Pony Effect

Getting Ready for School with the Pros

Hi there everyone! This week’s beauties on fire collaboration is a back to school theme. 

School is back in session for many, and getting up early to catch class is never fun. I actually wrote about? divulged? pretty much all my tips and favorite products to make those difficult mornings a little less stressful in my Back to School Beauty Guide if you’d like to check it out (#shameless self promo ūüėú).

However, to be honest, I’m a total morning person and don’t have too many qualms about waking up an extra half hour early to slap on a sheet mask or make sure my hair is done. Like, a morning person to the point I’ll wake up early on weekends just to sip on coffee outside or whatever and get a head start to my day. Eeeewww, I know. At least it’s coffee and not a green smoothie, right? Right?!

Anyway, back in my Ye Olde College Days (I graduated like 3 months ago lol), I loved to watch and copy looks from YouTube videos to get ready for the day, namely PONY Effect and Lisa Eldridge  makeup tutorials. Most of the time, it never took much longer than the videos themselves, and was an entertaining way to start the day-almost like getting ready with one of your friends…well, in a weird, impersonal, virtual sort of way.

If you aren’t as ridiculously as much of a morning person as me, instead of pausing every so often to replicate the steps as you get ready in the morning, you can always watch them the night before and screen shot the look-whatever works for you.

Anyway, enough with this long intro. Here are some of my all-time favorite get ready with a famous makeup artist (GRWAFMUA?) videos whose looks I still replicate to this day.




I personally love every single one of these tutorials because all the looks are fairly easy to recreate, look good on pretty much everyone, don’t require anything too crazy, and-most importantly-are wonderful for the classroom or office.

What do you guys think of these tutorials? Does anyone else love watching YouTube videos while they get ready? 

Be sure to check out the other posts for this week by clicking on the picture below:


The Acne Survival Guide: How to Get Rid of a Zit in 24 Hrs or Less!

School, weather changes, and added stress can all lead to one thing no one has time for: breakouts.

Stress has a nasty way of manifesting in the form of a large, angry zit, generally somewhere highly visible, like the tip of the nose. The morning of some big presentation, exam, or date, and one or two of these horrific spots just magically appear…like clockwork.

Of course, following a diligent, proper skincare routine while simultaneously finding ways of dealing with stress and deadlines will be your best bet in achieving flawless skin. However, no one is perfect and immune to the occasional disaster-zit…or a full-fledged pimple attack.

Here is how I, the self-proclaimed acne-queen, combat everything from those giant, “submarine spots” that never actually surface to full-scale, this-means-war massive breakouts.

Dealing with a Large-Scale Breakout:

When you wake up only to find a war-zone on your face, follow this four-step plan:

  1. Cleanse your face with a low pH cleanser.
  2. Tone using a moisturizing toner or “skin booster” toner. Gently pat it in until it fully absorbs.
  3. Sheet mask. Stick it in the fridge (even if it is freezing outside) to help reduce morning puffiness in the face, and constrict blood vessels, bringing down the swelling. This is what often causes breakouts to look much, much worse at first sight than they actually are.
  4. Finish off with a soothing, anti-inflammatory, moisturizing ingredient like snail secretion filtrate, aloe, honey, or hyaluronic acid. Pat it in until fully absorbed.

This will get your face into a much more manageable state by both jump starting the healing process, and also minimizing the appearance of the breakout. Of course, your milage may vary, but for me, one use shows a significant improvement, and if used consecutively every morning (or evening) will generally clear the breakout completely before the week’s end (around 3-5 days instead of the typical 8 day healing time).

A Note on Sheet Masks:

Sheet masks are my secret weapon when it comes to sudden breakouts, especially when it involves more than 1-2 spots. While any sheet mask will supply your skin with the extra boost of moisture it needs help start the soothing and healing process, why not tackle the redness and swelling at the same time?

Masks with soothing ingredients like snail, lotus, or hyaluronic acid will help with the redness and jump start the healing process. Brightening ingredients are also a good bet as they make the face look healthy, awake, and help even the tone of the skin.

These are the masks I always have on hand for such acne-emergencies:

Pony Soothing Mask Pack– seriously smooths and soothes while also reducing redness. One of the best masks for breakouts that I’ve tried!

Innisfree Its Real Bija Mask-a tried and true favorite. It helps prevent breakouts, but also soothes skin should one arise. I always have 5 or so on hand for days when I wake up to a less-than-awesome face.

Leader’s Pore Scaling Black Aqua Mask-this mask is super creepy looking-its completely black-but I like to use it anyway. I typically use it for preventative measures (when my skin feels congested and ripe for a breakout), but also for (warning: super gross) small, “wet” breakouts…aka lots of whiteheads, blackheads, and/or pustules. It will literally suck the pus out, and when you take off the mask you can see what was previously in your skin. Gross, but effective. I also have a few of these on hand at all times.

Leader’s Coconut Mask with Orange -this mask is my special occasion prep mask because its brightening claims are dead serious. My face looks not just glowy, but downright luminous, after using one of these. Some days, your face needs that boost. Having the good sections of your skin looking amazing (and possibly blinding people with the light radiating from your pores) will distract them from the not-so-wonderful breakout zone(s).

After the sheet mask, add something like the CosRX Snail 96 Power Essence to help calm the skin and moisturize it further. Snail is soothing, calming, and redness-reducing. Gently pat it in to absorb, letting all the product sink in before moving onto makeup.

Dealing with Cysts and Nodules:

You know those spots that never actually surface, but just lurk big and red, underneath the skin without ever coming to a head? I call these types of monstrosities “submarine spots” for that very reason. Since they take forever to resolve on their own, on the rare occasion that I have to deal with one of these, I have a game plan to send them on their way in under 48 hours. Luckily, with a little ice and eye redness remover drops, the pimple is easy enough to conceal while you contend with it behind the scenes when you have the time.

If you have a day off to deal with this sort of zit, great, if not, attack it in the evening. Basically, my tried-and-true plan of attack involves two phases of two alternating steps.The pimple will do one of two things: either dissipate under the skin without ever coming to a head, or slowly shrink into a smaller and smaller head until it vanishes.

Phase One:

Alternate hot and cold compresses for 15-30 minutes at a time until the pimple responds (starts dissipating under the skin, or coming to a head).

I find that an ice pack, bag of peas, or an ice cube in a thinly wrapped towel serve as easy cold compresses.

If you don’t have a hot water bottle or heating pad, a comfortably warm mug of water or soaked washcloth can work just as well for the heating component.

This step will take some time (generally 1-2 hours) so cozy up with a good book or have some quality Netflix time while you do this.

Phase Two:

Now that the pimple is either much smaller underneath the skin (the nodule/cyst has shrunk) or has started coming to a head, the next phase begins.

The first step is to use a drawing/purifying agent to bring the infection up to the surface of the skin so it can be better targeted and treated. To do this, use a drawing salve (like Prid’s) or a product with a high concentration of charcoal, sulfur, or clay. I personally like to use things like Scinic’s All Day Fine Clay Pore Mask as spot treatments for these sorts of spots. Apply according to directions, and give the product a few hours to work (if not overnight). You can alternately use a hydrocolloid bandage. I love these from CosRX.

The next step is to apply medication; I like 10% benzoyl peroxide as it works the quickest on me, but feel free to use whatever heavy-duty treatment you probably remember from your teen years. Apply and allow a few hours to work.

Continue alternating the purifying agent to draw up and dry out the infection, then layering a spot medication afterwards to further treat the infection. Be sure to only treat the immediate zit surface as to not dry out the surrounding skin.

Also, do not pick at these! It will cause MAJOR scarring. Don’t squeeze it; don’t try to “drain” it with a sterilized needle. Just leave it alone and keep at it with phase two!

Properly Concealing a Pimple

99% of the time, a pimple shows up when you have absolutely no time to deal with it. The easiest way to flawless skin? Faking it.

  1. Use a primer to keep everything in place. You don’t want all of your hard work to slide off your face after a few hours.
  2. Foundation goes first. Apply with a beauty blender/makeup sponge in stippling motions to avoid the micro exfoliation caused by fingers and brushes that will cause additional redness and irritation. Don’t sweep, rub, or pull too much, especially in the affected area(s). By applying foundation first, it is easier to gauge how much concealing will need to actually be done. You also don’t need a very thick layer or high coverage formula depending on your skin. If its only one or two spots, or even just one area (like the jawline), don’t hide the rest of your perfectly good skin. A cake face will only point to what is being hidden.
  3. Pin point conceal with a small eyeliner brush. Thick, waxy formulations generally work better than thin, watery ones when the pimple is very red and inflamed. Apply a light layer over the pimple and use a makeup sponge to gently dab it outwards. Avoid creating a circle around the zit with a concealer; blend, blend, blend the harsh edges for the most natural look. Layer it up until satisfactory coverage is achieved.
  4. This may be the most essential step in concealing a pimple: securing the concealer. Be sure to lightly dab some powder on top of the area to set it. Don’t rub, even if you are using a brush. If you want to lock the concealer firmly into place, go ahead and bake it on with some translucent powder. If you would step-by-step instructions on how to do this, you can visit my in-depth tutorial here.

The biggest part of concealing a pimple is more about drawing attention to the nicer areas of skin on your face, rather than masking the problem areas under a cakey layer of makeup. By using heavy layers on pin-pointed areas, the rest of the face can look very natural and help fake the look of all-over nice skin (a phenomenon that does NOT occur with pancake foundation or concealer).

And at the end of the day, a zit or two is just that, a zit or two. The world does not end, or even stop for the slightest second, at a sudden cyst or breakout. Most people are too busy with their own lives and troubles (or too busy looking at their phones) to even notice the “giant” zit on your cheek that you think looks like a jaw-breaker in size, but honestly, its more like a pea.

As I said earlier, having a diligent, regular, and effective skin care regimen in combination with having a diligent, regular, and effective stress management routine, will be the most important and effective things you can do to prevent pimples. Eating a healthy diet, regular exercise, and getting enough sleep (life goals right?) are not only great for preventing acne, but also in managing stress…which helps manage acne. Daily choices are more important than we sometimes might think.

But good daily choices aside, these tips and tricks will get you through even the roughest breakouts when they do happen, and get your skin back to normal in no time ūüôā

Reminder/Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and YMMV. Use my tips with caution, I am not liable for anything at all, and what works for me does not guarantee it will work for you.

The Holy Grail of Sheet Masks: Pony Effect Luminous Boosting Mask Pack Express Soothing Face Mask Review

Hello everyone!

I received this Pony Effect Luminous Boosting Mask Pack Express Soothing Face Mask from Memebox as a freebie from my very large sheet mask haul and am crazy excited to do a review on a product so shiny and with such a long name. Haha-why are so many Korean products like that?

For starters, Korean makeup artist Pony has teamed up with Memebox and produced a large number of various skin and makeup products for over a year now. This mask is one of the latest addition to her collaboration with them.

This mask is made of bamboo fiber and promises to deal with unevenness in skin tone and skin texture while¬†prepping it to its “best condition prior to makeup” AND simultaneously nourishing skin. The list of claims is as long as the actual mask name!

*The ingredients analysis may be a little long for some as there are A LOT of really neat ingredients packed into this mask. If plant extracts aren’t really your thing, feel free to skip down to the non-ingredient review part of this post!


Water, Nelumbo Nucifera Flower Water, Dipropylene Glycol, Glycerin, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Extract, Betaine, Panthenol, Carbomer, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Allantoin, Potassium Hydroxide, Ethylhexylglycerin, Melissa Officinalis Leaf Extract, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Extract, Paecilomyces Japonica/Saussurea Involucrata Ferment Extract Filtrate, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Water, Aloe Barbandensis Leaf Water, Honey Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Sciadopitys Verticillata Root Extract, Houttuynia Cordata Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Extract, Origanum Vulgare Leaf Extract, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Extract, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Extract, Mentha Spicata Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance

Ok, am I the only one who noticed an entire garden in there? Let’s break it down!

What all those herbs and extracts do:

Nelumbo Nucifera Flower Water is lotus water which is known for its soothing, regenerative properties. It can help stimulate blood flow to the face while it calms and moisturizes.

Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Extract is a bit controversial in skin care as the fruit can brighten, hydrate, function¬†as an astringent, and give the skin a boost of anti-aging antioxidnants, but can also be very irritating due to its limonene (the chemical responsible for the grapefruit’s smell) content. It can potentially cause contact dermatitis.¬†Melissa Officinalis Leaf Extract (lemon) is also potentially irritating, but is known for its anti-microbial, pore tightening abilities. However, there are¬†also¬†several anti-irritants listed in this mask like allantoin (an anti-irritant derived from urea) which should help offset any potential irritation.

Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Extract is an old skincare favorite, known for its acne-busting ability, but also its anti-inflammatory properties.

Paecilomyces Japonica/Saussurea Involucrata Ferment Extract Filtrate: I had never heard of this ingredient until now. The Internet has surprisingly little information on it, and while I emailed Memebox, who supposedly emailed the manufacturer, it’s been long enough that I’m doubting I’ll get a reply… From the best that I can tell (at this point), the paecilomyces japonica is a type of mushroom that grows on silkworm larvae and saussurea involucrata is known as snow lotus. It seems that there is a yeast enzyme that can be derived from the snow lotus which would be the thing breaking down/fermenting the mushroom. So this ingredient is a type of mushroom broken down by ¬†snow lotus yeast enzymes and then extracted and filtered. Both appear to have anti-inflammatory and nutritive properties based on a limited selection of scientific studies and both have a background in traditional Chinese medicine (but it seems this is typically drunk and not applied on skin?). There aren’t any studies I found on this particular ingredient combination and its uses in skin care, although it seems it is in several other more hangbang brands/products. For the sake of ever finishing this post, I will have to put this puzzling ingredient on a future research list. Ferments are gaining popularity in skin care (just look at first essences) so let’s just leave it at that for now. If I ever hear back, you readers will be the first to know!

Anthemis Nobilis Flower Water is derived from the chamomile plant which you may know from chamomile tea. It is known for its skin calming effects along with being anti-microbial/anti-acne and anti-inflammatory. Aloe Barbandensis Leaf Water is derived from the aloe plant which is known, like chamomile, for its soothing and anti-inflammatory properties. Honey is a great anti-microbial ingredient which you might have/still make DIY face masks from, but is also an anti-oxidant with anti-irritant properties. Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract is also known as green tea (yet another anti-acne, anti-inflammatory, soothing ingredient).

Sciadopitys Verticillata Root Extract is basically a skin conditioning agent. Nothing to see here people. Move on.

Houttuynia Cordata Extract is known for its purifying effects in traditional medicine but needs more scientific study to back up these claims.

The “herb garden” ingredients (lavender, rosemary, oregano, eucalyptus, peppermint, and spearmint extracts) are all potentially irritating ingredients that may also have antimicrobial properties. Most of the time these sorts of ingredients are added for fragrance purposes. The chemicals in the plants responsible for the fragrance are generally the main source of potential irritation. However, extracts generally contain less oils than direct plant matter. These are also the very last listed ingredients, and while there is controversy over how to analyze korean-english ingredient list translations, chances are these extracts are in negligible amounts no matter the nuances.

In short, this mask has some pretty neat plant extracts at first glance and that is surprising for just a Memebox sample sheet mask. However, given the number of them crammed into this mask, I can’t help but wonder at their concentrations. Tea Tree oil generally needs a 5-10% concentration to be effective, yet most skin care products boast less than 1%. Oh well, let’s see if any of this plant mumbo-jumbo actually paid off.

The Review

Now that the ingredients list is out of the way, let’s get on to the actual mask and everyone’s favorite, the results!

Pre-mask, my skin wasn’t exactly a happy camper (but when is it ever?). There was some dryness, some remaining granola-purge face, and some granola-purge face+dryness-related redness going on. Probably the only perk of said facial state was¬†that it featured everything the mask said it was supposedly going to tackle.

Uneven tone?: check

Uneven texture?: check…er, plus…

Needing nourishment: definitely, check

And using it in the morning meant makeup would be coming after. So prepping skin to ideal makeup applying state?: yes please

The mask itself was gloriously soft and silky (it felt amazing even for a slightly-pricey 3$ mask…is this what 8$ masks feel like?) and was drenched in essence (it was dripping everywhere as I took it out and put it on). It had a nice fit, covering my face all the way up to the hairline and covered a comfortable amount of under-eye area (you know how sometimes the material can “cut” in this area? Not here, just silky goodness). I wore it for a good 45 minutes and the mask stayed soft as it dried, even though many masks will start to feel uncomfortably “crusty” as the essence absorbs/evaporates.

It has the typical “sheet mask smell” (clean, fresh, skincare product-y) but with a subtle¬†yeasty note (which I actually love that raw bread/yeast smell so heck yeah!). Minus my taste in smell (heh, that sounds strange…), it is by no means overpowering so even if you are sensitive to smell, you will most likely be fine.

Post-mask, non-plauged skin was no longer red and back to its typical corpse-y white state. My lovely party of best friends hanging out around my jawline  were a lighter, easier-to-conceal shade of pink vs bright, tomato red (oh, the joys of being pale). Not a single flake or trace of dryness left.

My face was brighter and quite dewy; my skin felt refreshed and smoother (not silky smooth by any means, but the bumps were not as pronounced and felt so, so much softer). The residue left over just felt like really moist skin-not filmy, oily, or sticky-but…damp?(almost like a frog or something…but in a good way).

There was a definite, noticeable improvement from this mask after just one use. To put it bluntly, red, swollen spots that makeup would only highlight went to light-pink bumps that were softer and easy to conceal with makeup. Skin went from dry to totally, deliciously moist in 45 minutes. The ingredients list seems pretty justified after trying this mask out.

Rating: 2.5 (I might just suck it up and fork over more than a 1.50$ for a sheet mask to have a small stash of these for bad skin days)

Rating scale:

1-Holy grail worthy

2-Current-Routine-Worthy (would repurchase again until something better came along)

3-Meh. It was ok. YMMV.

4-Bleh, not good. Do not buy this.

1-that one mask

Have you tried this mask? What was your experience? And what do you think of all those extracts? Especially that one hang bang ingredient?

Sheet Mask Showdown/7 Day Sheet Mask Challenge

Unless you are totally new to this blog (which if you are-welcome!), its completely obvious that I may have a slight sheet mask addiction. I’m that girl who wears them around the house like they are some sort of face-shirt or something: while I watch TV, while I’m at the computer, while I’m washing dishes, cleaning, studying…I’m more used to seeing a mask on my face when I look in the mirror than my own bare face. It doesn’t help the fact that I’ve now got retinoid-face from my Curology prescription…so I am completely #enabled.

So before my friends and family hold an intervention and I get hauled off to a sheet mask addiction clinic, here is a quick round up of the masks I’ve tried this past week. One per day keeps the skin woes away!

Pony Effect Luminous Boosting Mask Pack Express Soothing Face Mask

This mask was so awesome that it deserves a post of its own. In short: its one of the more amazing masks I’ve tried…and that is really saying something coming from mask queen over here.

Botanic Farm Cherry Blossom Mask & Botanic Farm Kiwi Mask

While these masks are not as great as my beloved Etude House I Need You ones, they are still a decent everyday mask. They fit pretty well, don’t have any sort of overpowering/obnoxious smell, don’t break the bank, and provide an extra boost of moisture to give you that classic, dewy sheet mask glow. I tend to alternate these sorts of “1$” masks with fancier, pricier ones so that my skin can leave me in peace without making my wallet fall to its knees.

P.D.F  A.C Dressing Ampoule Mask

Going along with its name (I guess), this sheet mask felt like a bandage in texture. As I was removing it from its packet, I was afraid it would be a bit rough, but once on my face, it wasn’t any different than any other fiber-based mask. This one did a good job of staying saturated for a long time (no weird crusty dry bits) and really helped with my dryness. It had a soothing effect as well which was a perk.

Innisfree Its Real Squeeze Mask Bija

I really liked this mask and am so glad I ordered a bajillion of them when they were on sale back from my Memebox haul. Its very effective at hydrating my skin without any residue/film, and always leaves my skin soothed. I’ve used this mask a few times now and have fallen in love with how fresh-faced I always look after wearing it. Its a miracle worker on angry spots; this mask is excellent at taking down the redness factor several notches. Highly recommend.

Bonvivant Aloe Botanical Mask Pack

Aloe is a classic skincare ingredient, known for its soothing properties. This mask¬†lists¬†aloe extract instead of water as the bulk filler and is made of ¬†plant fiber. Mainly, this mask just moisturized my skin-my face was hydrated, but my spots were still doing their normal angry-red thing. The only stand-out thing about this mask was how freakishly soft it was; I kind of didn’t want to take it off…ever. But the results were sub-par to even the Botanic Farm cheapies.

Botanic Farm Polar Energy Camel Milk (Anti-Aging) Hydrogel Mask Pack

I have to say, while this mask did really help brighten my face, it was so, so, so uncomfortable. For starters, hydrogel is just sort of…icky to me. It makes me a little squeamish; its texture is like putting raw meat on my face (you are welcome). So while my wallet rejoices, jello-textured masks are a rarity in my routine and I always forget how face-conforming they are. Sometimes, this is a good thing (like whoa! I forgot how well they fit-I can do all sorts of things while wearing this! Why don’t I buy these more often?) or, as in this case, how hard it can be to get a good fit. I could not wait to take this mask off because it just CUT into my face. Anywhere the mask ended, it got sharper and sharper as it began to dry. The eye area was the worst. It covers a good amount of under-eye area (usually a perk), but I had to keep looking up the entire time I wore this mask to prevent a razor sharp edge from attacking my poor eyebags. The results were by no means wimpy-everywhere was bright and dewy-but not worth the cost or the experience.

Well, there is your peek into the life of someone living on the cusp of needing sheet mask rehab. I hope you found these quick, mini-reviews helpful. If there are any masks (besides the super-jaw-droppingly-awesome PONY mask) that you would like a more in-depth, ingredient-analysis type review of, just let me know! It doesn’t even need to be a mask listed here, just one you are curious about. I’m always looking for new things to try!