16 May 2017

Favourites 2017: Moisturizers


I have decided to make a series about my favourite skincare items that I regularly use, focusing on one category of products at a time. I was going to begin at the "beginning" of a routine (e.g. cleansers, cleansing oils) but I was too excited about some of my moisturizing stars to start with anything else.

1. Stratia Liquid Gold is formulated with sea buckthorn oils and a plethora of other yummy ingredients that are AMAZING for the skin. From the creator's description of the product:

"Your skin’s moisture barrier (the stratum corneum, or outermost layer of the epidermis) has a bricks-and-mortar structure: the bricks are skin cells called corneocytes, and the mortar is a fatty mixture made up of ceramidescholesterol, and free fatty acids. This mixture keeps your skin healthy, clear, and resilient. If it’s compromised, it can lead to skin that’s:
  • Flaky
  • Simultaneously dry and oily
  • Lax, sallow, or dull
  • Itchy and/or easily irritated
  • Extremely sensitive
  • Acne-prone
Liquid Gold is formulated with ceramides, cholesterol, and fatty acids to mimic and strengthen your natural moisture barrier. By healing your dehydration and replenishing that fatty mixture in your stratum corneum, you can address the above symptoms and discover healthy, bouncy, resilient skin."

My skin isn't typically flaky, dry, or acne-prone, so I wasn't sure if this would be too heavy duty for my needs or not. I just wanted to try it and benefit from the ingredients to maintain well hydrated skin. I was so happy to see that my skin felt soft and plump and looked even in texture and tone even within the first 3 days of using this product. It's a light, bright yellow cream that absorbs and feels like an oil. The packaging is a heavy frosted glass with a pump that works fantastically. It has been given the esteemed title of "holy grail" by fans on Instagram and blogs, but don't like the love fool you into passing it by as an overhyped product. It truly is a great treatment and moisturizer for day and night. 
Available on stratiaskin for $24

2. Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel is just one option for moisturizers from Clinique. They have many products and recommended skincare routines for specific skin types. Many are also big fans of their Moisture Surge and the Moisturizing Lotion. The Gel is marketed for combination/oily skin, but as someone with normal skin, I find it lightweight and effective. It absorbs quickly and layers well with other skincare products, sun protection, and makeup. I will not repurchase another basic every day moisturizer because it's so great when you need to moisturize but not necessarily treat or mask or go overboard.
Available at Clinique.ca for $34

3. COSRx Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask is perfect when I'm looking for something a bit more occlusive and nourishing. It is marketed to have multiple methods of application and use, however I prefer it as a sleeping pack (as the last step before I go to sleep, and after my other skincare steps in the PM). They say you can use it as a wash off mask or as a day cream as well. I find that it absorbs well and is quite moisturizing, leaving my face bright and smooth in the morning. The star ingredient is supposed to be the rice extract. Sometimes Wishtrend has a duo with this mask and the honey mask for around $20.
Available on Wishtrend for approximately $13-16

4. COSRx Ultimate Moisturizing Honey Overnight Mask is another good moisturizer that I love to use as a sleeping pack. The star ingredient here is the propolis extract. I do find this one a bit sticky and I don't feel as though it dries down or absorbs completely, but it does feel moisturizing enough and I believe it does calm some redness. I especially enjoy using it with snail mucin products for redness in my skin.
Available on Wishtrend for approximately $13-16

What is your "holy grail" moisturizer and what do you expect that product to achieve?

14 April 2017

Skincare Empties! Mid-April Edition

Good evening, friends!

I have recently become quite addicted to intensifying my skincare routine. I have always had quite clear skin, without many issues or problem areas. My goal is to retain moisture, maintain the good skin I already have, and prevent signs of aging. My favourite community and resource for all things skincare, k-beauty, and "Asian skincare routines" is the subreddit /r/AsianBeauty. They have wonderful links for beginners, answering all your questions about products, routines, and the chemistry behind why certain products work for certain skin concerns. That's one of my favourite parts, no one recommends or suggests using a product without letting you know why it works. I have learned all sorts of wonderful things about how ingredients and chemical react to bring remedy to skin concerns.

Here are some of my favourite articles, blogs, or resources to get started:

I thought I would keep track of some of the new products I am trying and write small reviews when I empty a product. This past week, I emptied a few samples and one full sized product. 

1. Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment ($79CAD at Sephora.ca for 50g): I do adore this mask treatment. It smells like black licorice to me, it feels very cooling and lovely while it is on the face, and it's easy to rinse off. It makes my face feel clear and clean. But I just can't justify the price. I received a sample from Sephora and I'm happy to have tried it, but it's not something I would purchase myself. I will nab one any time it's available in a gift/value set or as a point perk or other extra sample. I am looking into ordering the Innisfree Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask as an alternative.

2. Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask ($77CAD at Sephora.ca for 30mL): I didn't notice a damn thing during or after using this. It is a thin, jelly formula that dries like a peeling mask, though it doesn't peel off. It is very expensive for a mask that doesn't really offer anything for brightness or pores like it claims. Easy to pass on, it wasn't like I loved it and lamented the cost.

3. Clinique Liquid Facial Soap ($22CAD at Sephora.ca for 200mL): I actually really liked this. I bought this set and the Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel has become my HG. I like lightweight, gel moisturizers a lot, this one is amazing and not too pricey.  I cannot say if this is extremely effective for specific skin types or not, I have quite normal skin that is pretty hardy and can withstand anything. I just felt like it was refreshing and combined with the toner and moisturizer, my skin was in very good condition. I'm not certain of the pH of this cleanser, so that's the only reason I haven't repurchased.

4. The Body Shop Oils of Life ($44CAD at TheBodyShop.ca for 30mL): This was the first facial oil I ever used and it was amazing for my skin. I actually finished this a while ago but held onto the bottle because I use the dropper for other products sometimes and I didn't want to forget the name of it so I could buy it again later. I have tried argan oil since but it made my skin a little irritated, so I'd rather shell out a bit more for this. It absorbs quickly, smells nice, makes my skin soft like velvet and I felt well moisturized. It has a lot of added fragrance ingredients, so I'm not sure how those with more sensitive skin will fare. But my face loved this stuff. I want to get some more ASAP.

5. Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil Facial Butter ($50CAD at Sephora.ca for 1.7oz): The second argan oil product I was using that made my skin a little icky and sad. And like I said, I'm pretty resilient. I'm not sure how to explain this feeling, but it was almost like it was too "rich." My skin felt greasy and clogged up in the morning.. I had a super oily nose which never usually happens, and obvious sebaceous filaments. I don't think moisture is usually a problem for me, so when I use too many creams and lotions it's just excessive for my skin. This may be better suited for someone with drier skin.

6. Clinique Clarifying Lotion 3 ($18CAD at Sephora.ca for 200mL): I mentioned most of this already, it worked well for me but it might not be good for all skin types. It contains menthol and baking soda.. kind of odd and could be irritating for more sensitive skin types. I'm going to use other BHAs but this was okay for the small sample size and it seemed to be effective combined with the other Clinique products.

Overall, I think the only item I will be purchasing will be TBS's Oils of Life.

I am waiting for some new products in the mail and I'm working on finishing up a few more soon!

31 March 2017

Trend: Favourite Brown Lipsticks RIGHT NOW!

One thing that I always have a lot of in my collection is lipstick. I love different finishes and colours and formulas and brands, and there always has to be "the one" for each occasion. I've been trying to make sure all colours get equal love and use, so I thought I'd pick a colour or shade range as a theme for a few posts.

Here are 6 of my favourite brown lipsticks right now.

Left to right: Urban Decay VICE "1993: (cream), Urban Decay VICE Vintage "Roach'" (cream), MAC Styled In Sepia (matte, LE but something like Stone is comparable), NYX Matte Lipstick "Butter," Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick "Sanctuary," Colourpop Ultra Satin "Tansy."

Nude or brown lipsticks can sometimes be a challenge if you are fair, because the contrast of features and shades and pigmentation of your lips can definitely change how the lipstick looks. Some of these might be nudes or mauves on someone else, but for me they are distinctly brown.

UD Roach is described as a cream finish, but I think it is comparable to their other VICE lipsticks with a "metallized" finish. I love the newer VICE lipsticks and highly recommend checking them out, there is a ludicrous number of shades (in the 100s if I recall correctly) and there is certainly something for everyone.

I love MAC matte lipsticks, 98% of my MAC lipsticks I own are actually in this formula. I find it very comfortable and long lasting. This exact shade was in a limited edition collection, but Stone is a similar shade.

NYX Butter is a lighter, daily wear brown that can look a bit like a "greige." It isn't as long lasting as some other lipsticks I own, but it's a safer way to wear a brown to work.

Sanctuary is gorgeous and leans a bit cool, I think KVD actually describes it as a cool toned sepia which is a bit strange. It is quite dark on my colouring so I save it for evenings but it's a nice formula and colour.

Colourpop Tansy is the closest to a true "brown" that I have and I love it. Honourable mention goes to its sister brown. the Ultra Matte shade called Limbo. They are similar save for the formula, and I just prefer the Ultra Satin at this point in the game. I own a lot of their matte liquid lipsticks and they're not as consistently good as the Satins.

The 2 Urban Decay lipsticks are definitely my favourite of them all, it's nice to have so many options and I'm coming back around to love bullet lipsticks over the liquid trend that's been reigning for the last couple years.

Do you like brown lipstick and what's your favourite one?