Dry skin must-haves & my April at-home spa essentials!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Silicone-free dry skin favourites

If you don’t follow me on Instagram (you should, because sometimes I meet puppies and take pictures of them), then you’ve probably missed these two product roundups. If you do, then a) thank you, and b) you’ll recognize the images. Don’t click away just yet, though, because there’s a lot more detail here!

Above, I have everything that I’m keeping sink-side right now.* For my dry, dehydrated skin, these have proven to be the best of the best so far. 

  • For super dry skin, I can’t speak highly enough about the DHC Extra Nighttime Moisture and Paula’s Choice Resist Moisture Renewal Oil Booster. The DHC is so creamy and hydrating, and the Paula’s Choice will get rid of any dry spots you have! I’m also really loving Le Sérum de Jacynthe (review soon), which I think is a bit pricy but is an excellent “green” option.
  • For sensitive skin, Bioderma Hydrabio H20 Micellar Solution is just fantastic. It’s scented, but I was surprised to find that it’s also incredibly gentle — noticeably more gentle than the Bioderma Sensibio Micellar Solution or the Marcelle 3-in-1 Micellar Water.
  • For dehydrated skin, the Paula’s Choice Optimal Results Hydrating Cleanser makes a huge difference for my skin. It doesn’t look very glamorous, but it’s creamy and luxurious, and leaves my skin feeling divine. My MIYU Beauty Essences are something that I can’t live without, too — I’ve now gone through four bottles, if you include the minis!

I’m also a big fan of the Aveeno Fresh Essentials Daily Nourishing Moisturizer SPF 30, which is relatively heavy, but my skin really likes. It’s not breathtakingly creamy or smooth or anything in particular, but it is affordable, comfortable, and silicone-free, and I think those are three pretty important things.

(Plus, it feels way better than a physical sunscreen, so there’s that.)

Processed with VSCOcam with se3 preset

I also posted about a little at-home spa day that I had on Sunday, which I wanted to update you guys on! It was my first time using a peel-off mask (so, so weird and cool) and the first time in a little while that I had taken the time to pamper myself with my Ahava goodies.

My skin has been so out of whack recently, and the half-hour it took me to mask and exfoliate before my shower really balanced things out. The Boscia Luminizing Black Mask tightened up my t-zone, and the Kérastase hair mask/exfoliator left my hair feeling super soft. (I could have still used more scalp exfoliation, though.)

But what I loooooved using again was this Ahava trio. I received them for a post & giveaway last year, but they’ve become some of my carefully-rationed favourites. My legs haven’t been this smooth in years (thank you, Liquid Dead Sea Salt), skin feels so soft, and my sheets now smell amazing.

But yeah; that’s what I’ve been up to! I also petted a dozen dogs on Sunday (VERY IMPORTANT) and took the rest of the weekend to let my body rest, and it’s been great.

What’s been keeping you busy (or not so busy) recently?

*Note: I’ve drifted away from the Jurlique and Tatcha since taking this photo. They’re both still great, but I’m just really into the Paula’s Choice cleanser right now!

2015 favourites: My skincare must-haves for dry, sensitive skin!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Best of 2015 skincare favourites

As some of you guys might remember, I skipped my 2014 favourites on account of the fact that they were like… 95% exactly the same as my 2013 favourites. My 2015 favourites, however, are a whole other can of fish!

I was lucky enough to not just try out a whole slew of awesome new products this year (mostly skincare), but to find a bunch of new favourites, too. So, I’ve been planning this updated favourites list since October (!), and the list you’ll see is as condensed as possible: these are only my very favourite products; not simply products that I think are the best in their class, but the ones that I use every day, will take with me on overnight stays, and have, in many cases, already re-purchased a couple of times. 

To put it simply, these favourites lists look at a product in relation to its price, packaging, and the other products in its class, unlike my reviews, which examine products on a standalone basis.

My must-have serums for super dry skin

Dry skin favourites

I’ve always really loved makeup, but starting at the end of 2014, I got super into skincare. Everything sort of shifted for me when I tried the Odacité Pomegranate + Rose Geranium Serum Concentrate ($42 USD; review), and realized that, oh, my super-dry skin didn’t actually have to be painful and peeling at all times.

This year, however, I stopped purchasing my beloved Po+R. I still love it to bits, don’t get me wrong, but it’s just too expensive of a habit for me to keep up — my last bottle only lasted me about 8 weeks before the serum crystalized in the bottle (thank you, pomegranate seed oil), though I did manage to use up my previous bottle entirely.

I’m using a blend of pomegranate seed oil from Mountain Rose Herbs and pink grapefruit seed oil from Purple Citrus in my Po+R bottle right now (around a 9:1 ratio), and I’m really happy with the blend. I definitely notice a difference in the quality of the oils (the Mountain Rose Herbs pomegranate seed oil breaks me out unless I add a bit of pink grapefruit to clarify), but for the price difference (about $9/oz vs $247/oz), I don’t think I’ll be going back to the Odacité anytime soon.

Odacite Pomegranate Rose Geranium oil review

I’ve also been using the Paula’s Choice Resist Moisture Renewal Oil Booster ($35 USD; review), which I really love. It’s not thick and comforting the way that pomegranate seed oil is, but it’s lovely. I use two drops of this mixed into my nighttime moisturizer and always wake up with just the most amazing skin–like, since I started using this stuff, I will actually just stop and stare at my skin in mirrors. It’s kind of awkward.

I’m not sure if I’ll re-buy the Paula’s Choice (it’s $52/oz, which I know is still really cheap, but my oil blend is $9/oz) once I run out, but I do really love it. It makes a big difference for my already youthful skin, and if I was five or ten years older, I would definitely re-purchase!

My must-have moisturizers

I’ve got, like, four giant tubs of German Nivea sitting in my basement, and I don’t know what on earth I’m going to do with them because dudes, I have finally moved on.

DHC Extra Nighttime Moistsure review

Right now, I’m switching between two awesome mid-range moisturizers: DHC Extra Nighttime Moisture ($36 USD; reviewin the evenings and Reversa Anti-Redness Soothing Care ($34 CAD; review) in the daytime. Both are excellent delivery mechanisms for other products: they’re scent- and silicone-free and very hydrating, but mix well with whatever serum I’m using or testing that day.

My current mix for Heavenly, Blemish-Free Morning Face™ is a tiny dollop of DHC with two drops of the Paula’s Choice serum I mentioned above — if you have really dry, dehydrated skin, you MUST try these two products!! And, for the daytime, the Reversa stuff is awesome. It doesn’t have SPF (its only failing), but the slight green tint just makes my skin look that little bit better.

My cleansing, acne, and haircare favourites

I’m still loving my Marcelle 3-in-1 Micellar Solution ($19.95 CAD; review), which removes my eye makeup without any stinging or hassle, and my Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion ($19 USD at Nordstrom, Ulta, or UO; outside the US, I think Beauty Bay is the cheapest way to get it — that’s where I buy mine). I think I’m on, like, my fourth bottle of each, or something equally ridiculous–the Marcelle is super gentle, effective, and affordable, and the Mario Badescu is just magic for acne. 

-Skin and haircare favourites

I’m also still all over the Giovanni 2Chic Avocado & Olive Oil Leave-In Spray (review), which I re-bought this year. It’s a great little drugstore find that makes your hair feel silky and super-smooth, but also makes it seem like you have nothing in your hair at all — it’s not greasy or sticky, and the smell evaporates almost immediately.

Finally, I’ve been using the Paula’s Choice Resist Optimal Results Hydrating Cleanser ($18 USD; reviewevery single day since I tried it for the first time! It’s a rich, “plain” cleansing milk that’s (also) super gentle and effective, and even though it’s harder to get my hands on than a bottle of Marcelle Essentials Cleansing Milk, it’s stolen my go-to cleanser spot.

The skincare secrets that I learned this year

SkinCeuticals skincare regimen group

Okay, this is the stuff that you guys really want to tune in for, regardless of your skin type. I learned two big things in 2015: one, that I am way more likely to use a serum if I mix it into my moisturizer, and two, that you should never leave product in your eye dropper.

I know they always tell you to apply serum first, but I almost never do. It’s kind of a hassle, and I hate the way that a lot of them feel — dry and thin and oily all at the same time. If I apply my serum at the same time as my moisturizer, though, I find that I get all of the benefits with none of the icky parts!

As for the other skincare secret? A lot of my favourite serums are stored in eyedropper-type bottles, and I learned this year that you are NEVER supposed to leave product in the actual dropper part! The air in the squeeze-y balloon will oxidize the product while it sits in there, so any actives (ferulic acid, for instance) will degrade before they even make it to your face. (A big, big thank you to SkinCeuticals’ awesome PR rep for this tip!)

Sulphur. Even though it smells bad.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What it is: Mario Badescu‘s Drying Cream.

Purpose: From the MB site…

“Drying Cream is an effective treatment to dry up small under the surface bumps and pimples. Just a few dabs smoothed on the erupted areas prevent pimples from getting larger and spreading out of control. Aloe rich cream conceals and heals erupted pimples.”

How I use it: After letting my moisturiser and/or primer sink in, I dab this onto any pimples (healing, coming to a head, or still in the “whitehead” stage!) with a fine-tipped concealer brush, the way I’d spot-apply any product. In the daytime, I then set it lightly with powder, and apply concealer overtop.

Why I love it: The main reason? This stuff works. Smells awful, but it works! I find that my skin responds very well to sulphur and clay based products (this being the former) as it can be quite sensitive and dry… basically, they get rid of the zit *almost* as fast as a peroxide- or salicylic-based treatment, without causing peeling or irritation. Personally, I think trading a week of peeling in for another day with your zit is a pretty good deal.

The added bonus
: This formula goes on pretty opaque, which basically gives your concealer a “blank canvas” to work on, rather than a red dot. It colour-corrects, essentially! And, if you don’t want to apply concealer overtop, anyone with fair to medium skin could probably sheer this out and get away with using it alone. Envision UDPP or TFSI, but thicker. And smellier. But please (please!) keep it out of your eye area… if you blind yourself, it’s totally not my fault.The verdict? I think it’s probably pretty obvious by now, but I am formally recommending this to all of you! Seriously, I’m in love with this stuff. The only thing that could make it better is an affordable price — oh wait! It has that, too! (Sorry, I couldn’t help it. What can I say, I’m in a TV-commercial-joke mood right now!) It’s only $12 for 0.5oz, and you use just a tiny bit each time. LOVE.

Mario Badescu: Aloe Moisturizer SPF 15

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

This guest review of Mario’s Aloe Moisturiser was written by Grace, a (quite lovely!) reader of theNotice. If you want to do one too, or if you would like to contact Grace, email me at my.make.belive (at) gmail (dot) com! I absolutely adore the idea of occasional guest blogging; I think it helps bloggers expand their reader base, and encourages people who read and comment (but don’t write) on blogs to start blogging!

What they say: “Daily, lightweight moisture and sun protection all-in-one. Oil-free and Aloe based for soothing, non-clogging hydration and sun protection.”

At first sight: For an aloe based moisturizer, I expected it to be a bit runny, but I found instead that it was quite thick, like a night cream. It doesn’t necessarily smell like aloe, but it doesn’t smell bad either, so it wasn’t a failure just yet!! No sparkles, no odor, pleasant to look at, so far so good.

At first use: I’ve used this twice and could not really bear to use it a third time because it made my face feel heavy, like I was wearing a night cream. If I didn’t mind that then I would’ve continued to use this product except it made my face oily – so much so that I found myself blotting my face away with blotting tissue [link to post on staying matte], even before I even had any makeup on!!

The verdict: I think this is more like a night cream than a moisturiser. It is definitely not “lightweight” and it pretty much has the same consistency of the Seaweed Night Cream. Even though it says this product is good for skin types for combination, oily, and sensitive, I think they might have made a typo for the first two :P

Well, what did you think? Personally, I loved Grace’s take on this product, which I’m adding onto my Mario Badescu series. (Especially the last line, lol!) She followed the same format as the rest of the MB series, so I think it’ll slot quite nicely in there… Grace, feel free to comment back to the commenters in the comments thread! (wow. What a mouthful!

Mario Badescu: the company

Friday, August 1, 2008

To sum up my Mario Badescu series (I hope those links work!), I just wanted to do a quick review of the company itself. While I love the concept of free samples, I can’t understand why anyone uses their products – they were all disappointing in one way or another. I mean, I got sent a sample that looks so old and gross that it could probably be carbon dated. To back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.

So, all in all, Badescu was a bomb. The bad kind of bomb, with products that are either boring, useless, or just generally suck. I really, really wanted to love them…but it’s just not going to happen.

The verdict? Don’t waste your money. But hell, if the samples are free, why not, right? Maybe you’ll find a gem.

Mario Badescu: Azulene Calming Mask

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The prettiest one of all? Azulene Calming Mask!

What they say: “Soothing Azulene, a Chamomile Extract, along with Balsam Peru, a natural anti-inflammatory ingredient, come together in this non-hardening mask that comforts irritated, red, and very sensitive skin types. Also made with Kaolin (clay) and Wheat Starch to absorb impurities in the pores. Best when followed up with our Control Cream.” (for all skin types)

At first sight: This light blue-green product is like a thick moisturiser, or a very strange molasses! It smells a little like old person and a little like clay and a little like soap – not too shabby, I guess. It has little bubbles, and was the other product I really wanted to try (the first being the Strawberry scrub).

At first use: I’ve used this a few times now (you can get about three uses out of the sample) without any noticeable improvement. Contrary to its description, it does harden, though not uncomfortably. I found the scent to be pretty okay, though I can easily see people hating it! It washes off easily and I don’t have any complaints about it – it was not smelly, waxy, rough, or otherwise unpleasant.

The verdict: I don’t know. I didn’t have any issues with this, but it didn’t really seem to do anything to my skin, either. As mentioned, I didn’t notice an improvement in texture or amount of breakouts, and it didn’t make my red patches any more red. However, it didn’t make my skin any worse, either!

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