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.

 

Advertisements

Not for Me #4

Writing this post has been really hard for me, as I’m not only disappointed by the following products but my skin is still struggling to recover after using them. I haven’t felt so bad about my skin for years and although I’ve been prescribed topical antibiotics, I still have a long way to go in order to have my good skin condition back. At the moment, nothing seems to work for me, it may take months to recover and that sounds even more discouraging.

But let’s start with the less harmful product for me. Like I mentioned in my Sephora Haul blog post, the Caolion O2 Sparkling Purifying Soap has been an item I really wanted to try. And although it is supposed to be great for my skin type,  I was aware it might not be that good for me. And it’s simply because it contains Shea Butter and Coconut Oil, two ingredients that always break me out and it happened again. You can see what’s left from the soap. The claims are big, from purifying and exfoliating properties to sebum control, soothing and hydrating ones. The soap has a slight coconut scent, doesn’t dry out the skin but doesn’t feel too purifying either. I didn’t use it to take my makeup off but I always felt that I needed another product to cleanse my face with after using the soap. It didn’t tighten the pores and in fact I didn’t see any results. I know I got the miniature size but it was enough for more than 3 weeks and the only difference I could see was the appearance of spots. It just wasn’t meant to be and I’m happy I didn’t purchase the full size.

I love Bioderma and I use a lot of their products. About a month ago when I needed a new sunscreen, I saw this Photoderm AKN Mat SPF 30 Mattifying Fluid at the pharmacy. It is said that the cream is specially designed for people with oily/combination and blemish-prone skin. I’ve mentioned before that I find it really hard to discover a great sunscreen for my skin type because such creams are always quite heavy and thick, they leave me looking shiny and clog my pores. The product claims to prevent the appearance of blemishes, to mattify the skin and not to leave white traces. In fact, it did exactly the opposite for my skin. It feels chalky when I apply it, it makes me look like a ghost because the white residue is so strong, it does keep me shine-free for an hour or two but the makeup applies terribly on top of it. I tried and tried to make it work and I was so focused on doing it that I didn’t realise this was the product that I had bad reaction to. I thought it was just the hot weather, the travelling, my skin type… But this awful rash around my chin and neck areas appeared a few days after I began using the cream and I’m still having it but I was so convinced a product that fights against blemishes couldn’t be the reason for that. This is by far my biggest skincare disappointment, I’m still fighting with those terrible breakouts and the search for the best sunscreen for combination skin goes on.
If you have similar experience or an idea of a good sun protection product, please do share!

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.

Hair & Body Bits | Summer 2017

We often talk about skincare and makeup products we use during the summer but it seems that body and hair ones can be a bit neglected sometimes. Summer’s still here and my intentions are to keep enjoying it before the lack of sun comes upon us. The products I’m featuring today are great for the hot days because they combine the joy of pampering yourself and the care we need in the summer. Of course, I use some of them in the rest of the months, as well but I really love them for the season now.

Starting off with a face mist that I’m actually using on my body. Sun protection is very important all year round and especially in the summer. I’ve been away from Norway this year and I’ve been lucky to have a proper summer with over 38°C which can be very dangerous, too. Pixi Sun Mist SPF 30 is actually meant to be used on the face. It’s a very lightweight milky mist that I tried to use once on my face but it just sits a bit too shiny on my combination skin. Instead, I’ve been loving topping up the sunscreen on my arms when I’m out and about in the city. I don’t usually expose myself in the sun much but I love having this spray bottle in my handbag to be able to reapply the mist a few times a day. It’s only 80 ml, so it’s great for travelling, as well, it lasts a really long time, it’s very easy to apply and doesn’t feel sticky or unpleasant. The sun mist is formulated with Chamomile and Bamboo Extracts, has a lovely subtle scent and I love that it doesn’t leave streaks even on my black clothes.

And while we’re on the mists topic, I’d like to mention the Avène Thermal Spring Water. I have all sizes of it in every room and handbag, I use it on my face and body all the time. It’s very soothing and cooling, I also love spritzing it before applying my facial and body oils so that they can spread more evenly.
One of these oils is the Tom Ford Soleil Blanc Body Oil which I shared with you last month in this post. It’s a special gift from my better half while we were on holiday and it’s a great way to moisturise your body even if you don’t like doing it in the summer. This body oil is a treat and it’s a great pleasure to use, the texture is beautiful, the scent is warm and sultry, it’s simply divine.

I’ve been trying many new hair products in the past few months but there are a couple that are my absolute favourites. I’m thinking about preapring a separate blog post on this Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Shampoo because there’s a lot I can say about it. I didn’t know I could find Living Proof products around me but one day I went into a lovely store, noticed the brand and picked up this shampoo, they also had the cutest Living Proof minis. This shampoo gives my hair amazing shine and body, tames the frizz and my scalp loves it. It’s really gentle because it’s sulphate-free but lathers up quite well, so you don’t end up feeling like you haven’t washed your hair. It actually cleanses my hair thoroughly but without stripping it. I noticed that many people hate the smell, I really like it, it reminds me of Aura Botanica by Kérastase but it’s a personal preference, so go give it a sniff first in case you’re interested.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I coloured my hair for the first time this year and I was lucky to be able to test out a product that is now one of my favourite ones out there. Kérastase Soleil Aqua Seal* is a fluid cream for sun-exposed, sensitised, colour-treated hair. It comes with a pump which makes it really easy to dispense the right amount of product, it’s very lighweight and doesn’t leave my hair sticky, it also smells incredible. I use the CC Cream from the range, as well but I’d like to think that Aqua Seal* is my hair serum because it makes my hair very strong, shiny, soft, smooth and nourished. In the summer my hair tends to get ginger/red tones because of the sun but this year, it looks totally different and I wish I knew about this product before.

I love all of these products and I feel like I’ve found the perfect summer bits this year. I’m curious to know more about your summer body and hair essentials.

*PR Sample

Worth the Splurge? | Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Mood Exposure

 


Luxury makeup can be really tempting for many of us. But I rarely purchase products on impulse whether they’re budget or high-end ones. As much as I love collecting beauty products, the most important thing for me is to be able to use these products and to actually have them in my daily routine.

Hourglass is a brand I’ve always been curious about but somehow, never available around me. When I saw their counter in Sephora while I was in Italy, I couldn’t help myself and began swatching everything. Sadly, the lighting in the store was terrible, so I couldn’t really see proper shades and textures but I can tell you that all of their powders are stunning. What caught my eye was the new colour range of the Ambient Strobe Lighting Blushes (Euphoric Fusion is such a gorgeous shade) and the bronzers, the shades were incredibly beautiful but surprisingly, way too shimmery. I think the new line and its glittery formula are more appropriate for a night out and probably that was the idea of the brand when creating them, just they didn’t look like my cup of tea. That’s why I ended up swatching the original Ambient Lighting Blushes and I fell in love with Mood Exposure, a beautiful warm rosy plum shade with a satiny finish. It looks a bit darker in the pan but it’s a bit more vibrant on me.

My boyfriend really wanted to get it for me but I was put off by the price tag and considering how similar the blush looked to my favourite Max Factor Creme Puff Blush in 10 Nude Mauve, I wasn’t convinced. However, he just decided to get it for me and after a month of using the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Mood Exposure, I wanted to share with you whether I think it’s worth splurging on it.

Unfortunately, I don’t have my Max Factor Creme Puff Blush to show you side by side how similar the colours look. The texture of both products is incredibly soft, silky, finely-milled and blends beautifully on the skin. The Hourglass Blush looks a bit powdery in the pan but doesn’t actually apply powdery or cakey on the skin. Mood Exposure has a subtle sheen (the Max Factor seems a bit more shimmery but not glittery at all and still amazingly beautiful) that doesn’t make the pores look more prominent and gives a healthy, glowing finish.

The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Mood Exposure is really pigmented and I have to use a light hand when applying it which means it’s going to last me a very long time. I love the pretty packaging, it’s also stable and compact and has a mirror inside. I simply adore this blush and I actually really want a palette and the bronzers now. Thanks a lot, Hourglass!

For me, it’s definitely worth treating yourself to this beautiful blush or any of their powders. The shade range is gorgeous, the texture is amazing and you can just see how good the quality of the product is even before swatching it. I’m also really happy that I picked up Mood Exposure because I’m using it almost every day and the shade would look beautiful in any time of the year.

Advertisements

The Lovely Little Bits

Advertisements