The Morning Skincare Routine Update

While I haven’t had the worst skin the world, I have always struggled with my skin. I deal with moderate acne on the body and milder stuff on the face, have eczema and otherwise catastrophically dry and sensitive skin, have issues with redness, clarity and texture but since beginning this blog, I’ve noticed remarkable improvements in my skin. Over the last two years, my skin has improved as I’ve stuck to my skincare findings and have made tweaks here and there, but my skin is at its finest with my current routine that I’ve been consistent with for three or four months. Rather than rambling on and on about the products, I figured that I would update you all on the products that I’m currently using in the morning. And by the way, I promise my routine is more consistent than it sounds. Basically, this routine has done its best to keep my skin calm and hydrated and clear by sticking to gentle products and ensuring that my skin renews more effectively – it seems to naturally be very sluggish.

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First off, I gently cleanse my skin, generally with the underrated Neutrogena Extra Gentle Cleanser ($9-10) [review], or if I cannot be bothered to actually apply and then rinse something, I just go for the classic Bioderma Sensibio H20 ($22).

Without fail, I follow up by applying the Paula’s Choice Resist Daily Smoothing Treatment ($30 US) [review] to get that AHA brightening action (along with a boost of BHA),with some moisture and a general calming effect on my skin. A couple of times per week, I’ve been applying a few drops of my sample of the Paula’s Choice Resist C15 Super Booster ($48 US) to ensure that I’m getting the environmental protection that the antioxidants provide during the nighttime – as I was beginning to feel that I wasn’t getting the most of the product solely at night.

Afterwards, I either use my favourite facial oil, the Caudalie Vinosource Overnight Recovery Oil ($55), [review] or one of the two lovely facial moisturizers that I’m alternating at the moment, depending on how my skin is – the Kiehl’s Skin Rescuer ($46) and my love, the Caudalie Vinosource Intense Moisture Rescue Cream ($40) [review].

I do use two moisturizers because my skin reacts to chemical sunscreens and mineral formulas are not hydrating enough on their own – and because makeup sits so much nicer if I do double up. Speaking of mineral sunscreen, every day I reach for either the Skin79 Snail Nutrition BB Cream ($36) [review] or the Avene Mineral Cream SPF 50+ ($30) for protection without irritating my spectacularly sensitive skin.

Any skincare thoughts or favourite products to share?
Maggie, x.

Weekly Medley #50/51

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Believe it or not, I have discovered something positive about my consistent tardiness in putting these kind of posts – wanna hear what that is? When I’m writing these weekly posts far after I’m supposed to, I don’t have to have deep inward contemplations over what tense to use while describing the week because it’s far gone. This is about as positive as I’ll ever get and you would be correct to detect my genuine sarcasm and generally misunderstood sense of humor. Well, for the first time in ages, I stayed home from class today, feeling like I was drowning in the ocean that is my cold-filled respiratory system, unable to move and like a large animal was pounding my skull. I’m pleased to report that things have made a turn for the better and I’m able to do something as productive as actually write a post, but actual coherency is out of the question so I’m returning to point form format.

1. The cold slash tired slash dying of winter skin essentials… These are a few of the products of the skincare variety that I’ve relied heavily upon in the last two weeks, not just because of the coughing-cold sense but because we’ve been having some serious dry, windy, snowy and generally freezing weather. I’m kind of ready to declare my love for the Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Masque, the Caudalie Vinosource Overnight Recovery Oil and the Nuxe Reve de Miel Lip Moisturizing Stick.
2. The standard other loves… I won’t bore you by prattling on about my love of caffeine – particularly lattes – yet again but it could not be neglected in my show of non-beauty loves. I’m also ridiculously thrilled to have the deliciously musky Bath & Body Works Flannel Candle in my life again, even though they only brought the mini sizes back with their big sale. I know what candle I’ll be buying in the larger size next fall – unless they are actually irrational and do not bring back the heavenly candle. These are what have got me through the frustratingly long weeks.
3. Some general blogging musings… While I have not been able to produce the five weekly posts that I have often unrealistically set as a goal for myself – although I certainly wish I could -, I have been pleased with the quality of the posts that I’ve put out lately. More specifically I’m pleased with some of my recent photography attempts especially when you put the winter sunlight issue into consideration.
4. The lipstick that I’ve dreamed about… It would not be out of the question to doubt my sanity after reading this but regardless, have at it: Ever since falling in love with the gorgeous rosy peach NARS Audacious Lipstick in Brigitte at my local Sephora but finding out that the shade was not in stock, I’ve been thinking longingly about it incessantly and I might have had a nightmare where I was chasing the lipstick and it remained out of reach. I have some pretty creative dreams but combining my beauty obsessiveness with the usual running out of time dream might have to take the cake.
I hope your January has been a tad more interesting and eventful than mine?
Maggie, x.

The Beauty-Related Christmas Additions

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I’m someone who really enjoys scrolling through posts detailing what others received for Christmas but I’m lacking the organization of pulling off a post of that magnitude without writing a small novel while I’m at it, so I’ve come up with a compromise here; I thought instead that I would give you a rundown of handful of gifts that I received of the beauty variety and share some preliminary thoughts and information while I’m at it. Also, I figured it would be helpful to share my most recent product acquisitions so you all would be able to let me know what you would be most interested in hearing about in coming weeks.

First off I thought I would begin with the couple of goodies given to me by my close friend Laura who has graced the pages of this blog before and her family – starting with the one and only makeup related item I opened – a Benefit Cosmetics Posiebalm and Posietint Duo. It’s no longer available online, but it came from a set that included a four-part set including a full-sized balm with a sample size of the matching cheek and lip stain – believe me I checked. I’m absolutely in love with the beyond comfortable warm-pink tinted balm and I enjoy the stain as well, but I was surprised to find out that the balm is far more warm-toned and corally than the stain. She and her family also got me the Essie Nail Lacquer in Wicked ($8-9), a blackened purple polish that is so up my alley that I haven’t been able to resist applying it to my nails – I’m sure some of you are well aware of my feelings for vampier polishes.

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I have to admit that the rest of the gifts, all of which came from my mother (and father too I suppose), weren’t quite as surprising because I sort of gave her a push, nudge or shove into the right direction but I’m equally as excited about these products. I’ve waxed poetic on my love for the Caudalie Vinosource range before so its only fitting that after falling in love with facial oils in the last year or so, I would want to try out their offering. The Caudalie Vinosource Overnight Recovery Oil ($55)  has greatly impressed me thus far despite its hefty price point for intensely hydrating and soothing my skin with a few drops. Its a blend of oils, primarily composed of grapeseed oil, jojoba seed oil, sesame seed oil, sunflower seed oil and rose flower oil and although I know that its not fabulous for the skin, I quite enjoy the rosewater scent that the product has. The other skincare product that I received was a toner and I was curious because its been ages since I used one – I cut them out of my routine as they contained alcohol and like irritants – and this one seemed promising, formulated with soothing ingredients rather than the usual alcohol. The toner in question comes from a brand that I’m quite familiar with and fond of, Kiehls, and its titled the Kiehl’s Cucumber Herbal Alcohol-Free Toner ($22.50). The main claims or interesting particulars about the product are its inclusion of promising ingredients such as Sodium PCA, Aloe, Chamomilia Flower extract and Cucumber and claim to soothe and hydrate the skin and so far, so good.

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Given my recent rekindling of my interest in all things hair, it should not be particularly shocking that I asked for a few hair products for Christmas and magically they appeared in my stocking – poof. Ever since I got my first cut at my local Deva-approved salon, I’ve heard great things about the DevaCurl No Poo Cleanser ($25) and have consequently wanted to try the gentle detergent and silicone-free cleanser and I’m pleased to have it in my collection. It’s rather nice and I enjoy the minty sensation along with how its not drying in the least and is the gentlest on my knot-prone hair. A good couple of years ago, I remember being interested in the Sally Hershberger line, after seeing her videos online and so when I spotted a few of her products about a month back, I mentioned my interest and voila. The product in question specifically is the Sally Hershberger Glam Waves Texture Spray ($12.99), a product that I’ve tried and have been pleased with as a hydrating oil-enriched and mineral-infused product to add texture and moisture to both wet hair in the styling stage and to refresh my wavy curls without weighing them down in the slightest.

Were you lucky enough to get any beauty-related Christmas presents?
Maggie, x.

The Review: Caudalie Vinosource Riche Intense Moisture Rescue Cream

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I didn’t think that last year’s discovery, the Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet could be beat, with its intense hydration packed within a lightweight base, gentleness and soothing ability. However, I couldn’t be more pleased to be wrong, finding its big sister product, the Caudalie Vinosource Riche Intense Moisture Rescue Cream ($40) superior after trialing it for a few months. It does everything that the Sorbet does and without being heavy on the skin at all, it offers even more hydration, soothing power and actually helps to repair the skin, keeping it from that cycle of irritated dry sore skin – as it promises. Let’s get on into the details.

“This rich hydrating cream provides must-have moisture protection to repair and cure dry, dehydrated skin. Grape oil and Shea butter deeply nourish and soothe to restore the hydrolipidic layer and strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier, resulting in soft, comfortable skin.”

INGREDIENTS : AQUA (WATER), GLYCERIN*, CAPRYLIC/CAPRIC TRIGLYCERIDE*, SQUALANE*, CETEARYL ALCOHOL*, VITIS VINIFERA (GRAPE) SEED OIL*, BUTYROSPERMUM PARKII (SHEA) BUTTER EXTRACT*, BUTYLENE GLYCOL, HYDROLYZED POTATO PROTEIN*, BORAGO OFFICINALIS SEED OIL*, HYDROGENATED OLIVE OIL STEARYL ESTERS*, POTASSIUM CETYL PHOSPHATE, PANTHENOL, CETEARYL WHEAT STRAW GLYCOSIDES*, TREHALOSE, POLYMETHYL METHACRYLATE, CETEARYL GLUCOSIDE*, TOCOPHERYL ACETATE*, DIMETHICONE, CARBOMER, PARFUM (FRAGRANCE), PALMITOYL GRAPE SEED EXTRACT*, CAPRYLYL GLYCOL, POTASSIUM SORBATE, SODIUM HYDROXIDE, PENTYLENE GLYCOL, TRICAPRYLIN, TOCOPHEROL*, LINOLEIC ACID*, CASTANEA SATIVA (CHESTNUT) BARK / LEAF EXTRACT*, PISUM SATIVUM (PEA) EXTRACT*, CYCLODEXTRIN*, LINOLENIC ACID*, SODIUM CARBOXYMETHYL BETA-GLUCAN, BHT, ACRYLATES/C10-30 ALKYL ACRYLATE CROSSPOLYMER, SODIUM HYALURONATE, HEXYL CINNAMAL, LINALOOL, LIMONENE, BENZYL BENZOATE, CITRONELLOL, GERANIOL, COUMARIN. (032/119) *Origine végétale – Plant origin

Despite how the ingredient list sounds, it’s actually a rather impressive one despite the somewhat unfamiliar names. Plus, aside from that there’s also the fact that this not only is an amazing moisturizer but also has aspects of a treatment or serum in it too at once. The lightweight but rich cream has a soothing and gentle base, made up of glycerin, squalane and the moisturizing cetearyl alcohol. It does have a little bit of pleasant fragrance which isn’t great for the skin but it doesn’t seem to bother my sensitive skin in the slightest, thankfully. The formula’s intense soothing ability would seem to be chalked down to the heavy concentration of antioxidants coming from grape oil, (as one might expect from the brand) along with squalane. It also must be mentioned that although the moisturizer only comes in a 40 mL tube, it actually is ridiculously concentrated and should last a good while in comparison to others.

Can you tell that I recommend this moisturizer? I think its suited to anyone with normal to drier skin and anyone on the combination to slightly oilier side might enjoy the lighter sorbet. It might just be holy grail material.
What’s your favourite moisturizer?
Maggie, x.

A Weekday Wishlist

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This post is going to begin with a bit of a (very) tangential ramble; I know you’re all absolutely shocked by this. Believe it or not, I’ve been really enjoying blogging lately but I’ve had difficulty getting a good number of posts up because life has kind of sped up crazily as of late but not so much that I’ve gone to finding time and inspiration to write blog posts as a means of procrastination from all the other stuff that I have going on. Case in point? I’ve been meaning to get another wishlist post up over the last little bit but I haven’t managed to get anything done and I apologize for the lack of happenings around here. Before I get into things, I’ll offer the disclaimer that the round-up is rather high end because I’ve been trying to hold of on purchasing until the promising Sephora VIB Sale and I’ve had my eye on these things and writing this list may or may not be what is preventing me from running to the mall and picking some of these up.

InterDesign 3-Drawer Multipurpose Storage Container with Knobs ($19.99)

Considering how disorganized I am, it’s a given that I am in need of some practical way to store my everyday makeup and although I’ve lusted after the options of MUJI I’ve held off because of their frankly ridiculous shipping prices to Canada, so obviously when I spotted this one on Amazon, I’m convinced that it’s the one for me. I suspect this purchase will happen in the not-too-distant future.

Forever 21 Wool-Blend Boucle Cardigan ($33.80)

At the moment I’m really into that whole cozy sweater situation and this fits the bill and I have been longing after one of these tweedy boucle knits for years and years, actually. It seems obvious that this would be something that I’ve got my eye on then but it does also have a nice slouchy silhouette too. Obviously it shall be mine.

Caudalie Vinosource Overnight Recovery Oil ($55)

I’ve been a huge fan of what Caudalie products that I have tried so it only seems fitting that when I spotted this oil promising to soothe and restore dry and sensitive skin overnight, my interest was peaked. However, I held off because it wasn’t exactly cheap and I still had a good portion of my rosehip oil left but after running through most of that container and hearing Amelia Liana rave about this stuff in her recent skincare video, I’ve got my eye on this one.

NARS ‘Audacious’ Lipstick in Brigitte ($37)

There is no doubt that this recently-released lipstick formulation has luxurious packaging and a gorgeous formulation but I was prepared to pass on it because as nice as it was, it seemed to be nicely packaged marketing hype. My opinion changed when I tried these out on my hand at Sephora a little while back and exercised impressive restraint by not picking up a shade or two of the formula after feeling how creamy and comfortable they were. Within the huge collection there were numerous shades that caught my fancy but this one was easily at the top of the list and seemed to be a little more unique than the rest, a peach-hued neutral hue that would suit all seasons. They had a texture that seemed to be ideal for my sensitive lips and they are supposed to release moisture throughout the day and I rather enjoyed their opacity and lack of a scent.

Marc Jacobs Beauty The Skyliner Seven Piece Petite Highliner Collection ($56)

Recently I did wax poetically about my love of this creamy eyeliner formula in the shade Brown(Out) and my love for the formula might have even grown since so it shouldn’t be a shocker that I have my eye on this set of the pencils in miniature form to try out different shades. This satisfies the eyeliner addict in me by merely looking at it…

Kerastase Creme d’Huile Oleo Curl ($42)

Although I acknowledge that my mane is in desperate need of a good hair cut, — I’ve just been far too lazy to actually book an appointment, oops — I have been actually enjoying that whole hair thing recently rather than groaning whenever I have to thing about washing or detangling my hair and I’ve been getting into curl creams again. I don’t have any that I’m in love with at the moment but I’ve been enjoying the texture so when I figured out that Kerastate actually shipped affordably to Canada, I became convinced that I wanted to splurge on their offering because of the great things I have heard about the product itself as well as the luxury brand as a whole. Have you tried anything from their line?

Marc Jacobs Beauty Style Eye-Con No. 7-Plush in 212 The Dreamer ($71)

I most certainly do not need another eyeshadow palette, especially when you consider that it wasn’t too long ago that I picked up the Smashbox Cherry Smokes Photo-Op Eyeshadow Palette, and I didn’t need one then, but I’ve been lusting after a new one. Given that I’ve already fallen in love with the Marc Jacobs eyeshadow formula from their The Starlet palette, this palette seemed to be ideal because it has some interesting warm tone neutral shades in my usual palette with some mattes thrown in, including that essential warm-toned blending shade as well as a darker one. Love.

REN Flash-Rinse 1 Minute Facial ($58)

I’ve been intrigued by this radiance-boosting product ever since it entered the blogosphere and was raved about by a few of my most trusted but I expected that it would merely be filled with a good amount of natural fragrance and some irritating alcohol but I was pleased to hear that it doesn’t contain alcohol and instead has a good dose of Vitamin C, which is an antioxidant I’ve been wanting to add into my routine because of its brightening effects. It promises that instant radiance after being applied to the skin and I’m always for some radiance and glow.

 Hourglass Ambient Blush Palette ($67)

So I’ve mentioned countless times how much I love my Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Ethereal Glow and that I’ve been eager to try another shade in almost every wishlist post that I’ve done this year but I seem to be unable to take the plunge despite really wanting to try another shade. For this reason, the palette seems ideal and would allow me from refraining from making the difficult choice. It has Luminous Flush which is a rosy shade that I’ve had my eye on in particular, I would be interested to try the more mauve-toned Mood Exposure and I’m sure I’ll enjoy the exclusive peachy shade Incandescent Electra.

What have you been eyeing up lately?

Maggie, x.

*affiliate links used

Top Thirteen of 2013

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I’ve only been blogging since the end of May this year but I can remember my product loves before then so I thought I’d share an edited selection of my absolute essential products of 2013. It’s been agonizing to do so but these products were staples this year that I’d recommend to all!

Boots Beautiful Skin Cleansing Balm for Dry/Very Dry Skin ($10 CDN)

I’ve used this every night since I purchased it in the summer but I’m still on my first bottle of this divine creamy cleanser. It’s beyond gentle, actually hydrating the skin rather than stripping it, soothing and with the aid of a washcloth, removes face makeup. It contains fragrance but does smell luxurious, especially considering the price – an absolute bargain in my book!

Caudalie Vinosource Quenching Sorbet-Creme ($39 CDN)

The 40 mL tube of goodness lasted for five months with daily use and I used it throughout the entire summer and into the fall. I haven’t repurchased yet, but I plan on repurchasing in the near future. It contains Caudalie’s signature antioxidants and is free of drying alcohols (but does contain fragrance) and is a fast-absorbing, weightless but very hydrating product that feels cooling and soothing on the skin. This has made me intrigued to try more Caudalie – to be continued…

Bioderma Sensibio H20 ($22 CDN)

There are only two beauty products that I go through quickly: conditioner and Bioderma. I wear a good amount of eye makeup on a daily basis and use this micellar water every night to remove it. I have uber-sensitive eyes and this is the only product that neither irritates my eyes or clouds my vision and removes my makeup. It feels as gentle as water on the skin but removes makeup well with minimal effort and makes it easier to wear heavier eye makeup on a daily basis.

L’Oreal Professionnel Intense Repair Masque ($30 CDN)

This is easily the best conditioner/masque that I’ve ever tried and I’ve tried many, including others in the line and nothing else compares. In terms of silicones, amodimethicone is high on the ingredient list and I suppose could prevent the ingredients for working their best but at the very least it does not build up and weigh down my hair. The scent is an interesting fake banana scent and the product is coloured to match. The product itself is a thick texture and is intensely hydrating and really helps to detangle hair without weighing it down. I have fine wavy-curly hair but lots of it that tends to split easily and after using this from the start of the year until late fall when it ran out, I can say that it prevented the dry ends from forming that contribute to such breakage. The product is super-concentrated and easily worth the money as many cheaper options tend to run out more quickly and work less effectively.

Pureology SuperSmooth Sulfate-Free Shampoo ($29 CDN)

Sulfates are a nightmare for my hair, both drying it out and causing eczema on my scalp and this is easily my favourite sulfate-free shampoo I’ve tried, however it is very expensive. Luckily I managed to pick up the litre size of this on sale for about $50 CDN very early in the year and I’m still on the same bottle. This is easily the gentlest effective shampoo that I’ve ever tried and is definitely the most concentrated. I always find I go through hair product quickly but this one truly is the most concentrated. The ingredients are really great, the only silicones are water-soluble and do not build up on the hair and it contains high concentrations of nourishing oils like sesame oil and shea butter. This shampoo is one of the rare shampoos that manages to cleanse the hair without stripping it. The smell is to-die for, a luxurious slightly spicy and woodsy scent – easily the best smelling hair product I’ve ever tried.

Rimmel Wake Me Up Foundation in Ivory ($10 CDN)

I started using this foundation shortly before starting my blog and it was one of the products that got me into drugstore makeup – before the blog, I was a diehard MAC girl with a hint of Sephora thrown in there. This foundation I wore pretty much all summer long and never stopped using it afterwards. For me, this foundation is one that I can always wear and feel confident about putting on my skin without thinking about it. I can’t see the shimmer in it and find it slightly glowy with great longevity. It has that medium coverage that can be worn when your skin isn’t looking too great but doesn’t look heavy on the skin. The colour is one of the best matches for me as it’s fair with yellow undertones and sits nicely on my dehydrated skin. It’s weightless on the skin without including harsh irritating alcohol.

MAC Powder Blush in Harmony ($25 CDN)

Although it’s called a blush, this is definitely a contour powder. It’s somewhat cool-toned without being grey and somehow manages to add warmth to the face while providing some shape. I picked this up very early in the year and haven’t looked back as it’s remained a staple throughout the entire year. It’s a matte  medium toned mauve-y brown that is difficult to describe and works for me year round regardless of the season.

Maybelline The Falsies Mascara ($10)

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, it will be no secret to you that this is my all-time favourite mascara and I discovered at the beginning of this year and repurchased it recently. It’s nice and volumizing, can be built up and doesn’t clump and the wand deposits the perfect amount of product. I should mention that naturally I have long, curled and wimply lashes and I enjoy volumizing drier mascaras as wetter formulas tend to look less natural and more spider-y on me.

Urban Decay Naked Palette ($62 CDN)

I agonized over whether to include this palette, as for the first few months of my blog I talked about how I didn’t love this palette as an all-inclusive palette for a variety of looks but then I slowly fell in love with it but prior to starting my blog, I wore these shadows on a daily basis – I wore Sin on my lids, Naked in the crease and Hustle in the outer-v- which is still a combination I adore. It has those flattering warm tones and contains a variety of shades of different depths and is easily my most used eyeshadow item of the year. If you enjoy shimmery warm-toned eyeshadows, this is the palette for you.

MAC Charcoal Brown Eyeshadow ($12/18 CDN)

This might seem like a really boring shade to include but it’s proven its value as a staple to me year round. It’s a medium toned slightly-cool toned brown with a matte finish. This was the product that got me into filling in my brows and it’s a fabulous shade for brunettes but it also adds great definition to the crease that cannot be duplicated with a shimmery shade and is the perfect balance of warm and cool for me.

MAC Lipstick in Patisserie ($18 CDN)

I swore I was only going to include products that I wore the entire year but although I’ve only been using this since October, it became my go-to shade and easily my favourite lip product discovery of the year. It’s a lustre so it doesn’t highlight dry patches and is somewhat moisturizing. It’s a darker nude that isn’t all that different in colour than my pale lips — a warm nude with some pink in it that doesn’t wash me out in the least but rather adds some life to my face and looks good with any makeup.

Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge in Rose ($30 CDN)

2013 was the year that I fell in love with the bold lip. Sure I wore red lips to prom but prior to this year that was the extent of my exposure to the red lip or even the bold lip in general. However the particular lipstick was a difficult to decide on as bold lipsticks aren’t something you typically reach for on a daily basis. After lamenting for a couple of days, I decided that I couldn’t put a particular one in but bold lips was perhaps my makeup discovery of the year overall. Easily my most used lip product of the year was this multi-tasking product. I like it as a creme blush as well but the iconic Bobbi Brown product is something I’ve reached for constantly all year for a warm rosy hue on my lips that doesn’t pull brown whatsoever. It’s sort of hydrating but not remarkably so and has the easiest on-the-go application and is that slightly darker but sought-after my lips but better shade on me that wears nicely for a few hours.

MAC Stereo Rose Mineralize Skinfinish ($34 CDN) – limited edition 😦

insert picture of me wearing it on December 13th w/o bold lip

Being the blush hoarder and obsessor – is that even a word? If it’s not I’m making it one…. – that I am, I knew I had to put one in my yearly favourites, however it was incredibly difficult to choose my favourite one that I wore the most throughout the year as I tend to go through blush phases. I know it’s rather evil of me to include a limited edition product but I discovered the hyped but worth the hype product this year and loved it throughout the year even though I didn’t necessarily mention it as much as it deserved. I bought it at the very start of the year when the Apres Chic collection came out. I was not intending on buying it but when I tried it on, the finely-milled glowy rosy coral wowed me. It’s a blush that is the most gorgeous when not too much else is going on with your makeup.

Seeing as I included a product that is rather difficult to get your hands on and I know how annoying it can be when someone rambles on about an amazing product that you can’t get, I’ll include my runner up – Nars Orgasm Powder Blush, a less-corally pinky-coral with gold shimmer running throughout that brightens the face while working with whatever makeup you’re wearing.

What were your favourite products of the year?

Skincare – My Routine and Thoughts

Me without makeup. If anyone was curious the breakouts on my forehead were Cetaphil-induced. My skin looks a wee bit better than this most of the time now!
Me without makeup. If anyone was curious the breakouts on my forehead were Cetaphil-induced. My skin looks a wee bit better than this most of the time now!

I was going to wait to do this video until my skin improved and my routine was flawless – like every product would have to be holy grail status – but realistically I’m never going to be using an absolutely flawless routine, nor will I ever have perfect skin (or anything close to it) and I’m the happiest with my skin that I’ve ever been (and I’ve tried a bunch of different things for my skin) so I figured I’d share. I’ve found since using these products that my overall skin clarity increased and my skin appears brightened and most of all it has become notably less irritated.

My skin tends to be rather complicated; it’s rather acne-prone (I always have a few spots on my face), extremely sensitive, and is prone to very dry patches. Although my skin is dry and dehydrated (particularly on my cheeks and sometimes on my forehead and normal to dry on my chin, nose and around my hairline), I tend to clogged pores – those little bumps that sometimes will resolve by turning into painful pimples or otherwise will just stay there. Also if I don’t use the gentlest of products, my cheeks and nose get quite red and my face becomes tight, extremely flaky, burny and itchy. My pale skin also tends to look rather dull and is prone to flaking when dehydrated. Because my rather problematic skin doesn’t simply fall into one of the traditional skin types and faces a multitude of problematic conditions, I think these thoughts, routine and products that I use could benefit people of different skin types.

In my opinion, there are five basic categories of skincare that we should have in our routines but the routines themselves will vastly differ because of our individual skin needs will be different and in my opinion, the best routine will be centered around how your skin actually is rather than how you wish it would be. These five categories are as follows: cleansing, moisturizing, exfoliating, sun-protecting and treating.

Morning routine
Morning Routine
Morning Routine

1. I cleanse my face with Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Cleanser, which is an affordable gentle cleanser with a lotion consistency that does not strip the skin whatsoever but also does not remove makeup well at all. I rinse this off with cool water with my hands to be as gentle as possible. I talk about it in more depth here –

2. I gently exfoliate with Clinique Mild Clarifying Lotion, which is an extremely gentle exfoliating toner with BHA (salicylic acid) – meaning that it can exfoliate your skin (even inside the pore) without being abrasive like a scrub would and is also more effective because the product is left on the skin. [Note: I am not usually a huge fan of Clinique products (I tried the 3 step skincare system and it was an absolute disaster) but I adore this product.] It is one of the rare exfoliating toners that is effective without costing an insane quantity of money or containing irritants such as alcohol and the like. It’s somewhere between $10-15 in the States, I believe, and in Canada it costs $16 for 200 mLs.

3. The moisturizer I use in the morning is Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet, which is a lightweight moisturizer marketed at sensitive skin. I think this is an excellent moisturizer — it is one of the rare ones with a good texture that does not make my skin burn or turn red, I find it quite soothing actually — and the ingredients are not too bad. There are no drying alcohols (hallelujah) but still are some antioxidants in a squeezy tube that does not render the ingredients useless. My only irritation with this product is why in the world would they put fragrance in a moisturizer for sensitive skin – arghhhh. All in all it is a quite nice moisturizer for sensitive skin. It costs $39 CDN I believe for 40 mLs.

4. As we’ve all heard a million times, sun-protection is really important so I use Avene High Protection Cream. I have discovered that I tend to be sensitive to chemical sunscreens (they make my skin burn, turn red and develop unsightly bump-pimple things that take forever to go and turn into hardened bumps) so I did some research and decided to try this purely physical sunscreen. It offers really great protection for my fair skin (broad spectrum spf 50) and it is water resistant, although it leaves a rather unattractive whitish pink cast. It does not irritate mt skin in the least and retails in the 20-30 dollars CDN range for 50 mLs.

Morning Routine
Night Routine

Night Routine

1. I begin by removing my makeup on both my eyes and my face with Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micelle Solution and cotton pads. I talk about it more here –

2. I wash my face again with Neutrogena Extra Gentle Cleanser. I think that it is very important to cleanse twice (gently!) at night because there is nothing worse than remaining makeup on your skin in terms of causing acne and the like.

3. Then I move on to my treatment. I use  Stievamycin Gel every one or two days, depending on my skins current state (sensitivity and severity of blemishes). The amount I use is dependent on how my skin is at the moment. The Stievamycin Gel, a is only available if you have a prescription from your doctor and in my experience is very effective, particularly on stubborn blemishes but is very sensitizing. The product contains 0.025% tretinoin (which is a topical retinoid/ vitamin a derivative that exfoliates the outer-surface of the skin to reduce the formation of blemishes) and 4% erythromycin gel (which is an antibiotic that kills the bacteria that cause acne). My only irritation with this product is that it is formulated with an alcohol-gel base and my skin does not tolerate alcohol well, however this product is so effective that I keep on using it!

5. I like to wait at least ten minutes before applying my moisturizer, as to avoid diluting the effect of the active ingredients in the treatments I use. I’ve been using Bee By the Sea Sea Buckthorn and Honey Nourishing Face Cream,  which is a very gentle and hydrating cream that takes a while to absorb into the skin. I do not necessarily think that you must use a night cream at night and a day cream during the day – I just am using this because I have it and it helps compensate for the sensitizing treatments I put my skin through. It is very soothing, all of its fragrance coming from the sweet almond oil and rich in coconut and olive oil. It is a no-frills moisturizer filled with ingredients that work to hydrate  skin. It costs $30 CDN at health stores and beabythesea.ca. This is a godsend for irritated skin!

I’m thinking about continuing with a skincare series as I think it is so important. X

Any thoughts?