Browsing Tag


0 In beauty

my skincare regimen 

I’m really particular about my skincare- you could say obsessive.  I’ve tried a variety of regimes, but in the past year it’s evolved into a multistep, flexible routine of mostly Asian skincare products. I’ve come a long way- I grew up wearing baby oil en lieu of sunscreen, used tanning beds, and made a habit of sleeping in my makeup in college. It all makes me so mad with my past self! I’m trying to undo the damage now, and prevent more wrinkles, while keeping my skin clear and even.


Since beginning an Asian skincare regimen, I’ve been much happier with my skin, and comfortable wearing less or no makeup. I’ve had more than a few questions and comments,  so wanted to share what I’ve been using (unsponsored, though some links are affiliate) to care for my skin.

Skincare is incredibly personal, totally dependent on your body chemistry, and so ymmv. The best advice I can give when modifying skincare routines is to do your research, patch test thoroughly, and be patient and kind to your skin.


Despite my devotion to Asian skincare products, I don’t presume to know much of anything other than what I’ve tried. So I’ve done a lot of learning from bloggers like Chel and Fiddy, their podcast the snailcast and the asian beauty subreddit.

One of the main ideas of Asian skincare is that it consists of a flexible wardrobe of products, and each day’s routine may vary, according to what your skin wants and needs.  Also, some times you have more time and energy than others. So I’ll first share the products currently in my skincare wardrobe, then I’ll break down the different routines I might use them in.




asian beauty egg white bioderma

bioderma crealine micellar water tosowoong enzyme powder cleanser | su:m37 miracle rose cleansing stick | the face shop rice water bright cleansing light oil  | skinfood egg white pore foam


The evening double cleanse is a major tenet of Asian skincare- the first removes makeup, sunscreen and grime, while the second truly cleanses skin.  I almost always use the face shop cleansing oil as my first cleanser. The su:m37 rose stick is really gentle, so I alternate that with the enzyme powder cleanser. It’s often a location thing-  rose sticks are in the shower and my travel kit, powder is at the bathroom sink and in my gym bag.  I’ve mentioned my love for Bioderma before– I most often use it in the morning or to refresh my face after evening acids.



prep and tone

asian beauty first essence

cosrx aha/bha clarifying treatment toner | missha the first treatment essence | cosrx galactomyces whitening power essencehada labo gokujyn hyaluronic acid lotion


Toners can be totally different products with totally different purposes- it’s one of the more complicated parts of Asian beauty. The Cosrx is a ph-adjusting toner to be used before actives and other products to prep skin.  The Hada Labo is a moisturizing toner, layered on later in the routine.  The Missha used to be my favorite first essence, but I think the Cosrx galactomyces may have bumped it.



actives and treatments

asian beauty BHA a-sol

vitamin c +e ferulic acid serum | cosrx bha blackhead power liquid | cosrx aha whitehead power liquid | cosrx skin returning a-sol | prescription tretinoin | prescription clindamycin


These actives are the heavy hitters in my routine as far as sun damage and texture issues. The Vitamin C is my morning product, and the rest are used at night. The Cosrx products are really gentle, so I like that they don’t fry my skin even though I use them both most nights and I tend to be lazy about wait times.  I skip the pair sometimes, though, and use Retin-A, prescription tretinoin, instead. I use the A-sol morning and night regularly, but clindamycin is mostly a spot treatment.



asian beauty tea tree_

shark sauce (10% off through that link| tosowoong propolis sparkle ampoule | ljh tea tree 90 essence  | skinfood peach sake pore serum

My skin has really responded to layers of light products, so serums work fantastically. Shark sauce is a fabulous handmade co-op product, and has paired amazingly with the propolis serum to brighten skin and fade spots and marks- I’ve had some nasty red marks totally disappear with a little diligence. The tea tree serum helps fight blemishes, and the peach sake pore serum is great for mattifying on hot days.


asian beauty snail embryolisse

mizon snail recovery gel cream | dr jart ceramidin cream | embryolisse  | guerisson 9 complex horse oil cream

With moisture, the name of the game is options.  Some of these feel lighter than others, while some are super emollient- I count on the Dr. Jart to save me from the peelies Retin-A can cause. The snail recovery gel is especially healing- great on scrapes and dried cuticles, and absolutely genius at healing burns with minor scarring.


seal and protect

asian beauty biore peter thomas roth

aritaum ginger sugar lip mask | laneige water sleeping pack | organic cold-pressed rosehip oil | biore watery essence sunscreen | biore uv perfect milk sunscreen |peter thomas roth mineral powder sunscreen

This overnight lip balm is amazing- it’s super rich, if a bit sticky, and still feels freshly applied when you wake up. I use the rosehip oil around my eyes and on dry patches, and keep the sleeping pack on my nightstand for one last layer of goodness.  And real talk- none of these previous products would have made the slightest difference were I not also using SPF religiously.  Sunscreen is a non-negotiable around here, especially since some of my actives can make my skin more photosensitive. The watery essence is my go-to, everyday- the texture is amazing, even under makeup. It’s not waterproof though, so I use the uv perfect milk if I need splash-proof protection. The powder sunscreen lives in my purse- it’s perfect for reapplication on the go and over makeup, and it’s not ashy at all!



asian beauty skin food aztec

skinfood black sugar strawberry mask |  aztec secret healing clay | manuka honey | carbonated bubble clay mask

asian beauty face masks mr honey

cosrx acne pimple master patch | innisfree it’s real sheet masks | banila miss flower & mr. honey hydrogel  | lovemore loofah & aloe vera silk mask | benton snail bee sheet mask | mbd imperial birds nest masks

Y’all, I mask a lot.  Several times a week, sometimes a few different kinds in succession, or a multi mask. The first set are wash off, with sugar scrub, clay, and carbonation as active ingredients.  Manuka honey’s there too- it’s super healing and moisturizing all on its own.

If you follow me on snapchat ( loveRavayna ) you’ve likely seen me horrifying my seatmates with sheet masks on plane flights. I’m shameless when it comes to taking care of my skin, and I love a good sheetmask- my girlfriends know they can expect me to always have a few in my suitcase. And the Cosrx patches aren’t a mask, but a clutch tool in the overnight pimple battle.



asian beauty face mask

I’m also working on testing some new products and working them into the routine.  I’ve been loving Pixi glow tonic lately- I could see it replacing the Cosrx AHA long term. I’m trying a brightening eye serum, an old-fashioned drawing paste as a spot treatment, and a hydration mist,  and am liking them, but need a few more weeks to make sure. I also might have finally discovered some wipes that aren’t horrible for your skin, so I’ll be sure to update.

All the time, lotions and potions are paying off, though.  My skin has been looking much more even and vibrant, like I’ve said.  But the best validation has been at the Sk-11 counter, where a Magic Ring skin analysis a few years ago was the eye-opener to my sun damage and skin issues, though I tested at an accurate skin age of 28.   A more recent Magic Ring analysis returned much improved scores and an overall skin age of 22, so I’m literally managing to turn back the time over here.

Now, I obviously don’t use all these products all the time- I’d never make it anywhere.  But here are some of the sequences I might use them in.


In the morning:

most days, pre-makeup 

  1. splash with water
  2. vitamin c serum- wait 20 minutes
  3. Bioderma on a cotton pad
  4. first essence
  5. tea tree essence
  6. shark sauce and propolis serum, mixed in my palm
  7. moisturizer of the moment
  8. sunscreen

I’ll skip the Vitamin C and wait time if I’m eyeing the clock, but try to make it happen most mornings.


if I’m staying at home and skipping makeup 

  1. splash with water or use rose stick
  2. Vitamin C serum- wait 20 minutes
  3. Bioderma on a cotton pad
  4. first essence
  5. A-sol
  6. shark sauce
  7. Tosowoong propolis serum
  8. tea tree essence
  9. moisturizer of the moment
  10. sunscreen


if I’m headed to late morning spin class

  1. splash with water or use rose stick
  2. tea tree essence
  3. sunscreen


if I’m going straight to the gym 

  1. splash with water or use rose stick
  2. Vitamin C serum
  3. powder sunscreen and/or baseball hat.


In the evening:


my base evening routine

  1. oil cleanse
  2. rose stick or enzyme powder cleanser
  3. Cosrx toner
  4. Cosrx AHA- wait 15 minutes
  5. Cosrx BHA- wait 15 minutes
  6. first essence
  7. A-sol
  8. shark sauce
  9. Propolis serum
  10. moisturizer


About 3 nights a week, I replace Cosrx acids with prescription tret, and add some more moisture

  1. oil cleanse
  2. rose stick or enzyme powder cleanser
  3. first essence
  4. A-sol
  5. shark sauce
  6. Hado labo toner
  7. Propolis serum- wait 5 min
  8. Retin-A – wait 15 minutes
  9. Dr. Jart cream
  10. rosehip oil
  11. sleeping pack


if I have time to pamper

  1. black sugar strawberry or bubble clay wash off mask
  2. rose stick or enzyme powder cleanser
  3. Cosrx toner
  4. Cosrx AHA- wait 15 minutes
  5. Cosrx BHA- wait 15 minutes
  6. first essence
  7. A-sol
  8. shark sauce
  9. propolis serum
  10. Hado Labo toner
  11. sheet mask
  12. moisturizer
  13. rosehip oil
  14. sleeping pack


if I’m totally exhausted

  1. oil cleanse
  2. rose stick or enzyme powder cleanser
  3. A-sol
  4. shark sauce and propolis serum, mixed in my palm
  5. moisturizer

And I’m always more diligent the day after a lazy night.



Whew! So much info from this skin obsessive, hope it’s helpful for the curious. Feel free to request any more info on specific products or clarification, I just figured this was plenty long enough!



1 In life

#15in15: a review

If you remember, I set 15 goals for myself last year, and another 16 this year.  It would be terribly unfair if I shared only the goals, without owning my minor successes or failures. So yes, let’s review.

You’re reading here, aren’t you? So, I think LoveRavayna’s happening (#5). If you’ve been following for a while, you know that bread (#4) and braids (#2)  are now comfortably within my wheelhouse. I gave notice at a unrewarding early morning position, which made for major improvement in my rest (#14) and relaxed my schedule (#7). I’ve made some new girlfriends (#8), and grown closer to others, but it continues to astound me just how hard it is to make quality friends as an adult. Perpetually in love with places I’ve never been, I visited (#6) Joshua Tree with David, Santa Fe with my college girlfriends, and fell head over heels for Barcelona.


lilacism-essie-nail-polish-sparkle_MG_9051I definitely stepped up my nail game (#1)…when they were long enough to polish, that is. Working on that in 2016. David treated me to a glitzy birthday manicure at Olive and June, and I loved it but I can’t justify the expense regularly, so have been playing with tamer nail art at home when I have time and patience. It takes me forever!

Beyond settling skincare (#9), I’m a serious devotee. I experimented with Asian skincare, and now have established a great routine of gentle and effective products (sharing my routine soon!)  I’ve gotten more compliments on my skin in the last six months than I have in the rest of my life, and from this side of 30, I’ve got no complaints about that.


I took a pointed pen modern calligraphy course (#3) with Lauren of a fabulous fete. It was a lovely afternoon, and totally have gone down a rabbit hole- though I haven’t practiced as much as I’d like, I’m totally geeked out over it, and excited to continue my progress this year.

runyon-canyon-hiking runyon-canyon-eliza-#16 joshua-tree-hiking-#16

I’ve seriously upped my outdoor time (#12). Hiking at home (Runyon or Fryman Canyon) or while traveling has become a more frequent occurrence, as have beach days. I’ve also been riding my bike instead of driving for nearby errands, and though I look like the biggest dork in my matching helmet, I’m really enjoying it. And I honestly think it’s helped me keep focused on what my body can accomplish, versus how it looks (#10), though that’s always a work in progress.

Speaking of works in progress, that’s where the last three stand. I’ll likely still be trying to mange my anxiety (#11) and perfectionist tendency (#15) when I’m old and grey,  and streamlining stuff (#13) is a perpetual battle.  I’m fighting it hard though- culled 40 pairs of shoes this week, in the midst of a major closet clean out.

So there’s a little accountability and authenticity for you!


0 In beauty

the friday five  003 a braid-y bunch 


When I wrote my #15in15 earlier this year, I set a goal of learning to dutch braid. It took a decent amount of practice, but I’ve learned and then some! I’ve been wearing a variety of different styles and shapes of braids,  while in Europe, at the farm, and pretty much all the time.




David even papped me braiding on the go- I thought he was taking pictures of architecture, but not so much.

I’m not claiming to be any kind of braid guru, I’m just a beginner. But today I’m passing on a little guidance, as I acquaint you with some of the hair vloggers from whom I’ve picked up my fancy braid skills.


Twist Me Pretty

Abby actually wrote a braiding ebook- girl really knows her stuff. She also introduced me to a favorite product for braiding, Kenra Platinum Texturizing Putty. As someone without a ton of hair, I don’t always want to wear my extensions, and most of her styles don’t need them. Her upbeat but not saccharine attitude and stinking adorable family (especially those twin baby boys)  are also points in Abby’s ‘pro’ column.



Cute Girls Hair

Mindy is mom to four daughters, and therefore has lots of hair to do.  She and her girls span ages, hair length, and hair texture, so there are lots of diverse styles demonstrated. Their specialty is styles that can be done in less than five minutes, which is awesome for any girl on her hustle, regardless of age.



Kirsten Zellers

She’s strikingly beautiful, and has the most amazing mane of icy lavender-silver hair- it makes me want to race to the salon, bleach my hair out and rinse it pale pastels. With that gorgeous color, I’m pretty sure she could tie it in knots and it would still be swoonworthy, but it seriously upgrades her braids to fairy tale status.



The Small Things Blog

Kate was one of the first vloggers I came across.  She seems incredibly down to earth, and breaks things down into manageable steps really effectively. It sounds ridiculous to even watch the tutorial, but her lived-in messy bun video is super useful for a topknot that appears full and sloppy, but isn’t tangled into an actual knot below the surface. She teaches in-person braiding and curling classes near her hometown in Raleigh… I’ve always thought attending one would be so fun!

Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 1.15.16 AM


Barefoot Blonde

With a sheet of long, blonde hair, Amber incites hair envy with fat, lush braids. But she owns that it’s comprised of lots of extensions, and I appreciate knowing that from the outset. Her tutorials can be a bit rambly, but it’s nice not to have to rush to keep up with a hyperspeed video. Her directions for hiding my extensions within braids were really useful, and I wear what she calls a fishhook braid often.

Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 1.23.10 AM

I follow all of these lovely ladies on Instagram as well. I love speedy braid videos and micro-tutorials, plus the eye candy of some simply beautiful braids. And I’m still learning- working on a dutch fishtail now, but it’s tangly going!


0 In life

experiencing more

As a blogger over at Weddingbee, I had the incredible opportunity of growing friendships with some crazy talented women. Though our weddings are mostly memories, I’m lucky to have these incredible gals as friends and inspirations. 

Like Emery.  When she’s not cracking me up with some flawlessly-timed truth, she’s writing amazing YA novels that are so realistic and relatable, I feel 17 again (in the best possible way). She’s also motivating me to not be such a shrinking violet, with her #15in15 challenge.  You can read her post about it here. To summarize, it’s a challenge to try new things or make improvements, in active (rather than passive) endeavors. 

This idea crossed my path early this year, so some of the points are in progress or accomplished. Good thing- the year’s half over!   They are, as follows:  

  1. Experiment with nail art.    I’ve been a polishaholic for a while, and I always do my own nails at home, but shiny, solid color is my mainstay. I’m going to be more playful with color and design, maybe even make a salon excursion… It’s just nail polish, after all.
  2. Learn to Dutch braid.    I learned how to French braid as a kid, but wanted to step my braid skills up. I’ve managed to master the Dutch braid, now to get good at different applications! 
  3. Relearn calligraphy.    I attempted to learn calligraphy as a child, but lacked the patience. Revisiting it as an adult, it’s so beautiful and meditative, and I am obsessed.  But I don’t even have a set handwriting, so it’s definitely an uphill battle! 
  4. Conquer homemade bread.    We don’t eat a ton of bread, but when we do, it creeps me out how long it lasts on the counter without mold. I want to find or develop a bread recipe equal parts healthyish, delicious, and easy, so that I can consistently keep basic bread stocked that I feel good about us eating.
  5. Make loveRavayna happen.    Man, I’ve been rolling this blog around in my head for years, just letting life get in the way and  being a big fat wimp about actually doing it.  Enough of that- big girl panties are on, because starting somewhere is starting.
  6. Travel someplace new.    “I’m in love with places I’ve never been and people I’ve never met.” I’m constantly wanderlusting, but this year I got to realize a dream trip to Spain and France. Art, food, wine… incredible. Lots of details on that to come.
  7. Live life unscheduled.    This is major for me- I live and die by my lists and agendas. Most days, I need them to get it all done, but I want to be better about blocking out time to just chill. And of course, I’m perpetually working on rolling with it when my carefully orchestrated schedule goes to hell.
  8. Make new friends.   Other than the one I married, my closest friends are scattered worldwide. I can be so painfully shy, but I want to really push myself to form and invest in new friendships, especially local ones.
  9. Settle skincare.   I’ve been on the sunscreen and skincare train for a while, but #thisisthirty and my skin’s starting to show it.  I’m going to make some serious efforts in handling my current skin issues before it becomes an avalanche.
  10. Focus on strong not skinny. I’ve been working out fairly consistently for a few years, and am generally pretty close +/- to what used to be my “goal weight.” I weigh in often to regulate, but it’s really important that I prioritize the way I feel in my body, and its increasing strength, over the number on the scale.
  11. Choose happiness.  I’m so incredibly fortunate, but I can be a total worrywart and fixate on the worst. I’m making conscious efforts in several aspects to have more positivity in my life.
  12. Get outside.  I want to spend some time hiking, at the beach, maybe some vague camping? In general, more time outdoors- I can be too prissy sometimes, and a little grub’s good for a girl.
  13. Streamline stuff.   I’m no packrat, but life would be easier if certain aspects were simpler.  I’m working on major culling and organizing, and utilizing what I’ve got on hand rather than mindless consumerism.
  14. Rest more.   With my crazy schedule, I definitely need more sleep.  I’m working on going to bed earlier and optimizing naptime, along with making time to unplug and unwind.
  15. Pursue polish, not perfection.   My tendency to perfectionism can simply be too much: energy, effort, to handle. So in life, style, and most other things, readjusting to more reasonable ideals is the idea.

So, there lies my quest. Most of these are pretty abstract and rather long term, but I feel like simply taking the time to evaluate and enumerate these items is a great way to focus, and lord knows I love crossing stuff off a list. I’m looking forward to pushing myself out of my comfort zone, trying new things, being brave, and sharing the adventures along the way! 



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