Simple Night Skincare

For two decades, I’ve routinely taken care of my skin in the evening. I remember starting off with the basic Clinique system as an 11 or 12 year old, then moving on to Prescriptives. I loved the Prescriptives system I was using, and felt really special when my mother took me to the Army-Navy on the Bromley High Street when I was 12 or 13 to get it. By the time I was in high school, I soon switched to a hodgepodge of skincare products, still making sure my face was clean and hydrated in the evening.

Now that I’m in my 30’s and have spent the last ten years working in the beauty industry, the one thing that has remained constant is that same kind of nightly skincare ritual. The removal of makeup, cleansing my skin, and hydrating it is very refreshing and peaceful.

I don’t do too much skincare in the morning; I just rinse with water and put some moisturizer on. So, in the evening I stick to a few key products and add makeup remover if makeup was worn that day.

The first step, if I wear makeup, is to remove all traces of the makeup. I’ll start by removing my eye makeup with Aveda’s eye makeup remover. This one is great for me. I don’t like dual-phase removers, but I need to be able to remove waterproof makeup, and this does the trick! Next, I remove the rest of my makeup (foundation, blush, etc.). I switch between Ren’s Purity Cleansing Balm and Nude’s Cleansing Oil. Both are amazing for removing every last bit. They both are massaged onto dry skin for ~30 seconds, then emulsified with some warm water, then either rinsed off or removed with a muslin cloth or washcloth. I always remove with a cloth of some sort to ensure total removal of makeup.

Next, I cleanse my skin. Right now, I am in love with Origins’ Never A Dull Moment cleanser. In the last few years, I have been wary of foaming gel cleansers, as quite a few of them can be drying. But, this cleanser is amazing. Although it is suggested for combo & oily skin types (I have dry skin), this cleanser doesn’t dry me out. It has papaya extract in it, which helps dissolve some of the dry skin lurking, as well as decongests my pores. Even though my skin is dry, I still have blackheads that I’ve been struggling to minimize. Some nights, I use it with my Clarisonic Mia2 and either a deep pore cleansing head or a cashmere cleanse head. Other nights, I just use it by itself.

Next is some toning water. In a bottle I mix Lush Cosmetics’ Eau Roma and Tea Tree Toners, then spray the concoction directly on my face. The Tea Tree is for my pores and the Eau Roma is for my dryness. I pat it into my skin, then let any residual moisture to dry.

Now my skin is prepped for treatments and moisture. The serum I am using right now is Ren’s Radiance Perfecting Serum. It is designed for uneven skin tone, redness, and hyper pigmentation. As it is hydroquinone free, I have never expected it to get rid of my sun damage. But, I have noticed that it does really help with my redness and some scarring I have around my chin from a combination of not diluting pure tea tree enough and a later rash I got from a prolonged overheated environment I was exposed to. As my skin is on the dryer side, this serum sinks right in. If you are looking for a hydrating serum that evens everything out, this is a great choice.

For my eyes, I am using this wonderful treatment I just discovered a couple weeks ago. I’ve never been a fan of really heavy eye creams or treatments, so anything in a gel or serum consistency is ideal. For the last two weeks, I have been using Radha Beauty’s Intensive Youth Eye Gel. Because of the light consistency, I actually want to put this eye treatment on. I pump a little out on my ring fingers and warm it up, then I tap it around both eyes, including eyelids. A huge selling point for me is that this brand is cruelty free. Who doesn’t love cruelty free!? This eye gel is chock full of wonderful, nourishing ingredients, such as (vegan) hyaluronic acid and vitamin E. It is lovely how hydrating this gel actually is. With any skincare, I don’t expect miracles, but I do expect this eye gel to keep my eye area hydrated.*

Lastly, I pop some moisturizer on. I’ve been using Ren’s V-Cence Day Cream. Even though it says it is a day cream, it doesn’t have any SPF, so it works as a moisturizer for any time of day or night. This cream is for all skin types and is designed to keep the skin supple and even. Ren is known for using quality ingredients and not diluting its products with water. This cream is full of nourishing fruit & seed oils and butters that my dry skin appreciates. Because of the synergistic blend of ingredients, it never feels heavy on my skin and absorbs very quickly. Half a pump of this moisturizer is perfect for my entire face and neck. If I’m feeling particularly dry, I might add a little more.

This has been my routine for the past few months. I did run out of eye treatment and went without it for awhile, so it has been a pleasure to start using a treatment again. Especially as I am prone to smiling and laughing a lot. Any way to protect those laugh lines!!

 

*As per the FTC Guidelines, this sponsored post is powered by BrandBacker. I received the eye treatment as a free trial. Everything else was paid for with my own money. Please note that I will only ever accept products that are in line with my lifestyle and I will only discuss products I actually enjoy. Thank you!

Pamper Time! Evening Skincare.

As my skin has settled down from its painful couple of weeks of dermatitis, I am able to get back into a comfortable skincare routine. I do all of my main skincare at night, as it is both physically and emotionally cleansing.

Tonight I am giving my skin some extra special love as it has been an arduous two weeks. I’ve been working nonstop and had finals this week. I desperately need some TLC! I want to share my pampering evening skincare ritual.

My skin type is dry, sensitive, and prone to redness & enlarged pores. I like to call my skin bipolar, as it really varies day to day as to how dry & sensitive it can be.

To start, I take off my make up with Caudalie’s cleansing water.

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This has been my favorite makeup remover for years. It takes off everything, including heavy foundation and waterproof eye makeup.

Next up is a proper cleanse!!

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Tonight I chose to use Ren’s cleansing balm with my Clarisonic Mia2. The cleansers I use vary. My other favorites are Ren’s Hydracalm cleansing milk, Nude’s cleansing oil, and Ren’s Hydracalm cleansing gel. It really depends on the day.

Next is a mask. I rarely do masks. Let’s face it, I’m lazy! So this is the unusual pamering part. And when I do a mask, it has to be amazing.

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Tonight I am indulging. Two masks! First is Ren’s Glycol Lactic mask to exfoliate, brighten, and hydrate. Then I hop in the shower. After the shower I slap some of Aveda’s intensive hydrating masque while I make some tea. This is supposed to be left on 5-10 mins, but I leave this on a lot longer sometimes. As it’s not a peel, it doesn’t hurt if I forget about it for awhile.

Once this is rinsed off, I finish with a serum & moisturizer.

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Along with Ole Henriksen’s truth serum & Korres’ wild rose sleeping facial, I have added some rose essential oil in a jojoba oil base.

Tonight I am all about exfoliation, hydration, nourishment, and brightness. I love nights when I pamper my skin!! It’s rare, which makes the ritual even more special. I do hope you enjoy this little snippet of my life.

FYI: I do not represent or am not paid by any of these brands for any usage or mention of them or their products. All of the products I used were paid for by my own money over the course of the year. Any product gifted me will always be disclosed and I will not use nor review something gifted to me if I do not like how it works for me. Thank you!!

Skin Issues: Sensitivity & Dermatitis

Oh my gosh, it’s been too long! Many apologies!

This post is unfortunately inspired by my reactive skin. About a week ago, I noticed my skin started to feel more delicate than usual. I assumed it was just the weather, as we got a few days of rain after they usual dry winter air. Many people feel a change in their skin when that happens. What was just dry, uncomfortable, itchy skin from head to toe went to inflammed, lobster red, burning skin on my face, neck and chest. My main eczema-type spot on my left wrist even got irritated for the first time in over a year. It turns out, the excessive heat that kept getting blasted in my workplace aggravated it. Even after my requests to keep the store at an even 68-degrees, it ended up feeling like a hotbox to many. You can only imagine how uncomfortable I felt. Sweat, clothes made out of synthetic fabric, constant movement, and naturally warm human beings corralled in one decently sized room that is over heated is never an ideal location for someone with reactive skin. The general concensus is that I’ve got a case of dermatitis. I almost went to urgent care tonight, but want to give it one more day. Plus, I’ve got a bunch of school work that needs to get done.

Last Friday, I splurged and bought a Clarisonic Mia2. We sell them where I work & I was able to get one with a few extra free goodies in the box (including a small face wash I can’t use, but I’m sure a friend will). I spent $105 on a $225 value!! Honestly, I wouldn’t have bought it if that wasn’t such a great deal. Because my skin got worse over the weekend, on Sunday I bought a golden standard for sensitive skin: Ren’s HydraCalm Cleansing Milk, which now called Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk. (Of course, I had the means and had to buy a top seller: Ren’s Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask.)

So, let me share what I’ve been doing the last couple days to calm my skin down. In the evening, I’ll take a makeup wipe and take off any traces of stuff. Then, I wet down the Clarisonic brush head & add the cleansing milk just before splashing some water on my face. Then I’ll Clarisonic my face. After finishing that & drying off, I’ll spray my face with Caudalie’s Grape Water. Once that has been pat down & my skin is dry, I’ll moisturize with either plain organic coconut oil or Ren’s Frankincense Night Cream.

So far, my skin feels calmer. Today, the temperature at work was less hot and I wore a cotton shirt to allow my skin to breathe a bit. I’m still itchy & red, but I am less swollen and hot. Now, I have a mug of white tea and a large glass of water. I’m keeping hydrated internally to help. The plan is to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

Does anyone else have any experience with dermatitis or any other skin irritations? I’d love to hear feedback.

Summer 2013 Empties

We’re in the first weeks of August and, by my pagan Irish standards, that means summer is officially over & we are in the beginning of autumn. Please, do not make any comments on the “correct” seasons, as pagans and Celts and agriculture have been around a lot longer than the USA has been as an official country.

Currently, I’m not making videos, although I am well aware that an empties post generally does better on YouTube. However, I do want to cover some of my favorite products I’ve finally emptied! Some products were given to me to try, and those will be marked with an asterisk(*) and I am mentioning them because I actually use them, love them, and will repurchase them.

The first to empty is the Sephora Collection Supreme Cleansing Foam. This cleanser I use as primarily as a makeup remover after using a cleansing wipe or cleansing water. This, I feel, is able to get off anything residual on my face. Two pumps on dry skin, then rinsed off, my face is completely clean without feeling tight. It took me awhile to get through one $12 bottle. I don’t wear makeup everyday, and sometimes I am too lazy to follow my cleansing water/wipe with a second clean. Yes, such a terrible habit! Also, I sometimes use the Ren #1 Purity Cleansing Balm as my makeup remover instead of the wipe/water+foam routine.

Next is the Aveda Rosemary Mint Hand & Body Wash (8.5oz/250ml). What an amazing scent combination. For 15 years or so, I have been a fan of the Rosemary Mint collection from Aveda. In fact, I keep a mini bottle of the lotion (which I refill from a larger bottle) in whatever bag I’m carrying so I can keep the smell near me at all times. This hand & body wash is a permanent fixture at my bathroom sink. The scent is fresh, crisp, and clean, which means it’s a hit for both men & women, and is always a hit with guests who use my bathroom. I always buy a new bottle when there is approximately a third left in the “currently in use” bottle. One of these days, I am going to splurge on the litre size & just keep it in my cupboard under the sink to refill the smaller bottle. Or, I will just recycle the smaller bottle & people will have to deal with the huge bottle of hand wash at the sink.

Another product I finally finished is the Ren Resurfacing AHA concentrate*. The bottle that I managed to finish was given to me from the brand, as I had mentioned I wanted to try it. After a few uses, I fell in love with it, so I bought another bottle, so I’d be prepared for when I finished my first bottle. Let me give you a little insight about my skin. Many products with glycolic acid are too harsh for my skin. There are products out there that I am glad I sampled instead of purchased. Many glycolic products that claim to be safe for delicate skin do not work for my delicate skin, even when used more sparingly than directed. For many of these products, within about 12 hours of one use, my skin looked as though I got a professional, medical grade chemical peel, you know, the really intense kind you get done by a dermatologist. Imagine the Sex & The City episode in which Samantha Jones gets a peel done before Carrie’s book launch party & she scares the little girl on the street. My skin wasn’t too far off from what her’s looked like. That’s how delicate my skin is when it comes to glycolic acid. So, you can imagine my excitement when I find a glycolic product that doesn’t rip my skin to shreds. I use this concentrate 1-3 nights per week, depending on how dry I feel. I focus primarily on my nose and forehead. My nose, of course, is the most congested. My forehead has the deepest wrinkles. This concentrate smells amazing and absorbs really quickly into the skin. The morning after, my skin always feels comfortable and more hydrated.

Sticking with the glycolic trend, another “empty” are the Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Daily Peel Pads* in original. Again, a product gifted to me. I absolutely adore these pads. This 2-step system is phenomenal. Designed with glycolic sensitive people in mind, these pads have fairly low amounts of five different acids in step 1: Glycolic, Salicylic (hey, “beauty gurus” – notice how there is no D in salicylic?), Citric, Latic, and Malic. There is also witch hazel, chamomile, Copper & Sodium PCA in step 1. The second step, the neutralizing step, helps prevent over exfoliation and acts as a hydration barrier. I have never had a problem with the glycolic in this system. I can even use it every day, although I don’t out of sheer laziness. I know I’ll have better results if I do use them every day. However, when used 3 times a week (even on nights I use the Ren AHA concentrate), I notice my skin feels & looks fresher, the pores on my nose aren’t as noticeable, and my moisture levels are in check. This system is a must have for anyone, especially those with glycolic sensitivity.

I’m so picky about my unruly, independent willed curly hair. It’s difficult to find products that actually work & continue to work over time. Two products I love and managed to go through quickly are Bumble & Bumble’s Tonic Lotion and Aveda’s Brilliant Damage Control spray. These two sprays have been permanent fixtures in my haircare routine this last year. The Bumble Tonic is a spray that has tea tree oil, peppermint, rosemary, and nettle extract in it to stimulate the scalp & keep it clean. I don’t use shampoo everyday, so I need something to keep my scalp on point. After the shower I squeeze excess moisture out of my hair, then spray some Bumble Tonic, focusing primarily on my scalp. After 20-30 sprays on my scalp & through my hair, I follow with Aveda’s Brilliant Damage Control. This gets sprayed primarily throughout the rest of my hair, as it it is designed to hydrate & protect the hair. Apparently, this is a great heat protectant, but I rarely use heat on my hair. 99% of the time, my hair gets air dried. It is also a UV protectant, which is great, as I am now coloring my hair more frequently. Both of these sprays can be used on hair wet or dry, which is a lifesaver. As I mentioned, I don’t shampoo my hair everyday. In fact, I don’t even (traditionally) wet my hair everyday. These two products work as curl re-stylers, allowing me to reset some wayward curls if I am on the go. I do use other products in my hair, but I switch between a couple different ones, so it takes awhile to get through them. I’ll talk about them in a later post, possibly one about my haircare routine(s).

And, of course I have to mention some non-beauty items that I hold near and dear to my heart. I’m a candle girl. Always have been. A die-hard hippie at heart, I’d rather light a dark room with the glow from candles than the forced, uncomfortable light of bulbs. I made my way through quite a few candles this summer. My favorites were (and still are) Pacifica votives, TruMelange travel tins, and (surprise hit) a Bath & Body Works 3-wick candle.

The Pacifica candles I used and loved were the Indian Coconut Nectar, Persian Rose, and Island Vanilla. When I burned the Rose with either the Coconut or Vanilla, the house smelled luxurious. I couldn’t afford a tropical vacation, so the combination of the rose+vanilla or rose+coconut allowed me to visualize myself on a remote white sand beach. Tru Melange has a couple scents I used this summer, as well as all year round. Harmony was my introduction to the company and I used the scent in the evenings and/or if I was taking a bath. Harmony is a blend of vanilla & peppermint. The warmth of the vanilla mixed with the crisp liveliness of the peppermint allow me to get focused and relaxed before turning in. The other scent I adore is Refresh. This candle blends bergamot & lime together. A classic combination I often associate with drinking tea, this candle always energizes me. On my days off, I’d light a Refresh votive soon after waking. While relaxing or doing simple household chores, I never felt dull, instead happy. Lastly, I discovered a candle at Bath & Body Works that I could actually stand. This summer, they came out with some candles that were supposed to represent different metropolitan areas (and one tropical setting, perhaps). I remember there being a Parisian one, a Greek one, a Tropical one, and a London one. I’m sure there were a couple more. The one I instantly gravitated to was the candle named “London Calling” as that just happens to be where I was born. (I am still a UK citizen, 31 years later, and have lived in the US for 23 years.) This candle claims it is a blend of tea & lemon. And, sure enough, it smells like freshly (but weakly) brewed iced black tea with the juice of a lemon or two. I noticed that I couldn’t burn it too long as the smell filled the house quickly. That goes for any Bath & Body Works candle, I’ve noticed. Because I love these candles, I stocked up on quite a few of them. Bath & Body Works were selling the destination inspired candles for $12, so I bought a couple. And, the local Pharmaca had a 20% off Tru Melange sale, so I bought their entire stock of the Harmony & Refresh travel tins. Seriously, I did. I bought four of each.

My last empty I want to talk about is Traditional Medicinals Linden Flower Tea. I have a hard time sleeping, and don’t want to rely on pharmaceuticals to aid me. I usually use a combination of GABA & Melatonin to help. Sometimes, it is too late to take melatonin, or I have an overly anxious day, so a couple mugs of this herbal tea allows me to fall asleep without any trouble. It is a blend of linden flower, hawthorn, and lemon balm. I didn’t think it would do much other than calm down blood pressure. I was happy to find that the first mug I ever drank of it managed to make me drowsy within 20 minutes of drinking it. That was without any melatonin! Since that first mug, I have been a fan. I’ve noticed I don’t take melatonin as often, which is great, especially as I have become more busy incorporating school with a full work schedule.

These are my current empties! At the end of August, I have a feeling I’ll have more empties and will update you on them. Enjoy!

San Francisco Solo Shopping Date

Yesterday was the last day for awhile to enjoy a clear sky & sunshine in San Francisco, so I took myself up there for a date with myself. I had intended on picking up some things at Lush, but the Powell street location was having some remodelling done, and let’s be honest, I didn’t want to trek all the way over to the Cow Hollow/Pac Heights store. Sure, it was only a 2.5mile walk from where I was from, but I couldn’t deal.

Instead, I went into Sephora to see what brands they have that the Palo Alto store don’t. I played awhile with the Becca Cosmetics, as the line was reintroduced to Sephora and it is a brand I absolutely love. I was debating whether or not to get the Radiant Skin Satin Finish Foundation. I found that the finish is more semi-matte than satin. I liked that it is medium coverage & did a good job covering my naturally red cheeks. So, I decided to get a sample and wear it for the day. I did, however, purchase the Perfect Skin Mineral Powder Foundation. It is a water-resistant, buildable coverage powder. I did put it on over the liquid foundation with a sponge and it looked and felt great. I can’t wait to use it! I’m not a big foundation person, so I feel like I can easily get away with wearing just the powder and some bronzer/blush or cheek stain. While I was there, I also got Josie Maran’s Rosey Mist. Yum! I’m all about refreshing facial mists, especially ones with rose. I also grabbed a mini L’Occitane Almond Hand Cream. I love the smell & wanted something easy for my purse.

I then headed to Barney’s to check out their Ren selection, as they sell almost the entire line, including their body care. The visit in was quick, as I knew what I wanted. The most important item was a bottle of Hydra-Calm Cleansing Gel. I almost purchased a bottle of the Rosa Centifolia Foaming Cleanser at Sephora, but I am really loving the Hydra-Calm Gel right now and I already use Ren’s No.1 Purity Cleansing Balm to take off my makeup. I love to keep my makeup remover & cleanser seperate. I’m old fashioned like that. With my cleanser, I purchased the Hydra-Calm Youth Defense Serum. I like that it is hydrating, calming, strengthening, and anti-aging. I felt some on the back of my hand & fell in love with the fact it absorbed quickly.

After strolling around for awhile, I went into Old Navy to see what dresses they had. Sometimes, I feel I need a loose, comfortable dress to wear. I’m sick of wearing jeans all the time. Unimpressed with the dress selection, I tried on some jeans and decided that a new pair of jeans can be a reward for finishing my first half marathon in October. I have plenty of jeans that work until then. My grand purchase was a pair of black capri leggings, a pair of grey capri workout pants, and a chambray looking shirt.

My last official shop was at Lupicia Tea. I wasn’t really planning on buying anything, but I fell in love with the smell of their Melon Rooibos tea. I purchased a tin & two bags of the tea. In fact, I just steeped some a bit ago & am about to try it.

To finish the evening, I headed to Panta Rei restaurant for a quick bite. And, on a whim, I headed over to Punchline comedy club for Dov Davidoff’s final set. I went to his first set on Thursday & enjoyed that set. I like stand-up & am always game for a laugh. It was a great way to end the day.

Enjoy your Sunday & smile!