Weekly Medley #53/54

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Last weekend, I thought I had a firm plan to do my fifty third weekly catch-up post on Sunday afternoon but in my relatively chill and lazy state, I had decided that I might as well put it off a day. I was feeling absolutely wretched after all, suffering under the weight of my yearly terrible cold and all that it entailed – fatigue, wheezing, coughing, sneezing, sore throat, congestion and that horribly runny nose – so without a thought to the week ahead, piled with deadlines each and every day, I put it off. I had gone through the motions of promising myself to do it on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and its only today that I have the time and relatively calm state of mind to put it all together. It has been a trying week and I’m fortunate to have survived and to have the reading week ahead off, even though I have a paper-ish thing due on Monday – a life-saving extension – and a good number of things due right after the break. Err, I’ll stop with the complaining…

Over the last almost-two-weeks, I can think of three items that I’ve been loving of the life-and-kind-of-beauty-related-variety: kleenex that does not rub your nose raw, the Eucerin Calming Daily Moisturizing Cream ($12.79) and my questionably old Clinique Superdefense Daily Defense Moisturizer SPF 20 ($51). The kleenex are an extremely obvious one given the cold situation and how weirdly sensitive my skin can get and the soothing and rich body cream is similarly obvious, as my skin is sensitive and extremely dry normally without a cold being added into the mix – the cream has the bonus of being pleasantly rich and soothing so that it does not irritate my sensitive skin with – you-guessed-it, eczema. The most interesting item out of the mix is my years old Clinique moisturizer that I’ve dug out again after losing it underneath my sink for a good six or eight months a few times. I’ve kind of forgot about the purchase years ago, motivated by the promise of a free gift and the chemical-sunscreen like pretty much all others, had irritated my sensitive skin in the past, especially when I was going through that rough patch of skin going on two years ago. I know, being in jar packaging especially, the SPF and the moisturizer in general should be long expired by now, but I have not noticed a smell/texture change, or any sort of adverse reaction on my skin so I’ve been giving the cream a go. I find I can avoid the irritation factor if I layer a soothing product (such as an oil etc.) underneath and with that addition, I’ve been enjoying applying this hydrating, illuminating and lightweight cream in the morning. I know the sun protection is really questionable but considering that it does not appear to have changed in any sort of way, I like to think that it’s a first step into getting sunscreen into my daily routine, no? By the way, I have the Dry Combination version that no longer exists but I have a sneaking suspicion that the Very Dry to Dry Combination offering is very similar, if not identical.

The (Bi)Weekly Link: Over the last little while I’ve been enjoying the beauty videos over on redheadphd’s beauty channel – in the real world, she goes by the name Lauren by the way and she’s the perfect balance of intelligent, humorous, beyond informative and calming, if you were wondering. I enjoyed her “January Favourites, Fails and ‘Fumes” tremendously. She does the best reviews period and I may or may not enjoy her use of alliteration…

The Shameless Self-Promotion: As a blogger, I’ve certainly viewed myself as quite a failure in the last week or so but I was rather proud of myself for getting my January Favourites up before too much of February went rolling by and I was rather pleased with how it turned out as well. Note: it is in fact over 1000 words long and concise by any means – oh well?

On an ending note, I did something shameful and as it tends to happen, it happened on a shopping trip with my good ol’ pal, Lauren, at Target because of the sad clearout sale that has been happening across Canada – I came out with a hundred dollars worth of stuff in my bag and bought a cringe worthy amount of lip products but if you want to hear about them you’ll have to stay tuned!

How was your last week or two?
Maggie, x.

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?