 🥚.

In fact, many of her supermodel sisters would agree (see Vogue’s 6 Chinese Models Share Their Hometown Beauty Secrets: From Egg-White Face Masks to Peach-Blossom Nails by Laura Regensdorf, April 17, 2015). All that to say: I decided to give it a go. And since I’m also a little obsessed with researching, I came well-prepared.

Which came first: the chicken or the egg? Well, not really sure. And not really sure which culture started using eggs as face/hair masks, first, either. But the Chinese are not the only ones on this hot tip. Apparently, the Swedes have been into it for generations, and offer their special blend in soap bar form, courtesy of Victoria Scandinavian Soap’s Lanolin-Ägg-Tvål. Egg whites are making a big splash in South Korea with products like the Egg White line from Skinfood and Too Cool for School’s Egg line. And I’m sure many other countries and companies can stake a claim, which just goes to show it’s a pretty credible reco.

The experiment. So like any good experiment, I tried two variables and a control group (below, in order of least successful to most beloved):

  • Variable Two: Birchbox guest blogger Rodan Luo’s DIY Face Mask. I chose both of the experimental groups based on the fact that they were purportedly simple and required very few ingredients. This one was egg white, banana, honey, and oatmeal. But it was sort of labor intensive, messy, and not easy to apply. Thanks, but no thanks!
  • Variable One: Celebrity aesthetician Joanna Vargas’ 3-Product DIY Face Mask. This one called for egg white, lemon juice, and yogurt. Simple enough, but still a few extra steps and seemingly not much of an added benefit.
  • Control group…and the winner: A single egg white. Easy, right? All I did was separate an egg white from the yolk, whisk up the egg white, apply in circular motion with my fingers, let dry for about 10 minutes, and wash off. Ridiculously easy, quick, and seemed to work just as well as the other two with much less fuss and muss.

The results. Model Xiao Wen Ju suggests three times a week, which works for me! My skin was left feeling smoother, brighter, tighter, and super clean! Everything I read about egg white seemed to suggest that it was good for blackheads. Maybe I was expecting something like a blackhead nose strip–it’s not that effective, but like I said, my skin felt really clean!

Pro tips. Make sure not to wash off with hot water…I mean, unless you want to eat breakfast off your face. Other sources have suggested using the yolk as a hair mask, but that just seemed a lot more involved/mess-prone. But, hey, if you’re a brave soul, Google it. Just make sure to cook–I meant, rinse–with cold water.

Have fun out there and let me know how it goes!