Micellaire Water: Bioderma

20170611_193355.jpg

While on my escapade across northern Europe, in the back of my mind I knew there was one product I couldn’t go home without. If you are aware of skincare at all, I am sure you know what I’m talking about. It could only be the French pharmacy darling, Bioderma Micellaire Water.

I searched every ‘apotek’ I came across until I finally found my mark, which I immediately purchased without a care for the price. I somehow saved the initial trial for when I returned home, as I was extremely nervous of the bottle leaking en route.

In my bathroom with nothing standing in my way, I broke the seal and applied this famed miracle water to my face. Here are my thoughts:

I like it. It removes makeup like a dream, even waterproof mascara, and doesn’t leave a film on the skin whatsoever. It has no scent and my skin didn’t have any reaction at all to it. I can’t say this has improved my skin as a treatment might, but I haven’t been using it this way (side note: how would I if I wanted to?).

So while I am not blown completely away by this one of a kind product, I do really like Bioderma Micellaire Water and can see why it caused such a stir when it was the only one of it’s kind. If you happen to pass one of these pink-capped beauties in a Parisian pharmacy, rest assured you are not spending your hard earned eurocash on a hyped up Evian water. My verdict is Bioderma holds up and I am very glad I bought it, even if it was partly to feel like one of the skincare mavens I admire.

Advertisements

Surprisingly Clarins

While meandering around Sephora looking for samples to use on my trans-Atlantic flight to Scandinavia, the most amazing thing happened. I somehow befriended the Clarins representative for my state, and she proceeded to show me the ways of a luxury, plant based skin diet.

I went into the store searching for Dr. Jart Tiger Cream, because Caroline Hirons raved about its powers to preserve and plump dry skin, especially on a plane. Upon meeting my skincare angel, however, she pointed out that I have oily skin. As a dry reptile, I usually like when people say that because it means my moisturizer is working. She ended up gifting me with samples for oily skin and now I may need to change my attitude about my skin type.

We started off with the Tiger Grass cream, which she thought would be too thick for my skin, but proceeded to humor me. Turns out, she was right. I wasn’t brave enough to try this on the flight, but it really is too thick for me this time of the year (spring time). I am excited to revisit this in the winter where it will be appreciated for its hydration and acne fighting power.img_2223

Now onto the good stuff. These blue beauties are the Clarins Hydra Essential range. And they have changed me. Not to be dramatic here, but my skin looked the best it has in months when I used these two products combined with nothing else. I start with the Bi-Phase serum, to plump my skin and keep it balanced. Then I pat on the Cooling Gel to lock everything into place ALL DAY. I thought I hated gel moisturizer because of a bad experience with some Garnier years ago. Things have changed
in that area, let me tell you, also summarized in my love of Sunday Riley’s Tidal here.

I read somewhere that skin types are a myth. As I have grown older my skin has definitely changed. I am still pretty dry in general, but slathering on the thickest cream isn’t going to help that. Kind ingredients and penetrating hydration will. It was such a joy to try these products and I can’t wait to go deeper into the brand!

Have you tired anything that was an unexpected love?-

Eye Masks

“One of my more controversial opinions is that I think that eye cream is the biggest scam of our time.”

When I read this line from Brennan Kilbane’s Top Shelf, I felt liberated.

I love the idea of having a chic little pot of decadent eye cream on my bedside table to gently pat underneath my eyes right before falling into a blissful, 8 hour sleep. I have tried many a cream to achieve this nirvana, but it never works out. Either it gives me milia or is just so uncomfortable that I have to wipe it off before I can even think about sleep.

I had all this in mind when I received an eye mask sample months ago. At first I was saving it for a special occasion, then promptly forgot about it because I am not used to specifying the moisturization of my optical zone. But the other weekend, when I was a dry prune from being sick, on a whim I decided to pull the packet out and give it a whirl. I was nervous that it could back fire, but feeling brave as I tightened my fluffy robe and took a swig of EmergenC.

I must say I loved the whole experience. Way more satisfying that a typical eye cream and genuinely made my under eyes supple and smooth. I was using the Wilma Schumann Skincare Hydrating Collagen Eye Pads that I got from Birchbox. I’m not sure if I would purchase eye masks again, but I must say I can see the appeal. Perhaps for a long haul flight? It definitely felt like a treat.

Do you have any recommendations for eye masks you have loved?-

Sample Queen II

I’m back again with a run down of the samples I have been trying out. Nothing excites me more than ripping open a fresh packet of something promising the perfect face! Here is what I thought:

The Organic Pharmacy Double Rose Rejuvenating Face Cream img_1807

I’m so sad this sample is finished! I love how hydrating this moisturizer is, along with the fresh rose scent upon application. A bit sweet, which I wasn’t used to, but it did make me feel tres chic et Parisian. I would recommend this product except that it costs $88…. No joke. You can get better products for half the price. I’m not even tempted to think about shelling out for this, but, when in Rome.

 

Davines OI Shampoo – Absolute Beautifying Shampoo and Conditioner for All Hair Types

img_1844I love Davines hair products. They are always rich, smell amazing and actually do the job. These lived up to my standards! I had some great times in the shower with these, making the huge packets last 2 washes (the only thing I like about my short hair right now) and they filled the whole bathroom with a wonderful rich, warm scent that lingered on my hair for a couple of hours, but didn’t stick to my pillow. I’m not sure how to describe said scent – definitely warm, vanilla, sandalwood and spice vibes, but with a hint of freshness. I won’t be splurging on the full size only because I prefer something a bit more nourishing, like the Davines Love collection.

img_1845

Kate Somerville Wrinkle Warrior

I like this brand, but I am also totally hooked by their marketing. Those simple designs, promises of powerful products and fresh results, oh my! I used this over a fresh face one weekend morning and was pleased with the result, although I normally like a bit more moisture on my face than this provided. I had to top up with the remaining sample before heading out for the evening but nothing bad happened. I don’t have any wrinkles to plump (humble brag) but I didn’t break out and my skin felt great the next day. Again, not something I am running out to purchase in full size, but was a nice experience.

Fresh Vitamin Nectar Vibrancy Boosting Face Maskimg_2162

I split this sample in half to get two uses out of it – this was a mistake. I love every Fresh product I’ve ever tried and this was nothing different. It made my skin lovely and glowing each time, although I bet the results would have been more dramatic if I hadn’t been such a cheapskate. I doubt I’ll ever splurge for an expensive mask, but this was great and you know you can trust the ingredients in Fresh. Just be sure to use enough of the product!

I would love to hear your thoughts on these products, or know what you have tried recently. Keep me updated –

Face fast

Is this a thing? Gelcream mentioned face fasting in a recent post and I remembered that I used to do this quite often to detox. I usually use the weekends as a time to try out new products, so I thought it might be nice to dedicate Sunday to face fasting. We’ll see how many I get through! Let’s get started:

Week 1 of Face Fast

I washed my face this morning and that’s it. No moisturizer, no toner or oil. Nothing. It’s pretty cold out and I have dry skin, so I knew I’d be fairly uncomfortable today but man, I forgot how bad dry skin feels. I am visibly peeling, too. I don’t even want my dog to see me like this! I have had a really unproductive Sunday and the thought of going outside to grocery shop or do anything is not appealing in the slightest. It is really interesting how this has affected my confidence. I go out without makeup on all the time, but not without my skin at least feeling nice. I am really looking forward to exfoliating and slapping on some serum tonight.

Mid week update:

I decided to do a mini fast and not put anything on my face Wednesday night. My skin was feeling so congested and splotchy and I didn’t know what to do, so I didn’t do anything (classic hero complex here). I really believe this has helped and I am very curious to see if there are any changes to my feelings this upcoming Sunday.

Week 2:

I was actually looking forward to fasting today! My skin was definitely not as tight this time, perhaps it is getting used to breathing. I even ventured outside without a stitch on except for some Vaseline around my dry nose, as I have run into my boss at the dog park before. Overall, a much more successful fasting day and my spa night at the end was just as lovely.

Week 3 and 4:

Ok so I’ll be honest, as the weather has warmed up I find myself being more active and going out on Sundays, instead of doing laundry and lounging in bed all day. As someone with skin insecurities, this has made it difficult to leave the house with nothing on. Who wants a flaky chin while your getting Sunday brunch? Not me and my bloody mary, that’s for sure. So I have been doing half-day fast days, as in, not putting anything on until right before I leave the house. I have also stopped using product every single night, saving my Midnight Recovery Oil for every other night and going bare faced in between.

And I think its been working. As in, when I do use product, my face drinks it up instead of getting used to anything. I also love giving my skin time to breathe and produce its own oil, hopefully training it to not be so dependent on Clinique Moisture Surge (don’t go baby, I need you. I didn’t mean it!)

On a whole, I would say this experiment was a success. I have come to look at my skincare in a completely different way. And now that I have finished writing this, on a Sunday morning without anything on my face, I think I am going to stay true to my fast today and leave the house as I am. Take me baby, or leave me.

Sweet Sweden

I have just returned from a vacation in Sweden! I spent most of my time in Stockholm, with a short jaunt to Copenhagen thrown into the mix. Here are some pictures and a couple of stories from my time as far north as I am likely ever to be. Copenhagen pics to come soon!

img_2107img_2111      img_2105

Went spent a day in the countryside of Sweden, visiting Nykoping and Trosa. I cannot convey how beautiful these towns are, even right before spring has arrived it was incredibly peaceful. We brought hotdogs and Coronas and made a fire on an island. Had to hop a fence to get to our spot, so the illicit marshmallows were even sweeter.

img_2110img_2130img_2129img_2136

 

 

My first fika experience! How could I not take a picture.img_2133

img_2131

 

Most of the historical monuments were closed while we were in Stockholm, but it was enough for me to just wander the city and pop into shops that were open.
img_2132img_2135img_2134

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you get the chance to visit Stockholm, you won’t forget this exciting city. Full of history and excitement, this was one of my favorite European cities I have been to yet. It was the most relaxed big city, but still a buzz with the hustle and bustle. Until next time –

Underwhelming products

I find these posts to be some of the most helpful when making skincare and makeup purchasing decisions. I hate buying a product that everyone loves, only to find that it doesn’t work for me. So, here are a couple of products I didn’t like, and why.

CliniqueClinique Take the Day Off

Every time I use my sample of this cult classic, my eyes go foggy and I have to use something else to actually get my makeup, and this cleanser, off. I was so pumped to finally try this, but I hate using it around my eyes! It doesn’t actually remove anything and makes the world have a blurry filter until I thoroughly rinse my eyes out. Am I using this wrong? Maybe I’m not using enough, or not warming it up in my hands correctly before hand? Help!

Benefit Roller Lash MascaraRoller Lash

Not skin care, but something I did attempt to put on my face. I have never been picky when it comes to mascara, as almost anything will do for me in this category. However, this product got on my nerves so much at work one day, I ended up running out to my car to scrub off all of my makeup with a gym face wipe! It always felt too thick and gloopy on my lids and didn’t even make my lashes look any better. Maybe the wand is different in the sample tubes, but I was very disappointed with my first high-end mascara encounter.

Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion

I just don’t like this. It doesn’t really get rid of my dead skin and leaves me kind of splotchy. It doesn’t actually exfoliate. Compared to Kate Somerville Exfolicate, this is the clear loser. On my dry skin there are no benefits to this; my serum doesn’t sink into my skin faster, my face isn’t radiant and I am just left feeling raw and red…not things I need help with. Suffice to say, I will be rehoming any more samples I get of this.

I hope this has been helpful! If you love any of this products please let me know how you use them. ❤

Face Test -Algenist

I’ve been at it again. I recently made a very exciting purchase online and with it came the Bright & Brilliant – Real Results Challenge with Algenists Genius Ultimate Anti-Aging Vitamin C Serum. What a mouthful! Not one to say no (that’s a lie, I decline salads and club nights on the reg), I am bravely lending my face to this test of willpower.

img_1857

There are 10 packets of the serum in here, but the directions say to use this twice a day for 10 days. I guess it’s up to me to portion out each sachet. Anti-aging is not a real concern of mine at the moment; being 24 and mostly worried about acne and dryness, but nevertheless, here we go:

Day One

Morning: This. Serum. Smells. Amazing. It has a heavy vanilla and chocolate scent that almost had me salivating. I honestly can’t remember how this felt upon application because the smell was all I could focus on. I believe it was light and gel like, but we’ll have to wait until this evening to get more accurate. I put my moisturizer on top, and while my acne hasn’t flared, I am pretty red at the moment. Hopefully that changes. I’m off to find some cake now.

Evening: I have just reapplied the serum to a clean face. I guess I didn’t do the best job portioning out the packet because there wasn’t very much product for my night treatment. However, there was enough for me to get a better feel for it! The texture is very smooth and light, just as a serum should be. It absorbs into the skin really well and instantly makes my face feel smooth, thanks to the silicones in it (not sure how I feel about this yet). I definitely used too much this morning, so will adjust for the future. So far so good. Wish me luck!

Day Two

Morning: I washed my face as usual and patted on the serum, ready for a new day. It does sink in nicely and goes well under moisturizer. I’m not sure if it’s the weekend vibes or this serum, but my skin is looking radiant today! There are a couple of pimples peeking through, but I will persevere.

Evening: There were just a few too many white heads popping into the world for my liking, so tonight after I washed my face I splashed on some Pixi Glow Tonic before the serum. Hoping this can dry out some of the spots and help the Algenist sink deeper. Sleep tight!

Day Three

Morning: Nope. Not happy with my skin this morning. I skipped the serum in favor of Good Genes to help soothe my red, unhappy skin. Will revisit the serum again this evening. Ugh, this is not how I wanted to start a Monday!

Evening: Phew! Throughout today my skin has really calmed down. I have washed my face and applied my glow tonic. Once this sinks in I am going to put on some of the serum and see how we do tomorrow morning. Sweet dreams.

img_1858

Day Four

Morning: Well, I’d say I’ve given this a good try, wouldn’t you? This product just isn’t working for me, and that’s ok because it really wasn’t made for my skin type. This would be great for older skin or someone looking to plump wrinkles. This serum has really great short term effects on me, so I will definitely be saving it for a long haul flight I have coming up. But the silicon in it was not so good to me after multiple uses. I never thought of this as a problem before, but now I know that it really blocks my pores and keeps all the bad stuff in.

Although I have not found a new “super product”, this was a fun couple of days. Now that I am over the trauma of fresh acne, I definitely have new appreciation for the products that truly help me (am I talking about friends or skincare? I don’t know any more). If you loved this product, let me know how it works for you! Happy sampling –

How to Deal with Acne

I won’t beat around the bush – I have gone off the pill and switched to an IUD. AKA I have made the choice to deal with pubescent acne again. Boy did I forget what this was like! Luckily, this time around I am much more prepared and have ditched those harsh Oxy products.

My acne never went away completely, but it has been very manageable for the past 7 years, so I focused mostly on improving my skins texture and redness. Now, I have to consider the huge red mountain range on my chin as well as the volcano that appeared overnight on my cheek. I’m not going to lie, this has really pulled the plug on my self esteem, but I am here to tell you that I am walking towards the light and have discovered a couple of products that have VASTLY improved my facial landscape.

Good GenesThe Hero Product:

My savior, Sunday Riley’s Good Genes. I have mentioned this serum before and my small sample is still going strong. I have tried other lactic acid treatments and nothing compares to this. It smooth’s my skin out and the effect lasts long after I have washed it off. I wish I didn’t love this product so much because of the price, but if this acne drama continues, I will be taking the plunge and ordering a full size. Who am I?! If the price tag puts you off, I suggest finding a sample (Sephora has an offer at the time of posting), and using it when you need your skin to look it’s best, like a first date; new job, might run into an ex situation, etc.

Clay masks:

I have been in love with Origins Clear Improvement for years now, but I also adore the Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque, which is significantly cheaper. Recently, after countless ITG recommendations and my best friend shouting its praises to the moon, I ordered the Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay. I was very surprised to find out this was a powder and used way too much the first time. The results are amazing at a great price point. I can’t wait to try this mixed with apple cider vinegar as suggested, because of course I didn’t follow the rules the first time. All of these masks do a fab job of drawing out the gunk that’s built up in my skin and using them 1-2 times a week has really helped to maintain clearer skin.

The new kid of the block:

I am finally taking Caroline Hirons advice and adding an acid into my routine. I got the Pixi Glow Tonic everyone and their mother rave about. And you know what? I am so happy on this bandwagon. It smells wonderfully herb-y, tricking you into thinking you aren’t putting a powerful face melting liquid onto your skin (that’s what all acid is, right?). When I use this alone at night, I wake up a lot less red with smooth skin in tact.

The next product I want to try for spot treatments is the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion. I hope you get some use out of these suggestions, and let me know if you’d like a morning/night routine for dry, acne prone skin. If you too are struggling on the acne bus, I feel your pain. Let’s get through this journey one pimple at a time, and at least try to have fun with new products while we’re at it!

Sample Queen

I probably could have called this blog Sample Queen, for that is what I am. I just checked and it is available, but whatever, that’s not my point. I subscribe to Birchbox to get my monthly fix of new things, but I have also been known to make a random purchase from Sephora just to get one of those multi sample packs, you know the ones I’m talking about. I can’t be stopped, gotta try em all!

I know it is hard to get a sense of a product from just one use, but I’m really just in this for the pure joy of slapping something cool on my face. And I like to think I have a pretty good idea about what will work for me once I’ve given it a try.

So, here is a round up of all the little sample sachets I have tried recently:

BeliefBelif – The True Cream

A friend of mine couldn’t recommend this enough after it cured her of a bad bought of winter skin, so I was super excited to give this a try. I saved it for a low key, relaxed day when I knew I wanted to focus on healing my dry skin. First off, this stuff smells amazing. Lovely and citrusy but not overwhelming at all. It was also just as moisturizing as promised. I really enjoyed this! I would totally buy the full size if I didn’t have two others on the go already.

Farmacy – Eye Dew

Now, I am not one for buying into eye cream, but I got two of these so wanted to give them a fair try. I slathered this on one night, under my eyes as well as behind my ears and up my neck, those random places that can get dry overnight. This felt thick but was not overwhelming and I woke up feeling dewy. A little goes a long way; one little packet lasted me three nights! It does have quite an odd smell, I must say. Slightly licorice? But still quite fresh and nice.

Estee EditThe Estee Edit – Overnight Water Pack

I was pretty excited to try this, as my face has recently been unbearably dry. I did a gentle exfoliation and patted this in for the evening. It felt nice to put on, very gel-like and lightly scented as it sunk into my skin nicely. It did feel a bit sticky on my pillow by bedtime, but it was definitely still doing its thing in the morning. My skin is much plumper now. Again, not sure if this is something I need in my life everyday, but a very pleasurable experience.

Sunday Riley – Tidal and Good GenesSunday Riley

UHH I love Good Genes. I bought a sample a while back and was surprised that people weren’t lying about how amazing it is. This stuff is just magic. It makes your skin flawless and I don’t mind the cucumber-esque smell one bit. I was very excited about my sample of Tidal, even though I don’t often get along with gel moisturizers. This stuff was also a delight. And also has a strange smell. Disclosure, I did wear it over Good Genes, which makes everything work better, but my face was still dewy and hydrated at the end of a long day with these two paired up. As I doubt I’ll ever be bold enough to splurge for a full sized GG, I am considering getting a small pot of Tidal as a treat!

Caudalie

Caudalie – Premier Cru

I was saving this eye cream for a night when I knew my scaly skin would appreciate it. I have never tried anything from Caudalie before and this looked very luxurious, so I donned my silk robe and twisted my hair up for the inaugural application. And hold up a minute is this concealer? I swear this eye cream has some coverage because I was looking very bright eyed and bushy tailed right before bed! I woke up with hydrated under eyes, but I think I will save the rest of this for day time use, when other people will really get the most out of it.

This has been my favorite post to write so far. It gave me a reason to finally get through all my small samples instead of hoarding them, as I have done before. I would love to hear any thoughts you have about these products and also to hear what you’ve been trying and loving!