November 2016 Empties

While I wasn’t blogging or was hardly blogging at all, I was still using beauty products and gathering thoughts that I was itching to share. Truth be told, they amounted to such a degree that I may have thrown out some of the less interesting products that I finished. However, I held onto the more interesting ones and today I’m going to share a hopefully abridged version of my thoughts on these products. The funny thing is that I thought I would be overjoyed to have used up so many skincare products but I learned that I was somewhat sad to no longer have some of these in my life. Spoiler alert: there’s loads of skincare ahead.

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  1. L’Oreal True Match Lumi Cushion in W2 ($22-26/0.51 ounces)

I’m starting with the most shocking product here – a finished face product and one that I purchased not even six months ago at that. I adored this cushion foundation so much that I reached for it every single day that I wore makeup for months on end and actually repurchased it without a thought – not something that this foundation hoarder hardly ever does. It’s my favourite tinted moisturizer kind of product, with light-medium coverage and an undetectable dewy skin kind of finish.

2. Rimmel Volume Colourist Mascara ($9.99/ 11 mLs)

I should start by noting that I got this mascara for free to try by chance at work, not that that sways my opinion on it in the very least. It was a good medium wetness mascara that offered a nice amount of volume to the lashes but obviously it did not darken my lashes by any means. There was something about it that I found left my sensitive eyes irritated by the end of the day. I wouldn’t repurchase but the formula was nice for volume and I quite liked the large natural bristle wand.

3. Equate Mega Hold Styling Gel ($2.27/355 mLs)

I have naturally wavy/curly hair that I wear in its natural state – when I’m not lazy and leave it permanently coiled to the top of my head in a bun as I have of late – and I do try to follow the Curly Girl Method. I picked up this cheap-o gel because it was silicone free and had a similar ingredient profile to the LA Looks gels that I don’t have access to here in Canada. It was nice but not holy-grail status, leaving hold to my hair that was not helmet-like. I wouldn’t repurchase as I own so many gels, but I did enjoy this, particularly diluted with water and conditioner as a refresher. And this is it for the non-skincare items.

4.Paula’s Choice RESIST Daily Smoothing Treatment 5% AHA ($33 US/50 mLs) | review

Since I’ve been out of this lotion-textured AHA/BHA combo product for over six months, I’m in complete disbelief that I have yet to include it in one of these ‘finished products’ posts. I’ve talked about how much I love this combination lower concentration of AHA and 0.5% BHA serum-exfoliant hybrid time and time again because of the manner that it makes it easier to tolerate these acids on a daily basis, while injecting your skin with a nice dose of peptides, ceramides, anti-irritants and antioxidants. I’ve managed to hold of repurchasing thus far but I will try it again in the future.

5. Paula’s Choice RESIST Intensive Repair Cream with Retinol ($33 US/ 50 mLs)

This ultra-soothing and nourishing cream wasn’t necessarily a wow product for me – but do keep in mind that I purchased it for the barrier-healing and soothing properties rather than the distinctive anti-aging ones – but it was excellent at keeping my skin from becoming flaky, dry and irritated. I hadn’t realized how great this cream was until I ran out of it suddenly – after a year of use. It does contain petrolatum, which some would detest but I didn’t mind as it keeps moisture in the skin and protects from the outside elements. It had an impressive ingredient list for a moisturizer as well, with a multitude of cell communicating ingredients (including the retinol), antioxidants, ceramides and peptides. Its rich texture was a god-send for my truly dry patches, but it would be too much for someone with oilier areas.

6. Paula’s Choice CALM Redness Relief Repairing Serum ($34 US/30 mL)

To be honest, I’m not sure whether I want to repurchase this product or not at the moment for any reason other than to try it again to determine whether or not it is repurchase-worthy. Unlike the previous two products that I’ve mentioned, this was not a product where I found a little to go a long way and, consequently, I went through this product very quickly. It was quite possibly because the product was so lightweight and weightless while providing the deep hydration, hefty dose of hyaluronic acid along with antioxidants and anti-irritants. It was definitely soothing and hydrating but I’m not sure that it’s the serum for me and my concerns. It might be more suited for a dehydrated and combination or oily skinned individual.

7. Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Daily Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30 ($29 US/60 mLs) | review

I would normally say that this moisturizer-sunscreen hybrid was impressive in its ability to provide sun protection that my uber-sensitive skin can tolerate without dryness or irritation, but not impressive enough to rewarrant an instant repurchase, however, I accidentally repurchased the same product under a different name. The last time I ordered from Paula’s Choice, I quickly added the CALM Redness Relief (Normal to Dry) SPF 30 Mineral Moisturizer to my cart because it promised mineral protection and soothing hydration. Little did I realize, that it’s the same formula repackaged. I do really like this stuff, though, as it does not irritate my skin and is hydrating, with its antioxidant and anti-irritant rich formula.

8. Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask ($32/100 mLs) | review

Given that this product is essentially a mix of emollients and nourishing plant oils with a side order of potentially irritating essential oil derived fragrance, I shouldn’t love it as much as I do. I’ve currently got the Paula’s Choice Radiance Renewal Mask on the go but I do plan on purchasing this one afterwards. It leaves my skin plump and dewy afterwards, even when my skin is sahara-desert dry and miraculously does not seem to irritate my skin – I do feel a slight tingle when I apply it after I’ve gone a little too intense on the acids or retinoid front. I do also like that you get a lot more product than you would expect of this overnight mask. I will warn you all that this is a seriously thick and rich cream.

9. Naisture Pearl Mask Pack ($7.99/110 mLs)

I’m someone who enjoys a good sheet mask – which should not be surprising as they are particularly good for dehydrated skin types like mine – but I find that even drugstore offerings are obscenely expensive for the single use that they offer. I like purchasing these packs of five that they always seem to have at my local Winners as they offer more bang for your buck and have nice ingredients. These ones were pretty nice, hydrating and soothing with trehalose (a hydrator), shea butter, betaine (an amino acid) and panthenol (an anti-irritant), all in decent concentrations. I would recommend these but I won’t necessarily repurchase these exact ones.

10. Laneige Bright Renew Original Serum ($59/40 mLs)

If this brightening serum did not include so much unnecessary fragrance – it smells like a designer fragrance and contains a hefty dose of it – I wouldn’t have any reservations about repurchasing the serum. Luckily, my skin tends to be much more bothered by essential oils than fragrance itself but this milk-textured brightening serum would be an easy to recommend brightening offering without them. I saw results from this serum but not drastic ones – but keep in mind here that my skin tone is much less dull than it used to be and my regimented sunscreen and vitamin c use has left me with little hyper pigmentation – and found myself quite enjoying the formula. It has an impressive amount of squalene, niacinamide, liquorice root extract and reservatrol and I found that it was soothing, hydrating and brightening as a result. Although the texture and ingredients are different, it reminded me of Indeed Labs Pepta-Bright. I’m still thinking about repurchasing this…

Any thoughts?
Maggie, x.

 

 

A Note on Serums

With the change of the cooler weather, – well at least in the mornings and evenings anyway – I’ve suddenly been forced to get back into that whole skincare she-bang. Why? I was spoiled this summer, not having to put much effort into my skincare routine because my skin was much more hydrated and less irritated than the rest of the year without putting a single product. To be completely fair, the fact that I wasn’t trying new products might have been a contributor. Regardless, the moment that the weather started to cool down, I’ve gotten back into the swing of things. As soon as the weather changed, I’ve been reaching for these serum kinds of products to add beneficial ingredients and hydration to my dehydrated and irritated skin. As I’ve thought about them, I’ve realized how confusing they are to navigate as a skincare consumer and figured that I would write a chatty post about them.

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I would personally define a serum in a two-fold manner – first they are distinguished by their light fluid texture and second, they are designed to treat a specific skincare concern in a targeted way. While the basic products of your skincare routine are typically selected on the basis of your skin type, serums are a welcome addition to treat your specific concerns. It’s also said that serums are the products with the highest concentration of beneficial ingredients. I do agree to a certain extent that because they are leave on products formulated without thickeners and SPF that they can have higher concentrations of these ingredients – but this is definitely not always true. Thinking on my definition of serums, I’ve come to the conclusion that whether or not a product is sold as an exfoliant, serum, treatment or liquid is dependent on the marketing, not on the virtues of the product itself. Here’s a rundown of serum-like products that I like, beginning with those that are traditional serums:

Paula’s Choice CALM Redness Relief Repairing Serum ($34 US/ ounce) is a fabulously formulated basic serum that almost anyone would benefit from. It’s plumping, soothing and hydrating in a weightless manner, formulated in a lightweight gel base. It contains loads of hyaluronic acid – it’s the second ingredient – along with skin repairing ingredients like ceramides, beta-glucan and sea whip extracts. Also, it contains skin -repairing antioxidants.

Laneige Bright Renew Original Serum ($59/1.3 ounces) is a serum that specifically targets brightening of the skin and actually achieves the intended goal without irritating the skin with needless alcohol or breaking the bank. It contains a myriad of plant extracts with research showing to brighten skin tone and serve as anti-irritants but the real star of the show, is the high concentrations of squalene (an emollient ingredient with antioxidant qualities) and niacinamide (a proven cell-signalling, repairing and brightening ingredient) that it contains. This is a nice one if you’re concerned with an even complexion and hyper pigmentation. The only drawback is their inclusion of a hefty amount of fragrance in the formula.

While Paula’s Choice RESIST C15 Super Booster ($48 US/0.67 ounces) is not technically a serum but instead a concentrate that can be mixed with another serum or product to dilute it, or used on its own, I think it’s the kind of product that most of us are looking for in a serum. It treats even the first sign of aging – sun damage – along with dulness, uneven tone and irritation. I think this product is for almost anyone, especially because the 15% vitamin c product can be applied in the daytime to counteract free radical damage from the sun that causes irritation and signs of aging. The formula nicely contains a mix of antioxidants.

I wouldn’t necessarily call the Pixi by Petra Skintreats Overnight Glow Serum ($24 US/ounce) a serum, except for the marketing, serum-texture and inclusion of beneficial ingredients. With a nice dose of glycolic acid (its the third ingredient), this is a hydrating fluid textured chemical exfoliant. However, the inclusion of antioxidants like arginine and  skin soothers like cucumber extract and aloe, leaves this product as a winner of a multitasker. The Paula’s Choice RESIST Daily Smoothing Treatment ($33 US/ 1.7 ounces) is very much a product of the same vein, only differing in how its marketed – as a chemical exfoliant with treatment benefits. It’s a serum to the same degree as the aforementioned one. It’s a 5% glycolic acid and 0.5% salicylic acid product housed in a hydrating lotion base, enriched with ceramides, a myriad of antioxidants and skin calming ingredients. These are both nice options if you have your eye on a multittasker or do-it-all kind of product.

The Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Enriched Calming Toner ($21 US/6.4 ounces) is somewhat of a far stretch to classify as a toner, but it provides lots of the same benefits of a nice all-around serum. It treats dry and sensitive skin and has that liquid milky base that almost seems more liquid serum like than that of a toner, and it houses high concentrations of beneficial ingredients because they are not diluted by thickeners and emollients. It does not have the intensive treatment benefits of some serums, however, it serves the purpose of a nice all-around option. It has a nice dose of different antioxidant rich plant oils, hyaluronic acid and a myriad of other antioxidants and skin soothing ingredients. In my mind, this makes it serve the function of a soothing serum. Perhaps, though, it fits more into the hybrid category of essence…

Any serum thoughts or favourites to share?
Maggie, x.