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My 3-Step Skincare Routine | Summer 2018


Ever since my sunscreen drama happened in the summer of 2017, my makeup menu significantly reduced its size and my skin has been feeling much better. But when the summer season arrives, I’m now trying to go quite minimal on the skincare front, as well. I’ve never been one to do 11-step routines anyway but the dermatologist that has been helping me the most suggested that I skipped moisturiser in the warmer days and just opt for a hydrating sunscreen. As for the evenings, a lightweight serum or cream are still a must because I need something nourishing after applying my retinoid.
In this post I wanted to share the base of my routine at the moment and I’d like to mention that I’m not featuring face masks that I usually do twice a week and my retinoid is still Differin for most of the time but I tend to use it only 3-4 times a week in the summer. Sometimes I’ll switch it up and use a different product but the main idea is still the same.
My morning rituals start with a cleanse and continue with a serum and a sunscreen while in the evening after cleansing, I’ll apply an acid toner (only if I’m not using retinoid that day) and then finish off with something moisturising.

Morning routine

Cleanse: I’ve been using the COSRX Low-pH Good Morning Cleanser in the past few weeks and although I think it’s a bit too early to give my final thoughts on it, my first impressions are quite positive. One of the most important things in a cleanser for me is to be soap-free and that was the main reason why I picked this one up. It has a gel texture which is my favourite for a morning cleanse and feels really refreshing and purifying but doesn’t leave my skin dry or stripped. Before using it, I thought it would be good just in the summer but it’s so mild and gentle that I see myself reaching for it in the winter, as well. I think packaging could be improved and if you don’t like the smell of tea tree oil, this one would really irritate you but so far, I like the soft and clean feel of the cleanser.

Serum: When I first visited my current dermatologist and shared with her my routine, she replied: “You really know your ingredients, don’t you?”. I love skincare, I read a lot and one of the best ingredients I’ve come across must be niacinamide. Years ago, I’d been using it even without knowing it was part of my favourite products. Niacinamide improves the appearance of enlarged pores, fine lines, uneven skin tone and dullness but it also helps the skin barrier function and reduces the damage that the environment around us can cause. Garden of Wisdom Niacinamide Serum is a product I got a few weeks ago and it’s probably my favourite affordable option I’ve tried. I can’t wait to pick up some more items from the brand’s range because I can see how this serum helps regulate the oil production and my complexion has been looking brighter since I started using it.

Sunscreen: That’s the hardest one to find. I’ve made so many mistakes with sunscreens, they’ve done a lot of damage to my skin mainly by clogging my pores and I still think there isn’t a really sophisticated sunscreen that can also give you the best protection possible. At least that’s the case with combination/oily and blemish-prone skin. You always have to sacrifice something when it comes to sun protection. But let this not be the health of our skin. That’s why I prefer to look a bit shiny  but to still be protected from the sun. Luckily, the Heliocare Color Gelcream SPF 50 doesn’t look that shiny and feels incredibly lightweight. I love this tinted SPF and I’ve been reaching for it almost every day since I got it. I’ve also featured it in my July Favourites post and if I’m using a clear sunscreen, I’d probably go for something like the Kiss My Face SPF 30 Sensitive Side (part of my June Favourites) which takes a bit longer to absorb and looks a lot more dewy on my combination skin but it doesn’t break me out.

Evening routine

Last summer I was not allowed to use micellar water as it can aggravate the skin problems sometimes but as it’s all gone now, it’s back on my shelf. I just like taking off the majority of my makeup and sunscreen before cleansing because smearing all the dirt, mascara and foundation with cleansing balm/oil all over my face is something that truly disgusts me. After removing the top layer, I can calmly proceed towards the proper cleansing.

Cleanse: I start by soaking two cotton pads with the Simple Micellar Water, I just find it to be one of the most gentle ones out there. I’ve been really liking the Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm lately, it’s the first cleansing balm that doesn’t break me out and doesn’t leave a greasy residue. It’s such a nice cleanser that removes impurities and it’s easy to wash off with a hot cloth but also hydrates the skin and doesn’t irritate it. The balm contains Sunflower Oil and Ginger Root Oil to cleanse and nourish the skin, Moringa tree extract to purify, Papaya Extract which is a natural exfoliator and a blend of Lime, Bergamot and Orange essential oils. Yes, essential oils… essential oils were the ingredients that made me feel unsure whether I wanted to try this balm or not. I’m not a fan of essential oils in skincare, they break me out and irritate my skin. Like I said, this cleansing balm doesn’t break me out but if you’re with sensitive, acne-prone skin, I’d suggest getting a sample before committing to the full size.
Otherwise, it’s the most beautiful cleansing balm I’ve ever tried, it has a such a lovely texture and feel to it.
I’m curious to know if anyone can share a comparison between this cleansing balm and the Banila Co. one because the latter is next up on my wishlist.

Acid Toner: There’s no surprise here, I’ve been reaching for my old favourite Pixi Glow Tonic, it’s a great resurfacer, it gives a beautiful glow to the skin and keeps me blemish-free. I need to get the huge pump bottle!

Moisturiser: It’s a bit difficult to pick an evening moisturiser because I’ve been trying quite a few lately but one that I seem to always go back to is the Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Liquid. It’s another product with ingredient that I’m trying to avoid, this time alcohol but it makes such a difference to my skin. It makes it look so plump and healthy, it’s so soothing and nourishing without being heavy, I really love it. I use it on its own in the summer (I especially enjoy it on a day when I’m using Differin, it’s so calming when I apply it 30 minutes after the retinoid) but when it’s colder I use it as a serum. Ceramides protect skin from moisture loss and damage from pollution, they also have anti-ageing properties. I’ve tried the whole Ceramidin range from Dr. Jart+ and I think there’s a product for everyone in it, I’m lucky to have my skin getting along with all of the products but friends with oily skin prefer the liquid or the gel cream while my boyfriend’s dry skin asks for the cream.

I’m really pleased with my current minimal routine, I feel like I’m giving my skin what it needs without layering too many products while it’s still hydrated and plump.
Do you reduce the amount of products you use in the warmer days?

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July Favourites

The heat in the past few weeks has been requiring minimal to zero makeup, good cleansing, lightweight hydrating skincare and showering about three times a day. That’s basically why my monthly beauty favourites look like this.

Cleansing is very important to me, I love the refreshing feeling that wakes me up in the morning and relaxes me in the evening. I tend to reach for gel cleansers in the summer but I’ve been using a cream cleanser lately and it’s been lovely. I got the Skin Laundry Purifying Cream Cleanser in my Liberty advent calendar last year but I’ve been trying out so many cleansers that I never got to use this one until recently. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find the full size, hope it hasn’t been discontinued but knowing my luck, it probably has. It’s a beautiful sulphate-free cleanser that feels soothing and hydrating while lifting away impurities. Most of the time, I’d use it at night but sometimes it’s also part of my morning skincare routine. I apply a small amount onto damp skin and then massage it in for about a minute, then I remove it with a hot washcloth. It contains Aloe Leaf Juice, Macadamia Seed Oil and Panthenol to give a calming feel to the skin. It’s a purifying cleanser but it’s also nourishing and that’s the main reason why I like it so much. It’s really easy to dry out the skin in the summer because we’re so focused on removing all the makeup, sweat and natural oils that we often pick the wrong cleanser. Actually, I’ve just started using a new morning gel cleanser and I’m having high hopes for it.

Lähde in Finnish means source and in the case of Lumene Lähde Purity Dew Drops Eye Gel means source of hydration. Essentially, it’s a beautiful cooling and moisturising eye gel that’s perfect for the summer days. Enriched with Provitamin B5, Nordic Birch Sap and Pure Arctic Spring Water the lightweight gel nourishes the delicate eye area while the fragrance-free formula with hydra-technology provides a continuous hydration throughout the day. I love that the texture is non-sticky and works as a good base underneath concealer. Looking forward to trying the rest of the minis from this new range that my gorgeous Finnish friend got for me.

For me, thermal water spray is an essential, I always have at least one miniature and one full size and I tend to go for the Avène Thermal Water Spray most of the time. It’s one of my most-used skincare items in the summer and the whole family loves it. I’ve been trying to find the Caudalie Grape Water for such a long time that when I saw it in a pharmacy in Valencia, I thought it was just the tester and there was nothing behind it. Luckily, I finally purchased it. I’ve tried ordering it online multiple times but either the customs considered it dangerous and it never got to me or it suddenly sold out seconds before putting it in my basket.  Caudalie Grape Water doesn’t contain thermal water, it uses grape water that is enriched with polysaccharides and mineral salts but the idea is similar. I have to say, it definitely feels more moisturising and somehow softer than the thermal water sprays. I’m really happy to have it, I use it as a toner or to refresh my skin in the hot days, I’d spray my boyfriend’s pale face if he’s been under the sun in the day and it’s just a good multi-tasker. It’s also great to add a few spritzes of the Grape Water before applying my rosehip oil, it spreads more evenly and feels glorious when I take out the bottle from the fridge, so cooling and soothing. I’m new to Caudalie and I can’t wait to try the travel set I got together with the Grape Water.

Foundation is rarely a part of my makeup menu nowadays but healthy and even complexion are still things I’m trying to achieve most of the days. I’ve always been struggling to find sunscreens that suit my skin type but a tinted sunscreen was even a territory I didn’t dare to cross, after a few absolutely terrible experiences, I’d given up on the idea. When I got the Heliocare Color Gelcream SPF 50 in Light last month, I mainly did it because it was Spanish and I hadn’t tried any pharmacy brands from Spain. I expected it to be a not so good colour match and probably too thick for my combination skin. And was I wrong… First of all, the texture is so lightweight that I would never think it’s SPF 50! Second of all, it doesn’t feel greasy but keeps the skin hydrated. It has a slightly dewy finish but it isn’t too shiny and there’s a delicate melon scent that’s not overpowering. It’s easy to apply and provides good coverage that gives a healthy look. Heliocare‘s range consists of sunscreens that combine high technology mineral and non-mineral filters with photobiological protectants, featuring Fernblock which is a natural fern extract. Fern has adapted and evolved to protect itself from the harmful UVA and UVB radiation. The extract provides anti-oxidant effects and UV protection. The formula is also enriched with Panthenol and Vitamin E to moisturise and soothe skin.
Unfortunately, it comes in just two shades, Light and Brown.
For me, this is a very elegant tinted sunscreen, I haven’t found anything like it, it doesn’t break me out and doesn’t turn me into a shiny mess. I’m really curious about more of the brand’s products but sadly, they’re not widely available. If I ever get the chance to see a Heliocare counter again, I will definitely check out the rest of the range.

My last favourite for the month of July is actually my boyfriend’s shower gel. Molton Brown Russian Leather is heady and intense. It’s the type of scent I like to have as a candle. They actually have a candle but I’ve heard the shower gel is the best product from the range. The fragrance is an infusion of Siberian pine, tobacco, birch, black tea, purple basil and leather. I love the way the bathroom smells after my boyfriend takes a shower, it also lingers on the skin for hours. I sometimes borrow it when I want something different from my floral and fruity body washes.

Now time to spray my face with the grape water again and let’s not forget to drink a lot of water today. Stay hydrated!

June Favourites

The end of June has been so amazing that I really don’t want to go back to reality. Me and my boyfriend had a lovely sunny week in Spain and we’re now on a mini road trip in order to keep that holiday feeling for as long as we can.

I’ve been keeping my beauty routine quite minimal lately. Even before we went away, I just didn’t feel like using that many skincare and makeup products on my face and then, when the temperatures hit 38 degrees in the sun for a couple of days, I knew that it would have been a mistake to pile on multiple layers of moisturisers, foundation, highlighter…
In the morning, I’d just apply sunscreen, a bit of mascara and a lip product and then reapply SPF quite a few times during the day. I’ve had bad experience with wearing makeup (it wasn’t even that much) in hot summer days, so I set aside all the base products. As a matter of fact, unpleasant events have occurred, thanks to sunscreens that were not right for my skin, as well, so it was a real test for my skin condition. Lately, I’ve been relying on the Kiss My Face Sensitive Side 3 in 1 Sunscreen SPF 30 and I have to say, it is a bit shiny but doesn’t feel heavy and what’s most important, doesn’t clog my pores. The formula is paraben- and fragrance-free and it doesn’t contain Oxybenzone. It feels hydrating and soothing, so I tend to use it on its own and don’t actually apply a moisturiser beforehand. It takes a bit of time to rub it in because at first, it’s very white but then it melts into the skin and leaves a dewy finish. I’m really happy that it doesn’t break me out, I sometimes use it on my arms, as well and although, it’s still not perfect (I haven’t found the perfect face sunscreen yet!), it’s one of the best I’ve tried, so far.
And while we’re on the SPF topic, I wanted to mention that it’s quite complicated to reapply sunscreen throughout the day, I can’t see myself slapping cream without washing my face first but at the same time, I want my skin to be protected. Although we don’t sunbathe and just need product for the city environment, I was worried about my boyfriend’s skin because he burns quite easily. At the end of our trip, he had a small red patch on his forehead because apparently, I didn’t reapply the sunscreen that well but the rest of his face, neck and arms looked good. I was a bit unsure when he brought home the Garnier Sensitive Face Mist SPF 50 before we started packing. I wanted to get the La Roche-Posay mattifying mist but it was sold out everywhere. I thought the Garnier mist would break me out and would feel unpleasant. In fact, the mist is really fine and feels light on the skin. This product is part of a range, created for people with very fair, sun-intolerant and sensitive skin. I like the cooling feeling when you spray it on and the fact that it doesn’t leave greasy residue. I’m now convinced that it’s a lovely budget option for both, people with dry and combination skin, me and my boyfriend love it and we now have a second bottle of it.

I’ve heard a lot of positive reviews on the Fresh Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask but somehow the brand doesn’t ship outside the US or so it tells me every time I try to purchase something from them on any of the websites that stock Fresh. But a few weeks ago, Sephora released one of their Sephora Favorites sets and this mini was part of it. It allowed me to add the set to the basket and to proceed with my order (normally, I can never order a set that contains a product from a brand that doesn’t ship outside the US) and here it is. This is now my post-travel face mask because it instantly brightens and smooths out my complexion. It has a tingling and cooling feeling, a delicate fresh scent and it only needs a thin layer for a healthier-looking skin to be revealed. The mask has a whipped texture that melts into the skin and contains a complex of kombucha, black tea extract, blackberry leaf extract and lychee seed extract that work together against free radicals. The formula is also enriched with polysaccharides that help to smooth the skin. This face mask is a real treat for my skin and I’m glad I could get the mini of it.

Another impressive mini has been the Belif Bergamot Herbal Extract Toner which I also got in a set, as I’ve been curious about the brand for a long time, luckily, it is now available in Europe, too. I’m an acid toner user and sometimes I’d switch it up and apply a more hydrating one afterwards or I’d skip a day and instead of the acid one, I’d go for a lighter toner. Bergamot Herbal Extract Toner from Belif is formulated with bergamot and sage to balance normal to combination skin and to leave it feeling hydrated and soothed after cleansing. The brand has several types of toners, I happened to try this one and I really like it. I find its texture quite interesting, as it’s not so runny but it feels a bit like an essence or a serum, it’s like a very liquid gel, if that makes sense and I think that this unique texture makes it feel even more moisturising. It’s great on a hot day or evening, it’s refreshing and calming and that’s a second product from the brand that I fall in love with.

The lip product that I can’t stop wearing at the moment comes from Marimekko for Clinique and it’s the Pop Splash in 03 Sorbet Pop. I love Clinique skincare, I love their makeup range, as well and lip products are probably my favourite out of their colour line. They just seem to know how to do the formulation right. It’s always fragrance-free and non-irritating, it feels smooth, non-sticky and hydrating. And when you combine the perfect formula with the iconic, colourful patterns of Finnish design house Marimekko, you get a limited edition collection that makes it hard for you to choose what to pick, they just all look so beautiful. I’m a big fan of the Clinique Pop family and I think the Pop Splash was the only member I was missing. It’s essentially a lip gloss but even those who don’t like lip glosses might actually love this one. I certainly do. My shade Sorbet Pop is quite opaque (there are some that are more sheer and there’s something for everyone, from nude tones to berries and reds) and it’s a warm shimmery caramel nude that doesn’t sit glittery on the lips. It just makes them look a bit more plump. I’m quite surprised that it stays longer on my lips than I thought a gloss would and the colour doesn’t fade away that quickly. The best part is that it feels moisturising, thanks to the watermelon, lentil and apple fruit extracts. For me, that’s the best summer lip product and the packaging is stunning, as well, retro and modern at the same time.

A mix of travel-friendly and sun protection products, these are my beauty favourites for the month of June. What have you been loving in the past few weeks?

 

Vichy Slow Âge Fluid SPF25

In a world filled with stress, pollution, sun damage, bad diet our skin can suffer just as much as our health. That’s why sometimes we need to slow down.
When I noticed the Vichy Slow Âge Fluid SPF25 a few months ago, my attention was grabbed by the promises for healthy skin, protected from the everyday harmful factors. I really wanted to share with you the pros and cons for me because it’s quite a popular skincare item. I have to say, I’ve been mostly using it in the warmer months and that might be the reason for the negative side of my experience but I’ll continue testing out the fluid in the fall/winter.

I really like the idea of Vichy Slow Âge Fluid SPF25 and the way it’s expressed because it’s not presented as an anti-ageing product but as one that aims to prevent premature ageing. The concept is inspired by the “Slow Movement” and doing everything at the right pace in order to achieve the best results. When it comes to skincare, this will mean protecting the skin for the longer term well-being.

First of all, the packaging of the Vichy Slow Âge Fluid SPF25 is stunning. It comes in a weighty glass bottle (not travel-friendly but it’s beautiful) with a lovely colour theme and a pump, it’s so simple yet so pretty. The glass isn’t transparent, so you can’t really tell how much product you have left.

My decision to pick up the fluid was made by the fact that I have combination skin and this is supposed to be a lighter version of the cream from the line that is suitable for drier skin types. The products from the range are paraben-free and hypoallergenic. The fluid formula combines three naturally active ingredients and broad spectrum filters. The active ingredients are Baïcalin, Bifidus and Vichy Thermal Spa Water.
Baïcalin is a powerful antioxidant which has roots traced back to traditional Chinese medicine. In combination with Vitamin C, Vitamin E and the SPF 25, it works to slow down and correct the signs of ageing by protecting the skin against daily pollutants and aggressors. Sadly, Baïcalin is at the end of the ingredient list which means the concentration is very low. Bifidus is the ‘good’ bacteria, it’s probiotic-derived and helps strengthen the skin’s barrier function against factors that may weaken it such as stress, UV and pollution. The Vichy Thermal Spa Water is rich in 15 minerals and helps rebalance the skin’s pH and improves the overall quality of the skin.
The product is not fragrance-free, so have that in mind in case you have sensitive skin. Vichy Slow Âge Fluid‘s fragrance was developed to mimic the fresh volcanic force of the Vichy mineral water and nature in general.

When I first looked at the texture of the fluid, it seemed quite thick to me but once I applied it on my face, I noticed how milky and lightweight it actually was. It absorbs quickly and gives a nice glow to the skin, feels nourishing and hydrating and smells amazing. But then the downside appears. The radiance is replaced by shine because of my combination skin, the makeup doesn’t apply that well on top of it and even my long-wearing foundations don’t last that much if I’ve used the fluid underneath. That’s why I like using it on days when I have to apply my makeup really quickly using less than 5 products or with no makeup at all.

I don’t think I can say something about the anti-ageing properties just a couple of months after using the product but I have to admit, my skin does look a bit brighter and more even now.

I love the concept and how Vichy Slow Âge Fluid SPF25 mousturises the skin while providing sun protection and  if I wear just a bit of concealer and mascara, it’s all ok. However, if I want to use foundation, I need to apply another moisturiser underneath my base. That’s why I’d like to try it again once the weather gets colder, hoping that it won’t interfere with my makeup and my T-zone will look less shiny. Also, Baïcalin is the ingredient that is the base of the brand’s campaign for the range but the quantity of it in the formula is actually very small. I like the fluid, just I can’t say I love it or at least not yet.

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