Ace of Base: What's On My Face (Winter edition)

Ace of Base: What's On My Face (Winter edition)

Mornings are hard, and I've still yet to get into a good routine that gets me into work without rushing around. Adjusting to office life is hard, guys! Thank the makeup gods for flexi-hours.

One thing that's been getting me going is turning on some music, thanks to the free Music-Streaming-Service-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named. This week I've been on a 90s kick, hence the post title. As I write, Killing Me Softly just came on. Before that, Bittersweet Symphony, and my inner 90s child rejoiced at TLC's Waterfalls while I was in the shower this morning. 

I've also been adjusting to the dry weather here. I'm normally pretty oily, but now I need to layer on a moisturising toner (L'Oreal Paris Age Perfect Refreshing Toner) and a slightly thicker moisturiser (Olay Total Effects Pore Minimizer CC Cream). The upside of this is that I don't start looking shiny until maybe six hours into wearing makeup -- this is an unfamiliar experience for me.

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Carry-on only: how I fit 23 products into a one-litre ziplock

Carry-on only: how I fit 23 products into a one-litre ziplock

I'm currently in Wellington. One of my very best friends is getting married (sup Jess!) and we've just had a hens' weekend at a farm in W(h)anganui; the wedding is the following weekend. This cheap student is flying budget-styles, so it's carry-on only. 

I've tried to minimise the liquid products I've packed, plus save on room, so most things are decanted; that, or I'm taking samples. Where I can, I've opted for the solid or powder version of a product, including shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, and volumising hair powder -- I might do a separate post on these, because they're good.

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Things I've been using on my face skin

I've been cracking down on my skincare routine over the past month. There has been a lot of obsessive (more so than usual) reading of the /r/skincareaddiction subreddit and extensive googling of ingredients. I wanted to get it written down mainly for my benefit, but thought it might help others with a similar skintype. Plus I know at least some of you like reading about this stuff as much as I do. (For the rest of you, I promise I have some actual makeup posts coming! Just don't make me regret putting my face on the internet.)

I have combination skin -- it's pretty oily through the t-zone with really noticeable pores, slightly dry on the chin with a tendency towards blocked pores, and normal-ish everywhere else. I have a lot of post-inflammation hyperpigmentation (PIH) on my cheeks and jawline, and I'm still dealing with the aftermath of a giant pimple on my left cheek which I've just about stopped picking at. 

Fun fact: these photos were taken on top of my toilet seat.

April-May AM routine

April-May AM routine

AM (although more like 12-2 pm, due to nightowlish activities of late; ah, the life of an end-stage grad student. That sounds like a disease):

  • Previously I was using the Olay face brush with random cleansers. Then I was sent the Neutrogena Pore Refining Solutions Exfoliating Cleanser, which contains salicylic acid (BHA), to trial by Beauty Review (I'm going to be writing about this website later; it's pretty great). It seems to be causing some flaking on my nose but no dryness. I like it! No SLSs either. 
  • Several times a week I squeeze out my nose pores. I know, I probably shouldn't be doing this. I also probably rub a bit too hard with the face towel to get flakies off. I'm trying hard not to!
  • Olay Complete All Day UV Moisturizer for Combination/Oily Skin -- my skin seems to be liking this, and it works well under makeup. 
  • Makeup if I'm wearing it. I should probably look into the ingredients! Base-wise, it's mostly the Rimmel Wake Me Up and/or EstΓ©e Lauder Doublewear concealers, set with BYS HD silica powder.
April-May PM routine

April-May PM routine

PM:

  • Makeup removal with Garnier Clean Detox wipes, or Environ water based eye makeup remover, which is terrible at removing eye makeup but ok for the rest of the face -- I'm only using it up because I got it as a gift with purchase. I've also got jojoba, castor and camellia oils on hand, but have only been using these occasionally.
  • Cleanse with Plantae cleansing gel, sometimes mixed with a bit of Freeman Clay mask with lemon and mint. I've just finished up the Plantae cleansing cream (review here). If I'm in the shower I tend to use the Neutrogena mentioned above instead.
  • Chemically exfoliate 4-5 times a week using the First Aid Beauty Radiance pads. I'm almost out of these, so have also started using Neutrogena Pore Refining Solutions Toner. I got this after I tried out the cleanser in the range for a bit, and also reading this review by Lab Muffin. I really like it, apart from the fact that it's super high in alcohol and the fumes are, quite literally, intoxicating. It also stings if you accidentally get it in your eyes. 
  • Spot treat with Neutrogena Tone Correcting Targeted Treatment which apparently has been discontinued. I'm pretty sad about this. I use this on any PIH, active pimples, and on my chin where I seem to be prone to blocked pores. Most of my PIH is on my chin and jawline. In the past I've used Ultraceuticals Even Skintone serum (both mild and normal formulations), and have been thinking about going back to it.
  • Moisturise with either Plantae Balance day cream or Olay Total Effects Night Cream. In the past I've used Environ AVST 1, which I may go back to if I can't find a more affordable retinoid option. Sometimes I'll layer on a bit of jojoba or camellia oil underneath.

Most of these products have been working pretty well for me. I currently have zero active pimples, which is a bit of a novelty! My skin's feeling pretty smooth and my pores are looking clean. I'm not 100% on some of the ingredients in the products, though, and have been thinking about moving onto Paula's Choice products after some of these are finished -- in fact I just purchased the 2% BHA lotion because there's a 15% off sale, plus I got a referral code (mine's here). The Ultraceuticals serum also worked well for me, but it's a tad pricey at the moment -- I feel like the PC range is better value for money. If you have any recommendations, please throw them my way!

Things I liked but probably won't repurchase because [reasons]

I'm a bit of a product hussy,  and always like to try new things. Sometimes I like these things, but not enough to garner a repurchase. Here are a few.

Amazing but so expensive.

Tasty! But again, so expensive.

Tasty! But again, so expensive.

YSL Top Secrets Integral Cleansing Oil-In-Gel 

Why I liked it: This is a fantastic makeup remover and cleanser. It starts off as a gel formulation, turning into an oily consistency after you've mushed it around your face for a while, removing any makeup or sunscreen in the process. I usually used a hot facecloth to remove it, but it also easily emulsifies with water and rinses clean.

Why I won't repurchase it: It's way too expensive! I paid something like $70 for it because I was retail therapy-ing one day and if you bought two YSL products you got a gift with purchase. I was a depressed idiot. It's $59 on Strawberrynet, if you really have a hankering for it. 

Marvis Aquatic Mint Toothpaste (previously)

Why I liked it: It tastes awesome, kind of like a minty melon. The "aquatic" part of the name confuses me. It's a toothpaste and I'm not sure that a toothpaste is ever going to rock my world, but it's nice.

Why I won't repurchase it: It's a $14.50 toothpaste.

Decent moisturiser and some good ingredients.

Decent moisturiser and some good ingredients.

Double check what you order, Teresa.

Double check what you order, Teresa.

Loved the cooling sensation, but unnecessary.

Loved the cooling sensation, but unnecessary.

Olay Total Effects Day Cream for Normal Skin SPF15

Why I liked it: This had a good texture -- decent hydration and absorbed well. It contains niacinamide (vitamin B3), a cell-communicating ingredient which helps maintain the skin barrier function and may help with acne and pigmentation. There aren't many drug-store products with niacinamide in it.

Why I won't repurchase it: It was just slightly too heavy in texture for me. I'm also trying to use skincare with fewer silicones and lower alcohol content. I do have another Olay day cream with SPF waiting in the wings, so will be trying that next.

Liz Earle Skin Repair Moisturiser for Normal/Combination Skin

Why I liked it: Along the same lines as the Olay moisturiser, this was good for hydration. It also contains a decent list of antioxidants.

Why I won't repurchase it: Again, I bought the wrong formulation! I actually meant to get the one for oily/combination skin, which I believe is a lotion and comes in a pump bottle, a much better way of packaging something that contains antioxidants. Rather than use it on my face, I ended up using it as a hand cream, which worked well as it wasn't too greasy. 

Clarins High Definition Body Lift (gift with purchase, not full size)

Why I liked it: I really enjoyed using this after exercise, post-shower -- it had a cooling sensation which is great for the summer, because I tend to overheat. It has a really beautiful light gel texture. I believe this has now been reformulated, or at least renamed to Body Lift Cellulite Control.

Why I won't repurchase it: This was a gift with purchase. I don't pay attention to my cellulite, so I can't speak as to its effects in those terms. Sure, I'm overweight, but I try not to think about that too much because it just causes a shame spiral and I DON'T HAVE TIME FOR THAT. Eat a healthy diet and exercise, don't count on expensive creams (and this stuff is expensive in its full size incarnation) to fix something that probably doesn't need fixing.