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2017 Beauty Favourites

Here it is, the last day of the year! I remember how at this time last year, I was hoping this one to be good and happy but it turned out to be one of the most difficult and sad years for me and my loved ones. In fact, the past couple of years have been very tough, so I think it’s finally time for something more cheerful and happy! And I hope you’re going to welcome 2018 in the best possible way!

I like taking a look back at what beauty bits I’ve been loving throughout the year because as we try a lot of products, sometimes we forget what works best on us. Like I recently mentioned, I don’t have that many favourite products this year. I’ve been struggling with skin issues since July, I’ve never had such problems before and it’s been quite challenging to find what’s best for my skin. At the same time, most of my favourite beauty items have been discovered in the second half of the year. But let’s just take a look at them.
Skincare Products

I’ve been setting aside micellar water quite a bit in 2017. It’s usually my preferred product when it comes to taking off the majority of my makeup, so that I can cleanse better afterwards with one or two cleansers. But as my skin problems started, I was suggested to try using it less. However, there has been one micellar water that I’ve been really liking. Simple Kind To Skin Micellar Water is very affordable and really gentle. It contains Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) which is anti-inflammatory and although I always wash my face after using micellar water, I can see the difference. I know that it is combination of products that make the difference but if I want to use a gentle micellar water, it would be this one. I also like that it doesn’t leave a sticky residue and doesn’t dry out my skin.

Just like last year, there are two cleansers that I’ve been absolutely in love with. I haven’t used the Avène Cleanance Cleansing Gel for Face and Body for a couple of months but it has been a true saviour in the summer months right after my problems began. It is soap-free and it feels incredibly calming on my skin. It doesn’t strip my skin, it doesn’t leave it feeling tight or itchy. It contains Monolaurin to reduce excess oil, Zinc Gluconate to calm redness and irritation and Avène Thermal Spring Water to soothe, soften and calm the skin. You can read more about this and one more cleansing gel that really impressed me in the warmer months here.
The second cleanser that I wanted to mention is actually my autumn/winter face wash. First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser is more of a cream cleanser which initially scared me but luckily, it doesn’t clog my pores. It’s fragrance- and sulphate-free and feels very mild on the skin. It’s feels a bit richer than my other favourite cleansers and I think it’s great for this time of the year.

Facial mists have always played a very special role in my skincare routine. There are so many that I love that I’d need a separate post to talk about them (I actually have a refined edit of some here) but I wanted to mention two La Roche-Posay products. I’m not sure how many times Serozinc has been featured on my blog but when you love something, you just can’t hide it. It mattifies the skin without drying it out and still leaves a healthy glow, it heals blemishes and feels really soothing. La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water Spray (not pictured above) and Avène Thermal Spring Water help me a lot when my skin feels a bit more dehydrated and they work well before applying facial oil. Thermal water sprays are a staple for me, as they can also be used on irritations, sunburn, rashes and I basically, have all sizes everywhere around me.

I admit, I collect too many lip balms, I love lip balms and I want to try all of them but I simply adore Dior Lip Glow and I can’t wait to see the new finishes for spring 2018 in January. When they came out with a Berry shade, I was more than happy because it was the shade that was missing. But when they added the Lip Sugar Scrub to the family and it ended up sold out everywhere, it changed my mind about lip scrubs being messy and hard to use. It’s a lip balm and lip scrub in one and it also leaves a beautiful hint of tint. It feels very gentle on the lips but it does exfoliate them and it’s very comfortable to use, it just looks and feels like you’re applying a lip balm. You can read my full review on these two brilliant products here.

Makeup Products

This is the category that usually contains the largest number of products but this year and especially, the second half of it, I haven’t been wearing much makeup. I was suggested by a dermatologist to try skipping the foundation step as often as I can (by the way, Dior Forever is still my favourite foundation, so no change there) and I’ve been mostly using mascara, concealer, light powder and lipstick. So, these are basically, my favourite makeup items in 2017.
I spent good 7 months trying to track down the NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer and I’ve been using it only for about two but I already know that it’s amazing. I have really dark circles under my eyes, I’ve always been like this, there’s nothing I can do about it, so that’s why I’m always on the hunt for the best concealer out there. Coverage isn’t the only feature that makes it a brilliant concealer. But there’s something about pot concealers although most of us aren’t the biggest fans of dipping their fingers in the tiny pots. They just seem to have a bit more creamy consistency and higher coverage. What makes NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer stand out is the shade range, the fact that it almost doesn’t crease and feels creamy at the same time, it sets to a matte but not flat finish and it’s really easy to blend, it doesn’t feel drying and the coverage is medium and buildable. I use it on my dark circles or to hide some imperfections around the face and it works great both ways.

Even when I don’t use foundation, I like to apply a bit of powder because I tend to get shiny in the middle of the day but also, powders can have blurring effect. There are powders that don’t just mattify the skin but they also leave a beautiful glow to it and make you look a bit more healthy. This is the case with La Mer Sheer Pressed Powder in Translucent* that I was lucky to receive for reviewing. It is a gorgeous powder, indeed. It is so soft and finely-milled that it’s hard to believe it’s real. I really don’t feel it on my skin when I use it and I have to check in the mirror if it’s there but even then, I see radiant skin. The coverage is quite sheer, it’s not a powder foundation, after all but it just leaves a healthy veil, thanks to the light-reflecting pigments that create a soft blurring effect. The powder also has skincare properties and it’s really noticeable now that we’re in the colder months. Some powders can dry out the skin but this one leaves it nourished and glowing.

Mauve shades are usually supposed to be worn mostly in the autumn/winter but I love them all year round and my blush of choice for the past 5-6 months, has been the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Mood Exposure. I adore my Max Factor Creme Puff Blush in 10 Nude Mauve but I really wanted to try this beautiful shade from Hourglass. After sharing my love for the La Mer product, I have to say this is another soft, finely-milled and simply gorgeous powder. It blends beautifully on the skin and I’ve been using it for so long but it still looks like brand new which is great. I have a full review on this blush here.

Maybe because I’ve been mostly wearing mascaras or maybe there have been just many brilliant ones out there but I feel like 2017 gave us some amazing mascaras. My personal favourites are Lancôme Monsieur Big Mascara and MAC Bold & Bad Lash*. The first one was initially sent to me by the brand and I loved it so much that I purchased another one. And I don’t usually get a second tube of mascara with a bristle brush. It’s very easy to work with the big and thick brush, the formula isn’t clumpy, at all, it isn’t too wet or too dry, it’s perfect. I love that it doesn’t smudge or flake and by the end of the day, it still looks amazing. Monsieur Big separates and volumises my lashes, it doesn’t irritate my sensitive eyes and I’ve done a full review on the whole Monsieur Big range here.
What can be better than a good mascara? Two good mascaras…in one tube! MAC Bold & Bad Lash*  has two mascara brushes with two different formulas in one packaging and they both do a fantastic job at volumising the lashes but with just the right amount of volume. The small brush makes it very easy to control the amount of product you want to use on your lower lashes and as a person who normally doesn’t like to wear mascara on the bottom lashes, I love this one. Also, the one designed for the upper lashes holds the curl really well and lasts all day without flaking and smudging. In case you’re interested, here’s my review on this mascara.

The hardest part of this post for me was choosing my favourite lipsticks because I simply cannot commit to wearing just one or two. But I managed to pick three. Burt’s Bees lip balms are some of my favourite ones out there, so when the brand launched their 100% natural lipsticks, I couldn’t wait to try them. Sadly, we had to wait pretty long to get them here in Norway but the brand kindly sent over a preview and I’ve been enjoying them since the spring. 530 Lily Lake* is a beautiful mauve pink and there are so many shades to choose from, the packaging is really pretty and is made of 60% recycled material. The colours are very opaque, the texture is creamy and easy to apply and they feel really nice, hydrating and balmy. They’re not the most long-lasting lipsticks but they’re definitely good ones.
Tom Ford lipsticks are finally available outside Oslo and the shade Indian Roseis the perfect pinky rose colour. Obviously, I use the other side of the bullet because I wear it all the time and want to keep the TF for as long as possible. At first, I was surprised by how long-wearing the lipstick was, considering it is quite creamy and non-drying. There’s a slight shimmer running through when you look at the bullet but it doesn’t really show up on the lips, it just makes them look more plump. It’s a beautiful lipstick and I’m really happy to have it in my collection.
Role Play by Marc Jacobs is another lipstick that I really wanted to have, I know they’re all part of the same shade family but I just love such rose pink nude nuances. But texture-wise, this Marc Jacobs lipstick is nothing like my other lipsticks. It’s a gel lipstick and it’s hard for me to explain exactly how it feels, it’s moisturising, it’s not balmy but still glides on the lips easily. It’s quite unique and I really like that it’s a mini, I love mini products in general but also, the chance to use them up at one point rather than just collecting them, is much bigger.

Body and Hair Products

This is a tiny category but I wanted to mention a few products that I really love. First of all, the Rituals Foaming Shower Gels are some of the best-smelling and luxurious body products I’ve seen. When you dispense the product into your hand, it looks like gel but water transforms it into a rich and creamy foam. They’re such a pleasure to use and me and my boyfriend always have a few bottles at home.
Unfortunately, I don’t have my favourite body oil with me at the moment but I just can’t miss the opportunity to say a few words about it. I have a full review on the gorgeous Tom Ford Soleil Blanc Body Oil here and it was actually, my summer body moisturiser, mainly because of the scent but regardless, it is a beautiful body oil. It’s silky and luxurious, it feels amazing on the body, it’s nourishing and the scent is divine, warm and sultry.
Last but not least, there’s only one product pictured above but the entire Kérastase Aura Botanica range (I have a detailed review on each product here) is a dream. I was initially sent the whole line but since then, I’ve repurchased most of the products several times and I need to stock up on them again. Even if I’m on a place with hard water, these products help me get shiny and beautiful hair, they smell lovely and they are silicone-, sulphate- and paraben-free.

That’s it for my beauty favourites of the year! I wish you safe and happy celebrations tonight and a wonderful 2018, be good and do good!

*PR Samples


Empties #17

As we’re approaching the end of the month and the year, here’s another portion of empty products.

Skincare and Makeup Products

Zdrave Acne Stop Micellar Water – This one was too fragranced and not that effective, won’t repurchase but I like other products from the range;
Estée Lauder Double Wear Long-Wear Makeup Remover Wipes – They are oil-infused which makes taking off makeup quite easy, they feel a bit more dry and at first I didn’t think they could remove makeup that well but they actually do. I like taking them away with me when I travel;
Avène Cleanance Cleansing Gel – One of my favourite cleansers, it’s gentle but purifying, it’s soap-free and mild. I’d recommend it if you have combination or oily skin and you struggle with blemishes sometimes;
Zdrave Acne Stop Cleansing Gel – I actually have a full review on these two cleansing gels here, this is another amazing budget soap-free cleanser;
Clinique Pep-Start 2-in-1 Exfoliating Cleanser – I love Clinique but this range is such a hit and miss. Sadly, this was a disappointing product for me and I ended up using it as a body polisher. It just didn’t do much for my face, plus, because of my skin issues at the moment, I’m trying to avoid cleansers that contain sulphates;
Zdrave Acne Stop Lotion – Sadly, this one contains alcohol but I quite liked it because of the Salicylic Acid. It calms my troubled skin and I already have a second bottle of it;
Armina Bio Organic Chamomile Water – Floral waters are a huge love of mine, they make my skin soft and hydrated. Chamomile water is also very good for me when my eyes are tired or a bit red, I soak two cotton pads and place them over my eyes for some minutes. It’s been helping us with our cats, as well, especially with one that is blind and needs his eyes cleaned once or twice a day and everything else is too harsh and drying. So, this is not only a skincare gem, it’s simply great to have it at home;
Pixi Skintreats Glow Mud Mask – That’s a great skincare find for me, need a full size now because I love how quick and easy to use it is and I don’t need hours to wash it off, as it doesn’t get so dry and tight like most mud masks do;
Argiletz Laboratories Pink Clay Face Mask – A lovely purifying but also hydrating face mask perfect for my troubled skin because it doesn’t dry it out. Too bad it didn’t last that long but it’s definitely a nice one and I’d repurchase or try some of the other clay masks from the brand;
KICKS Drink Up Instant Moisture Mask – This is the second tube I have from this mask because it’s lightweight but hydrating and sometimes I need a bit more moisture because of the Differin I’ve been using for a month or so. The brand’s face masks were initially sent to me to try, so if you want to read a full review, here’s a link to it;
Balea Aqua Hydrating Sheet Mask – I’m seeing so many different reviews and opinions on this face mask but I personally love it. It’s cooling, hydrating, comfortable to wear and it’s very affordable. I’ve stocked up on it, as I can’t find it in many countries;
Dr. Jart + Clearing Solution – Really enjoyed using it because it calmed my blemishes without drying my skin out. There were about 10-15 ml of the solution left in the sachet which I used as a serum afterwards, I just decanted it into a glass bottle with a pipette and used it at night when my skin looked a bit spotty;
Purederm Deep Purifying Black O2 Bubble Mask – The sensation was strange, it wasn’t that nice and I didn’t see any results. Too bad because Purederm have some really nice products;
Balea Beauty Effect Eye Gel-Pads – They feel cooling and hydrating thanks to the Hyaluronic Acid, they’re fragrance-free and I’d love to use them now, actually;
L’Oréal Revitalift Laser Renew Eye – Applicator feels great in the morning because it’s a bit cold, it’s comfortable to dispense the amount of product you need and feels firming after a few weeks of using it;
No7 Beautiful Skin Overnight Revitalising Eye Balm – Too bad it’s an underrated brand because they have some amazing skincare products and this is one of them. It’s moisturising but it’s also really nice if you’re having tired eyes, it feels soothing and a bit cooling;
Balea Vital Eye and Lip Contour Balm – I didn’t use this one around my lips and the range is actually suggested for more mature skin but some of the products are lovely and I wanted to try more. I like to use this balm during the colder months because it makes the skin under my eyes much softer and hydrated;
Bioderma Sébium Pore Refiner – I have mixed feelings towards this product but I feel like I just can’t make it work for me. There’s a post with my thoughts on it here;
Eucerin Sun Fluid SPF 50 – Well, Eucerin products are simply lovely, I still haven’t found an item from them that’s disappointing. I’ve been having a lot of problems with finding a sunscreen that doesn’t clog my pores and luckily, this was one that didn’t cause more issues for my skin;
Weleda Skin Food – A must-have in every home! Great ingredients list, fantastic soothing and nourishing properties, cult product that doesn’t need any further explanation;
MAC Instacurl Lash MascaraMAC mascaras are sometimes terrible on my lashes but when they’re good, they simply rock. This has been a favourite for months, it’s my second tube of it, I don’t have a third because I found even better ones (one is from MAC again) but one day, I’ll be surely going back to this one because it gives me great separation and curl;
Estée Lauder Sumptuous Extreme Mascara – You can tell I love well-separated lashes, as this is another volumising and separating mascara. It’s really long-lasting and doesn’t smudge and this was probably my third tube of it;
Aura Correct Me! Concealer – A lovely budget concealer that I’m quite sad I didn’t get a back up of. It has medium coverage, it’s creamy and works just as well under the eyes or around the face. Need to repurchase;

Hair Products

Bochko Lavender Baby Shampoo – I’ve been testing out so many new haircare products that I can’t finish up any but I’ve been loving this baby shampoo, it’s sulphate-free, makes my hair really soft and shiny, has a delicate scent and I now have to stock up whenever I’m in my home country;
Kérastase Aura Botanica Gentle Aromatic Shampoo and Kérastase Oil Mist – Both of these products are repurchases and the latter is not featured on the photo because I just used it up but I have to say, Aura Botanica is one of my favourite haircare ranges and I’d rather leave you my reviews on every single one of the products from the line here;
Alverde Fig Body Butter – This was part of a set of three mini body butters and I grabbed it first because I love fig scents. Unfortunately, it doesn’t smell like figs to me, at all but it’s not an unpleasant scent. Also, Alverde body butters always have nice texture and hydrating properties, so I’m happy that I could try it;
Rituals The Ritual of Dao Bed & Body Mist – Another mini from a set. I use Rituals mists only to spritz our bedsheets with because they’re a little bit different from most bed mists, they don’t actually smell of Lavender (which I love but sometimes I like to switch it up a bit) and I think it could be a nice change.

These are all my recent empties and I feel like next time I’ll be featuring some cute minis from my beauty advent calendars that I’m already so excited to start opening!

Empties #16

I’ve used up some beauty products again and I thought I’d share with you a bit more on them.

Skincare and Makeup Products

L’Oréal Micellar Water for Sensitive and Dry Skin – I got a big bottle of this one, hoping it would be very good, especially considering it’s meant to be suitable even for sensitive skin. Unfortunately, it stings my eyes, it’s tough to remove mascara (although I try not to use micellar water around my eyes) and it leaves some residue on the skin. I always wash my face after taking my makeup off but it’s just not a pleasant feeling;
Clarins Anti-Pollution Cleansing Milk – This, on the other hand, is really mild yet effective and simply lovely to use. It has a beautiful and delicate scent, it doesn’t irritate my eyes, feels soft on the skin and the mini was great for travelling;
Avène Cleanance Cleansing Gel – One of my favourite cleansing gels at the moment. It’s soap-free, it’s suitable for blemish-prone skin, it can be used on both, face and body and you can read more details on my experience with the product here;
Avène Thermal Spring Water – This summer has been so hot and I really like it but it’s been a bit too much for my skin. This thermal water is not only cooling but also soothing and refreshing. I’ve used up more than 4 bottles of it in the past few months and now I’m halfway through a huge one that would probably be the last one for the season. I just don’t seem to reach for thermal water sprays in the colder months or at least not so often;
La Roche-Posay Serozinc – Another mist but this time specially designed to help healing blemishes and mattifying the skin. I’ve mentioned so many times that I love this product, it’s been featured on my blog multiple times and I will keep repurchasing it;
Balea Active Charcoal Sheet Mask – This is my favourite affordable sheet mask for days when I need ingredients like Salicylic Acid and Zinc. It’s lovely to use, it helps reducing the redness caused by blemishes, it also heals them a lot quicker and I always try to have a few of this sheet mask in my skincare stash;
Origins Flower Fusion Raspberry Sheet Mask – The Flower Fusion Sheet Masks are still not mentioned much in the community but in case you’re curious about them, I shared my opinion and experience here. The Raspberry one is probably my favourite of all because it’s perfect for my combination skin, it’s really refreshing and contains vitamins and antioxidants;
Superdrug Simply Pure Hydrating Serum – This is one of my favourite budget-friendly hydrating serums although there’s another one I like just a little bit more. This is my second bottle of it, I think I purchased about 5 when I was in London simply because I can find it only in the UK. My skin is hydrated, plump and radiant when I’m using this little gem;
Eucerin DermoPURIFYER Day Cream – I haven’t talked about this cream in a long time but it still must be the one that holds the record for being in Empties posts the most. I can use it in the summer or winter and it will still be effective. It’s soothing, hydrating without being greasy, absorbs quickly, regulates sebum production and I’d recommend checking it out if you have oily/combination and blemish-prone skin;
Estée Lauder Revitalising Supreme + – This is just a beautiful product. The mini of 15 ml is great for travelling but it actually lasts a really long time. The cream visibly makes the skin look smoother, more radiant and firm. Sometimes it can be a bit too rich for my skin but mum has dry skin and she absolutely loves it;
Nuxe Rêve de Miel Ultra Comforting Night Cream – Another product that is actually mum’s but I occasionally steal and use when my skin is very dry and dehydrated. The texture is rich, so I don’t use a lot on my combination skin but it’s still enough to make me look more fresh on the next day. It feels nourishing and leaves the skin plump and soft, I also love the scent because it’s nice but not too overpowering;
Vichy Dermablend Corrective Resurfacing Active Foundation 16HR and Fluid Corrective Foundation 16HR – Both of these are great for covering acne or scarring, redness, blemishes. I’m happy I had the chance to try both although the first one is too thick for me, it’s just heavy and difficult to work with on my skin, it feels more like a mousse and the shades look a bit too dark. The fluid one is a foundation I’m thinking about getting full size of because it’s really easy to use, it has great coverage although I don’t usually wear such high coverage bases and it just hides everything I would want to hide when I have bad skin days;
Dior Forever Cushion – I love Dior Forever range, the Forever fluid foundation is my all-time favourite foundation, it’s brilliant and I can talk about it for days. Its cushion for came in handy during my travels, it has different texture but it’s still long-lasting. You can read more here but the only thing I didn’t like is the fact that it didn’t last very long. It’s quite pricey and I like that you can purchase a refill but I wish it lasted longer;
Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara – I think this is a second tube of this mascara I’ve used up although it’s not my favourite one. And that is simply because the formula is too wet for my taste. I don’t hate it, I quite like it because it makes my lashes fluttery but there’s just something missing;
Bourjois Volume 1 Seconde Mascara Ultra BlackBourjois have amazing mascaras and this is great one, it gives me volume, separation, length and it’s super black;

Body Products

Lancôme La Vie Est Belle Shower Gel and Body Lotion Travel Duo – I love the fragrance, I have several of its variations and this mini duo was part of a set along with the perfume. The whole bathroom remained fragranced with this beautiful scent every time I used the two products and I really enjoyed the experience;
KICKS Lemongrass Sugar Scrub with Argan Oil – One of my favourite body scrubs. In case you want to read more about it, take a look at this blog post;
Yves Rocher Cranberry and Almond Body Lotion – This body lotion was part of the brand’s Christmas collection last year and it took me a long time to use it up because I always seemed to find myself applying other body moisturisers. Not that I didn’t like this one but it can be a bit too light sometimes when my skin is more dry and dehydrated;
Clinique Mineral Sunscreen Body Lotion SPF 30 – This is my second bottle of this sunscreen, I loved using it every summer morning when I had to go out in the garden and take care of the kitties we adopt. Most of them have health issues and summer is the best time to enjoy some outdoor activities with the little cuties. This sunscreen is physical, so I don’t need to wait for it to work after 20 or more minutes. I just apply it and I’m good to go. The only thing I don’t like about it is that it stains my clothes a bit;
Alverde Calendula Hand Cream – I picked up this hand cream randomly one day because my hands felt really dry and I was passing by a drugstore. It ended up being pretty nice, I love calendula products because they are very soothing and also antiseptic. The tube is quite small, so it’s also great for the handbag;
L’Occitane Pivoine Flora Hand Cream – Another miniature hand cream. I love L’Occitane hand creams and Peony scent is my favourite along with their Cherry Blossom one because they are delicate and feminine. The texture of their creams is lightweight but nourishing and absorbs quickly while the fragrance lingers around the whole room around you.

These are my recent empties and I hope you’re having a beautiful Sunday!

August Favourites

This is probably my first monthly favourites post that includes only skincare products! Ok, one of them can be seen as both, skincare and makeup item but as I’m still trying to find a way to bring back my skin to its normal condition, I haven’t been using that much makeup lately.

When you’re not really sure what’s going on with your skin and feel like crying, the key word must be “calming”. I’ve mentioned in my previous blog posts that I had a bad reaction to sunscreen and in addition to that, the high temperatures caused me blocked pores, so I’m dealing with something like a rash/sun allergy and still can’t seem to be able to tackle that. Not even the topical antibiotics have helped, so far.

My skincare has been quite minimal these past few weeks. I don’t want my skin to get even more stressed out and as much as I’d like to use acids a few times a week, the only two I’ve been reaching for are Salicylic Acid and Lactic Acid. To gently exfoliate my skin, I’ve been relying mostly on this budget-friendly Zdrave Acne Stop Enzyme Peeling Mask. Enzymes provide a bit softer and lighter exfoliation but still unclog pores, even out the complexion and remove dead skin cells.  Enzyme exfoliants have anti-inflammatory properties and are suitable even for sensitive skin (not always, sadly but that needs a bit more time to be discussed). This mask contains Papaya and Pineapple Enzymes and soothing ingredients such as D-Panthenol and Vitamin PP. I use it a couple of times a week, it’s very easy, I cleanse my skin and then apply a thin layer of the mask all over my face and neck, avoiding the eye area, leave it on for about 5-10 minutes and then simply wash it off with lukewarm water. My skin feels fresh, soft and smooth afterwards.

In this blog post I shared with you my current favourite soap-free cleansing gels which are both affordable, as well. I love the Avène Cleanance Cleansing Gel for Face and Body (this is a new bottle, I’ve used up a couple already) because it calms my skin, doesn’t leave it feeling tight and I love it as my morning cleanse. It contains Zinc Gluconate to calm the irritation and Avène Thermal Spring Water to soothe my troubled skin. If you have oily/combination and blemish-prone skin, I’d highly recommend giving this one a go.

There a couple of mists that I’m using at the moment as toners but also as facial sprays during the day. The Serozinc from La Roche-Posay is an old favourite of mine, I use it to heal blemishes quicker and to mattify my skin without drying it out. It’s once again soothing and calming and I’m incredibly happy I can now find it in my home country. My love for floral waters is no secret by now but a couple of months ago, I tried the Damascena Juniper Water for the first time in my life. It has a delicate natural scent, it feels very soft on the skin and it tones oily skin, prone to imperfections. I love how refreshing, calming and still purifying it feels. The only downside is the actual spray but these waters seem to always have such harsh sprays, so most of the time, I’d saturate a cotton pad and swipe it all over my face.

I received this miniature Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturising Lip Colour Balm in Super Strawberry as a complimentary gift with a purchase, it’s a very popular product from the brand and I’ve been carrying it around with me all the time. The rosy colour brightens up my face without being too obvious, it’s sheer and has subtle sheen that looks very pretty. The formula is fragrance-free and contains Mango Butter and Shea Butter, it’s really nourishing and soft on the lips. I love Clinique and their lip products and skincare, this is a combination of both and it’s simply amazing.

Simple and soothing, these are the words to describe my August favourites and I’m hoping for better luck with my skin in September. Hope yours is doing muuch better than mine!

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.