Archive for category Eczema
So I mentioned in my previous skincare post that my skin has been kicking some serious ass lately. I think aside from finally figuring out the tricks to dealing with eczema (also mentioned in that post), the two star products in the line-up are my facial cleanser, Consonant’s Organic Foaming Face Wash, and my nighttime facial oil, Tarte’s Pure Maracuja Oil.
I was gifted the face wash by my aunt, who often buys big blockbuster skincare and makeup bags with a bunch of various products by various brands, via The Shopping Channel Sometimes there are standout items, and sometimes…not so much. I didn’t end up using the Consonant wash until about 6 months after receiving it, when I ran out of my previous face wash. Initially, I didn’t think too much of it. Its a foaming…soap…for the face. But there is no denying the fact that somehow this product both gently cleanses while absolutely NOT stripping the skin of moisture (due to nourishing botanicals like grapeseed oil), and leaves my skin feeling soft, smooth, and blemish-free (it also contains teatree oil!).
It feels really silky once you rub it into your skin, and dissolves within seconds, which initially made me think it wasn’t cleaning properly. However, 1-2 pumps of product really does remove all the dirt, oil, and makeup I
abuse it with wear daily. If your makeup is particularly tenacious, it may require a separate makeup remover (I used Clinique’s Take The Day Off Balm), but in a pinch this will wash away almost everything without the added step. It’s even designed to help eliminate uneven skin tone, which is a problem I suffer with, and it’s pH balanced (so no need for toner). I’m not one to usually stick with one type of product after it’s used up, but I actually will repurchase this – it works and it’s relatively inexpensive at $18CAD.
Ingredients: Aqua, Glycerin, Decyl Glucoside, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Glycerin, Niacinamide, Calophyllum Tacamahaca, Melaleuca Alternifolia, Allantoin, Algae, Camellia Sinensis, Salix Alba, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Zingiber Officinale, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Vitis Vinifera, Comfrey, Chamomilla Recutita, Symphytum Officinale, Cucumis Sativa, Vaccinium Myrtillus, Saccharum Officinarum, Acer Saccharum, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis, Citrus Medica Limonum, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate, Citric Acid.
Does not contain: Phthalates, Petroleum Ingredients, Sulphates, Silicone, Synthetic Colour, Synthetic Fragrance or Paraben Preservatives.
The other superstar in my skincare routine has GOT to be, Tarte’s Pure Maracuja Oil ($55CAD). This was one of the rare impulse buys I make every few months. I was in Sephora, and as the staff know me there, I asked what was one of the standout must-have products I should try. No less than THREE SA’s turned me toward the Maracuja Oil (between the ages of 20-50), insisting it had totally changed their skin. I wasn’t in the market for a moisture product, but what the heck! I had a $20 coupon to burn in which I needed to spend $50 or more. DONE.
I usually steer clear of skincare via brands that are more known for makeup, and especially gimmicky-type products in general. But honestly, I have been shocked at how much this has improved my skin! It’s smoother, more even-toned, less oily, more hydrated, and I swear it’s made my pores less noticeable and all but eliminated the small fine lines around my eyes. Apparently, maracuja oil is chockful of Vitamin C – which aids in brightening and radiance – and essential fatty acids, which are necessary for healthy skin to rebuild and repair itself It’s also anti-inflammatory, which is ideal for someone like myself with eczema (or if you have sun damage!). How I use it, is right after washing my face, a put a dropperful in my hand, rub them together to disperse, and then press it into my skin all over my face and neck (this product replaces my nighttime moisturizer). I don’t know where I got the ‘pressing’ part but I think I heard somewhere that it helps oils penetrate the skin better (and probably a lot more gentle than vigorous rubbing!). It absorbs a bit slowly, about half an hour to fully penetrate, at which time my skin just feels plump and hydrated and not at all greasy, filmy or sticky (which was a big reason why I did not like argan oil – too heavy!). Some people have noted a slight smell to the product, but I detect next to none – at least nothing discernible, even if I stick my nose right up to the bottle opening.
The only ingredient in this product is maracuja oil, which contains none of the baddies like parabens or fragrance.
And now for a very revealing photo (after cleansing and applying the oil, sans makeup, with plenty of freckles/moles for your viewing pleasure):
If you’re in the market for either (or both) a cleanser or hydrator, I highly recommend both of these products, for essentially all skin types except serious problem skin. Both products are gentle and effective, truly have made such a huge improvement in my skin that I didn’t even realize I was lacking.
What is your absolute must-have skincare product?
I’ve got an issue, guys. I really feel like doing a review/showing swatches of a product, but I don’t want to actually have to do the work. That’s kind of a problem, right? And it’s not entirely true…I want to write about the product, but I don’t want to have to take any photos. If I do a skincare product, I have to take boring shots of the bottle (you bloggers know what I’m taking about – product photos in containers are SO dull to snap :S). If I feature a makeup product, I like to show face swatches too. I’m not avoiding showing my face, because my face is looking pretty darn good these days. Seems I’ve found ‘THE‘ regimen for my skin, at long last – even for my body! …Oh, ok, you want to hear about it? Hmm… maybe if I do a few collective shots of what I’m using, it won’t be such a snore for me… …OK! Right-o! We’re on ‘er now
Let’s work from the bottom up (not literally!). Every year, I get a mysterious rash-type thing, that is NOT eczema but some sort of dermatitis that no one can explain. I went for a biopsy last year to get it checked and it came back negative for all of the possible things it could be. My derm is an idiot who can barely open his eyes (for some reason, he squints constantly – so annoying!), and didn’t offer any other solutions to figuring out the problem, so I have been essentially left to deal with it on my own. This summer, I got another mystery rash on my arms, big-time (which made swatching impossible), and it was unlike anything I’ve had before. Of course. Anyway, when I went to NZ I hoped the fresh, clean air would heal me up, but this was not the case. However, while there I bought this crazy Eumovate cream and it cleared it up in about two days. To perfect smoothness. Heck YES I was excited! But then I read the fine print that said ‘Do not use for more than 7 consecutive days’ and I knew it was some heavy shit, so I stopped and of course the rash came back – not to the full strength, but nonetheless it still plagued me.
Speaking of plagued. I wrote a poem once about my skin issues (seriously guys…it freakin’ drives me NUTS), and titled it ‘Plague’. Check out
the height of my lameness my mad skillz:
What lasting plague upon my house,
My body, mind & soul;
What constancy lives in my heart
That soon shall take it’s toll.
What ravages this skin, yet leaves
No evidence, no trace,
Of how to rid oneself of it,
Will it never erase?
A mystery, the cause of such
Destruction, that has made
A mockery of such a thing
That God so proudly laid.
Too long this body’s suffered so,
Too long without a cure;
Too soon it’s life comes to an end
Of this we can be sure.
Dudes. I was way serious back in the day. I wrote poetry all the time, because obviously sad poetry is WAY easier to write than happy stuff. I did write a few cheerily optimistic poems the last time I was in the groove (about 4 years ago)…maybe sometime I’ll share (or not…this is a beauty blog, after all! ).
Anyway, when I got home my GP told me that it was good to stop using the hardcore stuff I got in NZ, as it was pretty intense. He hooked me up with a regular corticosteroid, which I do generally try to avoid but figured I had to do something, and BAM! Problem fixed. See, with eczema you have to treat that shit first…I kept trying all these plain creams to make it heal on it’s own, but that’s just silly. I used the prescription for about five days and haven’t had to use it since. Once I got my skin back to normal, THEN I could manage it with preventative measures. Which are:
- Shower at night: This way you rinse away all the bad crap that comes in contact with your skin throughout the day, and your moisturizer has a better chance of absorbing and keeping your skin hydrated.
- Wash with a soap-free, fragrance-free cleanser: Anything that lathers is generally NOT a friend of those with eczema. I’ve been using a body wash by Hugo Naturals that has vegetable glycerin and a natural surfactant derived from coconut and it’s been lovely and gentle on my skin. You do NOT want to strip any of your precious natural oils! You need those!
- Go for the heaviest creams you can tolerate: Right now I’m using Haus of Gloi’s Pumpkin Butter ($9US for 6oz) in Aether (non-scent), and I am in fucking love. Sorry for the potty mouth but seriously that is how good this stuff is! It has a natural odor that I’m not quite sure I would call ‘pumpkin’y', but its nice and for someone who has renounced almost all use of anything fragranced*, this is very exciting. It also contains shea butter as the second ingredient, which is pretty much the holy grail of hydrators for dry skin. LOVE LOVE LOVE. Another good option (though pricey) is Kiehl’s Creme de Corps ($37.50CAD for 250mL).
*Steering clear of fragrance is also very important. Even take note of your shampoo/conditioner/hair styling products. I’m using a fragrance-free shampoo and low-fragrance conditioner (it’s the last ingredient on the list), and a non-fragranced hair oil – the end. I swear it helps!
- Reapply often: This is why I go through SO many creams and lotions, but it’s worth it if my skin stays hydrated – it keeps your moisture barrier intact and therefore less irritating things from the outside world can penetrate the skin and cause flare-ups and problems. I keep a moisturizer by the bed, at work, in my purses…its a constant job. But totally worth it!
And that’s essentially it, for body! I do nothing else and I don’t need to. Scrubs are abrasive and therefore can exacerbate the problem (though I did just order a Bubbling Scrub sample size from Haus of Gloi…because I just can’t help myself), so I wash, pat dry, hydrate, the end. And my body is loving me right now PRAISE THE SKIN GODS!!
As for the face – which has also been darn near glorious over the past month – here’s what I’ve been using/the routine I’ve been following:
1. Splash face with water, pat dry then swipe Shiseido’s Pureness Balancing Softener all over skin
2. Apply Clinique Super Rescue Antioxidant Night Moisturizer to dry areas of face (for me, its around the mouth)
3. Apply Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Repair Eye Treatment around orbital area
4. Apply Clinique Even Better Lotion SPF20 all over face & neck
When I wear foundation, which I almost don’t have to right now, I wear the Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder, which actually doesn’t dry my skin out, even in this cold weather, and almost allows me to skip powder altogether on my slightly oily skin (as it’s mattifying and oil-free). It doesn’t contain fragrance or any other funny business I usual avoid.
I will note that I’m careful with any blushes/bronzers I use – the Chanel, Benefit, and Burberry blush I have all have fragrance, so I try to use them sparingly. NARS powder blush contain lanolin, which I’m allergic to and which is very unfortunate as I have 5 shades. So, they get used semi-infrequently as well. But, I find as long as I’m not wearing them every day, things are alright.
In the evening, here’s how I roll:
1. Remove makeup with Boscia’s Make Up Break Up Cleansing Oil (which I *just* finished tonight and will be replacing with Clinique’s Take the Day Off Balm)
2. Wash face with Consonant’s Organic Foaming Face Wash
3. Apply Derma-E’s Vitamin A Wrinkle Treatment Moisturizing Gel all over face & neck
4. Apply 100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream around orbital area
5. Wait 5 minutes, then pat Tarte’s Pure Maracuja Oil into face and neck (review forthcoming, because this stuff is GOLD!)
The end. That’s it! It’s not a long process, and the results have been really good. I think the biggest thing is keeping my skin MORE hydrated as opposed to trying to always control the oiliness. Not washing my face in the morning, combined with using two hydrators (spot treating in the AM and all over at night), has actually not made me more oily but has lessened how shiny I get throughout the day, and my eczema is nearly non-existent – all that’s left is slight pigmentation scarring from when it wasn’t under control. I also think that for once, following a regimen and using the same products every day has had a huge hand in keeping my skin happy. Changing it up all the time leaves it in a constant upheaval; I was doing it for the ‘right reasons’ – trying to use up products – but it was causing me grief overall. So YAY to getting my shit together!
There are still a few tweaks I want to make here and there, especially with respect to anti-aging – I still want to try a retinol product (I want to use up the Derma-E Vitamin A gel first before I purchase one), and I plan on replacing the almost-finished Shiseido Softener with one of Bioderma’s miscellar waters – but otherwise I think I’m good! When the time comes to buy replacement products, I’ll be sure to do my homework.
I know that this process will not be helpful for some of you – not everyone has my tempermental skin – but I find that when I’m looking online for solutions to my eczema problems, there’s not much around except the usual treatments. And since it’s wintertime for many of us, some of the same logic applies in terms of keeping the skin hydrated, so hopefully not all is lost! Stay tuned for my post on the Tarte oil though, truly – it’s absolutely wonderful and I think everyone can use it!
How involved in your skincare routine? Do you have finnicky skin? What is the difference maker for you?
I’m a little delinquent getting this post out, but better late than never!! Especially since this is something I’m really digging a lot!
For this installment of my fave product, I struggled to think of something that I was totally in love with this month. With all the skin problems I had, nothing seemed to be doing it for me. However, after putting in a serious effort to find the culprit (the LM concealer, as well as sheets/towels washed in ‘bad’ [aka fragranced] detergent), as well as incorporating some Evening Primrose Oil capsules into the mix (thanks
Mom Eugenia!!), I’m happy to announce that my skin is back to normal and feeling better than ever So, once that was out of the way, I was able to think more clearly about a product that kicked butt this month, and I had a brainwave while I was walking to work (where all my most brilliant thoughts occur, natch) – how about a beauty-related product?? Something that helps increase my ‘beauty’ but isn’t something you apply, exactly. Lo and behold, I found this month’s HG – the vitamin Biotin!
A couple years back, I got a tip from my hairdresser about biotin being great for hair growth, something I struggle with because my hair grows painfully slow (because curly hair essentially grows in a circle – you know what I mean??). From his salon, I bought a teeny-tiny jar of powdered biotin that you were supposed to take twice a day. However, that cost me like $27 and lasted maybe a month – wayyy too much investment for me! So, I stopped taking it for a year or more. However, back in the Fall, one of my fave SA’s from Shoppers was talking about taking it and how well it was working for her. I marched to the vitamin aisle and found a 100-capsule bottle of it, on sale no less, for $5 (it’s regularly around $10CAD)!! I quickly bought it and started using it immediately.
The first month or so I didn’t notice any change, though I had no expectations. It wasn’t until I straightened my hair back in late January that I realized just how long my hair had gotten – it had easily grown inches in the span of a couple months, which is HUGE for me since my hair usually grows that much in a year (or it feels like, anyway!). On the bottle is says it helps the body to metabolize fats and carbohydrates to produce energy. I don’t know how that translates to my health overall, but I do know that my HAIR got a major energy boost or something, and I’m loving it! I’ve also noticed that the little baby hairs by my hairline have started to finally get longer – something that has always driven me crazy to no end. It’s a miracle product I tell you!
Additionally, though my nails have always grown fairly quickly, I do notice that they’ve gotten even more unruly – I have to trim them constantly as they get to the ‘too long to type’ phase within a week. I’m certain that’s an added effect of the biotin as well. Oh! And there’s also evidence that it can help eczema as well – obviously it didn’t do much for my face, but I have noticed that my body has had a noticeable lack of flare-ups lately. Coincidence?
Long story short: for anyone who is looking to boost their hair and nail growth (and possibly thickness/strength, though I can’t comment on either of those issues so I can’t say for certain), definitely check out a bottle of Biotin from your local drugstore – I can vouch for the fact that it really seems to work! Just one pill a day…I plan to continue taking this until the time comes when I straighten and chop all my hair off like Halle Berry….when I’m like 50. The day WILL come, but I’m not quite ready for that right now my friends
Have you tried Biotin before? Do you take any supplements for skin or haircare reasons? And out of curiosity (re: jealousy) – how fast does your hair grow?
Good evening my pretties I just spent the better part of two hours trying to figure out how to create a Facebook page for this blog, and create a ‘Like’ box, and then get it to actually work…OMFG, I’m not a computer genius by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m no schlump either, and I could not figure out this stuff for the life of me! I *think* I’ve got it all working now, so enjoy! Unfortunately, spending all this time on blog maintenance and improvement has left me no time (or energy) to write anything serious about beauty, but let’s see what I can come up with in a pinch. Here’s what I’ve been up to this week:
- Took a stroll to Mills today on my lunch break and checked out the new Bobbi Brown Rose Gold collection. Sad to say (but kind of happy at the same time), that nothing caught my eye AT ALL – I was considering the Rose Gold Shimmer Brick, but it’s more pink than I’d like. I think I might check out the Nectar and Bronze versions more closely the next time around – they’re more my speed (re: warmer!).
- Clinique is on GWP at The Bay, and I must say it’s a pretty awesome gift! They have two new products offered (both which I’ve mentioned/reviewed previously) – the mega-blockbuster Repairwear Laser Focus, and the Turnaround Overnight Radiance Moisturizer; as well as a Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion, and two lipsticks and a palette of two shadows and a blush. You get to choose your color palette – either neutrals (Blushing Nude & Think Bronze lippie, and complimenting nude shadows and blush) or Violets (Heather Moon and A Different Grape, pllus complimenting violet-toned shadows and blush). The gift started Wednesday, February 8th, and we had a great first day! It runs until February 26th, but only while quantities last, so get your butt in gear! It’s yours with any purchase of $28.50CAD or more - While I was at the mall, on a quick break from the counter, I went into Chatter Salon and saw that they had the new OPI Holland Collection available for sale – right on schedule! I picked up two shades – can you guess which ones?? You won’t have to wait long; I’ll be posting swatches before the week is out!
- I was at Sephora this past Sunday and picked up a new day moisturizer to battle this cold, windy weather – Boscia’s Restorative Day Moisture Cream, a fragrance-free ultra-hydrating moisturizer which is supposed to have an ingredient in it that has a cortisone-like effect that helps calm the skin and reduce sensitivity – ideal for my skin! However, it bugged me that online it sells with an SPF, but in stores here in Canada it comes without. I got home, checked to see if I was ‘allowed’ to buy with it the sunscreen online (because you know we sometimes have restrictions), and when I discovered I was able, I purchased it again (lol). I plan on returning the one sans-SPF – I’m just not down with having to add another step, you know what I mean? Geez louise, we already do enough!- I picked up some facial wipes yesterday at Lawtons to use when I go to the gym at lunch – I was feeling gross running with a full-face of makeup on and not wiping it off either before or after, and I just don’t have time to shower etc. during my break. They’re Simple Kind to Skin Facial Wipes (I can’t remember if I just got the cleansing ones or the exfoliating ones) – they don’t have fragrance or harsh ingredients in them so they’re perfect for anyone with touchy skin! I’ve only used them once but had absolutely no reaction to them at all – no stinging or dryness – so I’m pretty pumped about them!
I was just going to say “And that’s about all the beauty-related biz I got up to this week” but uh…that was a pretty busy week in my beauty world!! I’m really struggling with holding myself from going on a mega shopping spree – constant additions to my lemmings list is plaguing me daily. I gotta get a hold of myself!
I hope everyone is looking forward to the weekend – I know I sure am! It’s going to be busy as usual, but at least I get to sleep in one day
What kind of things have you been up to in your beauty world??
Over the past few months, I’ve been researching products and tweaking my skincare regime, trying to streamline it as well as find effective products that don’t irritate my sensitive, eczema-prone skin. While there are still a few items I’d like to incorporate, for the most part I think I’ve successfully found a system that works to effectively cleanse my oily skin, keep it smooth and soft, and which doesn’t cause eczema flare-ups (fragrance free is a must) – all while preventing aging as best as possible. While I’ve had good success with all of the products I’m about to show you, note that everyone’s skin is different and requires (and tolerates) different ingredients and treatments, so these are just some that work well for MY skin and it’s particular traits. Nevertheless, I thought it might be handy for others who have similar concerns or for those looking to try a new product
First of all, a quick description of my skin (if you aren’t already familiar): Oily, but not overly so – gets shiny in the t-zone by mid-day and on cheeks closer to my nose. Blotting once a day is necessary. Pores are slightly visible on cheeks and nose, but not a concern. Break outs are infrequent, though the odd pimple may occur every month or so, and high stress can cause consistent breakouts. If breakout is severe, scarring may occur (seen as dark spots). Can have dry patches (particularly on forehead, around mouth, and jawline) due to eczema; sometimes scarring (seen as lack of pigment) results. Skin around eyes is normal, very few lines, and has recently become somewhat sensitive and can have dry patches at outer corners. Little, if any signs of aging overall (yet!).
OK! So now, here’s the rundown of the products that are floating my boat as of late (oh yeah, and by the way – this is gonna be a wordy post, so get comfortable!):
Currently, for my morning wash I’m just using up the last drops of my Purity cleanser from Philosophy to cleanse my skin. When that runs out, I’m unsure if I want to use the Boscia both day and night, or find something else for the morning. I also have Philosophy’s The Microdelivery Wash, which I specifically bought to use in the AM – but I suspect its too harsh on my skin and was causing eczema flare-ups, so I’d feel more comfortable finding something else. Some days I don’t even wash my face in the morning if I feel like its a particularly cold and windy day. Likely I’ll find a creamy cleanser just to rinse off the night’s product/sebum but that will cushion the skin from the cold.
At night, if I wore a full face of make-up, I’ll use the MAC oil (which I’ve reviewed here) to remove it first, and then go through my normal cleansing routine with the Boscia. I picked up the Boscia cleanser a few weeks ago, and have only started using it last week. It’s supposed to ‘purify pores and bolster skin’s natural defenses against irritations and reactions,’ and does not contains parabens, sulfates, or fragrances – hello, this product was designed for me! I’ve used it enough to determine whether it will or won’t work with my skin, and it’s a definitely winner. It comes out of the pump sort of with an oil-gel texture, and then foams when applied to a wet face. The foam is one of the most luxurious I’ve felt, its so creamy and smooth and doesn’t feel like it’s stripping my skin at all – but when I rinse, I feel perfectly clean with absolutely no residue. I love it! It’s a pleasure to use each evening. I just wish it were in a bigger container (only 5oz) – another reason why I want to have a separate day cleanser, because I want this to last! At $32CDN a pop, it’s not exactly the cheapest cleanser ever. But well worth the price for the way it feels and works.
After cleansing in the morning (if I do), I apply Ole’s Truth Serum to my entire face and neck (previously reviewed here). I leave it on for as long as I can to let it penetrate before adding Clinique’s Superdefense SPF25 moisturizer on top. Though I’m starting to feel like its silly to use a separate SPF product for around the eye, I use Clarins Sun Control eye cream every day. As it seems like a lot of products cause irritation to my sensitive eye area now, I think it’s better to be safe than sorry, and this doesn’t cause any issues whatsoever – and it lasts for freakin’ ever!! This is my second tube and I’m sure I’ll have it for another year (or until the expiry runs out). I got two years out of my last one; for about $30, I’ll take it! That’s like $0.04 a day (for those who like to do the math like I do ).
Nighttime is a pretty quick affair! After cleansing, I just slap on Clinique’s new Turnaround moisturizer, and add a dab of The Body Shop’s Wise Woman eye cream and I’m good to go! Eye creams have got to be the best ever – people have a hard time shelling out what feels like a lot for such a small jar of product, but they last forever! I’ve had this one since probably this time last year – phew! It’s gotta be nearing the end, though I can’t tell. Once I finish this up, I’m going to move on to the bottle of 100 Percent Pure Coffee Bean eye cream I got from eBeauty last month (reviewed here). Mainly I’m looking for a product that’ll help alleviate darkness (next to impossible) and which contains antioxidants to prevent aging. The 100 Percent Pure product is actually better suited to my needs, but I read on MUA that the Wise Woman cream was pretty stellar. It’s supposed to reduce the appearance of dark circles and puffiness, hydrate, and smooth the skin around the eyes by ‘filling in’ lines via cotton fibers. I do like it – it hydrates nicely and I haven’t seen any increase in lines around the eye – but it’s a bit of a premature purchase considering who it’s actually designed for. Great price though, at $24CAD (15mL).
These are products that I use semi-regularly, but not every day. The Complex 15 moisturizer is a great drugstore basic that I use if my skin is being reactive, or if I’ve done a treatment and need something no-frills to avoid creating a reaction. It doesn’t contain lanolin, which I’ve recently discovered can cause allergic reactions to those who are also allergic to wool such as myself (as it is a wool-derivative). You learn something new every day.
The Josie Maran Argan Oil was going to be my antioxidant ‘serum’ (as it’s rich in Vitamin E) but then two things happened: 1) I received the Ole Henriksen Truth Serum and fell in love, and 2) I realized that this Argan Oil is a bit to rich for my skin to use on a regular basis. So, how I use it now is on the weekends, usually Sunday, I thoroughly cleanse my skin and then apply this all over my face and neck as sort of a treatment, to really hydrate and nourish my skin. I try to avoid wearing any makeup on top as well – which works as this oil kind of gives you a great, healthy glow so that no makeup is really needed. This is a travel-size bottle and it cost $18CAD for 0.5oz, which is a bit pricey for the size, but you don’t need to use a whole lot, and for my purposes it should last a while. Jury’s out on if I’ll repurchase, however.
I picked up the Queen Helene mask well over two years ago, when I was in Vegas. I had read great things about it on MUA, and I was experiencing a lot of oiliness and a few breakouts, so I thought I’d pick it up. It was super cheap, like $4.99US, but I’ve never seen it anywhere here in Canada. In any case, it’s just your standard clay mask I think, nothing terribly special, although it’s fairly gentle so I don’t feel sensitivity after using it and it doesn’t make me feel as dry as the Sahara, so that’s a plus. For the price I don’t mind either way, though it’s lasted me SOOO long (I use it about once a week just on areas of oiliness/breakout) – I’m just sort of done with it now. But I don’t want to toss it just yet. If it’s not finished by next Summer, out it goes. I’ll be time for a new oil-absorbing mask by that time!
So there you have it, the full low-down on my skincare regime! There are just two products I’d like to add eventually (aside from a morning cleanser) – one, REN’s Glycolactic Renewal Mask, which I’ve had a few samples of and is absolutely AMAZING – results in baby soft skin, with absolutely no irritation whatsoever; and two, a retinol product to use at night (which will likely replace the Clinique moisturizer as I don’t think the two would get along well). Retinol is one of those ingredients that seems to have stood the test of time in the skincare world – years later we’re still hearing that it is the be-all end-all in terms of fighting off aging and repairing existing damage. Sign me up, please! I just want to find an affordable option that is also effective…so far I’m coming up empty-handed. I won’t give up the search though!
I’d like to note that what you see in this post is almost my entire skincare ‘wardrobe’ (so to speak) that I have! I’ve really pared down. Aside from a small handful of samples which are nearing completion (YES!), I only have a few other unmentioned products, which were excluded as I do not currently use them for various reasons. I have another serum (Clinique’s Turnaround Concentrate, which I got free and am saving for warmer months), two other masks (Pangea’s Japanese Matcha Tea Facial Mask, and Korres Yoghurt Face Mask, both of which I like in theory but which may or may not irritate my skin – the Korres is up for swap), the Philosophy Microdelivery Wash (which is up for swap), and Kiehl’s Micro Dermabrasion Scrub (which I received in a swap, have used only a handful of times, and may put back up for swap – scrubs are too irritating for me!).
Ok, end ramble…now! What do you think of my regime? Any products you’ve tried and loved/hated? Any suggestions on products to incorporate/check out??
Slowly but surely, I’m whittling my stash down to just the essentials, and I plan on keeping it that way once I get there. I still have a few products that are ‘duplicates’ so to speak – more than one night treatment, multiple eye creams…its a process, to be sure, but I’m making headway! Unfortunately, my progress is mostly limited to skincare products; I’ve hardly used up any makeup items since I’ve been working hard at paring things down. I’ve pulled a few products that are nearing completion, and I plan on dedicating myself to finishing them before Christmas. Fingers crossed!
In the meantime, let’s see what I’ve managed to accomplish since my last post:10 full sizes plus 5 sample size products. Not too shabby, methinks! I’m going to count the Aveeno body lotions as one product though, because I go through it so quickly and its going to be a regular purchase so it’s never going to truly be ‘used up.’ I apologize in advance for all the cut-up tubes, just trying to get the last drop outta each product
To read my review on this body cream, check out my first downsizing post here.I first wrote about this body wash here. I have to modify my review, as I found that it wasn’t as irritating as I thought it was previously. I think it may have been another product that I used that caused the issue – I didn’t find a problem with it moving forward. As well, while I still don’t love the smell, it grew on me over time. However, I don’t think I’d go for the Lavanilla body wash again, whatever the scent – I feel that I could find something more suitable for my skin that I loved more. Philosophy body washes are some of my favorites – they’re not natural but they sure smell delish, and they don’t seem to bother my skin, somehow.I bought this bottle of Lubriderm Moisturizer with SPF 15 lotion two Summers ago, and wore it as my daily body lotion in the warmer months as I walk to work. It did the trick, and didn’t irritate my skin, and absorbed well, but I didn’t finish the bottle and it’s now since expired, so time to go! Clinique Sparkle Skin Body Exfoliating Cream. Awesome, awesome, awesome. This sloughs off any rough skin I have gently and effectively, which is a feat because either an effective scrub is too harsh for my skin, or the scrub barely does anything but doesn’t irritate. The jar is a little unwieldy in the shower, but usually a product in a tube isn’t as ‘scrubby.’ The only thing I dislike about this scrub is the mint scent and tingle – I know a lot of people love that in a body scrub, I guess to wake them up, but it’s never been my thing. Gimme a foodie-smelling type body product any day! My mother gave me Avon’s Restorative Milky Foot Soak at Christmastime, and it was quite nice. It foamed up well and my feet felt good after soaking in it. However, it was nothing special – a plain body wash with a shake of Epsom salts would have had a similar effect, I think. I wouldn’t buy it for myself, but it was a nice treat, nonetheless.I picked up Garnier’s Moisture Rescue SPF15 Lotion back last Winter, after reading a review of the Gel-Cream version on my good friend Liz’s blog. As far as moisturizing properties go, it did the trick, but I never felt like the SPF was the *right* kind and probably didn’t protect my skin as much as I’d like. I was also turned off by the smell – which was nice, but I always fear scent in any skin products because of my eczema, and so every time I used it I worried. It didn’t seem to cause a huge problem, but then again, since I’ve finished it, my skin has been exceptionally good, so…coincidence? I’m not sure, but I won’t be picking it up again. For those without sensitivities, it’s a viable option, but I think you could find something else just as effective with a more stable sunscreen.I reviewed Murad’s Oil Control Mattifier SPF15 previously, and I still maintain it’s effectiveness. It was quite successful at keeping my oiliness at bay while providing SPF protection, so in that respect it was ideal. However, I’ve been doing a lot of reading on eczema lately, and one thing they note is that products that are oil-absorbing are probably to be avoided. Again, since I finished using this product, my skin has improved quite a bit, so hard to say if it’s coincidence or not. I had two patches of irritated skin that just would NOT go away, and now they’re nearly a memory…just something to keep in mind!
On the right, is Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel in a convenient 50mL size. I got this in one of my gratis’, as I like to have it on hand for quick and easy basic moisturization. It’s a very simple product, no bells and whistles at all, which is sometimes just what the doctor ordered. It’s designed for someone with oily skin – if you’re at all dry, it’s just not gonna do the trick as it’s very light. It contains silica to help control the oils in the skin – but it only does so minimally, so it’s not a treatment in any sense. Overall, a nice plain oil-free moisturizer, perfect for throwing in a travel bag!Another product I noted before, and one that I’m still impressed by. I’ve used several bottles of this in the past, and I often go back to it after trying out other products because it has been the most effective to date. I finished this in early Summer, and haven’t yet replaced it, but as the weather starts to cool, I’m thinkin’ it’s time to pick up another!Samples are some of the best/worst things ever. I find as a beauty-focused person, you tend to accumulate a LOT of these babies, and it take forever to use them all up!
Bioderma’s Sensibio H2O cleanser – I’ve tried the Sebium version, which is for oily skins, and while I found it made my skin feel great, it always feels weird to use a tissue-off cleanser; I never feel like it’s really cleaning my skin fully. This version is for normal to dry skin, and was also effective at cleansing my skin, very gently. I didn’t use it when I had a lot of makeup on, but when I was wearing just a touch, or in the morning before putting any makeup on, it made my skin feel soft and clean. I’d highly recommend either version if you’re a fan of this style of removal; for me, it’s just not my thing!
Aveda Foot Relief – this was a nice foot moisturizer with a bit of minty tingle to it, that was fairly effective at hydrating my feet, though it didn’t fully get rid of the rough patches on my heels. It’s pretty expensive – even this travel size was like, $12-14 – so I’m not sure I’d indulge in the full size as it wasn’t anything any more special than your basic drugstore brand.
Pantene Dry to Moisturized Conditioner – I have a bias against Pantene because I find they use a lot of ‘cones to make the hair feel good, and after discovering how high up on the ingredient list fragrance is, my opinion has worsened. I had used up this sample before I knew better, but I believe that using this in conjunction with another conditioner that had a lot of fragrance, were the culprits in how bad my skin was a couple months ago. Can’t recommend this at all.
B.Kamins Bio-Maple Vegetable Skin Cleanser – I was liking this quite a bit when I started using it; it doesn’t foam up but rather just emulsifies a bit, and felt so gentle on my skin that I considered buying it as my new facial cleanser. But I think it was a bit too gentle, as I broke out after using it for a week (which rarely happens), and so that idea has gone out the window. I was glad to have the sample to check it out, at least! And it did smell a touch like maple, which was nice
Van Cleef & Arpels Oriens fragrance – last December, I was trying to buy my aunt a fabulous fragrance she’d love for Christmas, and I had Holt Renfrew send me some samples from their fragrance department (actually, they offered, at no charge – so nice!!). However, my brainstorm was short-lived as it turns out, my aunt doesn’t wear fragrance anymore as she works at a hospital and can’t be bothered. So, I kept the samples for myself. This one in particular was quite pretty – notes of mandarin orange, black currant and raspberry; as well as jasmine, patchouli and praline. It smelled fresh with a hint of sweetness, but unfortunately didn’t linger on the skin very long.
Whoaaaa….that was a whole lotta chatter, eh? So sorry! Good thing these posts only come every so often I’m plugging away and feeling good about my progress. Now, wish me luck that my next post contains a bunch of makeup!!
Have you tried any of these products? Did you have any experiences that differed from my own? How do you feel about streamlining your routine – necessary or a non-issue?
This month I’m bringing you TWO products that top my must-have list, as they both do very similar jobs – and very well, I might add. Hand creams are an absolute necessity for those of us suffering from either dry, cracked hands, or eczema (or both), so I hope this post is useful!
As you know, my eczema is touch-and-go; sometimes merely a background issue, other times taking over my life (it seems) and causing me some serious grief. Currently it’s tamed somewhat, but a terrible flare-up during my trip to Newfoundland last month left me with some nasty scarring and recurring irritation on my upper arms. My regime of jojoba oil, in conjunction with Aveeno’s Eczema Care Cream which I mentioned earlier this week, has simmered the problem – I’m not itchy and inflamed, though it’ll take all season to heal the scarring on my shoulders, which makes me very glad that sweater season is upon us!
Anyway, while these two products work wonders on my body, my hands need even more serious moisture and treatment to keep them rash-free. My fingers are often plagued with dry, scaly skin that I battle constantly. In my youth, any old moisturizer would do, and I’d slap on a heavily fragranced hand cream that smelled heavenly but left my hands worse than ever. Finally, after torturing myself for years, I recently dropped the vanity and picked up two very basic, boring hand creams – Neutrogena’s Norwegian Formula ($6.99 for 50mL) – the fragrance free version – and Eucerin’s Aquaphor ($8.99 for 51.75mL). (*Click images to find out more)Both of these products have reputations that precede them, and for good reason. Though the packaging is plain, and the formulations are thick and greasy, these two do the trick on my parched, irritated hands. I keep the Aquaphor by my bedside table, and the Norwegian Formula at work. I obsessively apply these after washing my hands or getting my hands wet in any way, or when I’m feeling dry patches. Not only do they keep my hands hydrated and soft, but they actually protect my hands from the elements (cold, wet, chemical, or allergy). My eczema has lessened considerably just from these two alone, completely without using hydrocortisone, which I am normally very dependant on (and, incidentally, is what I believe has caused the scarring on my shoulders).
The basic ingredients for these are simple as well, which helps minimize irritation:
Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream: Water (Purified), Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Stearic Acid, Sodium Cetearyl Sulfate, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Dilauryl Thiodipropionate, Sodium Sulfate.
Eucerin Aquaphor Healing Ointment: Petroleum, Mineral Oil, Ceresin, Lanolin Alcohol, Panthenol, Glycerin, Bisabolol
I think the key ingredient for me is the glycerin – as it is a humectant, it binds water to the skin, moisturizing it as well as helping to retain that moisture. Ever since I realized its efficacy, particularly on my skin, I’ve been sure to keep an eye out for glycerin in all products I pick up from now on.
While I’m not thrilled that there is petroleum/mineral oil in the Aquaphor, there’s no doubting it works and keeps my skin protected. However, since the two products seem to do a similar job, I am going to stick with the Norwegian Formula from now on, as it appears to have more glycerin in it and none of the other two ‘baddies.’
In summary, I highly recommend to pick up one of these babies, especially with Winter fast approaching, a protective and hydrating hand cream is an absolute must. I seriously could not live without ‘em!
Both of these products can be found at Lawton’s Drugs, or Shoppers Drug Mart (and probably Walmart as well!).
Oh yeah baby. My very own empties post. *insert wild applause here*
My friend Liz at Beauty Reductionista has been rocking these out on a regular basis lately and really giving her readers something to aspire to and admire. It’s not easy to reduce the load of products we often accumulate over time – typically, the load increases more and more, and if you’re like me, it only serves to weigh us down with guilt and anxiety; how are we ever going to use it all up?! So, when we do begin to pare down our stash and begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel – or, more realistically, see an opportunity for us to buy more stuff without feeling so guilty – we gotta celebrate that, right??
Not only have I been trying to lessen the load to make way for new product, but I’ve also been trying to streamline my regime to some degree. This month, my kickoff month, I decided that I was only allow to purchase a new product after getting rid of 10 others. The official term for this is called ‘Project Ten Pan,’ an idea originated by lollipop26, a makeup guru on Youtube. I first heard about this through Liz as well, and instantly had to read up on it. The gist is that you have to use up 10 beauty products before you buy anything else. While it’s not reasonable for me to try to do this every time for the rest of my life – c’mon, be serious here! – I figured I could do it for a month at least, and so far have been exceptionally successful. I’ve only purchased one, yes ONE!, beauty product this month (NARS Grand Palais duo – to be reviewed soon!), and below is the reason for this celebration – 10 products finished! Hoorah, hooray!
Without further ado, let’s get to it:First up, Aveeno’s Active Naturals Eczema Care Cream. This is actually my second tube and I’m just about to buy a third. It doesn’t last long – maybe a month, unfortunately – but it kicks some MAJOR butt on my eczema and makes my skin super-ridiculously soft. It’s totally worth the $8.49 every month for that alone! No scent, absorbs quickly, too easy!Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief. I received this in a gratis from Clinique a while back. I generally always have some of this on hand, it’s great for my sensitive skin as it’s oil-free and aloe based. Doesn’t do much but make the skin feel hydrated and soothed. It doesn’t repair the moisture barrier so it’s really more of a treat than a treatment. Nonetheless, if my skin is feeling parched, its one of the first things I reach for. This size jar (75mL) is $57CDN. No scent.TRESemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner. I’ve reviewed this before here. Still my fave conditioner, but it lasted forever because it’s a monster tube and I just got bored. I think I’ll go back to it though, the new stuff I’m using by Dove is flaring my eczema up I think. I never had an issue with this. Around $6CDN for this HUGE container of it, and it just plain works awesome. And no ‘cones!First, Clinique Turnaround Concentrate ($47CDN). I reviewed the Turnaround Body Smoothing Cream here. Same premise, it exfoliates to uncover newer, brighter, smoother skin. Really terrific. Its very gentle (easy on my sensitive skin) but works wonders. It keeps breakouts at bay, my skin soft and smooth, and my skintone even. Perfect!
Second, Clinique Super Rescue Antioxidant Night Moisturizer in Combination Oily ($46CDN). Oil-free, no-fuss hydrating moisturizer that repairs skin cell damage through the antioxidants (which are time-released) to prevent and slow aging. It also repairs the moisture barrier of skin so it’s stays hydrated and is better protected against external aggressors on the skin (pollution, sunlight, extreme weather). Of course, I can’t say if it’s preventing aging really – I don’t have a whole lot of signs of aging yet – but it’s good to my skin and keeps it hydrated and supple. I’m on the hunt for a new moisturizer though, I get bored! And, excuse the cut packaging, I forgot to take a photo before I used the tube entirely – gotta get out every last drop! Urban Decay Primer Potion, on the left ($23CDN). This was THE eyelid primer to get back a few years ago, until every other line started making them too and there was much more competition. I still think this is one of the front runners – it is extremely effective at keeping your makeup in place – but I find it intensifies my shadows so much, and not necessarily in a good way (shimmer becomes SUPER gaudy shimmer). And it has a slight color, which isn’t a huge deal, but my current primer – NARS Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base - has no color and keeps my shadows true to pan. There’s a place for both primers I suppose, but for now I’ll stick with the NARS version which is equally effective.
Next, the ubiquitous Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer ($44CDN). Another HG for many in the past, but again has been somewhat unsurped by newer formulations recently. I never loved this primer, and perhaps you can see I didn’t entirely finish the bottle – I didn’t like the way it sometimes would pill and ball up on the skin, and it is soo silicone-y!! I feel like used on a regular basis, this would majorly break people out. It’s effective but not my cup of tea. One of my fave products ever, Jack Black’s Intense Therapy Lip Balm SPF 25 in Lemon Chamomile. Also reviewed here. Smells SOO good and feels great on the lips. Has quite a bit of slip, and you only need a dab, but it keeps my lips hydrated and smooth without fail. For around $10CDN its a tad steep but it lasts ages to I’ll continue to buy these regularly.
Hiding underneath is an old MAC liquid liner in Black. A friend gave this to me because she just couldn’t master the liquid liner technique, so I’m not sure how much is cost – and in any case, it’s been long discontinued. This lasted forEVER and was really easy to use. It didn’t have the best staying power, so if I did a ‘flick’ at the end of my lash line, it often ran or smudged throughout the day, but it still was a standby for a quick eye look. If you’re looking for something similar, I’d recommend Make Up For Ever’s liquid liners which are about $26CDN and AMAZING with superlong wear.Last but not least, my beloved container of Jojoba Oil. I’ve been using this for everything, it’s such an amazing multi-tasker! On body & face, as a hair treatment, cuticle treatment….love. It’s pretty pricey, for this small one it was about $20CDN – the large size is like $45?? But sort of worth it. I really like that it’s JUST jojoba oil, no additives or other ingredients, so you know what you’re getting. You just feel good using it!
So, there you have it. I managed to lighten my load and it feels great!! It’s really spurred me on to keep up the good work, I already have several other products used up and ready for another showing I’d love it if my shopping addiction turned to a reduction addiction……uhhh, yeah, right.
Is anyone else having a challenge with product overload? What are you doing to improve the situation? Or are you rolling in abundance with relish? Have you ever tried Project 10 Pan?
Thanks for stopping by, I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend!