Archive for category Anti-Aging
Though my makeup wearing days have been minimal of late (and when I do wear it, its a quick slap-dash affair – concealer, mascara, blush, gloss), and as such, my makeup buying is next-to-none, I have been indulging in some skincare splurges to keep my beauty habit alive. The benefits are two-fold: having great products to look forward to using means I make the (often challenging) effort to keep good skincare habits; and maintaining a routine means my skin needs less makeup anyway (thankfully!). Last month I stumbled across e-tailer Integrity Botanicals – which has several brands with products on my wishlist – and as I needed replenishment on a few things, I went all in. *I’ve included links below (non-affiliate) to each brand’s website if you’re interested in learning more, as these may be brands you’ve not heard of before!
Kypris Moonlight Catalyst ($70USD) is a refining and exfoliating serum that is designed to ‘deliver all the cosmetic benefits of retinoid preparations without any harsh chemicals, redness, peeling, or thinning of skin’. It boasts fermented pumpkin enzymes to exfoliate, Hawaiian sea algae and Xylitylglucosides to hydrate, and supercritical extractions of rosehip seed and sea buckthorn to repair irritated or chapped skin.
The evening-only serum is very lightweight and spreads easily over the skin, and is completely non-greasy (though it does leave it a touch tacky). The scent is lightly fruity and pleasant. I apply about a half-dropper full (they recommend 1-2 but I don’t find I need quite that much) all over my face & neck and let it absorb for about 5 minutes before applying a treatment oil on top (Pai’s rosehip oil). Guys, this stuff is GOOD. After using it just once, my skin felt so smooth in the morning, and subsequent uses has helped clear up the bit of hormonal acne I’ve had (likely due to the inclusion of willowback extract, which acts similarly to salicylic acid) and refine the areas where I’ve got scarring from said spots. I am particularly pleased that it contains no essential oils, which I tend to avoid – despite their ‘natural-ness,’ they still have the potential for skin irritation. I am LOVING this product and it will be a definite repurchase for me (very rare)!
For the past six months, I’ve been using either plain, organic grapeseed or pumpkin seed oil to remove my makeup, and they’ve worked well, but lately I’ve been feeling like picking up something a little more…interesting. African Botanics Pure Marula Cleansing Oil ($60USD) is an emulsifying cleansing oil (meaning you can just wash it off with water) that gently exfoliates while removing makeup and purifying the skin. Marula oil’s antioxidant properties help cells renew and resist damage, aid in stimulating microcirculation and minimizes redness and irritation.
The cleanser has a thicker viscosity (compared to say, One Love Organics Vitamin B Cleansing Oil), and requires 3-4 pumps to enable you to massage it into the skin. The scent (this DOES contain essential oils, but since its a rinse-off product I’m not as concerned) is a fruity-vanilla blend that is quite nice if not a touch sweet. Though you can just add water to emulsify after massaging it in for 1 minute, I still prefer to remove it with a microfiber cloth, though for traveling and whatnot I do appreciate that this can be rinsed away easily.
As I haven’t been wearing much makeup lately, I haven’t used this too much yet, but from what I’ve seen so far its a nice option for makeup removal/as a first cleanse. I have used it a couple times on its own with no issues, but I’m not sure I would make a habit of it with my clog-prone skin.
I’ve been reading raves about Josh Rosebrook products for a while now, particularly for his Deep Nourishing Shampoo and the Active Enzyme Exfoliator ($60USD), the latter which I added to my online basket at the last minute. I’d been wanting to get an exfoliating mask, as I have a good purifying one (Yüli’s Pure) and a nice hydrating option (Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate Rapid Radiance Mask) and I like a good trifecta.
The mask is designed to ‘stimulate skin cell growth; ignite collagen and elastin production; reduce fine lines, age spots and sun damage; tighten, tone and shrink pores; and improve overall radiance.’ Seems like tall claims, but I think any exfoliating product essentially will have these results – thats why exfoliation is so key ;) Its the method of exfoliation that lured me in – the mask uses both ‘chemical’ (plant, herb and fruit enzymes) and manual (via very finely ground walnut shells) exfoliants to get the job done.
I put this mask on one day when my mom was over and holding the baby (gotta capitalize on those opportunities when you can!) and she said it looked like I wiped the baby’s poop all over my face, hence this post on Instagram:
I like this mask – its non-irritating, and you can leave it on from 10 minutes up to an hour – the kind people at Integrity Botanicals suggested 45 mins in a sweet personalized note they left in my package. After I rinsed off my mom said that I was looking pretty glowing, so sounds like it works! The exfoliating effect is gentle but thorough.
I somehow misplaced the box this came in, but here is the ingredient list for reference:
Ingredients: Organic honey, organic vegetable glycerin, organic lecithin, organic herbal extracts of neem leaf, yucca root, sage, stevia leaf, eyebright, coneflower (echinacea), fennel powder, horsetail, bilberry, chickweed, comfrey, slippery elm, peppermint, bladderwrack, lavender flowers, calendula flowers, white willow bark, skullcap, ginkgo leaf, green tea, alfalfa, hawthorne berry, gotu kola, marshmallow root, st. john’s wort, yerba mate, solomon’s seal root, rosemary leaf, papaya enzyme, walnut shells, certified organic xanthan gum, organic essential oils of lemon, cypress, fennel.
Finally, I needed a new facial mist/toner and though I was very tempted to buy yet another bottle of one of Yüli’s Elixirs, I noticed the new MUN No.11 Anarose Toner ($68USD) on the site, and decided to try it instead (same price & size as the Yüli too). It also does not contain essential oils (only a hydrosol and a few extracts), and the overall ingredient list is lovely: rose blossoms to hydrate and soothe; antioxidant-rich prickly pear (opuntia ficus-indica) and goji berry for environmental protection and anti-aging; hyaluronic acid to bind water to skin; and willow bark extract to smooth and refine.
I’m really enjoying this toner – I can actually feel it soothing and softening my skin, and the rose scent is beautiful and calming. I’m also a sucker for anything in a miron bottle. Though my bottle requires the use of a cotton pad to apply, it’s since available with a spray-nozzle attachment, which I would prefer. Definitely a contender against the Yüli!
I’m super-pleased with all my purchases, and excited to have found a few gems that I’ll actually add to my permanent stock (the Kypris serum and MUN toner are must-haves); I’m also really impressed with Integrity Botanicals as an online retailer and I intend to purchase again from them very soon! I still have a few more products on my list that I plan to buy in the next little while ~wallet backs away screaming~ and I have three products from affordable Canadian eco-brand Graydon to still show you as well (yes, I have gone a bit crazy since being on maternity leave)….so though posts are infrequent, I promise they’ll be worth the wait ;)
Have you come across any standout skincare products lately?
That’s kind of a dull title, true, but honestly what I wanted to write I didn’t think would reel you guys in (“La Bella Figura Barbary Fig Seed Oil….smells bad but it works!“). Was I right? ;)
To put it plainly, yes, this oil doesn’t smell the best – I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I want to say it’s like stinky feet LOL. Not quite that, but its one of those smells that isn’t nice, but that isn’t so bad that you’d run screaming, you know? Tolerable, I guess. Anyway, my point is, I don’t want that to sway you from trying it out (at least a sample!), as it’s a nice oil and it’s particularly ideal for this time of year when the weather turns cool and you need a little something extra to comfort and hydrate your skin.
Here are some reasons why LBF’s Barbary Fig Seed Oil ($99CAD for 1oz) is lovely:
1) It contains only pure organic barbary fig seed oil (also known as prickly pear seed oil) – no essential oils or other ingredients that can cause irritation to sensitive skin
2) It’s high in vitamin E (protects against free radicals – is particularly great to use pre- and post-sun exposure!) and linoleic acid (remember my previous post on fatty acids?)
3) It helps stimulate new cell growth, calms inflammation, and helps gently treat hyperpigmentation and aging or wrinkle-prone skin
4) Wonderful for hormonal skin types
What sold me on this oil when I bought it back in late winter last year was the fact that it had no essential oils in it (oils that have a ton of EOs freak me out a bit) and that it was high in linoleic acid, which seems to agree well with my skin type. Later, I was also thankful to have this in my arsenal, as it’s claim to be great for hormonal skin came in handy when I had my miscarriage, and my skin completely went bat-shit (evidenced here). Though it didn’t ‘fix’ my skin, it seemed to minimize further breakouts, which at that point was all I could ask for.
Since my skin has calmed down, I’ve found a new appreciation for this oil, as it has a medium viscosity and feels slightly heavy going on, but sinks into skin really nicely without being too greasy. Though I could only use this sparingly during the summer, I think it will be perfect now that the temperatures have dropped and my skin isn’t an oil factory as much (though that ‘pregnancy glow’ seems to persist, so I still need to be careful).
I find the best way to use this is to apply to slightly damp skin, by either not patting skin dry fully after washing, or by using a facial mist (my preference) and then applying a few drops straight-away. It glides over the skin so silkily this way, and leaves my skin perfectly hydrated and protected.
Oh, and about the smell? While I don’t wear this much when Ryan is home (lol), I do find that the scent dissipates quickly and it doesn’t linger at all on my skin. ENTIRELY bearable, for anyone who is put off from trying it for that reason (I completely understand, but give it a shot via a sample at least!). Though the price is quite high, I purchased this when Clementine Fields had a promotion to ease the blow – I would suggest holding out for something like that too (they often do promos for LBF products), if you try it and love it!
Have you tried La Bella Figura products before? Would you consider using a product that didn’t smell great, but that worked?
PS: I know there haven’t been any holiday posts around here, and for that I apologize – but honestly, I haven’t had the time! I had this and the Yüli post in the works for ages, and I’d rather get *something* up than just have radio silence. I had all these grand plans for themed posts and the like, but it seems I’m in a weird nesting phase where I just keep doing crazy things like mailing out 50 Christmas cards (no joke), and spending all day baking for a dessert party I had last week, and essentially just being like Super Mom without actually being a mom yet LOL. I’m in training, I guess! It’s too bad, because I’ve done some really fun makeup and nail looks for the season – I made a promise to myself to wear some form of shimmer/ glitter every single day this month, and I have :) Plus, I’ve even been doing some minor nail art! Ryan gets home tomorrow for the holiday, so it’s unlikely I’m suddenly going to find MORE time to put up a few fun posts, but I will try my best before Christmas! I hope everyone is enjoying their holiday to the max!
In the past couple weeks, I’ve been picking up or receiving packages full of great treats which I’ve thoroughly been enjoying. At the moment, I’m still in the testing phase for most of the products so no reviews quite yet, but so far everything has been really stellar. I’ve also purchased a few new nail polishes, and hope to get some pictures up tomorrow! For now, I’m just going to leave you with a few teaser photos and some quick thoughts.
Boscia Tsubaki Facial Oil – I picked this up during the Sephora sale in April but just opened it within the last month or so. Even though the consistency is lighter than my beloved Tarte Maracuja Oil, I find it’s a little more oily somehow so I only need the smallest amount. Otherwise, it’s quite nice and is a pleasure to use, though I’m not sure it gives me the same results as the Tarte oil.
Boscia Clear Complexion Treatment – Lately I’ve been breaking out here and there, which is very unusual for me. I attributed it to something going on with my skin so I picked up this natural BHA product to see if it would help clear out my pores. While it feels really great going on – lightweight and absorbs quickly – and leaves my skin feeling super smooth, I think the real reason for the breakouts was putting coconut oil in my hair every night; I think it was getting on my pillow and clogging my pores a bit. Since I’ve stopped doing that, the breakouts have been clearing up – but who know, could be this product too!
MD Formulations Moisture Defense Antioxidant Hydrating Gel – I needed a new antioxidant product and have read a lot of great this about this gel. It’s excellent for oilier skin, especially in these warmer months, as it absorbs lightning fast with no residue yet still hydrates. I am already in love with this!
Indeed Labs Hydraluron – I grabbed this on a whim as I needed to spend $50 to get 20x the bonus points at Shoppers last weekend. It was on sale for $20 from $27 and I’d been wanting to check it out at some point, so I made the purchase. I use this during the day when I want my skin to look plump and hydrated without the accompanying greasy look from many other moisturizers. I can’t tell if this does much else to my skin just yet, but I’m definitely not noticing any issues!
Vichy Capital Soleil Mexoryl XL Sheer Lotion SPF45 – this sunscreen is FANTASTIC. I tend to steer clear of chemical sunscreens due to my eczema, but read a good point somewhere about Vichy and La Roche-Posay being great brands to try for broad spectrum sun protection because they are often formulated for sensitive skin. Whatever the case, this really is excellent on my fussy skin and I’ve had absolutely no problems or irritation from it whatsoever. It’s also incredibly lightweight and non-greasy, and doesn’t leave a whitish cast on my skin at all. It actually makes me want to wear sunscreen all the time. I adore it! It’s not cheap at about $27CAD, but it does go on sale (I purchased it for about $18) and it’s well worth the cost.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Fluid Lotion SPF60 – I just purchased this last weekend along with the Hydraluron, and I haven’t opened it yet as I am *just* finishing my Clinique sunscreen now. I have tried a sample of this however, and really liked how thin in consistency it was, how easy it spread on my face, and how it doesn’t leave a whitish cast. I have high hopes for this one!
Dior Spring Ball – my first Dior polish!! I wasn’t interested in these spring polishes at all, until I tried this one on at Sephora a few weeks ago and fell in love. However, it was sold out everywhere by that time – but I persevered and ordered it online from Sephora (along with two shades of NARS’ Radiant Creamy concealers – which I LOVE). Unfortunately, I’m a little disappointed in the shade – it’s not as beautiful as I remember, sadly. But it’s still very pretty and wearable, and I don’t regret the purchase too much.
Essie Come Here! – I have so many polishes in this color vein…but I can’t help myself ~sigh~ I got a hankering for a pretty coral red and felt I *needed* to have one, but I probably have a bunch of shades similar to this. However, I really do love it and I find this kind of tone works for just about every outfit. But – NO MORE CORALS. At least for a little while ;0)
a-England Sleeping Palace – the latest a-England release kind of crept up out of nowhere (as usual), and I ogled the beautiful shades along with everyone else. I actually have quite a few of the brands polishes, and usually pick up one or two from each collection. This was the stunner for me – a gorgeous dusty mauve with prismatic shimmer. It doesn’t feel like a summer shade to me, but come fall I’m going to be all over this. It’s really quite beautiful!
Zoya Robyn – I saw this on Lakeisha’s blog a couple weeks ago and decided I had to have it. It looks better on her than I, but I still like it a lot and can’t wait to wear this as a pedi shade. I had no colors like it at all so I’m pretty happy to add it to the collection.
As you can see, I have a lot of new things on the go! I’m almost at a skincare utopia which feels pretty damn awesome – I’d just like to get an antioxidant masque (Kahina’s looks/sounds perfect), an exfoliator of some sort (the Pure + Simple Organic Vanilla Cleansing Powder Becca mentioned here is right up my alley), and a cleansing oil (maybe Tatcha’s??) when my Clinique Take the Day Off balm runs out. In the sunscreen arena, I’m blissfully pleased with Vichy’s offering, and suspect I’ll feel the same about LRP’s too. The polishes weren’t all ectasy-inducing, but I’m pretty happy with them as well.
What sort of products have you been buying lately?
Despite what my post from last week may indicate, I am trying to shift my focus in cosmetics away from accumulating MORE makeup, and instead opt to purchase better tools and invest in good skincare in 2013. Aside from a few gaps which I’ve identified here, here and here, I’m aiming to cull back my makeup collection and indulge in my consumerism in a way that feels more justifiable. As such, I’ve been doing a lot of research on the best routine to adapt to keep my skin looking youthful and as flawless as possible. As I’ve mentioned before, I really want to incorporate retinol into my regimen, as ensure that I’m using antioxidant-full products to minimize the effects of aging sun damage. I found a great one-page article in the most recent InStyle magazine (March edition) that explains what to use and when for your best skin. Here are the main four points, and my suggestions for products to try (after much research!) *Keep in mind I’m merely making suggestions – I’m no doctor and everyone’s skin is different!:
I. Vitamin-A Derivatives (aka Retinoids) – keeps collagen stimulated; use every second night.
1) Skinceuticals Retinol 0.5 Refining Night Cream with 0.5% Pure Retinol $54US (not sure about CAD prices)
2) Kate Somerville Quench Hydrating Serum $78CAD
3) Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream Original Formula $25CAD
4) Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM $75CAD
II. Alpha-hydroxy Acids (AHA’s – glycolic or lactic acid) or Beta-hydroxy Acids (BHA’s – salicylic acid) – prevents wrinkles, combats dulls skin and uneven skin texture through exfoliation; use on opposite nights to retinol. Interesting note: AHA’s are better for normal to dry skin, while BHA’s are better for oilier or acne-prone skin types, as it can penetrate through oily skin better to exfoliate the pore. Salicylic acid is also anti-inflammatory and has mild antibacterial properties.
1) philosophy Clear Days Ahead Oil-Free Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment & Moisturizer (BHA’s) $39CAD
2) Peter Thomas Roth Glycolic Acid 10% Moisturizer (AHA’s) $52CAD
3) Neostrata Oil-Free Smoothing Lotion Level 3 (AHA’s) $39CAD
III. Antioxidants (particularly Vitamins C & E) – protect skin from free radicals that cause lines and dullness; use every morning before applying sunscreen (which is also a must!).
1) Peter Thomas Roth Camu Camu Power C x 30™ Vitamin C Brightening Serum $105CAD
2) Clinique City Block Sheer Oil Free Daily Face Protector SPF25 $25CAD
3) MD Formulations Moisture Defense Hydrating Gel $46CAD
4) Kate Somerville Protect SPF 55 Serum Sunscreen $45CAD
5) MAC Prep + Prime Skin Brightening Serum $48CAD
IV. Anti-inflammatory Night Moisturizer – soothes skin from any potential irritation via the retinol or AHA/BHA’s; use at night between uses of treatment products.
1) Jurlique Calendula Cream $45CAD
2) Clinique Super Rescue Antioxidant Night Moisturizer$55CAD
3) Tarte Pure Maracuja Oil $55CAD
Phew! This was a lot of work and research you guys!! I haven’t tried all these (though there are a few I recommend – Kate Somerville’s Quench, Clinique’s City Block, and Tarte’s Maracuja Oil), but I cross-referenced between Paula Begoun’s Beautypedia, Makeup Alley reviews, and Sephora reviews so I hope that’s at least somewhat reassuring that these are decent picks! *But of course…please don’t come back angry if you try one and it’s crap!
I hope you guys find this post and the recommendations helpful! Personally I’m thinking of picking up the Neutrogena Healthy Skin lotion, Philosophy Clear Days Ahead moisturizer, and the MAC Prep + Prime serum :D
Do you have any skincare goals this year?