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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 

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September Favourites

The season of warm blankets and cosy knits has just started, so it is probably normal that this month’s beauty favourites post is a mix of summer and autumn bits.

Rituals have some of my favourite bath and body products but their skincare was never something I looked into. My boyfriend knows that I love lip balms and a few weeks ago, he passed by a Rituals store and decided to add the Smooth Operator Lip Balm to my collection. At that time my lips were pretty dry and this was the only lip balm I had with me, so I started using it the same night and I liked it straight away because of the minty feel and smooth texture but I really fell in love with it the next morning. When I woke up, my lips were so soft, smooth and hydrated that I couldn’t quite believe it. The formula contains Shea Butter, Coconut Oil, Jojoba Oil and Eucalyptus and it feels really moisturising and refreshing at the same time. There’s also a lot of product in the bullet and I’m sure it will be an essential for me in the upcoming winter days.

A few weeks ago I shared with you a bit about my skin issues because of the high temperatures in the summer and a sunscreen that probably wasn’t the right one for me. Since then, I’ve been using the La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL SPF 50+ and I really like it. It has a milky texture and feels quite light on the skin. It doesn’t look too shiny on my combination skin and I don’t find it pore-clogging. I’m not sure what took me so long to try it but now I know why the reviews on it are so positive.

Weather’s getting colder and the skin on my body has been feeling quite dry and although Tom Ford Soleil Blanc Body Oil was a summer favourite of mine, I still keep using it. At this point, I like taking a warm shower at night and applying the oil while my skin is still damp. This has made such a difference to its condition and I really don’t want to see this bottle empty because I simply love the product. I’ve done a review on the body oil here, so you can take a look in case it’s interesting for you.

I’m pretty sure this is not the first favourites post where I’m featuring Weleda Skin Food. Most of us already know how amazing it is but I got new tubes for us (my boyfriend and I) and for my family, so this was one of the old ones that I decided to use as foot cream. I’ll usually apply a thick layer of Skin Food and then I’ll put on warm socks and let the cream do its magic. It’s a rich cream as you probably know, so having sticky feet is not the most pleasant feeling but once it’s fully absorbed, you see it was worth it. I also like applying it on my elbows and knuckles, it’s really hydrating and smells very fresh although some people hate the scent.

In this post, I said that I love Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Mood Exposure and I think it’s worth the splurge. Since I got it, it’s been constantly in my makeup bag but I feel like I’ll be using it even more in the autumn and winter months. It’s just a beautiful finely-milled powder, they have a gorgeous selection of shades and they’ve just released their holiday face palette that looks stunning!

I can’t believe we’re already in the last three months of the year, time’s flying and I feel like we’ll be soon talking about Christmas preparations.

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!

Empties #15


It feels quite strange to do a post with empty products for a second time this month. But here’s a tiny portion…most of them pretty useful if you’re travelling.

Origins Flower Fusion Sheet Masks – I have an entire blog post dedicated to these face masks, so here’s a link to it in case you’d want a bit more information on each of them but I love them all and I’ve already repurchased a few;
Sally’s Box Loverecipe Paprika Sheet Mask & Peach Sheet Mask – The paprika one is for smoother skin texture and the serum was more like a gel, while the peach mask is firming and looked quite creamy. I enjoyed using both of them because my skin felt refreshed and soft after using the masks. It was also a bit cooling which is great for the summer months;
Balea Vital Sheet Mask – This sheet mask is usually supposed to be good for mature skin but I was curious to try it because of the Hyaluronic Acid and Argan Oil in it. Balea have some lovely budget sheet masks and this was no exception;
Balea Soft & Clear Nose Strips – I know these are not so good to use but I just can’t stop trying different ones. They are formulated with Salicylic Acid and Tea Tree Oil and were recommended to me by a friend. So far, these are the best drugstore ones I’ve tried, sadly there are only 3 inside the packet but they’re very good;
Balea Clear-Up Strips – Love the Lotus Flower Extract range but these strips are not as good as the ones mentioned above;
Kiehl’s Calendula Herbal-Extract Toner – This is an alcohol-free, soothing and hydrating toner. I really like it and I’m thinking about purchasing a full size, it’s good for any skin type but especially for those with combination and blemish-prone skin;
L’Occitane Essential Water – I’ve heard many good things about this floral water and I love the brand but this product stings my eyes and broke me out. The scent is very strong and I don’t have particularly sensitive skin but it just doesn’t agree with this toner, sadly;
Balea Eye Cream with Lotus Extract – There was another empty tube of my favourite drugstore eye cream about 3 weeks ago but this is the one I had in my travel bag and there was just a tiny bit left. I’ve talked about it so many times, it’s fragrance-free, feels soothing and hydrating and I will keep repurchasing it;
La Roche-Posay SPF 50+ Anthelios XL – This mini was so good for travelling. It’s a relatively lightweight cream although all sunscreens are a bit heavy on me but it was quite nice underneath makeup. The formula is paraben-free and water-resistant;
Clarins Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil in 02 Raspberry – One of my favourite lip products! Can’t believe I’ve used it up and need to get a new one. When I first got it, I didn’t expect it to be so nice on the lips but also, so moisturising. I’ve even used it as an overnight treatment during travels and it just leaves my lips incredibly soft and nourished;
Max Factor Creme Puff Blush in 10 Nude Mauve – I still don’t understand how people never talk about these blushers and especially this particular shade. The powder is finely-milled, it has a beautiful sheen, applies like a dream and this one is something between a bronzer and a blusher. Simply gorgeous;
Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer – A lovely brightening concealer with decent amount of coverage. I don’t talk about it a lot which is a shame because it’s a really nice product and I actually already have another tube of it;
Lancôme Hypnôse Volume-à-porter Mascara – This mini was great for my travel makeup bag. It doesn’t irritate my eyes and gives volume to the lashes, makes them look fluttery and the only downside is that it’s pretty tough to remove at the end of the day;
Lavera Deo Roll-On with Bio Aloe Vera & Bio Calendula – This is a vegan deodorant with subtle scent and lovely ingredients list. Most deodorants don’t really keep me sweat-free anyway, so I prefer to use such that are more “clean” and Lavera do really nice ones;
Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Body Scrub – I love the brand’s body scrubs but this mini wasn’t that exfolaiting and I’m not sure if it was a problem with the one I had. However, I really like the scent;
Alverde Leave-In Conditioner Spray Aloe Vera Hibiscus – I believe it now has a new packaging and they often reformulate it but it’s always a nice budget-friendly product. It makes my hair shiny and smooth.

As it seems, I’ve used up quite a few products in the past couple of weeks and I’m already thinking about project pan. I have a lot of products that are half-used and I’m not the biggest fan of throwing something in the bin because I forgot about it and it has expired.