Summer Essentials

I feel the daggers being spliced into my eyeballs any time I ever mention that I’m kind of over the heat and humidity of the summer and am looking forward to fall. Regardless, I’ve found some essential products in this season of heat, humidity, sweat and mask wearing. Can you tell I’ve had this post sitting in drafts for a while? Regardless, let’s get to my product staples that helped to keep me sane over the summer:

Pur-lisse Blue Lotus 4-in-1 Cleansing Milk ($36 US)

While this non-foaming cleansing milk does contain a bit of fragrance, it has become one of my favourite gentle cleansers, especially because it both removes makeup and gently cleanses the skin. It’s one of the few cleansers I can massage into my eyelids without stinging or irritation and it does remove makeup fairly well — but not quite as well as an oil or balm — and cleanses, leaving the skin hydrated and soothed. I use it as a first cleanse when I’m not wearing shedloads of makeup or as a second after I use a balm or oil. It contains soothing oat, antioxidant tea extract and liquorice root extract. It was a blessing, especially when dealing with an impaired skin barrier or generally angry skin.

Tarte Knockout Tingle Treatment Toner ($51 CDN)

Honestly, since the whole pandemic situation, I think I’ve been rather lucky on the mask-ne front. I dealt with some chin breakouts at the very beginning when I was dealing with the horrifically irritated skin. I accredit my skin staying clear to using this acid toner along with Differin a few nights a week. This contains a mixture of AHAs — but no glycolic acid –, salicylic acid, polyhydroxy acid and niacinamide. Vinegar is used as a stabilizer which you can definitely feel and smell on the skin but I find my skin brighter and resurfaced when I use this exfoliant 3-4 times a week. I would not describe it as a gentle entry-level kind of exfoliant, however. I’m still rolling my eyes at the stupid tingling marketing; the tingle is not indicative of the acids working, the tingle is indicative of the vinegar the formula uses to stabilize it.

Neutrogena Bright Boost Gel Cream ($34.99 CDN)

I’m not sure where to even categorize this gel-cream in terms of my routine but I’ve been enjoying using it as a humectant-slash-pre-spf-moisturizer. In the cooler months, I’ll sometimes use a full-on moisturizer underneath my spf-containing moisturizer but in this generally sweaty weather, I’ve been happily applying this cream to combat dehydration, draw moisture to the skin and add some general protection from the elements. Some of the ingredients would do better in different packaging but I do love the cream inside. It contains mandelic acid, polyhydroxy acid, glycerin, acetyl glucosamine and squalane. These ingredients almost all function as humectants, drawing moisture to the skin and a few work by imparting a brightening effect via surface exfoliation. I also like the brightening effect this gel-cream offers via its sheer pink tint it has.

Paula’s Choice Resist Super-Light Wrinkle Defense SPF 30 ($33 US)

A reoccurring theme this summer has been sweating and complaining about humidity and thus, I’ve enjoyed a tinted sunscreen with a lighter texture and more of a semi-matte finish. It’s a fairly pale greyish tint that has sheer to light coverage and matches my relatively fair skin — but I get my best match when I add a bit of the Avene Tinted Mineral Fluid to add some warmth, match my body and add back a bit of glow. It’s super lightweight and is somewhat mattifying but does not dry out my already dry skin when I use a moisturizer underneath. I’ve been enjoying using this as my daily sheerer base with added sun and antioxidant protection.

Paula’s Choice Defense Essential Glow Moisturizer SPF 30 ($29 US)

On days that I’m leaning drier or am going to wear more of a traditional foundation, I reach for this mineral SPF-moisturizer hybrid. With a serum underneath, I enjoy that I don’t reach for a separate moisturizer — unless I’m feeling extra — and am left with my redness diffused, my skin brightened and more luminous skin overall. There’s a very very very faint greyish cast that fades quickly but you are left with a glowy kind of sheen that isn’t for anyone wanting to look anything close to matte. The vehicle is a lightweight but hydrating lotion with soothing liquorice, kiwi, ascorbyl glucoside, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate and niacinamide as antioxidants, along with a peptide and fatty acids. It’s great for dry sensitized skin along with anyone else looking for a glow and a robust formula.

Fenty Beauty Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Bronzer in Butta Biscuit ($42 CDN)

An everyday staple in my makeup routine has been this cream bronzer. The formula is creamy, easy to blend and lasts all day. The colour is actually a nice warm caramel that’s light-medium in tone and adds shape to the face while helping my face match my darker body. The colour is buildable — but builds quickly — and melts nicely even into dry skin. It actually wears well over sore, dry and flaky skin, which was a godsend.

Viseart Spritz Edit Eyeshadow Palette ($55 CDN)

This palette is more of a recent addition but it’s the perfect everyday eyeshadow palette for me. It’s a warm neutral palette — how shocking — with a mixture of mattes and shimmers and leans a bit peachy-crimson in the overall tone selection. These shades are really flattering on my blue eyes and slightly warm-toned fairish skin and blend like a dream, have the most minimal fallout and have a nice buildable formula that lasts. The shimmers are creamy and the mattes are on the drier end of the spectrum but are my favourites to work with, as per usual. I love how compact the palette is while having a mirror and twelve sizeable shades.

Have you tried any of these products? Do you have any favourites to share?
Maggie, x.

Recent Skincare Additions

With the pandemic going on in the world and many of us spending hours each and every day wearing a mask, I think many of us have been taking skincare more seriously and have been following a routine of sorts much more diligently. Following a routine has helped me in two drastic ways: one, it helped me get through the phase of sore, reddened  and sensitized skin and two, the ritual of following a routine and taking time to unwind has actually been quite therapeutic. I thought it seemed fitting that I share some thoughts on products I’ve been incorporating more recently.

IMG_0245

Skin&Co Truffle Therapy Whipped Cleansing Cream ($28 US | 100 mLs)

I don’t think I would have come across this comforting cleansing cream if it weren’t an option in my Fall 2020 Fabfitfun box but it’s one I’ve been enjoying using, especially as the weather is changing and my skin is getting dehydrated with the change in season (yet again). It contains glycerin, sweet almond oil, fatty alcohols and soothing plant extracts towards the top of the ingredient list. It leaves my skin moisturized and not stripped — which is no surprise because it contains only one mild detergent — and feeling soothed. It contains some fragrance at the bottom of the ingredient list but just the synthetic kind; it doesn’t strike me as irritating and it’s an appealing spa-like gourmand scent. It’s also a middle of the road kind of makeup remover.

Kiehl’s Cucumber Herbal Conditioning Cleanser ($30 CDN | 150 mLs)

Honestly, I don’t know what I was thinking with this cleanser. Not only is it laden with fragrance, it does contain those fragrant essential oil extracts that I can tend to react to. I think I was just overexcited about adding a new cleanser to my rotation. It’s a hydrating, lotion cleanser that’s soap-free and doesn’t contain any sort of harsh surfactants. It does have a kind of pleasant herbal scent and I can enjoy it in small doses, especially as a refreshing second cleanser. However, I would avoid the eye area completely with the essential-oil-based fragrance and salicylic acid it contains. I’d actually quite enjoy this cleanser, if they omitted the lavender, rosemary and citrus peel essential oils.

Neutrogena Bright Boost Gel Cream ($34.99 CDN | 50 mLs)

Although I wish it wasn’t packaged in a semi-translucent jar, — but honestly is that any worse than a clear dropper bottle???? — I do love this humectant-rich gel cream. It contains a potent dose of glycerin, mandelic acid, gluconolactone, skin-replenishing and theoretically exfoliating acetyl glucosamine and squalane. It binds water to the skin and is quite brightening whilst being gentle. It does contain a wee bit of fragrance, contains some gentler acids to help resurface and even and deposits a slight pale pink tinged luminescence that has a slight blurring and brightening effect. I love using it either in the morning before sunscreen or in the evening pre moisturizer.

Grace & Stella Hyaluronic Acid Serum ($34 CDN | 50 mLs)

This was another skincare item that I chose in a recent Fabfitfun box that has impressed me. Can you believe it’s actually the first hyaluronic acid serum I’ve tried? It contains a few different kinds and molecular weights of hyaluronic acid, panthenol, glycerin and castor oil. It left my skin plumped and hydrated. I liked it as an active-free serum that I used prior to my moisturizer. I appreciated that it was fragrance-free and gentle.

Paula’s Choice Probiotic Nutrient Moisturizer ($42 US | 50 mLs)

This is a sophisticated fluffy gel-cream textured moisturizer that contains prebiotics, probiotics and postbiotics along with the usual suspects. It’s a lighter weight moisturizer than I might usually go for — I go for heavy duty soothing moisturizers — but it’s really helped to appease my easily angered skin barrier without the heaviness of a richer cream. I’ve loved it in hot and sweaty humid summer weather. It also contains green tea, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, peptides, a ceramide, niacinamide and a number of barrier reinforcing substances. It smells very much in the same vein as fermented foods, but I don’t mind. I notice a great decrease in inflammation when I use this moisturizer, which I expect is related to having a happier skin micro biome.

Paula’s Choice Super Hydrate Overnight Mask ($34 US | 88 mLs)

Despite being one of the biggest Paula’s Choice cheerleaders around, this mask is not my favourite product for my reactive, dry and dehydrated skin. Due to maybe a combination of the pH of the gel cream, my skin still dealing with sensitivity from mask-wearing and using acids, adalpalene and azelaic acid, my skin stings a minute or two after I apply this — even after incorporating it for a while. The interesting part is that there isn’t really anything in the ingredient list that explains the sensation. It does dissipate, however. It has a lightweight gel cream texture that tackles dehydration really well without much weight — I kind of wish it had more emollients and a richer texture. It contains some really interesting soothing extracts including chrondus crispus, cloudberry, mushroom and some berry-derived extracts — most of which function as antioxidants.

Paula’s Choice Resist Super-Light Wrinkle Defense SPF 30 ($33 US | 60 mLs)

I never thought that I would love a sunscreen lauded for it’s semi-matte finish but in the out of control heat and humidity we’ve been experiencing this summer, I’m in love. I don’t find this light textured tinted mineral sunscreen drying, but I do find myself needing a moisturizer underneath and the slightly grey-tinged fairer tint has been what I’ve been using as a foundation most of the time. The sunscreen sets to a semi-matte finish but feels comfortable even on my dry skin and never feels heavy or greasy, even in hot weather underneath a mask. I’ve actually been mixing it with the Avene Tinted Mineral Fluid recently, as together they leave more of a satin finish that I can prefer as it’s starting to get closer to fall and to warm up the tint slightly. The vehicle doesn’t contain much in terms of emollients but it has a whole host of antioxidants which help to fight free radicals.

Have you added anything to your skincare routine?
Maggie, x.