An Oil For Every Occasion

Facial oils.. they’ve been all the rage in the past few years, and have become a staple in everyone’s skincare routine. They’re easy to get into if you have dry skin, but how about us oily-skinned gals, who have been running in fear every time we see a bottle that lists oil as one of the ingredients?

The one oil I’ve been using for years is tea tree oil, which I buy from The Body Shop, although you can get it anywhere, really. This is the best acne treatment if I have a blemish and want to treat it but also wear makeup. Other spot treatments don’t sit well under makeup, so just taking a cotton swab of this stuff works great. Another blemish-busting oil I’ve been using for almost a year now is the Sunday Riley Artemis Hydoactive Cellular Face Oil, which I mix in with my nighttime moisturizer. It smells awful, like most Sunday Riley products, but I’ve found it does help overall with facial clarity. Sadly, they’ve discontinued this product, but when it runs out I do plan on trying the Ultra Clarifying Oil from the same line – I’ve been told by people I know that it works a treat.

Even us oily-skinned folk do get dry sometimes though. In the winter I tend to collect dry patches around my cheeks and nose, which happened loads this year. When that happens I usually pull out my Argania Argan Oil, which I picked up at my local Winners. The brand doesn’t really matter, any high-quality argan oil will do. This stuff moisturizes like nothing else – although I have to be careful of not over-using it, otherwise my skin can freak out. Another great and cult favourite oil is the Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate, which I’ve also been using for a few years now. This is a really light oil that absorbs quickly into the skin and I tend to use this when I need to calm my skin down, whether it’s due to breakouts, dryness or if I’ve just used an intense acid mask. I find it’s a good all-around treatment whatever my issue is.

What are your favourite facial oils and what would you recommend?

The Winter Switchup

In this part of the world, winter has not been that bad thus far – it has to be said. But inevitably, the colder temperatures bring drier air and plenty of wind, which wreaks havoc on my skin every year.

It was around December when I started to really feel the dehydration and dry patches. I was forced to put away my usual night time moisturizer and bring out the big guns – the GlamGlow ThirstyMud Hydrating Treatment, which I mix with a couple drops of the Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate. It took about four consecutive days of use, but after that most of my dry patches were gone. Now I use this combo a couple times a week just for maintenance, as I do need constant injections of moisture in my PM routine.

Another product I bought in a bit of a panic was the Origins A Perfect World Age-Defense Treatment Lotion with White Tea, because I was in need of a more hydrating toner. It smells wonderful and I slap a bit of this on after cleansing in the morning, so that my skin isn’t so sapped from all the various treatments I use during the day. As you can tell, I don’t normally keep anything too hydrating in my routine but this time of year, it’s so important even for us oily-skinned folks!

The last thing I’ve had issues with is foundation shade-matching. For some reason all of the foundations I own have been oxidizing like crazy on me, and I’m at my palest, so I was struggling a bit with what to do, since I’m so used to buying light-medium or medium foundations that I finally had to run to the drugstore and pick up a shade that made no sense to me – the Maybelline Fit Me Foundation in the shade 120 Classic Ivory. It’s light with neutral undertones – the problem for me is that I have quite neutral-warm undertones, but most brands’ lightest shades lean quite cool, so it’s an ongoing battle for me. So far I’ve been mixing this with a bit of my regular foundations to lighten it up, but the oxidizing issue is persistent. If you guys have any ideas of how to prevent or lessen this, any suggestions would be welcome! I have already tried the primer / primer + powder prior to foundation and neither have worked so far :(.

What are your winter skincare and makeup staples?

The Q2 Clearout

As promised, I’m keeping up with my quarterly clearouts – I think I actually did quite well this spring, with some good haircare/skincare/makeup empties that I’ve managed to use up and get rid of. As you can see, I’m a keen tube-cutter. There is tons of product left inside a tube, so I highly recommend doing this to get your money’s worth. Some highlighted products:

The Giovanni 2Chic Brazilian Keratin & Argan Oil Leave-In Conditioner is an interesting product – I’ve tried a different leave-in conditioner from them that was great, and this one was similar – I take a dollop on my ends after showering and it leaves my hair really silky and smooth. The downside to this guy is that it smells absolutely horrible, kind of like cat urine, if you’ve ever had the good fortune of sniffing that. I won’t be repurchasing this specific hair product, but I do like the brand in general.

I used up a lot of my favourites, including the Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado, Laneige Water Sleeping Mask and the L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation in shade 103. All three are going to be repurchases for sure!

The one item I had to get rid of due to age was the Revlon Brow Fantasy in shade Dark Brown. This is the first and only brow pencil I’ve ever bought in my life, and as you can see, it didn’t get much use – I had originally bought it for the gel on the other end, which has long dried up. I just found that because my brows are quite low maintenance, there wasn’t really a need for a pencil – any other tinted brow gel will do, and tons have been released into the market since I bought the Brow Fantasy.

Which products have you tried and do you regularly clean them out?

2015 Favourites: Skin Care

Following last year’s precedent, it’s only right to do a post on my most-loved and used skincare favourites from 2015. It’s been an interesting year for skincare – some old, some new, but also a lot of the same stuff I’ve been using for a while. That’s the thing about skincare. It’s much more finnicky, although I’m hoping that now I’m coming closer to a finalized skincare routine, at least in terms of ingredients, if not specific products.

One of my favourite cleansers of the year has to be the Philosophy Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash, which I have used on and off since around 2009. This is either my third or fourth bottle of the stuff, which is creamy and gentle and exfoliates the skin with the teeniest beads ever. I use this every morning. After work in the shower, I’ve decided to give my Clarisonic a bit of break and just go back to using a simple cleanser. The one I’m loving right now is the Clarins One-Step Gentle Exfoliating Facial Cleanser, which is gentler, more moisturizing and has slightly bigger beads than the Philosophy. I’ve had samples of this cleanser in the past and I am definitely glad to finally have the full-sized product in my arsenal. To remove makeup, nothing can beat the Body Shop Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil – it’s fast, efficient and affordable, and removes every scrap of waterproof eye makeup imaginable.

Other faves have been the Clinique Superdefense Age Defense Eye Cream SPF 20, amazing for all year round, and my most-used night time moisturizer, the LaNeige Water Sleeping Mask. I’m on my third tub of the stuff, but only really started using it daily in 2015.

To set all my makeup on the daily, I’ve found a cheaper alternative to the Urban Decay Setting Sprays – L’Oreal’s Infallible Pro Spray & Set Makeup Extender Setting Spray, which is under $15 and lasts ages. I can’t live without the stuff and am down to the last couple of sprays in my second bottle.

For the body, my lifesaver is the Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve, which is thick but sinks into the skin instantly, and does not leave a greasy finish. I apply it every night to hands, feet and elbows when needed. Also, as a little indulgence, the Laura Mercier Creme de Pistache Souffle Body Creme is incredible, used as a lotion or as a perfume. The texture is amazing and the scent lingers all day. Worth the splurge, in my opinion.

What have your skincare/body care faves been in 2015 and what are you looking forward to trying most this coming year?

The Best Hand Cream for Non-Hand Cream Lovers

I love the feeling of clean hands. Yup – I’m obsessed. I wash my hands constantly throughout the day because I hate that nasty feeling of a layer of dirt or sweat on my hands. Taking public transportation and working in an office induces constant hand-washing. The results? Dry, dry hands. In the winter, particularly, the skin around my fingers cracks all the time, which is really painful and absolutely gross to look at. While some people apply hand cream immediately after washing their hands to replenish their moisture levels, I feel it just adds that gross feeling back again, oily, greasy and generally unclean, and I usually end up gingerly trying to rub it only on the back of my hands, or foregoing it altogether.

For the first time ever, I have discovered the perfect hand cream for those of us who just hate that moisturizer feeling. The Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve has been a lifesaver, especially right before bed. It’s a white creamy gel texture – more cream than gel, but I say gel because it’s not as thick as some other hand creams on the market. It sinks in really quickly and smells faintly of eucalyptus, which I like.

The only downside is how expensive it is – the smaller ‘travel size’, which is 2.5 oz, costs $18 CAD, and the larger 5.0 oz tube will set you back $28. If they cost less I’d probably have a tube in each room and my purse! However, using this at least once a day has helped my hands considerably, and I’m willing to splurge a little bit so that my hands stay moisturized without feeling like I’m wearing grease mittens.

What is your favourite hand cream and why? Have you tried this one and did you like it?

Kiehl’s Box of Moisture

Kiehl's
I haven’t a clue what this gift box is actually called. And is it too late to be posting about Christmas gifts? Anyhow, this is one I got very kindly from my boyfriend and I am very excited to try – I have been a fan of Kiehl’s for a while now, slowly adding bits and pieces to my skincare collection when I can. So when I received this I was quite excited, as it is a four-piece set that contains lots of stuff I’ve never used before.

First up is a teeny-weeny sample of the Midnight Recovery Concentrate, which I have already spoken about – awesome for travel size, and the little vial even comes with an eyedropper! Next up is a full-size jar of the Ultra Facial Cream, which I have heard good things about — according to the website, it is their #1 moisturizer. This should come especially handy in the winter time when I need to inject a bit more moisture into my skin. I haven’t tried it on my face yet, but it appears to be a lightweight gel-cream texture, my favourite! Another thing I’m sorely needing in my life right now is a good, sturdy hand cream, so I’m hoping the Ultimate Strength Hand Salve comes to the rescue. I just applied some and it has a nice, zingy scent and doesn’t feel very greasy. Lastly, is a travel size bottle of their famous Creme de Corps, which I have sniffed in stores and wanted to try for ages, but couldn’t be bothered to spend the money, so I’m glad I have some of this in my life now, and it’s a handy size for traveling.

The salesperson also threw a couple samples into the bag, which is always nice – it’s stuff that is targeted towards men, but I have absolutely no qualms about using. First up is the Facial Fuel Energizing Moisturizer, which is meant to help relieve fatigue, and then the Facial Fuel No-Shine Hydrator, which looks like a great option for those of us who suffer from oily skin.

Who knows, I might find some new favourites. What Kiehl’s products are you using and loving, and what would you recommend?

2014 Favourites: Skincare Products

Skincare
Part two of my 2014 favourite products is skincare – I’ve tried as much as possible to include products I discovered and/or bought this year, although there are plenty of products I have been using for years and will continue to use. The products in this post are the ones that I was most excited to discover and gave me that aha! moment.

The first I have talked about before and was hyped up quite a bit on the internet. I didn’t really get into it until the summertime, but now I am a convert – Indeed Labs Hydraluron works amazingly well almost as a glue to help my moisturizer ‘stick’ more to my face. The Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate is another well-loved cult product that I also took a while to understand. I’ve had the bottle for a while and decided to experiment with the battling oil with oil approach. The first few times I tried it I woke up with an oily face and didn’t see any difference, so this one went back into the drawer for quite a few months. More recently, I have been battling a case of hormonal acne – you know, the big red ones that hurt like bruises. After exhausting several options, I applied some of this oil as a spot treatment, and when I woke up in the morning, the blemishes had gone down considerably. I now use this a couple times a week, sometimes as a spot treatment, sometimes mixed in with my moisturizer all over. Love.

Lurking in the back of the picture is a mini Urban Decay De-Slick Oil-Control Makeup Setting Spray. I’ve gone through an entire full-sized bottle of this, as well as a travel size of the All Nighter Setting Spray. I like both, but the De-Slick really makes your makeup stick, which is a must for me with my oily face.

For my lips, I’ve discovered that unfortunately, wearing lipstick requires quite a bit of maintenance, so that is where the Lush Popcorn Lip Scrub comes in. I actually prefer the Mint Julips flavour, but they’re both the same idea. After scrubbing, I apply a layer of the Nuxe Reve de Miel Lip Balm and my lips are good to go.

To remove my makeup, I really experimented with balms and oils this year – my favourite is the Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm, which is unscented and removes EVERYTHING, including waterproof eyeliner, mascara, the works. After that, I have a whole host of cleansers at all times (my favourite type of skincare product to buy), but the one I’ve found the most versatile is the Philosophy Total Matteness Cleanser & Mask – it is like liquid clay and has tiny granules that allow you to scrub gently. I also use this as a mask sometimes, and it works great as a spot treatment on blemishes as well. It appears they’ve stopped carrying the Total Matteness line at Sephora.com, but you can also find this in some of the bigger, fancier Shoppers Drug Marts.

For toner, the Michael Todd True Organics Blue Green Algae Toner has been quite a find – another product that has been raved about over and over on the internet, so I’ll spare you the boredom of re-reading it, but I will say it’s totally worth the money and what people say is true. It’s gentle, effective and generally wonderful. For eye cream, the Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado has also been a good one – I have started to use it morning and night and find it great either way. Because I’m still too young to see the results of eye cream, it’s difficult to say if this really works or if I will repurchase. Either way, one tub lasts for ages, which is great value for money.

Lastly, and most expensively, is the GlamGlow Supermud Clearing Treatment. It does everything it says on the tin and works great as a spot treatment (my way of using it without using it all up quickly!). If you have blemish-prone skin, I would recommend this one. I wouldn’t say it’s my holy grail, but it’s close and works fantastically well. I am dying to try the new cleanser that they have just brought out to go with the mask.

As you can see, the majority of my favourites have been recommendations from multiple people on the internet, which has been a great resource in my quest for the perfect skincare routine. One of these days I will do a post about my daily skincare routine / absolute must haves, but I thought I would use this post to first share the finds that have actually worked really well for me and I have happily added to my stash.

*Edit: I totally forgot to mention the Sephora Bottom’s Up Beauty Spatula lurking at the bottom of the picture! It has since been discontinued, but it has been a marvelous tool for getting at the last elusive bits of products that I’ve spent lots of money on. You can find similar makeup spatulas on Amazon – I would highly recommend!

What have your favourites been in skincare and what are your skincare concerns?