A Peek at my Skincare Diary #1: Short and Sweet

Gasp! A Saturday post? Yeah, I forgot to schedule some new posts whilst I was panicking over an essay. I have some time to get some posts up and scheduled now, though, so you all have something to read while I am contemplating the inner workings of the mind for my degree!

I initially planned to start this series two months ago, around the time of year I share my skincare wardrobe. Instead of presenting it all as a giant wardrobe last year, I thought it would be interesting to keep a diary and record what I was using on a day-to-day basis. But then I suddenly stopped taking care of my skin, going nights without bothering with a moisturiser, although I could never forgo my thick layer of lip balm. But it meant I stopped keeping track of my skin using my diary, too.

So very slowly, I’ve been reintroducing my skincare routine based on what I am feeling. I’m not sure how long it will last seeing as my exams are really quite fast approaching and I habitually tend to wreck my sleeping and skincare around that time…

But anyway, here’s what I have been reaching for when I actually did bother with basic self-care.

Morning

Dr Organic Hemp Oil Lip Serum

After using this in the morning for at least a year now, I think I am finally using up the last of it! This has an oily but also gel-like texture that’s quite unusual, but I do like it as I want something thin that won’t interfere with my lipstick. It’s only £2.49 from Holland and Barratt, too. I wear it in the morning as soon as I have washed my face, and it stays on mostly until I get to the lipstick stage, when I press it off a bit with the back of my hand before applying lipstick. Of course, the smell will take some getting used to if you’ve never used hemp before – it can be a little unpleasant.

Etude House Moistfull Collagen Emulsion

I think this is actually the first emulsion type product I have tried, and I really like it. It’s most similar to the Western ‘lotion’ although not quite the same thing to me. It’s basically a light moisturiser and sinks in super well which is great in the mornings when I need to layer sunscreen and makeup on top without pilling but also don’t want my skin to be too dry.

I’ve been meaning to write a full review for ages but now I realise there’s not much to say! I’ve been using this for months and I’m only halfway through the bottle, but I will finish this up. I probably won’t repurchase it in favour of something with more ‘wow’ to it.

Kose Suncut Aqualy UV Protect Gel SPF50+ PA++++|Full Review Here

Something about this sunscreen texture is super pleasant so I never shy from reaching for this. It also works really nicely under makeup without pilling which I am very grateful for. However, if oil is a major problem for you then this might not be the best option at all. I really liked using this over the last winter (I just… accepted my oiliness haha) although admittedly I didn’t wear sunscreen every day… I’ll look at other options because I’m a blogger, after all, but this will definitely be repurchased in the future. It’s been over a year of sporadic use and I’m finally getting to the last quarter of the bottle.

Evening

Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser| Review Here

A very gentle and pleasant cleanser! For days of light makeup only. It will also make a good attempt at non-waterproof mascaras without stinging the eyes at all which is a nice bonus, and the rose smell is lovely. I actually don’t have many rose-scented products – for some reason the M&S body product sets that haunted my childhood come to mind – but maybe that can change! My only gripe is the price for the amount but honestly, for this lovely of a cleanser, I would not mind repurchasing it anyway.

Etude House Moistfull Collagen Eye Cream

Again, this eye cream actually isn’t anything special. But I’m twenty and only looking for a standard eye cream that isn’t too rich or too thin, and it doesn’t need to have anti-ageing ingredients at this stage. This is actually the perfect consistency – sort of buttery but not greasy at all – and the scent is actually quite minimal. All that means this is super pleasant to use for me and I’d happily buy it to use again. I’ve almost reached the bottom of my tub which means I need to stop buying new emulsions and essences and buy a new eye cream!! Any suggestions for products with a similar consistency?

COSRX AHA Whitehead Power Liquid

As I often lost track of my routine I have erred on the safe side and avoided my acids. I’m trying to reintroduce it starting weekly but even that is kind of a struggle at the moment! Besides the slightly funky smell which I am sort of used to now, there’s not much to say thus far.

Lanolips 101 Ointment|Review here

Dr Pawpaw Original Balm|Review here

One of my favourite combinations recently. I like to use a thin layer of Lanolips before applying a thick layer of Dr PawPaw, which makes my lips super soft in the morning and easy to exfoliate or even just wipe away the dead skin after morning cleansing. Both are slightly pricier options for lip balm and the PawPaw I feel could easily be replaced with Vaseline or Carmex. As you can see, I currently prefer products in tubes, even over stick-type products.

Overall, this routine takes less than ten minutes out of my morning and evening, and hopefully I can build it up a bit more over the next few months without going too heavy as the summer approaches.

I hope you enjoyed this snippet of skincare and hopefully, as this project develops, we’ll be able to see how my skincare routine evolves and adapts to change to all the seasons!

Until next time,

X

Review: CosRx Natural BHA Skin Returning A-Sol

Sometimes, I am just not feeling up to doing a review for certain products. That is, unless I have repurchased because I don’t normally repurchase and it means that I can’t quite live without it or haven’t found something that is like it. CosRx ‘s A-Sol is one of those things. I purchased my first half-bottle from someone in the Reddit community who didn’t quite get along with it, and my second bottle is here now!

By the way, Fiddy from Fifty Shades of Snail has a fantastic review of this product here.

CosRx’s A-Sol is an unusual product in that it doesn’t really follow traditional routine patterns. It’s an undefined product. It’s not strictly a toner or a spot treatment. It can be one or both. It may be too drying for use as a toner, though.

This product contains Natural BHA to control oil while helping to clear recurring pimples. A non-drying acne treatment solution for sensitive skin.

Natural BHA Skin Returning A-Sol is a skin-type solution product that solves the daunting problem of complex skin trouble with a combination of Propolis, AHA, natural BHA and natural moisture-retention ingredients, as well as helping with control of sebum and clearing of dead skin cell. Natural Skin Returning A-Sol contains little oil, helping with managing sebum and pores, to give the skin cleanliness with no shine or trouble.

Well, first off, I’m gonna say ignore that second sentence. Look at these ingredients!

Propolis extract, Alcohol, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Lactate, Lactic acid, Water, Glycolic acid, Betaine Salicylate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Panthenol, Allantoin, Cassia Obtusfolia Seed Extract, 1,2-hexanediol, Ethyl Hexanediol, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil

The packaging also states that the main ingredients are Propolis Extract at 60% and Betaine Salicylate (a gentler form of Salicylic Acid) at 1%.

It contains quite a bit of alcohol, so depending on your skin sensitivities, this can be super drying and definitely not for sensitive skins. My own skin is very non-sensitive, so I haven’t experienced much to that effect.

To me, it smells of alcohol and tea tree. My new bottle seems to smell more alcoholic than my first one.

As mentioned, I have been using this for almost a year now and this new bottle is my second. I’ve found it to be a pretty potent acne preventative and good at healing existing spots, too. However, it doesn’t do much for huge red swollen things in my experience. I slather it all over my acne-prone areas (as in, the entire central area of my face) after cleansing and follow it up with something hydrating.

So let’s revisit the claims of the product

  • Control oil – I never expect anything from shine-control skincare, so no surprises for me when I discovered that this, too, did nothing.
  • Helping to clear recurring pimples – hell yes. It won’t do all the legwork, but it certainly helps to calm and heal fresh spots.
  • Non-drying – unless your skin doesn’t like alcohol. Fine by me, though.
  • Sensitive skin – again, alcohol (and to some extent the small amount of tea tree oil).
  • Control of pores – again, no expectations here. I have the BHA power liquid that has done wonders for that.

Packaging

This comes in an opaque white 100ml bottle with a pump and clear lid. With my first bottle, I noticed that the liquid seemed to get all over the pump and lid despite not getting anywhere else and I’m not messy with my skincare.

With my second bottle, the lid and pump were already a mess, which may be a shipping problem rather than a product problem. It also seems that the bottle isn’t filled with product all the way to the top. It’s a minor gripe, to be honest, but my BHA and AHA bottles were filled to about 3mm from the top whilst this one is only filled to 10mm from the top!

Overall, I really do love this product for spot treating, and nothing else. One bottle lasts me a year-ish as well so I consider this a great investment in my routine.

Thanks for reading!

X

My Skincare Routine – Jan 2017

Strap in your seatbelts, readers, because this is one of my longest posts to date. It’s huge because my routine doesn’t change a lot over a year so I’m making this a rare, annual entry.

My focus on skincare really blows up in the winter, when transitional weather wrecks my skin a little and sends me into a bit of a panic. It’s probably the reason I tend to buy more in the winter and spend the rest of my year adapting my stash to fit the summer.

I wanted to share my skincare routine as I did a while ago but then I also realised that it’s now different all the time – I am pretty much a follower of the skincare ‘wardrobe’ idea rather than a set routine. Therefore, I wanted to share the products I have at the moment although I don’t use them all at once. There is rarely an occasion that I have to, and I’m usually too lazy to do that anyway!

Cleansers
I use Soap and Glory’s Peaches and Clean Deep Cleansing Milk (my second bottle!) to remove makeup at the end of the day without drying my skin out. It does this fabulously, although it can sting the eyes if it gets into contact with them. If I want to remove makeup a bit earlier, I use the original Garnier Micellar Water (not pictured) and a couple of cotton pads. I’ll always have cotton pads lying around but I don’t often remove my makeup that way – less waste, you know?
On nights I use actives, I have also been using Innisfree’s Bija Anti-Trouble Gel Cleanser as a second cleanser, mostly due to its low pH which helps to prep for my actives that need it. I’ll be honest: I don’t really see much of a difference from using this before my actives so I won’t be repurchasing it.

Actives
I use CosRX’s AHA and BHA Power Liquids about two times a week each – the BHA more than the AHA. The BHA has been particularly great at minimising and unclogging the pores all along the centre column of my face. If I ever feel like I need a break from chemical exfoliants I may gently scrub my face with a scrubby glove or towel.

(My actives are chemical exfoliants. Actives, in general, refer to products with ingredients that actually do their job. In the hyperlinked ‘wardrobe’ post above, I linked to Snow’s post on her wardrobe of actives. She defines actives as such:

Actives are the “workhorses” of my routine, meaning that when it comes to actual effects such as anti-aging, anti-acne, or improvement in texture, hyperpigmentation, and overall appearance of my skin, I don’t rely on cleansers, essences, serums, creams, or any other sort of skincare to have an “active” effect on my skin.  I expect cleansers to clean, and essences, serums, and creams to hydrate, moisturize, and soften my skin, but that’s it.  If you want your skincare to really do something, in my experience, you’re going to have to buck up and pull out the big guns, and that means actives.

They are not to be taken lightly so please do some research on these before trying them out. In particular, have a solid basic routine including sunscreen all figured out before you even touch the actives. Especially as AHAs make your skin more sun-sensitive.)

Spot Treatments
First, I use CosRX’s Skin Returning A-Sol as a general spot prevention step as well as treatment for bumps and active spots.
If I have any really big red spots, I use the LJH TeaTree90 essence, which I still am still going through after buying two bottles at the beginning of 2016. It doesn’t do much else for me otherwise, so I am rationing it solely for the big swollen ones because it really works well on calming those. It’s quite pricey without discounts, though at around £22 for a small bottle.
Lastly, if I have picked at any pimples, I’ll use hydrocolloid patches to cover them. I compared a few here. I do pick at mine a lot, so this helps to get all the gunk out, flatten those spots and also provide a physical barrier to me picking at them even more.

Essences and Hydrating Layers
I am currently using up a bunch of Superdrug’s B-Refreshed Essence Lotion that I got during a buy one get one free deal. Besides its annoying sharp scent, it’s a decent, affordable option for hydrating layers. I don’t think I will repurchase this but I will at least finish my two bottles. I’ll sit down, put on an anime episode or something, and every five minutes I’ll slap another layer of this onto my face.
Then, I may or may not slap on a layer of CosRx’s Snail 96 essence. I’ve not seen much of an effect of using snail products so far. Maybe I’ll notice once I run out.
Lastly, Superdrug’s Simply Pure Hydrating Serum is another hydrating layer that also includes some ceramides that help maintain the skin’s moisture barrier. I make sure to apply them in this order – from lightest, most watery consistency to heaviest creamy stuff.

Eye Cream
Boots Vitamin E Eye Cream SPF 15. It’s the only eye cream I have tried. I’ll probably repurchase it as it’s a great affordable start to eye skincare and has SPF 15 and has really helped with the dryness on my eyelids with regular use. I know at my age I don’t need anything expensive just yet. Another eye product with more SPF would be more appreciated, though.

Final Layer
My final layer of choice recently has been Superdrug’s Vitamin E Moisture Mask which is a good ‘heavy’ option. It has a gel texture, so sometimes I reach for this Simple Spotless Skin Anti-Blemish Moisturiser if I want something creamier (that I finished up in the weeks I spent writing this post and won’t repurchase so I can try other things) and for a very light layer, I use the Mizon Snail Recovery Gel cream, of which I bought two tubes and am still using up. I haven’t found any consistent likes in products of this category yet.

Lip Balm
My balm of choice recently has been the Dr Organic Lip Balm SPF15. I just finished a tube of Ice Mint and now have a Royal Jelly one which works just as well, just with less of a cooling sensation. The range is always on the counter at Holland and Barratt. If I feel I need more, I’ll add a thin layer of something else underneath, like the Dr Organic Hemp Oil Lip Serum to soothe dry patches.

This routine seems long, but honestly, time wise, it’s never been so short. I’ve gone past the phase of feeling like needing every step of the routine and just giving way to a simpler version that I know still works for me.

Evening Routine, Short Version

  • Cleansing
  • Spot treating
  • Eye Cream
  • Moisturiser
  • Lip Balm

This is the short version of my night routine, which takes only 10 mins ish so it’s ideal for when I’m lazy. I’ve cut out the actives and hydrating layers from the routine.

Day Routine

  • Cleansing – sometimes just with water.
  • Spot Treating
  • Sunscreen – I did a comparison post of the ones in my stash here. My current go-to is the Vichy and Biore Essence simply because I want to finish those products. I’ve realised that now I am at home a lot I prefer the Biore Watery essence since I don’t have to worry about oil control, and the texture of the stuff is pretty dreamy – light and dries quickly with no cast. Vichy Ideal Soleil, on the other hand, takes effort to work into my skin and does leave a cast.
  • Lip balm

I know I really shouldn’t skip moisturiser but in the mornings I struggle to muster up that effort. If I do feel like I really need it, I grab a light layer of something and pat it into my face.

Other Thoughts

I just had a look at my skincare post from 2015, and boy, have things changed. I very occasionally use clay masks now, and I have also scrapped toner (hydrating, pH adjusting or astringent – those aren’t things I need right now) and my exfoliation is done with my actives.

I have also learned the importance of using a separate sunscreen as opposed to a moisturiser/foundation with SPF. Honestly, if I can gloat at my parents in twenty years with a baby face I’ll tell them it was the sunscreen. I’ve been trying to get them both to wear one ever since they got into anti-ageing skincare but to no avail.

Other things outside skincare I do:

  • drinking a lot of water
  • using separate face towels to dry my face and changing those at least weekly
  • switching up my pillowcase weekly.
  • I also should be wiping down my laptop and phone screen weekly but I keep forgetting to.

Oh! As a last note to add, mostly for to myself since I didn’t do this last time, this entire routine upfront costs roughly… £130 RRP(!!!!!) Bear in mind, though, that some of these products have lasted me absolutely ages and this is a steady accumulation over the last year, and many of these items I bought on sale or in some cases half-used from friendly community members. I would not have bought the LJH TeaTree90 Essence if not for HKCPlaza discounting them from £22 to £7 a bottle last year! (Link is to a post on last year’s haul.)

This begs the question – do I really need everything? Has my skin actually improved from using up all this stuff? To answer that question, I tried to dig up some old photos of my [bare] face, and you all understand when I say I used to hate taking selfies due to the state of my skin. So there wasn’t much! My ‘bad skin days’ are now not as bad as they used to be, and these days I have far more good/decent skin days than bad skin days, and I think that counts for something. I have been taking more bare-faced photos recently so hopefully next year I can put in a comparison shot.

If you’re looking for a super basic routine, I’d say focus on the cleansing, moisturising and sunscreen steps. Those are the bare necessities, so please don’t feel intimidated by my routine! Any extra steps, add only if you feel like it’s needed.

I hope you enjoyed this post and found it helpful!

Thanks for reading!

X