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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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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!

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

July Favourites

July is usually never an exciting month for me when it comes to beauty discoveries. It all seems to be paused, everyone’s on holiday and my routines are quite minimal.

But this year, I had the chance to try many products while I was away in Italy and hopefully, I’ll be sharing more about them in the next few weeks. In this monthly favourites post I’m featuring a couple of these products because I fell in love with them straight away.

One of them is the Pixi Glow Mud Cleanser. I was surprised by the texture of this cleanser, as I was expecting it to be thick and even a bit drying. However, it feels light, at first it looks a bit like a clay mask or some sort of paste but it almost transforms into an oil when in contact with water. It’s purifying but also hydrating and my face feels really smooth and soft afterwards. At the beginning, I was a bit concerned because the formula contains 5% Glycolic Acid and my skin isn’t the biggest fan of this acid but it also has Hyaluronic Acid, Chamomile Extract and Avocado Oil, so the combination of these really seems to work for me at the moment. I’ve been using this mini as a morning cleanse or a second cleanse in the evening. Now I’m thinking about purchasing the full size because it’s not drying at all, feels amazing on the skin and leaves it fresh, clean and nourished.

It is not a secret that I adore floral waters and rose water was the first and only skincare product that I used when I was younger, even before my teenage years. The Alteya Organics Organic Bulgarian White Rose Water made me very curious because I’d never tried white rose water before. Rosa Alba is one of the rearest oil-bearing roses. Compared to rose water from the traditional Rosa Damascena, this one has lighter and a bit more delicate aroma but still has amazing soothing and calming properties, it’s softening and moisturising and rose water will forever be one of my favourite skin treats. It’s very gentle on the skin, it’s suitable for all skin types and can be used as a toner after cleansing, to refresh the skin during the day or after sun exposure, I also love using it when I travel and feel a bit dehydrated. They have different sizes and types of bottles, this is a huge 500 ml one but the little 100 ml spray version is really handy to have in a travel bag.

Origins Flower Fusion Sheet Masks are now some of my favourite sheet masks. There are six types and the ones I keep repurchasing most of the time are the Raspberry (it feels refreshing in a hot summer day) and Lavender (very soothing and calming before bed) ones. Here’s a link to my review on the five I’ve tried, so far.

The only base product I’ve been using in the past weeks has been the Dr. Jart+ Premium Beauty Balm SPF 45. I’ve mentioned in my Simple Summer Makeup blog post that it would be too dark for me in the rest of the year but the shade is great at the moment because I’m tanned. I like that it’s a lightweight BB cream but provides medium coverage, it’s quick and easy to apply and stays on all day.

I reach for This MAC x Steve J & Yoni P Touch Me Baby* eyeshadow duo whenever I don’t have much time or just want a wash of colour that can make me look more fresh and presentable. I love how small and compact the packaging is while still being stable and having magnetic closure. The eyeshadow on the right is the popular Soba that is a wonderful golden brown everyday shade but the frosted light pink Keep on Twinkling (on the left side) is really beautiful for a touch of sparkle. They may not seem compatible when you first look at them in the pan but you’d be surprised what a great pair they actually are.

Leave-in conditioners are my thing and when they’re in a spray form and it’s summer, I can use them all the time. Kérastase Aura Botanica Essence d’Éclat* is a beautiful hair mist that I use on damp hair after washing it or on dry hair to make it look more shiny and soft. It smells lovely and the formula is bi-phased, containing Jojoba, Avocado, Coconut and Argan Oils. I’ve done a blog post on the whole Aura Botanica range and in case you haven’t seen it, here’s a link to it.

There’s a bit of all, skincare, haircare and makeup, in my July beauty favourites, so maybe there will be something for you, as well.

*PR Samples