Summer Empties | The Skincare

I’m both proud of and slightly horrified by the number of products — mostly skincare — that I’ve used up since early spring. I’ve been slowly downsizing the excessive products that I own — not that I haven’t broken down and purchased a few more than I needed — and here are my thoughts. I’ve actually gone through so much body care and general skin care in recent months, especially dealing with horrifically angry skin from wearing a mask, increased hand washing and the like. Let’s get to it, or rather to the first part of my empty products to be reviewed…

Cerave Hydrating Cleanser ($17.99 CDN | 355 mL)

This is a great gentle soap-free cleanser for skin that is dry, undergoing sensitizing treatments or is just prone to irritation. This was a saviour when I was reacclimatizing to using Differin and experiencing irritation from wearing a mask. It’s fragrance-free and contains ceramides, glycerin and hyaluronic acid. The texture is a thicker gel that never foams and feels quite soothing on the skin. It’s a forever repurchase for me and I’m happy to see that it’s now available in a larger size as well.

Paula’s Choice Defense Hydrating Gel-to-Cream Cleanser ($18 US | 198 mL)

Despite normally being the kind of girl whose face feels tight at the very thought of a gel cleanser, I loved this one. It contains a number of gentler surfactants but no soap of sulfates, goes onto dry skin as a soothing gel and later emulsifies into a frothy milk. It feels refreshing without being anything resembling drying with soothing ingredients like amino acids, green tea, liquorice root and fatty acids. I will be repurchasing. It also doesn’t sting my eyes and actually removes makeup pretty well, whilst being a ‘skin’ cleanser.

Laneige Bright Renew Original Serum ($59 CDN | 40 mL)

Sadly, Laneige appears to have phased out this milky serum when they kind of rebranded their brightening line. It contains squalane, niacinamde, green tea, liquorice root and beta glucan and offered lightweight hydration when patted into the skin. It contains ingredients that I found helped my skin remain bright and radiant, fade hyper-pigmentation and added a dose of anxtioxidants. The Laneige Bright Dew Original Essence seems to be the replacement, although it’s a bit more expensive and appears to have the niacinamide replaced with ethyl ascorbic acid.

Kate Somerville DeliKate Recovery Serum ($110 CDN | 30 mL)

This was the perfect type of serum for me to incorporate over the last four or so months when my skin was freaking out from the mask wearing and when I decided to reintroduce a prescription retinoid into my routine perhaps a little too quickly and hastily. I really enjoyed it but it was quite expensive and I want to explore other options. If I came across it on a good sale, however, I would buy. This is a soothing, calming and barrier repairing milky serum, loaded with glycerin, ceramides, nourishing plant oils, antioxidants and anti-irritants. I appreciate that the bottle is opaque and thus the antioxidants will remain stable after being exposed to light.

Paula’s Choice Resist Advanced Smoothing Treatment 10% AHA ($37 US | 30 mL)

I finished up my second bottle of this AHA-serum hybrid a few days ago and happily moved onto my third bottle — in the new slightly improved packaging as well. It’s not cheap but I don’t mind spending on such a sophisticated formula and I often find good sales from Paula’s Choice. It contains a 10% blend of glycolic acid, lactic acid, malic acid and tartaric acid, along with 0.5% of salicylic acid to keep pores clear and congestion at bay. The serum has a slightly milky water-gel texture and along with the alpha hydroxy acids, contains peptides, ceramides, liquorice root extract, green tea extract, oat bran extract, chamomile and allantoin. I tend to use it up to a few times a week in the place of my usual chemical exfoliant and serum. Also the packaging keeps the antioxidants and replenishing ingredients stable and protected from light. It’s an effective AHA that’s easy to tolerate, in a nutshell. It pleasantly doesn’t ever sting my skin, despite containing glycolic acid.

The Ordinary “B” Oil ($9.20 CDN | 30 mL)

For years, I’ve loved using a few drops of an oil blend — preferably one formulated without essential oils or other irritants — in the treatment stage as a skin soother, to add additional antioxidant protection and to sandwich in moisture and comfort. This is a medium weight oil blend that follows that criteria and is housed in appropriate packaging. It contains squalane, the antioxidant, bisabolol, marula, argan, baobab, patula, brazil nut, inca inchi, rosehip and borage oil, and an interesting amount of a micro-algae. I would consider buying again after I’m finished with the oils I currently am using. It was very soothing and anti-inflammatory.

Sunday Riley Juno Antioxidant + Superfood Face Oil ($95 CDN | 35 mL)

When I wasn’t using the above mentioned facial oil, I happily used this classic essential-oil-free oil blend. It’s an investment buy for me but I found myself buying yet again for the third time, when I found this oil on another good sale. It smells like a good Greek salad dressing in the best way and contains a mixture of omega-rich and antioxidant-rich oils including blackberry seed oil, blueberry seed oil, grapeseed oil, cranberry seed oil, meadow foam seed oil and cumin seed oil. Afterwards, my inflammation goes way down, my skin glows and retains hydration.

Bioderma Sensibio AR ($25.90 CDN | 40 mL)

This was a really good moisturizer with a minimal ingredients list that was replenishing and soothing. It contains glycerin, mineral oil, probiotic ingredients, liquorice root extract, allantoin and green tea. It never burned or stung on my reactive skin, even when it’s quite irritated. It’s fragrance-free and has a minimal but effective ingredient list that definitely targets dryness, dehydration and inflammation. It was effective without being heavy in the slightest. I don’t plan on repurchasing soon but I wouldn’t be opposed to using again.

Kate Somerville Goat Milk Moisturizing Cream ($84 CDN | 50 mL)

This was an item I actually chose from Fabfitfun to receive and I didn’t realize that I was a fan of it until I chose to receive it again. This packaging looks a little different than the airless jars because it’s your traditional jar with limited edition packaging composed of 25% plastic ocean waste. It’s a nice soothing runny cream that I got along well with and would think even those with a more combination or acne-prone skin would enjoy. It’s almost fragrance-free — there’s a plant extract or two that contain fragrance — and feels comforting and lightweight on the skin. It contains soothing lactose and goat’s milk which have humectant properties, boost barrier function with the fat molecules they contain and combat inflammation and redness. It also features witch hazel flower water which has antioxidant activity — but can be slightly irritating when used in higher concentrations — and antioxidant-rich plant oils. I would prefer it housed in the airless jar but regardless, I enjoyed it, particularly on my sensitive neck and chest.

Paula’s Choice Resist Skin-Restoring Moisturizer SPF 50 ($33 US | 60 mL)

This is a fantastic moisturizer with antioxidants, soothing ingredients and barrier-repairing ingredients that also contains SPF 50 sunscreen with chemical filters. What I love is the hydrating lotion vehicle and that my sensitive and reactive skin can actually tolerate the chemical actives without experiencing irritation. I repurchased as an everyday sunscreen-moisturizer hybrid, even though the sunscreen actives aren’t the most photostable; it’s a joy to apply and you don’t have to worry about a cast or any sort of clinging to dry patches. It contains shea butter, allantoin, niacinamide, liquorice root and oat extracts which I think help my skin tolerate the chemical actives. This was so good that was cut in half and used to the last drop so it didn’t appear in the picture.

Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask ($33 CDN | 75 mL)

I’ve been using and loving this hydrating mask for years, despite the fact the ingredients list does not particularly thrill me. It’s always contained a bunch of fragrance, potentially irritating plant extracts and citrus peel oils galore. It’s actually been reformulated so it has niacinamide but also has some drying alcohol towards the middle of the list but the fragrance, citrus oils and plant extracts remain. What I love about this mask is that it has a pleasant creamy thicker texture that feels soothing on the skin and sinks in, leaving long-lasting hydration. I have repurchased it before but I think I’ll try something else first. Also, I dumbly forgot to photograph this one!

Have you finished anything as of late?
Maggie, x.

 

 

Skinstore Sale Picks

Now, I haven’t actually ordered from Skinstore or Look Fantastic personally before.  However, seeing the Skinstore‘July 4th Sale’ and hearing great things about the company — and seeing their affordable shipping to a variety of different countries — I’m awfully tempted and maybe some of you will be too. Here are my picks from the sale. The website has loads of items on 25% off with a code and a bunch of different brands on for different promotions as well. Here are some of my picks:

share

Elta MD UV Elements Broad-Spectrum SPF 44 ($40.61 CDN | 60 mL)

I’ve always wanted to try Elta MD’s sunscreens but they are actually pretty difficult to access in Canada. Thus, finding this on sale makes me really want to try this tinted sunscreen-moisturizer hybrid. It’s a tinted formula that I’ve heard is supposedly sheer and suits a variety of skin tones and suits drier skins without being heavy or greasy. It features hyaluronic acid, mineral filters and vitamin e. I’ve heard that it’s comfortable but wears wonderfully under makeup. I also find my excitement over finding sunscreen on sale borderline hysterical at this point but alas…

Wander Beauty Baggage Claim Rose Gold Eye Masks ($26.81 CDN | 0.84 oz)

I enjoy a nice set of eye masks as much as the next person but many of them leave my eyes irritated or cost an arm an a leg for a single set. These ones come with six different sets and really hydrate the under eye area without irritation. They contain aloe, glycerin, panthenol, calendula, shea butter and hyaluronic acid. I wish they didn’t have the lavender oil but it’s towards the end of the ingredients list. They also stick well to the eye area so you don’t have to stop living your life to reap the benefits of the eye masks.

Sunday Riley JUNO Antioxidant + Superfood Face Oil ($77.22 CDN | 35 mL)

This is an expensive but lovely oil blend that doesn’t contain any essential oils or fragrance. It’s soothing and nourishing, filled with an abundance of antioxidant rich plant oils that really help to replenish irritated skin and combat inflammation. It’s not a particularly lightweight oil and smells like salad dressing but it’s fantastic. It contains black cumin oil, blackberry seed oil, broccoli seed oil, carrot seed oil, grape seed oil, cranberry seed oil, marula oil, meadow foam seed oil, pomegranate oil, raspberry oil and acai fruit oil.

Soap & Glory Clean on Me Clarifying Shower Gel ($10.73 CDN | 500 mL)

Soap & Glory‘s bath and shower products are seriously underrated; my eczema prone skin can tolerate them without experiencing dryness and sensitivity and their scents are amazing. This shower gel doubles as a fantastic bubble bath that doesn’t dry out my skin despite containing a gentler sulphate (but not sodium lauryl sulphate) and smells like my favourite fragrance, the discontinued Miss Dior from 2012. It smells like a citrusy rose that fades into the stuff that patchouli and soft musk dreams are made of.

REN Perfect Canvas Clean Jelly Oil Cleanser ($34.32 CDN | 100 mL)

I’ve come to the conclusion that one of the most important and under appreciated steps of the skincare routine is cleansing and to be frank, I’ve got a hankering to try a new one. This is an balm-oil cleanser that I’ve heard fantastic things about as a balm to break down makeup and sunscreen and as an indulgent treat of a cleanser. This is a brand that is rarely on sale so the 25% off is enticing. Along with emulsifying agents and a few nice plant oils, this does contain some fragrance but I’m less concerned about this in a product you rinse off.

Slip Silk Midi Scrunchies ($48.26 CDN | pack of 5)

The hype for these expensive silk scrunchies is real, people. I love the size of these ones that allow me to easily secure my hair on the top of my head before bed or to put some or all of it up during the day. The best part is that my hair doesn’t actually tangle up around the scrunchie and maintains its curl pattern fairly well. These are a godsend to extending the time between hair restyling and washes. I like that the colours are subdued as well.

Slip Silk Knot Headband ($74 CDN)

Now, this is a purchase I made for myself last year and I don’t regret it. The quality of silk on this headband is nice and the knotted-front design is cute. I wear it every day, either to keep my hair away from my face while cleansing or applying makeup — without disrupting my temperamental curls even while damp or as a cute hair accessory, also without denting my hair or flattening certain sections.

Plans on picking anything up from the sale?
Maggie, x.

November 2016 Favourites

I’ve mentioned before that I work in retail and with everything getting so busy at Christmas-time and the unfortunate luck of losing some employees around this time, I have been picking up the slack at work and I’ve had no time or energy to blog. Most of all, I’ve had no daylight to take pictures and I’m not the kind of person who is organized enough to take them all in advance. Regardless, I’m forcing myself to get this favourites post up and before long, I would expect another empties post around here – I’ve been finishing up even more products.

img_9320

NUDE Skincare Nourishing Cleansing Oil: Ever since getting this omega-rich cleansing oil as a gift last Christmas, I have enjoyed it but it wasn’t until November that I fully appreciated it. Rather than using mineral oil (which I have no problem with) and other emulsifiers and emollients to melt away makeup, its beauty lies in the gorgeous nourishing plant oils that it contains. It’s fairly good at melting away makeup – and it does this without irritation – but it’s real beauty is its value as a soothing skin treat.

Sunday Riley Juno Hydroactive Cellular Face Oil: Despite the fact that I find that Sunday Riley’s facial oils are extremely expensive and filled with some questionable claims, – mainly that they are Hydroactive and act on a cellular level in a way that lesser oils do not – I picked up her essential-oil-free offering during the Sephora VIB Sale. I’m pleased (or horrified, I’m not entirely sure) to report that it’s the nicest facial oil I’ve ever tried. I like the natural salad dressing scent (lol) but most of all, I like how rich it feels on the skin and how soothing and hydrating it is. It’s been a godsend in this cooler weather that has left my skin in a less than hydrated state.

Paula’s Choice Resist 10% Niacinamide Booster: I’m a massive fan of Niacinamide for its barrier repairing and cell communicating nature, along with its soothing and brightening qualities so obviously I couldn’t go without trying her fairly recently released booster. It’s water-light texture definitely was a learning curve for me but I’ve been loving applying it as a serum when my skin needs extra calming, a boost of hydration and some general oomph. I haven’t had pore issues in ages but I do believe that this has improved their appearance even more!

MAC Fix Plus: As someone with quite dry and dehydrated skin, I really like the instant impact that spraying my face has in terms of giving a glow. However, I find that most of these so-called ‘setting sprays’ fail to add longevity to makeup and are filled with alcohol and fragrance, making the skin look better before making it look worse in a few hours time. However, I find that the cult favourite MAC one to improve the way that my skin looks throughout the day while providing skincare benefits. It has loads of glycerin and a decent amount of antioxidants and bridges the line between skincare and makeup. The mist is also very fine, making it ideal for refreshing makeup and eliminating that powdery dull look.

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Moonstone: As someone who is always after naturally luminous skin, – especially this month apparently – it’s not exactly shocking that I’ve been enjoying the effect of this liquid highlighter. To be honest, I love the truly luminous finish of this golden highlighter – and the way that it has less visible shimmer particles than Becca’s powder highlighter offerings – all the time but it’s been with the cold weather that I’ve been willing to go to the extra effort with liquid highlighter.

MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Stereo Rose: I had gone months without wearing this sheeny rosy-coral blush but as soon as I started reaching for it again, as a blush that adds some instant brightness and glow, I’ve remembered why it’s one of my absolute favourites. Unfortunately, it is limited edition and MAC releases it about once a year – with some shade variations. It can pull a bit red on the skin but there’s something about it that I find adds the right kind of rosy flush  on my moderately-fair skin.

NYX Lip Lingerie in Ruffle Trim: Surprisingly, my favourite lip product of the month was a liquid lipstick. The surprising part of this is that my dry, sensitive lips typically rebel against the drying nature of these lip products. The shade is a warm neutral rosy hue with some brown to it, but that isn’t what I liked most about it. The product dries down to a kind of texture-less finish that isn’t particularly drying and doesn’t feel productY either.

Bath and Body Works Flannel Scented Candle: After I missed out on this scent for a few years in a row in the full three wick offering, I started hoarding this candle – the one pictured is an unburned three wick from this year because I finished the medium jar and it’s not a particularly attractive sight at the moment. Now, it’s a scent that I love to burn the moment that I crave that cozy feeling which happened in November when the chilly Fall weather hit and slowly drifted into Winter. It’s a sweeter cologne kind of scent that features bergamot, a hint of vanilla and warm musk. It’s one that I certainly love and would also recommend even to those who are usually wary of so-called ‘cologne’ scents. I’ve been happily burning it throughout November and plan on burning more throughout the Winter.

Any thoughts or faves to share?
Maggie, x.

 

 

The January Weekend Wishlist

Today being Sunday and all, and me, being exhausted by my return to my first full week back to classes and all that, there was no way that I was going to get the preparation and adequate photography in order to get up a more traditional full-on post. However, I’m determined not to get completely slack on my resolution for more consistent posts in the new year, so I’m sharing the few products that are the highest on my radar at the moment.

s1779990-main-hero-300_Fotor_Collage

Paula’s Choice Calm Redness Relief Calm Repairing Serum ($32 US): So this is one of the products that isn’t exactly a wishlist item because I’ve technically already ordered it – and this is by no means the first time I’ve fudged on the rules a little bit in this way. I’ve been beyond eager to try products from the Calm range as soon as I heard of its launch, as they are targeted towards dehydrated sensitive skin, and I couldn’t resist nabbing up this hyaluronic acid rich serum.

L’Oreal True Match Lumi Cushion Foundation ($25): This foundation is definitely otherworldly expensive for the drugstore (especially because it only contains half the usual amount of product) but I’ve heard such great things about this lightweight luminous base lately, I’m tempted to try out their take on the cushion compact.

Sunday Riley Juno Hydroactive Cellular Face Oil ($112): I can hardly believe that I’m even considering going for a $112 dollar facial oil but over the last month or so, I’ve gotten back into my love affair with facial oils, and this essential oil free one seems universally deemed the best of them according to many. I feel the need to try this oil just to know if it really is better and more concentrated in nutrients and antioxidants and I’m thinking about it for the Spring Sephora VIB Sale.

Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder in Incandescent Strobe Light ($48): I’ve always been a glow fiend, but in the last six months or so, I’ve become a highlighter fiend. After resisting the Hourglass holiday palette that contained a sneak peek of their first traditional highlighter, I’m really tempted to go for one of their newly released shades of the product. I’m really eager to try this subtle pink-hue subtle highlighter because of my love of Hourglass’ powders, its appealing fair shade and the promise of subtlety – as in, it might be more flattering on imperfections.

Bath & Body Works 3 Wick Candle in Mocha Latte Swirl ($24): In the last couple of months, I’ve been burning candles obsessively with pleasure, and as Bath & Body Works has offered great sales, I’ve stocked up on a good amount of new candles as well. By no stretch of the imagination can I truly justify purchasing another candle, but I’ve been reading up on the test candles that Bath & Body Works will be releasing most of pronto – and one of these candles that I’m most intrigued to try is this re-promoted classic latte scent. I’m a massive latte fan and I’m rather excited at the prospect of burning a candle of the same scent.

What do you have your eye one at the moment?
Maggie, x.