Friday, April 6, 2018

Three Simple Steps To Soothe Flaky, Irritated Skin

Ever since I came back from a weekend trip to Boston a few weeks ago, my skin has been insanely dry. My face was so dry that there were small cracks throughout the outer layer of my skin which allowed dirt and germs to seep in and cause breakouts. On top of all the red acne bumps on my face, the dryness made my skin itchy and uncomfortable.

To help my skin recover and reset, I decided to stop using the acids and other products that were potentially irritating my skin. I stuck to this super simple routine for a week and it helped my skin tremendously.

Cleanse - I've been using the Hada Labo Gokujyun Hyaluronic Foaming Facial Wash consistently and I really like it for morning and night. It's a popular Japanese drugstore cleanser and I can see why people like it so much. The foam is the perfect consistency - neither too dense nor too airy. It's unscented and not stripping at all so it's perfect for when your skin is already feeling tight and irritated.

Tone - There are a lot of fancy glycolic toners or "beauty water"-type toners on the market right now but my favorite one at the moment is a simple alcohol-free toner that simply calms the skin. It's the Kiehl's Calendula Herbal-Extract Toner. After cleansing, I douse a good amount of this onto a cotton pad and swipe it all over my skin in the morning and night. I like the faint smell which reminds me of chrysanthemum tea (calendula and chrysanthemum are apparently in the same plant family) and my skin feels balanced afterward.

Moisturize - I've gone back to La Roche Posay moisturizers which always seem to do the trick when my skin is being finnicky. In the morning I'll use my favorite La Roche Posay Toleriane Moisturizer. I've talked about this numerous times on the blog and I've gone through several tubes of this. It's a lightweight moisturizer that sinks it really quickly and provides just the right amount of hydration without feeling greasy or heavy. At night I've been using the La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 which is very thick, almost to the point where it feels like a hand cream. I warm up a generous nickel size drop between my hands and then press it onto my face. It leaves a scary white cast at first because it's a heavy moisturizer and takes time to sink in. But after 10 minutes the white cast dissipates and by morning, my skin is super hydrated and happy.

I'm still using my usual makeup removers and sunscreen but I've simplified the general three steps (cleanse, tone and moisturize) by a lot. It's proven to be super effective and my skin is almost completely healed. Now I'm wondering why I have a cabinet and drawer full of various skincare products when this super simple routine works just fine.... I'm also wondering why I didn't stock up on the cleanser and moisturizers when I was abroad because the mark up is so much higher for these products in the States. Making a mental note to pick up backups of these on my future trips.

How do you adjust your skincare routine when your skin is acting up? How many steps is your usual skincare routine? Does anyone else not have a set routine like me and reach for whatever they feel like it that day?

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Spring Lip and Cheek Makeup Haul: Chanel, Nars and Charlotte Tilbury

It's technically spring already but it's been snowing all day and it doesn't look like it'll hit 60° anytime soon. That being said, I know it'll be sunny and warm again in no time and I can't wait to retire my snow boots until next winter. So much so that late last month I already ordered a few spring and summery cheek and lip products to refresh my makeup bag. In my defense Bloomingdales was offering $15 off every $50 spent on beauty which translates to 30% off. I used the opportunity to pick up a few things that never really go on sale.

I've had my eye on Nars' Powder Blush in Impassioned ever since they released this dusty pale pink shade. Nars' powder blush formula is a classic but it's been some time since I added a new shade to my collection because I have so many other blushes. Impassioned looks very pale in the pan but it comes across well on my skin tone and I'm looking forward to wearing this as a pop of pink on the apples of my cheeks.

There's something about the warmer months that makes me gravitate towards cream cheek products. It's actually counterintuitive since I have oily skin and it would probably make more sense to opt for creams during the dry winter months. Maybe it's because cream products are easier to apply and blend with fingers and I tend to prefer a more casual, effortless makeup look when it's hot out. Basically this was my justification for purchasing the Chanel Les Beiges Sheer Colour Stick in N°21. It reminds me of the Nars Multiples (which I've never tried but always had on my wishlist) and I love the really easy portable twist-up packaging. The color is a bright peachy pink that will look gorgeous on bronzy-tan skin. The formula is quite interesting - it has a bit of a silicone slip so it's really easy to blend but it doesn't blend into nothing on the cheeks. It also has surprisingly good lasting power, though I haven't tried it in hot and humid weather yet.

I remember the Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Boy was a cult favorite a few years back but now nobody seems to talk about these. The color can sometimes pull very brown in the tube but it imparts a nice beige sheen onto my lips. It's essentially a my-lips-but-better shade with a tinge of beige that evens out my lips. This probably is more of a fall/winter lip color rather than a spring/summer shade because I think it would pair best with a really dark smokey eye. 

The remaining three products are lip glosses because I realize I love a glossy neutral lip and I didn't have enough in my collection (the word 'enough' is debatable). I picked up two Chanel glosses in different formulas: the Rouge Allure Gloss in Sensible and the Rouge Coco Gloss in Douceur. Sensible is not what I expected - it's a lot brighter than I was originally hoping and I'm not sure if I'm a fan of a bright coral lipgloss because I think it looks a little jarring. Maybe in the summer when I'm a few shades darker it will look better. The Rouge Allure Gloss formula is very pigmented and akin to a glossy liquid lipstick. I absolutely love the sleek packaging - the golden top clicks in to reveal the applicator. So chic! But it's impossible to see the color from the outside so I can imagine this being a pain if you have more than one shade. I believe the Rouge Coco Glosses are the new version of the Chanel Glossimers and Douceur was exactly what I expected it to be. It's a sheer peachy beige nude that adds shine and a hint of color to my lips. It's so easy to wear and it feels really comfortable. Love!

Last but not least is the Charlotte Tilbury Lip Lustre in Sweet Stiletto. This gloss is semi-opaque and the color is a warm dark nude. It actually translates into more of a pink when it's on my lips which is interesting. I like the formula and the rose gold packaging is pretty enough that I might add the true nude shade in Seduction to my collection at some point. These retail for $22 each which makes them much more wallet-friendly than the Chanel ones (Rouge Allure Gloss is $37; Rouge Coco Gloss is $30) though the tube contains a bit less product.

I've been in a sort of makeup slump lately and wearing the same products everyday. I'm excited to incorporate these new bits into my makeup routine and keeping my fingers crossed that warmer days are around the corner! Did you pick up any makeup lately in preparation for warmer weather? If you live in a place that has the same climate year-round do you follow seasonal beauty trends?

Friday, March 2, 2018

Oskia's Renaissance Mask: The Facial In a Jar With The Price Tag To Match

The past few months I've been on a huge skincare shopping spree and one of my favorite things to test out are face masks. I think I probably have 10 face masks (not counting sheet masks) right now. In my defense, some are mini size. Anyway, there are two simple reasons for this. I'm an impatient person and face masks often promise to deliver results in just 15 to 30 minutes. I also don't do a face mask everyday because I tend to forget so I make it a point to do them a few times a week as a little before-bed treat. One of the masks I've really enjoyed using lately is the Oskia Renaissance Mask which I purchased as part of the latest Cult Beauty Caroline Hirons Box.

Oskia is a luxury British skincare brand that I've heard about for years (their Renaissance Cleansing Gel is definitely on my "to try" list) but the Renaissance Mask is my first real foray into the line. You can find their products online at Barneys, Goop and Net A Porter but I highly recommend ordering from Cult Beauty because you don't have to pay sales tax and they subtract the VAT, making it even cheaper. The Renaissance Mask retails for $75 for 50ml (definitely one of my most expensive face masks per ounce) but on Cult Beauty you can get it for £42.50 (~$59) shipped. Still pricey but a little more manageable - every cent counts, right?

Enough about the pricing - let's get onto the mask itself. Oskia bills this as a mask for all skin types which will increase skin brightness and clarity through a combination of AHAs and enzymes. The mask is free from artificial fragrances, colorants, silicones, parabens, sulphates and proplylene glycol. It is made in the United Kingdom. The packaging is a straightforward glass jar with a twist-off plastic lid. Oskia provides a little plastic scoop to keep things sanity but, let's be honest, I just dip my fingers in the pot of goodness and slather the mask on my face.

This balmy pink mask feels heavenly when you apply it. It's thick and emollient but not oily at all. There's a faint rose scent which isn't bothersome to me at all. You're meant to apply a generous layer onto clean, dry skin in a circular massaging motion. When doing so, the mask transforms from a semi-translucent pink to a white color. After leaving it on for 10 to 15 minutes, rinse away with warm water and you're left with soft, supple and non-irritated skin.

I personally love that this mask is incredibly gentle because I can use it multiple times a week without worrying about possibly aggravating my skin or stripping it. But I can see how some might be disappointed if they're a fan of intense chemical exfoliating masks like the Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask (burned my skin like crazy within three seconds). I think the Oskia Renaissance Mask is a really luxe skincare treat for those with sensitive skin. I've gotten more drastic results from other acid products which is why I hesitate to say I'd repurchase this mask in a heartbeat. But it's definitely one I'd love to always have on hand because it is such a treat to use, much like the May Lindstrom Honey Mud Mask I waxed on and on about recently. Notice a trend here?

Have you tried Oskia skincare? If you have, I'd love to know your recommendations!