Category Archives: Skincare

First Impressions | Drunk Elephant & Sunday Riley


There’s something rather attractive about brands and products that you simply can’t get hold of. It’s so difficult to find them that you want to try them even more. Until the day your boyfriend and a real-life Santa (even when it’s not Christmas) brings you a box of goodies. He always seems to know what I’m curious about even when I don’t talk about it and he’s been really helpful since I started fighting with my skin problems last summer.

After a bit long introduction to the subject, I should state that I’ve been using the following products for a couple of weeks now and I still haven’t formed my opinion on them but the results I’ve seen, so far, make me want to try more from these brands.

I’ve known about Sunday Riley for a while but I wasn’t sure how I felt about it simply because of the high price tag. And yes, there are many expensive products out there but Sunday Riley‘s seemed a bit outrageous to me. I got a set from them and I still can’t say if it lives up to its claims because I’ve tried only one of the items, so far. Sunday Riley Saturn Sulfur Acne Treatment Mask is a medicated 10 % sulfur treatment that fights different forms of acne (like blocked pores, for example, which has been my skin issue for over 7 months) while preventing future breakouts. It also has 4% niacinamide, a skin-restoring ingredient that I love, Zinc PCA and Bentonite Clay to clear impurities and reduce excess oil without drying the skin out. I also noticed Tea Tree Oil and Manuka Oil in the ingredients list, all amazing ingredients. It sounded too good to be true, so I applied it immediately after I got it. I must say I haven’t used this product as a mask on my entire face yet. I really hope it does prevent future spots and I’m about to test this out but for now, I’ve used it as a spot treatment on a few blemishes around my forehead (sometimes I can’t resist chocolate). It’s suggested to cleanse and dry the skin, apply the treatment and leave it on for about 20-30 minutes or overnight. I’ve tried it both ways and I was happy to see that my skin wasn’t dried out or flaky afterwards. When I’m applying the mask, I feel a slight stinging sensation for a few seconds but it’s not burning. On the following day, my spots looked less angry and calmer, they weren’t as itchy/painful as earlier but they were still there. The same happened when I tried it on different blemishes and different days. Usually, the major difference can be noticed a couple of days later. I can say that the spots heal a bit quicker when I’m using Saturn and I can’t wait to try the U.F.O. Face Oil, it’s suggested to use it after the mask. I’m still not sure how it would feel if I use the treatment on my whole face or only on my T-zone, considering the percentage of sulfur in the formula. I know that my skin is now used to topical retinoids and stronger acids but I don’t have any experience with sulfur, so it’s going to be interesting.

When I first came across Drunk Elephant, it appealed to me because of the idea behind the name, the packaging and the aim not to include ”the suspicious 6” in their products (silicones, chemical screens, sensitising perfumes/colourants, SLS, essential oils and drying alcohols). Essential oils break me out and I’m still struggling with bad reaction after the use of a chemical sunscreen in the summer, so this brand seemed even more fascinating to me.
But what should I try? I really wasn’t sure and I felt like The Littles set was the best in order to try as many products as I could. Too bad they don’t have a mini of their T.L.C Sukari Babyfacial though, I really want to try it out.
But anyway, today I’m sharing more about a hydrating duo that can be used both, day and/or night. B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel is a Vitamin B5 gel that also contains Pineapple Ceramide to help boost luminosity and Watermelon Rind/Apple/Lentil Complex to provide long-lasting moisture. It can be used on its own or mixed with serum, cream or oil for a boost of hydration. I use it as my morning serum before applying a moisturiser or I’d mix a drop of it with my cream in the evening and I love how quickly it absorbs, there’s nothing left on the skin, no residue, no sticky feeling but at the same time, my skin is radiant and hydrated. In the past few weeks, I’ve been moisturising my face with Lala Retro Whipped Cream that contains a blend of six African oils to lock in the moisture. I use it at night or on days when I’m not wearing makeup because it takes a bit longer to absorb but luckily, doesn’t leave me looking shiny. At first, it feels quite thick and I need the tiniest amount, I feel like this tiny 15 ml jar is going to last me about 3 months but then it goes on smoothly and doesn’t feel sticky or heavy. The texture is really nice on the skin and I’m happy that it doesn’t break me out, so far. I think it might be a bit too rich for me in the summer but it’s great in the Norwegian winter.

I’m looking forward to trying more from these two brands and I’m curious to know if you’ve had any experience with them.

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Votary Rose Geranium & Apricot Cleansing Oil


It might seem a bit strange but one of the least talked about skincare products on my blog is cleansing oil. The truth is that most of the ones I’ve tried break me out (unfortunately, the same applies for most of the cleansing balms I’ve used) and my favourite cleansing oil is quite hard to get hold of.

So, I’m always quite nervous whenever I’m trying different ones but at the same time, I really hope to find cleansing oils that don’t irritate my skin. When I found the Votary Rose Geranium & Apricot Cleansing Oil in my Liberty Advent Calendar, at first, the essential oils in the ingredients list made me a bit unsure, as they can be troubling for me. But I decided to try it and I started using it every night and occasionally, on a colder morning when my skin feels a bit more dry.

I have a beautiful 50 ml glass bottle of the cleansing oil, it usually comes in 100 ml, it has a pump and a lovely face cloth in 100% cotton. Votary Cleansing Oil is made from 100% natural plant oils like Sunflower Seed Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil, Jojoba Seed Oil, Grape Seed Oil, Rose Geranium Flower Oil and Chamomile Flower Oil. The consistency is quite thin and almost watery which for me, personally, is great because it feels light on my skin and I can also massage my face a bit longer. Some cleansing oils are just too thick for that.

I use this cleansing oil as a morning cleanse or a second cleanse in the evening after I’ve taken my makeup off with another product. In the morning I apply one pump of the oil and in the evening – two. I prefer to use it on dry skin but my hands would usually be damp, it’s just how I prefer it but you can use it with dry hands on dry skin, as well. Then I massage my face and neck and at the end, I remove it with a clean hot flannel. When I proceed to my toning step, there’s nothing left on the cotton pad, my skin is clean, soft and hydrated but like I said, I don’t use the oil to take makeup off. The texture of the cleansing oil is beautiful, it’s easy to spread and to massage your face with it. It leaves my skin smooth and nourished and the best part is that it doesn’t break me out. In fact, after a month of using it, my skin looks a bit clearer, brighter and more balanced.
I’m not sure how it would perform on a hot summer day, considering how my skin tends to freak out in the warmer months but for me, this is an amazing cleansing oil that doesn’t strip my skin in the freezing days.

It’s definitely a pricey product that I can try thanks to the advent calendar but I’m really happy to have this possibility because it is a wonderful cleansing oil for my winter skin. My evening skincare routine got even more enjoyable, thanks to the soothing scent and beautiful texture of the Votary Rose Geranium & Apricot Cleansing Oil.

Tackling Skin Issues | Winter Skincare Update


Even though winter hasn’t officially arrived yet, temperatures have significantly dropped and we often switch up our skincare routine. We tend to use more hydrating creams and oils, to reach for richer ones and to layer more and more products on top of each other. But this year, I’m aiming to reduce the number of products applied on my face, while still trying to protect it.

For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been dealing with clogged pores since July this year. My skin didn’t like the then new to me face suncare product and as a result, I got severely blocked pores. I had consultations with several dermatologists, all of them said that it looked quite unusual, especially considering “You can tell you’re really taking good care of your skin” but the situation didn’t change. A couple of months ago, I was suggested to go to another dermatologist who said I probably needed Differin Gel and warned me that everything would look worse in the following weeks. Indeed, it got terrible. It’s the first time I’m facing something like this and now I understand everyone who thinks of giving up at some point but patience is the key word here. Two months later, I’m definitely seeing a progress although I still have a long way to go in order to have my good skin back.
I’m writing this post as a person who wants to share their experience, I’m not a specialist and we all have individual problems. I don’t even have the absolute right solution for my own issues, yet alone to try giving advice to someone else. Unfortunately, nowadays, we tend to overload on skincare products, to strip our skin and dry it out too much or to pile on heavy moisturisers that aren’t exactly the right ones for us. We need to find a balance and we need to find out what’s best for our skin in the exact moment.

In the past couple of months, the skincare routine I’ve been following can be described as simple. It may not seem like this on the photos but these are products that are on rotation, I don’t use them all at once. I’m trying to wear less makeup and to do it only a couple of times a week, I reach for mild, sulphate-free cleansers and I don’t layer too many products.
I’ve been suggested to do my evening routine 30 minutes after cleansing and applying Differin, so that the rest of the products don’t interfere with the retinoid.

Cleansing
My cleanser of choice in the last month has been the First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser. It’s both, my morning and evening cleanser, it’s my second cleanse, I don’t use it to take makeup off with. It’s gentle, creamy (but doesn’t clog my pores), non-stripping and great for this time of the year.

Exfoliating and toning
Acid toners have been part of my skincare routine for years but because Differin is a topical retinoid, I’m trying to be a bit more careful with them now. At the beginning, my skin got really dry, it was peeling quite badly, it was painful and now that it’s finally better, I’m incorporating acids and enzyme peels slowly into my routine. I’ve used Vitamin C in the morning for the past few weeks (first, Clinique Fresh Pressed System and now Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum) and I’ve noticed great results, actually. My skin looks brighter and a bit smoother. I’m also using Pixi Peel & Polish twice a week in the morning, it contains Lactic Acid and fruit enzymes which makes it a mild exfoliant and I’ve been quite pleased with it, so far.
Mists and sprays are something I never skip because they feel refreshing and hydrating. La Roche-Posay Serozinc is great for combination and problematic skin while floral sprays like the L’Occitane Peony Perfecting Mist  give a bit of a glow, as well. Pure rose water has always been an essential for me and having a bottle or two of it in my cabinet is a must. Also, Maya Water Facial Mist with Organic Acai is really soothing and full of antioxidants, it’s the one I often spray before applying a facial oil.

Serums and oils
Now, this is a step that I sometimes skip when I feel that my skin gets enough hydration from the rest of the products or I’m simply trying to avoid certain ingredients that day.
I used to use Lancôme Énergie De Vie The Liquid Care as a moisturiser but it is now my morning hydrating serum. It contains powerful antioxidants, it’s lightweight and works well with the rest of the products.
If my skin feels very dry in the morning, I’d use the Dr. Hauschka Day Clarifying Oil. It’s specially designed for oily/combination and blemish-prone skin and I sometimes add a couple of drops to my moisturiser.
One item that has really helped me in this battle is pure rosehip oil. I use it only at night and it saved my skin during the first few weeks with Differin Gel. If you’re not used to retinoids and your skin peels like mine did, pure rosehip oil is really soothing and calming and I can’t recommend it enough. I love my Clarins Blue Orchid OiI, as it has always been really nice on my skin but in situations like this, pure oils still would be the best choice.

Hydration
I find that gels are working really well for the area around my eyes at the moment. Alverde Aqua Gel is lightweight, cooling but still hydrating and soothing. It’s also very affordable and contains great ingredients.
Synchroline Aknicare Cream is more for maintaining what’s already achieved, so far and for protecting the skin barrier function which is very important. It also has great hydrating properties without being heavy and at the moment, that’s the only product in my routine with Salicylic Acid which has been missing in the last few weeks. It’s still a bit new to me, so I’ll share more on this cream in a future post.

Sun protection
Although it’s winter and there isn’t particularly any sunshine in Norway, I’m still using my La Roche-Posay Anthelios SPF 50 (I probably need SPF 30 now, though). It’s so milky and lightweight that I don’t mind it, especially when I have to protect my skin.

Face masks
Face masks are even more important for me now. I tend to use clay masks at least twice a week because they’re purifying and they balance out my combination skin. The two masks I reach for most of the time are Clinique City Block Purifying Charcoal Clay Mask + Scrub and this is a second tube from it and the other one is L’Oréal Pure-Clay Anti-Blemish Mask* which was launched in the summer and it’s one of my favourite masks in the range, as it leaves my skin feeling soft and clean without drying it out.
When it comes to hydrating face masks, I sometimes use up to five per week, especially when they’re sheet masks like the Bamboo Shot Mask from Erborian.

The most important thing for me now is to keep my skin calm and to remain patient in this fight. I have to say that water in Norway is quite soft and my skin always feels a bit better in Norway than in my home country or anywhere else in Europe, for example. So, I need to take advantage of this now.

Remember to never give up, it takes ages but hopefully, we’re on the right way to having healthy skin again. I still have days when I think I would never have good skin again and I feel like crying. Luckily, my boyfriend and my family always manage to say something specific (that my skin looks less red on that day or it seems a bit smoother, for example) to make me feel better and to believe that it’s going to change.
If you’re dealing with skin issues, I sincerely wish you good luck and if not, protect your skin and take good care of it!

*PR Sample 

Clinique Fresh Pressed 7-Day System with Pure Vitamin C 10%

Autumn and winter are incredibly charming and magical but when it comes to our skin, they aren’t that kind to us.

It’s quite unusual for me to review a skincare product only a week or two after using it but since Clinique Fresh Pressed System has two variants – a 7-day and a 4-week packs and I couldn’t justify the price of the bigger one, here I’m sharing my experience with the Vitamin C powder cleanser and booster duo.

I got the Clinique Fresh Pressed 7-Day System in the summer but started using it just a couple of weeks ago. I noticed that my skin got quite dull-looking, I’ve been going through a lot of stressful days lately, I’m still trying to tackle the clogged pores situation from July and overall, it’s just all been too much. So, I decided to try the system and I also stopped wearing makeup except for mascara and lip products. I do this for 7 to 10 days sometimes, it was recommended by a specialist and I feel like it helps a bit with my skin issues.

What I was hoping to see as a result from the Clinique Vitamin C pack was a brighter complexion, radiant-looking skin and just even-toned, healthier and smoother skin. I love the idea of keeping the ingredients fresh in their packaging, so I was quite intrigued by this concept.
It’s actually really simple to use, it’s a two-step system, I got 7 sachets of the Clinique Renewing Powder Cleanser with pure Vitamin C and one 7-day vial of Daily Booster with Pure Vitamin C 10%. The latter is still going strong because I use it only once a day, as I don’t want it to interfere with the Differin Gel I’m using in the evening.

I used the powder cleanser each morning by pouring it into a wet hand and then adding a bit more water to work it into lather. Then I massaged it over my face and left it on for about a minute so that the Vitamin C could fully unlock its potency. At the end I just rinsed it off.
It sounded a bit more complicated with the booster but it actually wasn’t. The only issue I had with it was that the cap wasn’t really stable, not sure if I got a bad one or it’s the same with all but the cap has a significant role. At the beginning, you should leave the cap on and remove the foil that is on top. Then it’s time to firmly press twice the inner bulb. You hear a sound which proves that the Vitamin C powder is released into the emulsion. You can’t see it but you feel it. After that you have to shake 15 seconds (you should do this before every use, as well) to combine the powder with the emulsion. Make sure you hold the cap, otherwise, it gets messy and you lose quite a bit of product. Then you remove the cap and mix 2 drops of the booster with your regular moisturiser and apply it morning and evening. Like I said, I use it only in the mornings and I’m still using it two weeks later. It’s suggested not to apply it on its own, as it’s a booster, so I wasn’t brave enough to use it without mixing it with my day cream, especially because of my skin problem at the moment.
The serum has a slight metallic scent but when I add it to my cream, together they smell like orange juice which was quite unexpected for me.

Vitamin C is an ingredient that easily oxidises when it’s exposed to air which can make it ineffective, so the idea of keeping it always fresh sounds great. With this packaging Clinique tries to take the freshly pressed juice concept and turn it into a delivery system of fresh Vitamin C for your skin.

I wasn’t really sure if I could see major difference in the way my skin looked and felt just a week after using a skincare product. The first couple of days didn’t show any changes and I was a bit disappointed. 7 days are simply not enough to see huge results. And I have to tell you, if you use products with Vitamin C regularly, you probably won’t see any results. But after my basic skincare routine in the last months and the hyperpigmentation I’ve been dealing with, I can say, I noticed a difference. 7 days after using the powder cleanser and now over two weeks after using the booster (there’s definitely a lot more product in the vial even if you’re using it twice a day) my hyperpigmentation has faded a lot quicker than it normally does. My skin looks brighter and radiant and I can see it because I’m not wearing any makeup at the moment.

The downside is that some areas of my face got pretty dry and I don’t really need another drying product, considering Differin has been enough for me already. I also can’t report anything on the smoothing and reducing lines front because the time is simply too short to be able to see lifting and firming effect.

Overall, I liked it because it made me look healthier, my skin looks brighter and more radiant now and this is what I needed. If you haven’t used Vitamin C on your skin, you’ll probably notice a difference after 7 days like I did. But if you love your Vitamin C serums (usually the concentration there is higher), I don’t think there will be any visible changes. Also, 7 days are simply not enough if you expect a smoothing, tightening and firming effect.

So, it all depends on what you’re looking for. I’m happy with how much brighter and healthier my skin is looking after using the Clinique Fresh Pressed 7-Day System but I wish it didn’t dry it out that much.
Have you tried the Clinique Fresh Pressed 7-Day System?

Vichy Slow Âge Fluid SPF25

In a world filled with stress, pollution, sun damage, bad diet our skin can suffer just as much as our health. That’s why sometimes we need to slow down.
When I noticed the Vichy Slow Âge Fluid SPF25 a few months ago, my attention was grabbed by the promises for healthy skin, protected from the everyday harmful factors. I really wanted to share with you the pros and cons for me because it’s quite a popular skincare item. I have to say, I’ve been mostly using it in the warmer months and that might be the reason for the negative side of my experience but I’ll continue testing out the fluid in the fall/winter.

I really like the idea of Vichy Slow Âge Fluid SPF25 and the way it’s expressed because it’s not presented as an anti-ageing product but as one that aims to prevent premature ageing. The concept is inspired by the “Slow Movement” and doing everything at the right pace in order to achieve the best results. When it comes to skincare, this will mean protecting the skin for the longer term well-being.

First of all, the packaging of the Vichy Slow Âge Fluid SPF25 is stunning. It comes in a weighty glass bottle (not travel-friendly but it’s beautiful) with a lovely colour theme and a pump, it’s so simple yet so pretty. The glass isn’t transparent, so you can’t really tell how much product you have left.

My decision to pick up the fluid was made by the fact that I have combination skin and this is supposed to be a lighter version of the cream from the line that is suitable for drier skin types. The products from the range are paraben-free and hypoallergenic. The fluid formula combines three naturally active ingredients and broad spectrum filters. The active ingredients are Baïcalin, Bifidus and Vichy Thermal Spa Water.
Baïcalin is a powerful antioxidant which has roots traced back to traditional Chinese medicine. In combination with Vitamin C, Vitamin E and the SPF 25, it works to slow down and correct the signs of ageing by protecting the skin against daily pollutants and aggressors. Sadly, Baïcalin is at the end of the ingredient list which means the concentration is very low. Bifidus is the ‘good’ bacteria, it’s probiotic-derived and helps strengthen the skin’s barrier function against factors that may weaken it such as stress, UV and pollution. The Vichy Thermal Spa Water is rich in 15 minerals and helps rebalance the skin’s pH and improves the overall quality of the skin.
The product is not fragrance-free, so have that in mind in case you have sensitive skin. Vichy Slow Âge Fluid‘s fragrance was developed to mimic the fresh volcanic force of the Vichy mineral water and nature in general.

When I first looked at the texture of the fluid, it seemed quite thick to me but once I applied it on my face, I noticed how milky and lightweight it actually was. It absorbs quickly and gives a nice glow to the skin, feels nourishing and hydrating and smells amazing. But then the downside appears. The radiance is replaced by shine because of my combination skin, the makeup doesn’t apply that well on top of it and even my long-wearing foundations don’t last that much if I’ve used the fluid underneath. That’s why I like using it on days when I have to apply my makeup really quickly using less than 5 products or with no makeup at all.

I don’t think I can say something about the anti-ageing properties just a couple of months after using the product but I have to admit, my skin does look a bit brighter and more even now.

I love the concept and how Vichy Slow Âge Fluid SPF25 mousturises the skin while providing sun protection and  if I wear just a bit of concealer and mascara, it’s all ok. However, if I want to use foundation, I need to apply another moisturiser underneath my base. That’s why I’d like to try it again once the weather gets colder, hoping that it won’t interfere with my makeup and my T-zone will look less shiny. Also, Baïcalin is the ingredient that is the base of the brand’s campaign for the range but the quantity of it in the formula is actually very small. I like the fluid, just I can’t say I love it or at least not yet.