Category Archives: Skincare

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.

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Skincare Update | January 2017

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Now that winter is in full swing (it’s -18°C at the moment!), my skincare routine needs a bit of a boost. I actually added these products to my regimen a few weeks ago but I wanted to wait a bit before talking about them.

Superdrug Clearly Youthful Resurfacing Night Serum was a random purchase and a totally unknown product for me that turned out to be a huge love! The serum comes in a clear plastic bottle with a pipette applicator but I think it would have been better to have a pump. However, this gem is cruelty-free, 100% vegan and I believe it was less than £5. It’s meant to be anti-blemish and youth-boosting solution that contains spot-fighting Salicylic Acid, anti-shine Cimicifuga and anti-ageing complex of Lactic Acid, Phytoprotein and Polyglycan. I use it 3-4 times a week just because I don’t want to use it up really quickly (I wish I’d taken 5 more bottles!) and I have to say, it does make a difference to my skin. It definitely looks more plump and healthy, it’s clearer and my hyperpigmentation is visibly minimised. I’m really impressed by Superdrug Clearly Youthful Resurfacing Night Serum and I can’t wait to stock up on it next time I have the chance.
Active ingredients list:
Salicylic Acid – BHA that decongests and eliminates spot-causing bacteria;
Lactic Acid – AHA that helps skin cell renewal;
Phytoprotein – Helps nourish and moisturise the skin;
Cimicifuga – Helps regulate sebum production and tighten pores;
Polyglycan – Delivers an anti-ageing, skin restructuring and moisturising effect;
Glycolic Acid – AHA which helps to retexturise skin’s surface;
Bioactive Tetrapeptide – Boosts collagen;
Red Algae Extract – Has anti-pigmenting properties to even out the skin tone.

The moisturiser I’ve been using lately is by Rodial and it’s their Dragon’s Blood SPF 15 Hyaluronic Moisturiser. I’d like to quickly mention that here they use an airless technology to keep the product fresh and sometimes it needs a really good shake to dispense the cream.
Dragon’s blood complex is a unique and powerful tree sap extract that comforts the skin. It’s meant to rejuvenate the skin, boost hydration and improve tonicity.
This cream is supposed to be good for people with dry skin but I have combination skin and I don’t find it greasy or heavy. It gives me the right amount of hydration without breaking me out or making me look shiny. My skin looks brighter and fresher, the moisturiser smells really nice and it’s great for the winter time.

Nuxe is a brand I really like, so when I finally had the chance to take a look at their Bio-Beauté by Nuxe brand (95% minimum ingredients of natural origin), my eye got caught by several products. Unfortunately, the peach lip balm was sold out and I still can’t find it but I saw a tester of their Vitamin-Rich Detox Mask with Orange Water and the scent was zesty and just divine. I purchased it and used it the same evening. Since then I’ve been using it twice a week and I can’t wait to try more products from the brand. I really don’t like when beauty products have “detox” in their names but if we set this aside, the mask itself is brilliant because it’s purifying but hydrating at the same time. The texture is light and gel-like and when you put it on the skin, it feels refreshing. Then I leave it on for 5-10 minutes and then I start massaging it in my skin which turns the gel into an oil and feels really relaxing. Then I wash it off with warm water, it is really easy because it’s no longer an oil but a milky emulsion. My skin gets incredibly soft, radiant and hydrated. I wouldn’t say it’s the most purifying face mask for my combination skin but it’s great for the winter days when I don’t want to use a clay mask more than once a week.

Last but not least, a product that the whole family would love.  La Roche-Posay Lipikar Fluide is a moisturiser that also soothes and protects the skin. Some of you may know I’ve been dealing with irritated skin because of different medicines and I needed something for my body, especially my shoulders and back. There are tons of body moisturisers for very dry skin but they just didn’t fit into my idea when it comes to soothing and protecting the skin. The rest of the products that seemed decent were in smaller sizes (meant to be used on face and not body), so I was very happy to see La Roche-Posay Lipikar Fluide and its promises. The formula is fragrance- and paraben-free, the bottle has a pump which is another big plus for me, the texture is so light and absorbs so quickly that the first night I used it, I almost thought it wouldn’t be enough to give me the hydration I needed. However, on the next day I woke up to the softest and most comfortable-feeling skin ever and I’m not even exaggerating. I’ve never had such soft and hydrated skin on my upper body. Now I’m on the hunt for the 400 ml bottle because I got the last 200 ml one at the pharmacy and I can’t recommend this mosituriser enough to those of you who need something with soothing properties. It can also be used on the face but I’ve tried applying it only on my body.

I would be curious to know if you’ve tried any of these products and what’s your experience with them.

Bioderma Sensibio Gel Moussant

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Another skincare review, another French pharmacy product. It’s just what I’ve been trying lately and also, what my skin needed, apparently.

I’ve been using Bioderma Sensibio Gel Moussant for over a month now and I really wanted to share more about it because I think it’s a great morning cleanser for the winter time. I say morning cleanser just because I prefer something a bit more balmy or creamy for my evening cleanse.

First of all, it’s called ‘foaming gel’ but it doesn’t really foam up which is great, it just kind of emulsifies and feels very gentle on the skin. The product comes in a cute pink bottle with a pump that makes it very easy to dispense.

I have combination skin that tends to get a bit of redness around the cheek area, T-zone is shiny but dehydrated and the rest of the face can be even dry. Bioderma Sensibio Gel Moussant is specially designed to help sensitive skin prone to rosacea and redness, leaving it clean and fresh but also, hydrated.
You might have seen the post where I shared that I’ve been trying to bring back my skin to its normal condition for months because of all sorts of medicines that I was prescribed and I have to say, this gel has been one of my saviours. It just calms my skin and purifies it but without being aggressive. The formula is soap-, fragrance-, colourant- and paraben-free and is enriched with Coco Glucoside that mimics the skin structure for lipid-restoring and moisturising properties.

After I use the Bioderma Sensibio Gel Moussant, my skin feels comfortable, clean and soothed. There isn’t that feeling of needing to apply a moisturiser right after cleansing your face because it’s strippied and dry. I’m just left with soft and hydrated skin.

I really want to find a travel size of this gel because it’s so gentle and soothing that it would be perfect to have whenever I travel and my skin starts freaking out thanks to all the changes. If you have sensitive, dry, combination, irritated or blemish-prone skin, I’d suggest you find a mini of Bioderma Sensibio Gel Moussant and try it. I needed less than two weeks to see results and I’ll keep using it in the winter.

Avène Cicalfate Repair Cream

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I’ve been wrongly prescribed an excessive amount of antibiotics this year which resulted in many internal and external issues. My skin has been suffering a lot and I was told by specialists that I’d probably need about six more months to sort it all out.

In order to bring everything back to normal, I’ve been trying to simplify my skincare routine and to incorporate more pharmacy skincare products into it. Most of them are known for me, I’ve used them before and I trust them but I found the Avène Cicalfate Repair Cream randomly. I needed something to calm my irritated skin, to be purifying but to also feel soothing, have anti-bacterial properties and to be suitable to use on both, face and body. I found out that most of the French pharmacy brands had similar products but one of the points was always missing and Avène Cicalfate Repair Cream promised everything I needed.

It has thick consistency but it’s not hard to apply it and a little goes a long way. Feels a bit greasy at first but soaks in well. I use a small amount twice a day, especially if it’s on the face because the thicker texture can make the make-up sit a bit bad on top of it. This cream contains thermal water to soothe, soften and calm the skin and Copper -Zinc Sulphate Complex that is purifying and anti-bacterial.

My skin tends to scar quite easily, I get this post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation that can take months to heal but with this cream it starts to fade much quicker (especially if it’s a recent one) while also calming active breakouts. It reduces the redness, as well and stops the itching and burning feeling that sometimes may occur. Avène Cicalfate Repair Cream can also be used on lips, scratches, cracked skin, after hair removal or laser procedures and even on babies with nappy rash.

I use a lot more skincare products than this one, of course but it is an excellent healing cream for me and I can’t recommend it enough. In the past few months, I’ve done many purchases like this as an act of desperation but it’s great that the majority turned out to be successful and hopefully, they would help some of you, as well.

L’Oréal Pure-Clay Masks

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Today’s post is about probably the most popular face masks in the past few months, the L’Oréal Pure-Clay Masks. Some of you may know that I’ve been struggling with my skin condition for a few weeks now, so I was really excited to try these masks. As a clay mask fan, I had high hopes for them and I have to say, I’m incredibly surprised because they did much more than I expected! Even the people around me started telling me how radiant and smoother my skin looked.

The masks come in glass jars and each pot contains 50 ml product, it’s written that you can get about 10 uses from each pot. There are three types of clays with different ingredients to achieve different skincare benefits. The three clays are: Kaolin (which is known to absorb impurities and excess sebum), Montmorillonite (eliminates imperfections) and Ghassoul (clarifies).
It’s suggested to apply a thin layer on cleansed face, avoiding the eye area, leave it on for 10-15 minutes and then remove.
The face masks all smell quite strong, personally, I don’t find it unpleasant, I quite like the scents but if you’re too sensitive, you should have that in mind.

I feel like the L’Oréal Pure-Clay Masks have different names everywhere but in Norway they’re called: Purify Mask* (green), Glow Mask* (grey), and Exfo Mask* (red).

Purify Face Mask* (It’s called Purity in the UK) – This face mask contains three pure clays and also Eucalyptus to purify the skin. You can really feel the Eucalyptus scent when you apply it. The Purify Face Mask* has a nice creamy texture that is really easy to apply. I prefer to use this one mainly on my T-zone, as it can be a bit drying on my cheeks. There is a slight tingling and cooling sensation which is very nice and soothing. This is the most difficult one to wash off, in my opinion but I love the effect of it. It leaves my skin mattified and really soft.

Glow Face Mask* (Detox in the UK) – The charcoal one and probably my favourite of all three. It’s easy to apply, I use it all over my face, it doesn’t dry out my skin and just makes it luminous and super clean. It draws out all the impurities, it feels tight when it dries but doesn’t make my face feel stripped after removing it. I’m just left with replenished and luminous skin. Love this face mask and I use it up to three times a week.

Exfo Face Mask* (Glow in the UK) – This face mask contains Red Algae which is known for its brightening properties. I’ve actually heard some negative reviews about it but so far, I haven’t experienced anything bad or disappointing with this face mask. I quite enjoy using it once a week all over my face because it’s creamy but also slightly gritty and acts like an exfoliant. Contrary to what I’ve read, for me this is an easy to wash off face mask that leaves my skin toned and with refined texture.

I’m really happy I got the chance to try all the three L’Oréal Pure-Clay Masks and I will definitely repurchase once I’ve run out. They are now some of my favourite and most-used face masks not only from the drugstore but in general. The glass packaging feels luxurious, the product itself is amazing and I’m in love with the face masks. They are great on their own, it’s also quite fun multi-masking with them. Me and mum often have these pamper sessions on weekends and we enjoy applying different masks on different areas of our faces. She loves the masks, as well, although we have different skin types.

Have you tried these products and do you have a favourite L’Oréal Pure-Clay Mask?

*PR Samples