The Review| Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Lotion SPF 30

I’ve been using the Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Lotion SPF 30 ($28/2 ounces) on an almost daily basis for months now, but it’s really in the aftermath of suffering through a cold and dealing with very dehydrated skin in the fall that I’ve appreciated  this extremely hydrating mineral-based SPF moisturizer so very much. It does not have the lightest texture and some might regard it as slightly greasy, but its ability to provide gentle mineral based protection without drying out the skin and instead, providing so much hydration that a separate moisturizer is not required beforehand. Essentially, it’s impressive because it manages to fulfill my expectations of a moisturizer, along with a gentle SPF product that my skin can tolerate within a single product.


Product Ingredients:
Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide 3.85%, Zinc Oxide 3.12% (mineral sunscreens). Other Ingredients: Water (Aqua), C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate (thickener), Isononyl Isononanoate (skin conditioning agent), Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil (non-fragrant emollient plant oil), Glyceryl Stearate (emollient thickeners), PEG-100 Stearate (emollient thickeners), Cyclopentasiloxane (silicone slip agent), Butylene Glycol (slip agents), Pentylene Glycol (slip agents), Cetearyl Alcohol (thickening agent), Dimethicone (silicone slip agent), VP/Eicosene Copolymer (film-forming agent), Glycine Soja (Soybean) Sterols (antioxidant fatty acid), Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract (anti-irritants), Glycerin (skin-identical/repairing ingredient), Sodium Hyaluronate (skin-repairing ingredients), Allantoin (anti-irritants), Tocopheryl Acetate (vitamin E/antioxidant), Hydrogenated Lecithin (cell-communicating ingredient), Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (stabilized vitamin C/antioxidant), Superoxide Dismutase (antioxidant), Ubiquinone (coenzyme Q10/antioxidant), Ceramide NG, Methicone (silicone slip agent), Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-12 (cell-communicating ingredient) , PEG-10 Dimethicone – (silicone thickener), Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract (antioxidant), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (emollient/skin-repairing ingredient), Tribehenin (skin conditioning agent), PEG-10 Phytosterol (emulsifier), Sorbitan Stearate (emulsifier), Polyhydroxystearic Acid (thickeners), Alumina (thickening/opacifying agents) , Polysorbate 20 (emulsifier), Aluminum Stearate (thickening/opacifying agents), Xanthan Gum (thickeners), Caprylyl Glycol (preservatives), Disodium EDTA (chelating agent), Ethylhexylglycerin (skin-conditioning agent), Phenoxyethanol (preservative), Chlorphenesin (preservative).


It adds instant hydration that suits those who suffer from dry patches and generally dry-slash-dehydrated skin and it does not have an overly thick texture, as might be problematic if you suffer with clogged pores or breakouts along with dryness concerns. It has a lotion texture and a white cast, as expected, but it’s relatively sheer and blends into my fair skin with ease – and is minor compared to other physical sunscreens that are not tinted to conceal the cast. I do love how it instantly calms and soothes the skin, while preventing from further damage and irritation from the sun, with SPF and antioxidants. It’s an excellent one for under makeup in terms of making it apply smoothly without highlighting drier patches, but on any sort of oilier areas, it can create some shine throughout the day.

As with all Paula’s Choice products, – in my experience, at least – the Skin Recovery Daily Moisturizing Lotion does what it sets out and claims to do, replenishing “dry, sensitive skin” and ensuring “a healthy barrier function while protecting from daily sun damage with gentle mineral sunscreens” and is “loaded with potent antioxidants, skin-identical ceramics and cell-communicating peptides to restore and help maintain healthy, radiant skin”. The standout ingredients include the high concentration of apricot kernel oil for combatting inflammation, the barrier-repairing sodium hyaluronate, the anti-irritant allantoin and a cocktail of different antioxidants, to name a few. Especially for those on the more sensitive end of the spectrum, I would recommend this mineral based SPF moisturizer, if you’re on the dry to very dry end of the spectrum. I think it might be too heavy duty for normal skin, but I can’t be completely certain…

Maggie, x.

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.


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.

The Review: Caudalie Vinosource Riche Intense Moisture Rescue Cream


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.”


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.

Recent Skincare Loves

DSC_0731Despite the hormonal loveliness that I’m still suffering from, my skin has been as good as it can get and it has been for a good month or so and I’ve been wanting to share the more recent products that I have been loving. So let’s get cracking.


La Roche-Posay Lipikar Baume AP ($30)

I’ve been using this non-greasy but heavy duty moisturizing cream on my eczema-effected legs for about a month now, twice a day, and although it does sting the teensiest bit on open abrasions, this has not only soothed the issue but has helped to lessen the chronic itchiness overall. Unfortunately I’m nearing the end of this tube now but I will definitely be repurchasing this when it runs out, preferably in the larger size with somewhat of a sale. It’s free of fragrance, alcohol and all that jazz and nourishes the skin with glycerin and shea butter while containing the skin-repairing hero ingredient niacinimide. It actually helps the whole eczema situation so halleluiah. 


Indeed Laboratories Facial Powdered Exfoliator ($30)

Not being a traditional scrub kind of girl, — they tend to leave my skin raw and irritated — this acid-infused exfoliating powder is quite possibly my ideal exfoliating product. Although it is a physical exfoliant with the rice bran powder in the formula, it doesn’t have that irritating grittiness that scrubs tend to have and it also contains some potent acidic goodness. This is one of those powders that you pour into your hand before mixing with water to create a foam before applying to your face and it does instantly brighten things up and springs them into action with that mild tingly sensation. This is definitely one to combat general dullness but I do lament that it does contain a wee bit of irritating alcohol but it’s towards the end of the ingredient list and its rinsed off the skin so I’m letting it slide.

Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask ($29)

This mask is a cult-favourite of many bloggers for good reason and I’ve previously sung its praises but not in a too frequent manner so I thought that it could be included again. The ingredient list didn’t look outwardly promising or bad and as a result this overnight mask was a product that I hummed and haw-ed about for ages and I’m glad that I finally went for it when I did. I would likely prefer it without the irritation that natural fragrance brings, but it does smell exactly like peaches and it has a rich creamy texture that doesn’t feel particularly heavy on the skin. It’s definitely potent in the nourishing and hydrating department and it soothes the skin during the process, dealing with dry patches quite effectively. I love this stuff, but it can sting slightly over irritated patches of skin.

DSC_0732First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads ($14)

In a way, I don’t know why I haven’t spoke about these gentle alcohol-free acidic pads but as much as I like these for their gentle efficacy, I’ve been hesitant about praising their goodness because I have heard that their pH is a little bit off to keep them effectively exfoliating the skin. However, I have found that the glycolic and lactic acid pads work for me, smoothing texture, brightening and adding radiance while still being nice and gentle on my skin. I also enjoy the reasonable price tag and lack of unnecessary ingredients in these pads, along with how concentrated with product they are — I can actually get away with using each side of the pad on separate occasions! Let me know if these work for you!

DSC_0733Caudalie Vinosource Riche Intense Moisture Rescue Cream ($40)

Second to the La Roche-Posay, this is my most recently acquired item but I feel so strongly for this moisturizer that I feel I can declare my love after a month of use. If you’ve been with me for a while, you may remember that I loved the slightly milder formulation of the Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet and as difficult as it is to believe, I have to say that I’ve been enjoying this one even more. Without being heavy or greasy in the slightest, this emollient cream gives the skin a major boost of hydration and nourishment and doesn’t burn or sting even on my most irritated of skin and with its high antioxidant content, it almost feels like a treatment at the same time, soothing the skin effectively whilst being a moisturizer.

 Have you tried any of these? If not, what have you been loving recently?

Maggie, x.

The Beauty Bargain | No 7 Beautiful Skin Hot Cloth Cleanser


DSC_0389I’ve said multiple different times that the Boots no 7 Beautiful Skin Hot Cloth Cleanser is one of the best bargains of the beauty variety because even ingredients-wise, this indulgent creamy cleanser performs with the most luxurious of them and for a little over a ten dollar bill (and less most of the time because Shoppers seems to consistently have the line on sale), you can get 200 mLs of product and a nice muslin cloth. I believe that Americans can purchase the line from Ulta, and obviously those from the UK can purchase the line from Boots.

The packaging is rather nice and convenient but admittedly not the most compact for traveling purposes; my only issue with it can be chalked down to user error. I have this tendency to either forget to put the top on after use or somehow end up losing it altogether and this tends to make the first part of the cleanser come out with a hardened patch that I have to discard.


The cleanser is designed to be a more affordable alternative to the famous Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish but I can’t comment because I haven’t and don’t plan on trying it because it contains essential oils unlike this version. It has a rich and nourishing cream texture but it doesn’t feel heavy in the slightest while it works to soothe the skin and cleanse/ remove makeup without stripping the skin. The cleanser has an emollient base and is also rich in glycerin and cocoa butter. It’s not great for the skin, but at least the fragrance is somewhat low on the ingredient list and the fragrance makes the product seem more indulgent than the price-point would suggest, emulating that spa-like feel. The scent doesn’t smell artificial or particularly strongly and it is actually rather pleasant, if you ask me.

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetearyl Alcohol, Myristyl Myristate, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Tribehenin, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Phenoxyethanol, Panthenol, Methylparaben, Parfum (Fragrance), Dipropylene Glycol, Ethylparaben, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Potassium Hydroxide.

As I have been for numerous months, I use this cleanser as my initial nighttime one to remove makeup. Now I don’t use it to remove my eye makeup as directed but I’m sure most could get away with that — my eyes are far too sensitive to tolerate a cream-based product without burning or any other form of reaction. This detergent-free non-drying cleanser is very effective at removing makeup when paired with some sort of washcloth (or muslin cloth if you prefer) and never seems to irritate my skin, even when it’s in its most fragile state. I’ve also found that this is a nice cleanser in the morning when you want a bit of a treat because it soothes and hydrates the skin after being rinsed away and leaves things looking a bit brighter; it takes a little more effort but it is rather nice when I’m rather sleep deprived and looking dull, or my skin is just not at its best. As regular readers would be aware, my skin is definitely on the drier and more sensitive side of things and this is an appropriate cleanser for that but I also think that it would be suitable for more combination skin types as it is not heavy. It also does not contain mineral oil, if you have an issue with that ingredient.

Have you tried this cleanser or another ‘hot cloth’ cleanser?
Maggie, x.

La Roche-Posay Rosaliac AR Intense


I’ve been using the La Roche-Posay Rosaliac AR Intense Localized Redness Serum on a daily basis since May and while I haven’t been trialling the product long enough to speak on the long term effects of the serum — but I’m doubtful that there are any, given the ingredients. If you know me at all, I’m sure you already are aware that this won’t be brief, but to anyone new – you have been forewarned. In essence the product is a 30 mL serum (in hermetically-sealed packaging) that retails for $39.99 CDN but also can be found for 25% off at both Shopper’s and Lawton’s Drugstores and is marketed/targeted to those who are prone to rosacea (which I’m not) as well as others (like me) suffering from sensitive redness-prone skin. And before we really get into the details here, I must say that the packaging of the product is fabulous — it’s hygienic, avoiding contamination and keeps things from degrading while having a nice pump dispenser.

According to La Roche-Posay the

Rosaliac AR Intense is an anti-redness innovation formulated with three key ingredients: Ambophenol + Neurosensine + La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water. Helps to reduce visible redness, irritation and discomfort – suitable for sensitive rosacea-prone skin. Daily treatment with instant optical neutralization of redness. Cooling and soothing effect on tingling and sensation of heat. 24 hour hydration, leaves skin feeling calm and refreshed. Anti-relapse, long-lasting efficacy.

Ingredients: water, Glycerin, Isostearyl Neopantanoate, Butylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Polysorbate 20, Tambourissa Tricophulla Leaf Extract, Glyceryl Acrylate/Acrylic Acid Copolymer, Dimethicone, Dimethiconol, Ammonium Polyacryldimethyl Tauramide, Disodium EDTA, Acetyl Dipeptide-1 Cetyl Ester

I have lukewarm feelings towards this product and its achievements; I commend them for putting out a serum in appropriate packaging, formulated without irritants such as alcohol and fragrance but I don’t believe that its results are nearly as dramatic as their claims – not a surprise given the ingredients list. The serum has a light but hydrating gel texture that does contain some silicone but doesn’t take on that slippery feel and because of its lightweight feel on the skin I believe that this would perform on oilier skintypes equally as well as on those with more parched complexions as myself. The gel texture is soothing, calming and cooling but doesn’t dramatically take down redness instantly but rather seems to combat irritation over time. My issue with this product is that I don’t believe that it’s changes are anywhere near as drastic as implied but it does help with what it promises on a smaller scale.

I wouldn’t describe it as intensely hydrating for 24 hours as it seems to promise but it does provide a good dose of hydration in with the skin-soothing action. The three key ingredients of the product do not seem to do anything miraculous and examining the ingredients would explain why; The magical thermal water is only supposedly chalked full of antioxidants, the Ambophenol extract from the Tambourissa Tricophylla tree that is said to calm redness is present in large quantities but lacks substantial evidence and the Neurosensine peptide that is known to reduce skin reactivity and hypersensitivity is so low on the ingredient list that the results would not be drastic. Regardless of this, this serum gently works to soothe the skin, reducing irritation and leaves it moisturized in a lightweight manner. There’s nothing miraculous about the formula, however and I would expect nothing drastic either when used by those with rosacea?

Have you tried this serum? Do you have a favourite serum to recommend?
Maggie, x.

The Acquisition: Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet




Being as foundation obsessed as I am (with hoarding tendencies to match), it is rather shocking that I haven’t added a Chanel foundation to my stash until the last week but I assure you, it was merely an oversight on my part due to the fact that it isn’t sold at my usual beauty shopping spots and that I assumed that the luxurious foundations, toted by Lisa Eldridge (our makeup idol) as those new generation second-skin bases, would be a whole lot more expensive than they actually are. The Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet Smooth-Effect Makeup ($48 CDN) contains SPF 15 but neither irritates my sensitive skin or causes the dreaded flashback effect and I picked up the latest offering in the lightest shade of the beige range, ’10’ which I would say is a good match for my moderately fair skin with yellow-beige undertones year round (with the addition of some bronzer as I gain a wee bit of colour). The shade range does leave much to be desired considering that I’m by no means the fairest of the fair and they don’t exactly cater to those with deeper skintones either. And before I get onto the good (there’s a lot of good to be said, by the way), I feel compelled to mention that the formula contains potentially problematic fragrance and alcohol — although much less alcohol than its sister foundation. I have skin that becomes irritated at the drop of a hat and it doesn’t seem to be bothered by it even currently in its sensitized state.

Not that this isn’t a fabulous everyday foundation year-round, this strikes me as the perfect summer foundation, being absolutely weightless on the skin providing good oil control on my normal t-zone and somehow gliding over the dry patches (that I have plenty of at the moment courtesy of returning to using retinoids and purging). While looking almost undetectable on the skin, the foundation provides medium buildable coverage and the luminous yet velvety semi-matte finish glides over imperfections. This sounds absolutely ridiculous but the foundation ticks all of the boxes and is noteworthy for its ability to look like skin on drier complexions while being on the more matte side of things.

Although the compact black-packaged beauty gets dirty quickly, its practicality and aesthetic appeal grants it my sign of approval. As I’m sure you’ve heard before, this is the kind of foundation that is on the runnier side of things and therefore must be shaken before use and does tend to be best applied with fingers, especially considering that before long it sets to that velvety finish. I’m kind of in love, if you can’t tell already and have been reaching for this one above all others in my plentiful stash

P.S. I’m only wearing concealer underneath my eyes and on one random red spot on my forehead and there’s no powder involved here.

Have you tried the foundation?
Maggie, x.

Evening Skincare Routine




Like loads of others, I’m sure, my evening skincare routine is a wee bit more intensive than my morning one and although I would describe myself as someone who is dedicated to their routine, although it tends to vary night to night throughoutthe week in terms of treatments – I’ll get onto this later.Because my eyes are so sensitive and dry, I always begin with two cotton pads soaked in the cult-favourite Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micellar Solution ($22) and hold them over my eyes for up to a minute to thoroughly remove mascara and other stubborn makeup although I’m sure others could get away using the cleansers to remove eye makeup as they are so gentle.

Not just because of the recent widespread belief in double-cleansing at nighttime, I’ve been dedicated to washing my face twice at night because I have the kind of skin that makeup clings to like nothing else in this world; I’m fortunate that I’m someone whose foundation stays on the skin for an amazing amount of time but this characteristic has made intensive but supremely-gentle cleansing essential to the whole skincare shebang. For the first cleanse, I alternate between the Garnier Clean + Nourishing Cleansing Oil ($9-12) and the Boots No7 Beautiful Skin Hot Cloth Cleanser ($12) as both textures of products nourish the skin while cleansing gently and removing makeup with ease. I might be tempted to say that the cleansing oil has slightly stronger makeup removing power as it can remove makeup completely and to be honest, I can be satisfied with a single thorough wash with this one (on a rare occasion when I’m feeling spectacularly lazy) but it is the messier option of the two and contains mineral oil – I know mineral oil is problematic to some but it isn’t for my fragile skin type. I make sure to always use a washcloth with the first cleanse to ensure that the makeup has been truly removed.

I have the kind of skin that holds onto foundation and the like in the same manner as glue I reckon and therefore even before all of that double cleansing hoopla took over, I was faithful to cleansing the face twice; unless I’m not wearing makeup (or sunscreen – naughty), I cleanse my skin the second-time with the basic fragrance-free non-foaming lightweight thin gel-cream Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanser ($11-12). This cleanser actually does remove makeup as well but I prefer to go in with a more nourishing oil-based cleanser beforehand and strikes me as the superior version of Cetaphil. 

Five (or six on occasion) times per week, I go for a product of the gentle chemical exfoliant variety. I’m still faithful to my long-time trio of gentle exfoliants of this variety – the BHA-based Clinique Mild Clarifying Solution ($16) and the slightly more concentrated Neutrogena 3-in-1 Hydrating Acne Treatment ($10-12) as well as my much-loved AHA-based Indeed Laboratories Pepta-Bright Cream-Serum ($40) – but I’ve also recently brought the First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads ($14/37) as my supply of the cream-serum is dwindling. Although it isn’t strictly a chemical exfoliant but rather a gentle alcohol-free retinoid and antibiotic gel that rapidly increases the cell-turnover, I figured I would include the expensive prescription-only topical called Bianca ($90) that I’ve added back into to my routine 2-3x a week at this stage. I will warn you, however, that these retinoid products are one of the very few products that cause purging in the skin initially before the improvement begins.

If I haven’t already applied a serum-textured product in the above stage (the Neutrogena, Indeed Labs or Bianca), I’ve been applying the lightweight La Roche-Posay Rosaliac AR Intense ($35) serum before moisturizing with the soothing Kiehl’s Skin Rescuer Stress-Minimizing Daily Hydrator ($45) that am a huge fan of. A few times a week, when I’m not going for a chemical exfoliant or I’m opting for one of the serum-textured-variety, I go for the soothing and brightening Organic Rosehip Oil, applying it on top of everything in the case of the first scenario and applying it over the chemical exfoliant in the second, skipping the moisturizer altogether.

When I’m not entirely too lazy to remember, I slather my poor chapped lips with the lovely multipurpose La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 ($16). 

This might seem rather exhaustive or unlike a routine at all but I promise that it is a constant routine that I follow and takes less than five minutes and it’s entirely worthwhile, for my skin at least.

Have you tried any of these products? What does your nighttime routine look like?

Maggie, x.

P.S. There will most likely be a weekly treatments post up in the near future…


Indeed Labs Peptabright (spoiler: in a world of lacklustre products, it’s brilliant)



Skincare products can be difficult to judge as they’re not something that you’re measuring the results of for merely the time the product is sitting on your skin. I’m aware I’m not having my most articulate moment here but I refuse to give up on this post that is long enough overdue as it is. Retry time. Skincare is difficult to review fairly because its effects are more difficult to judge because they tend to be long-term, rather than merely covering-up the skin they aim to improve the skin itself and said difficulty is why I don’t write many skincare reviews but I feel confident enough to provide my verdict on the Indeeds Labs Pepta-Bright, as I’ve been using it since October and have seen results without making any other significant changes to my skincare regime. The serum retails for $40 CDN (at Shoppers), 25 GBP (at Boots) and can be picked up in the states as well in Walgreens. Long-story-short this is a brightening cream serum containing 30 mLs of product in a compact white tube.

the ingredients
the ingredients

The official description of the cream-serum, taken directly from the box is as follows:

Our promise is to deliver the most advanced peptide based skin brightening treatment. Pepta-Bright is a  combination of 7 powerful active ingredients which target 7 biological factors. This cream-serum is designed to improve the appearance of hyperpigmentation, age spots and uneven skin tone. The unique formula is lightweight yet rich in texture. Pepta-bright helps to reduce the intensity of dark spots while promoting overall skin clarity and brightness, leaving a luminous and radiant complexion. You’ll be surprised by how fast you will see results!

From my previous research and trial and error along with checking the always-helpful cosdna, there does not seem to be any overly harsh or commonly irritating ingredients in this offering – but as always everyone has different skin but mine is incredibly sensitive especially to drying alcohols and I’m pleased to report there are none. This serum is essentially a chemical exfoliant with lactic acid as its active ingredient with a hydrating base containing glycerin. It’s as intense as promised but gentle at the same time (not an oxymoron, I promise)  in the sense that it’s free of harsh additives yet it’s a concentrated chemical exfoliant so you’re getting a whole lot of bang for your buck. It doesn’t irritate my easily irritated skin but it can tingle uncomfortably on skin that is already irritated.

In my trial of chemical exfoliants in the last year, I’ve learned that results are not immediate but with continued use dramatic results do occur. I’m not going to hide my bias toward this product; with continuous use since the beginning of October, it’s become one of my very few hero skincare products. Now I can safely say that it’s provided dramatic results that I’m happy with but I didn’t really see results until two-three months of use regardless of how frequently I applied the product, yet the results were dramatic when I could see them.  It’s a testament to this products effecacy that since the results have become visible to me I’ve also received lots of compliments on my skin from friends that I see on a daily basis and this has been the only variable in my routine.

You can probably extrapolate my general skin condition and concerns from what I’ve said here but I thought further detail would be helpful; I have dry, dehydrated and easily irritated skin prone to redness, congestion, clogged pores, scarring and all sorts of lumps and bumps. In other words, my skin is naturally uneven and dull, lacking clarity and this has tremendously helped. The most dramatic difference has been in the decrease of those annoying clogged-pore bumps on my forehead, cheeks and chin but I’ve noticed fading of the scars that always accompany my breakouts as well as a more radiant and even complexions. As most products seem to be, Pepta-Bright is marketed with almost-otherworldly claims (“the most advanced”, anyone?)  but I think it actually does achieve on said claims. If you suffer from dullness, unevenness and the like, you need this treatment. It’s made its way into my nightime routine 3-4 times per week and I cry when I think about it leaving anytime soon. Take this from a skeptic and cynic like myself, this falls into the magical baby unicorn tears category.

left: without face makeup when I started using right: makeupless after five months of use
left: without face makeup when I started using
right: makeupless after five months of use

Have you tried this or anything similar? I’m always open to recommendations!

x, Maggie

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 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?