Category Archives: Skincare

Two Soap-Free Cleansing Gels for Oily/Combination Skin That Won’t Break the Bank

We might be approaching fall but those of us with oily/combination skin that is prone to imperfections know that it still reacts to the summer temperatures.

Everyone has individual preferences but when it comes to face washes, I try to use gentle ones that will calm my skin while purifying it. I use different types of cleansers and cleansing gels are some of my favourites in the summer because they feel lightweight and can be used as a morning cleanse or as a refreshing step in the evening routine. I never use them to take my makeup off because I leave this to creams and oils after I remove most of it with micellar water.

I’ve been loving the Avène Cleanance Cleansing Gel for Face and Body and Zdrave Acne Stop Cleansing Gel (Здраве Акне Стоп in Bulgarian) for the past few months, they’re both suitable for face and body and sometimes when I’m away for just a couple of days, I’d use them as body washes, as well.
These cleansing gels are designed for oily/combination and blemish-prone skin, they’re affordable, non-drying and they have some features in common but there are also differences.

Sadly, Zdrave Acne Stop Cleansing Gel is not available in many countries and when I got it, I didn’t have any expectations. I was even a bit sceptical but the ingredients list is great for such an affordable product. It contains Zinc PCA to moisturise the skin while regulating the sebum production, Niacinamide to improve the skin barrier performance and to minimise redness and hyperpigmentation, Salicylic Acid and Lactic Acid. Both of these acids are great for my skin, so that was the main reason why I picked up this cleanser and I don’t regret it even for a second. It doesn’t foam, it just slightly lathers, it feels gentle on the skin and leaves it purified without being stripped. The only downside I find is that the gel has fragrance and I wish it was fragrance-free although it doesn’t irritate my skin. The formula is paraben-free and I find that this product mattifies my skin a bit. I wouldn’t say this would be a real saviour if you suffer from severe acne but it’s a brilliant face wash for blemish-prone skin during those hot summer days.

I usually purchase about 5-6 of these 100 ml Avène Cleanance Cleansing Gel bottles, as they’re travel-friendly and I always get a huge discount when I order them. This is another face wash that calms my skin and doesn’t leave it feeling tight. Unfortunately, this is not a fragrance-free one either.
The key ingredients are Monolaurin that reduces excess oil, Zinc Gluconate that calms redness and irritation and Avène Thermal Spring Water to soothe, soften and calm the skin.
Avène Cleanance Cleansing Gel feels very refreshing, I love using it in the morning and works great paired with the brand’s thermal water spray.

Both of these cleansers are fantastic for my troubled skin at the moment, you may have noticed my pessimistic thoughts in some of my recent posts and I’m really glad I found these two cleansing gels. They don’t leave my skin squeaky clean, it’s cleansed but not dry, itchy or flaky. Both are soap-free but both have one downside, as well – they are not fragrance-free. For me, personally, it is not the biggest problem but if you have really sensitive skin, you should have that in mind.
I’d highly recommend checking these cleansers out if you have oily/combination skin and if you can find them. Avène should also have samples in case you don’t want to buy the full size straight away.

 

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A Love-Hate Relationship | Bioderma Sébium Pore Refiner

French pharmacy brands are some of my favourites and I’m quite sad Bioderma is not available in Norway. So, when I have the chance to be near a Bioderma counter, I try to find different products that might be good for my skin.

The Bioderma Sébium Pore Refiner is a well-known product but I hadn’t tried it until a few months ago. My skin is combination and I have enlarged pores that no skincare product can tighten but I’m always up for testing out different ones.

After months of using Bioderma Sébium Pore Refiner, I can say I have mixed feelings. Like I said, nothing can shrink my pores, I didn’t have high hopes for that anyway, so I wasn’t that disappointed. The main expectation was to discover my new favourite mattifying primer. But when I use it on top of my moisturiser, my makeup just doesn’t sit well and my pores look even more prominent. The disaster is complete if I’ve used sunscreen beforehand and I even tried Bioderma sunscreens hoping that the two products would have better chance to work well when they’re from the same brand. I know many people use the Pore Refiner as a primer but it just doesn’t work for me and I’m not sure why. I tried different ways of applying it, different amount of the product, different skincare and makeup products before and after applying the Pore Refiner but it’s just not happening.

I also tried using it as a mattifying moisturiser and applying it before my regular moisturiser, as the brand suggests. This feels much better and even keeps me shine-free for a few hours. I can’t say it lasts all day but then again, nothing does, at least not on me. I will keep using it as a mattyfing moisturiser while summer’s still here but I don’t think I’d repurchase this product.

I absolutely love Bioderma and even products from the Sébium range, so I’m gutted to not be able to use this one as a primer. It would have been amazing in the summer.

If you’ve tried the Bioderma Sébium Pore Refiner, please share your thoughts and experience because I might be using it wrong and I’d be glad to hear more people’s opinion on it.

Origins Flower Fusion Sheet Masks

When I think of face masks, Origins is probably the first brand that comes to mind. Whether it is a purifying or hydrating mask, they just seem to get it right. Sheet masks are really popular at the moment and when I learned about the Origins Flower Fusion Sheet Masks release, I couldn’t wait to see them in stores.

The masks have been insipired by the naturally radiant beauty of florals and they aim to help providing an instant boost of radiance and dewy moisture. The masks are made of natural Bamboo which makes them very soft and are formulated with pure flower extracts and essential oils. They all smell lovely as you’d expect. There are 6 types in total: Jasmine, Lavender, Orange, Raspberry, Rose and Violet. I’ve tried 5 of them because Rose never seems to be available but I keep trying to get my hands on it. Each mask is sold separately in individual packaging.
It’s suggested to leave the masks on for about 10 minutes after cleansing and toning but I often turn them over after this and use them for 10 more. Then I’d massage in what’s left from the essence and continue with my evening moisturiser. I wouldn’t say they’re expensive at the price of 55 kr but they’re not the most affordable ones out there.

Origins Flower Fusion Rose Hydrating Sheet Mask
A rose infused sheet mask that hydrates the skin and is rich in Vitamin C to leave skin smooth and bright. Like I mentioned above, it’s the only one I haven’t tried yet.

Origins Flower Fusion Violet Nourishing Sheet Mask
A mask rich in antioxidant Vitamins A and C with a violet infusion that acts to hydrate, calm and brighten the skin. I feel like this is a very gentle one even for those of us with combination and problematic skin.

Origins Flower Fusion Jasmine Softening Sheet Mask
A jasmine infused and scented mask that soothes and hydrates the skin leaving it silky soft and smooth. To me, this mask is great for a weekly boost of hydration no matter what your skin type is.

Origins Flower Fusion Lavender Soothing Sheet Mask
A lovely relaxing and brightening mask. I find it’s great applying it before bed as the scent is very calming. Lavender is antiseptic, so this is a good one for those of you with sensitive or irritated skin, it also helps reduce redness.

Origins Flower Fusion Raspberry Refreshing Sheet Mask
This is my favourite mask when my skin gets a bit more oily in the hot days. It’s indeed refreshing and bursting with vitamins and antioxidants.

Origins Flower Fusion Orange Radiance-Boosting Sheet Mask
Zesty, awakening, refreshing… I used this mask for the first time before going to a concert in the evening and I got a beautiful healthy glow, my makeup applied really nicely afterwards and I felt great. The most brightening one of them all, this mask is perfect to use in the long winter days or when your complexion is a bit dull and you want to bring your skin back to life.

I honestly cannot say anything bad about these sheet masks, I actually love them because they’re a quick fix in some of my not so good skin days, they smell lovely and I can easily find them around me.

The Moisturiser I Always Go Back To

Some of my favourite day and night creams are from Clinique, I have a favourite for each season but there is one I always go back to no matter what the temperatures outside are. This is my third or fourth pot of the Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief and I just realised I’ve never done a review on it.

I love the whole Moisture Surge range and I can’t wait to try the new Hydrating Supercharged Concentrate which would probably be perfect to use on a summer holiday.
When seasons change, my skin’s needs change, as well and it can be a bit difficult, considering I’m dealing with combination dehydrated skin that occasionally gets blemishes. At the beginning of the spring, I decided to start using very light moisturisers which were lovely but the level of moisture they provided just wasn’t enough for me. Then I remembered that I’d purchased a new pot of Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief a few months back, so it was time to start using it again.

The texture is of a cream-gel and as with all Clinique moisturisers, I need just a tiny bit to cover my whole face. It doesn’t feel heavy and absorbs quickly although it makes my skin look a bit more dewy than I’d prefer but once I apply my foundation, it somehow sits better than usual and I even think my makeup lasts a bit longer when I use this moisturiser as a base. It feels very nourishing and in a matter of days, the dry patches around my face are gone.
I also use the Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief as a multipurpose moisturiser when I travel. The little 30 ml pot is really handy to have in the bag and apply the cream on any dry areas that may appear while travelling.

Just like all Clinique products, this one is fragrance-free and I love that it doesn’t break me out which sometimes happens with more hydrating creams. My skin feels soft and smooth after using the moisturiser, it also looks radiant and fresh and I can use this cream in so many ways – as a multipurpose moisturiser, as a 5-minute mask to just bring back the glow, on top of my regular moisturiser for a boost of hydration in the winter… Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief feels soothing and refreshing and I seem to always go back to it.

Budget Skincare Stars

A couple of weeks ago, I shared with you some of my favourite affordable makeup products, you can see the blog post here. Then I thought it might be nice to talk about a few lovely budget skincare items. We all love to invest in face care but that doesn’t mean that drugstores don’t offer some beautiful choices.

Last year, Simple Kind To Skin Micellar Water finally came to Norway and it immediately turned into my favourite affordable cleansing water. It’s very gentle yet effective in removing makeup, feels refreshing, soothing and non-sticky. I always wash my face after removing makeup with micellar water but I like that this one contains Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) because it’s anti-inflammatory, improves the appearance of enlarged pores, works against dullness of the skin, fine lines, hyperpigmentation and redness.

The past couple of years have been quite successful when it comes to finding really good hydrating serums at the drugstore. However, my favourite one must be the Balea Aqua Hydrating Serum. It is a brilliant facial serum that contains hydrating and soothing ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin E and leaves my skin moisturised without feeling sticky or greasy. The texture of the serum is quite light and runny but the bottle comes with a pump that is comfortable to use and also hygienic. It takes a few seconds to fully absorb but there is no residue left and my skin feels refreshed and soothed. I’ve already used up 3-4 bottles of it and I’ll keep repurchasing the serum. I have to say, I don’t think it would be enough if you have really dry skin but for me, it’s working very well. I also love the fresh scent.

Applying a facial oil is one of my favourite steps in my evening skincare routine, so when I learned about the Alverde Wild Rose Facial Oil more than a year ago from my mum who loves it, I got one for myself and I’ve already used up almost 3 bottles of it. It’s meant to be suitable for dry skin but I have to say, this oil never broke me out or made my skin greasy. It doesn’t feel heavy, it’s quite light and I’d still apply a night cream on top. The oil has a lovely subtle rose scent, it’s vegan and contains ingredients from certified organic agriculture like Jojoba Oil, Almond Oil, Peach Kernel Oil and Apple Seed Extract. The brand is also known for the fact that their products are free from silicones, mineral oils, synthetic fragrances and dyes.

Sheet masks are really popular at the moment but they can be very pricey. I was pleased to find a beautiful hydrating mask and also a purifying one that won’t break the bank. They both come from Balea, the moisturising one is from the same range as the face serum. First of all, I have to say that Balea sheet masks seem to be a bit smaller than the rest of the masks I’ve tried but they are somehow the only ones that manage to cover my huge nose. Balea Aqua Hydrating Sheet Mask contains Algae Extract, Almond Oil and Rosehip Oil, feels like a moisturising gel, it’s cooling and soothing. The mask doesn’t move around the face once it’s on and it’s quite comfortable to wear. I like using it when my skin is a bit dry and dehydrated, the first time I tried it, I was surprised how radiant and nourished my skin was on the following day, thanks to such an affordable sheet mask.

Balea Active Charcoal Sheet Mask is part of one of the newest ranges of the brand and I might need to find the rest of the products, too. The mask contains Salicylic Acid and Zinc which is great if you have blemish-prone and oily skin. It does heal spots quicker than usual and it doesn’t make my skin feeling dry or stripped. I really really like this sheet mask.

As a person with combination skin, I love using clay masks a couple of times a week. When the L’Oréal Pure-Clay Masks were released last year, I’ve been a fan of all three, now they’ve expanded the range adding more skincare products which I can’t wait to try. Here I’m showing only one of the face masks but you can read my review on all three here, in case you haven’t already. What I love about this Exfo Face Mask (Glow in the UK) is that it doubles up as an exfoliant, as well, it’s easy to wash off and makes my skin look smooth and glowy.

There are great drugstore options on the skincare shelves sometimes and I’d be really happy to know more about some of your finds.