The Ordinary “Buffet” vs. The Ordinary “Buffet” + Copper Peptides 1% Review

I have been all over the place with my thoughts on peptides for the past few years. I’ve tried only a few peptide-containing skincare products in the past and couldn’t really grasp what exactly they were doing for my skin. In 2021 I had a “skincare funk” or “skincare fatigue” where I was getting very fed up with my routine and skincare in general. I added The Ordinary Buffet (TOB) and Buffet + Copper Peptides 1% (TOB+CP) into my routine to try something different. I opted for TO peptide products because I like that they offer straight shooter formulas to get an idea what an ingredient does for you, all the while at a decent price point.

General Information About The Ordinary “Buffet” & “Buffet” + Copper Peptides 1%

“This formula combines a comprehensive array of studied technologies to target multiple signs of aging at once.”

The Ordinary

The Ordinary “Buffet”

Amount: 30-60ml
Price: $18.30 – $32.90 CAD
Where to Buy:

The Ordinary “Buffet” + Copper Peptides 1%

Amount: 30ml
Price: $33.70 CAD
Where to Buy:

The Ordinary “Buffet” & “Buffet” + Copper Peptides 1% Ingredients

The following technologies make up 25.1% of the formula. They are:

  • Matrixyl™ 3000 peptide complex (with palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7, reduces inflammation)
  • Matrixyl™ synthe’6™ peptide complex (with palmitoyl tripeptide-38, claims to boost 6 major components of the skin matrix, including collagen and hyaluronic acid)
  • SYN™-AKE peptide complex (with dipeptide diaminobutyroyl benzylamide diacetate, “botox in a jar”)
  • ARGIRELOX™ peptide complex (with acetyl hexapeptide-8, pentapeptide-18, “botox in a jar”)
  • Postbiotic complex (with Lactococcus lactis lysate, helps strengthen skin barrier)  in a base of 11 amino acids and multiple hyaluronic acid complexes
  • TOB+CP has of course 26.1% of peptides in the formula, the extra 1% being the Copper Peptides – wound-healing, promotes good collagen, anti-inflammatory. It is naturally occurring in some bodily fluids (plasma, urine), and we lose on average a few ng/ml every year (depends on person)


My Experience with the Ordinary “Buffet” & “Buffet” + Copper Peptides 1%

Both consistencies are lightweight in texture and are gel-like serums. I would say out of the two, TOB+CP had a thinner consistency. I found myself applying TOB more liberally, whereas TOB+CP I only needed 4 drops to find it effective (could also be price/size difference lol). TOB did not have a scent to it, whereas TOB+CP smelled like vinegar.

Upon first use, both TOB and TOB+CP sensitized my skin; It slightly stung and my skin looked a bit red. As My skin acclimated with gradual usage and I no longer experienced any sensitization from either. With consistent nightly application, I noticed the next morning my face looked bright and even. I noticed more of a luminosity and healthier look with TOB+CP in particular. My husband was also using TOB+CP every night and I noticed his complexion looked brighter and had a smoother than usual appearance (his skin is enviously flawless).

In terms of hydration, both are decent but I do find my skin prefers something more emollient in general. I found myself reaching for Regimen Lab’s Wave Serum (reviewed) in conjunction with one of the TO serums.

My Final Thoughts on the Ordinary “Buffet” & “Buffet” + Copper Peptides 1%

Peptides are still fairly new to me in my skincare routine, but so far I like what I’m seeing given The Ordinary’s straight-shooter formulas and want to continue incorporating peptides in my skincare routine. I found TOB mostly served as a hydrating serum, whereas with TOB+CP I used it more as an active/treatment along the lines of Tretinoin, AHAs, etc. TOB+CP definitely furthered my interest in copper peptides, and I purchased the favourite NIOD CAIS3 in 2021 during Deciem’s Slowvember Sale. I haven’t been consistent in using NIOD CAIS3 however because I am still trying to finish up TOB, and I reintroduced my 0.1% Tretinoin prescription into my nighttime skincare routine once my face fully healed from my 3rd CO2 Fraxel Laser session. I am however now near the end of TO Buffet, so rest assured NIOD CAIS3 will be used regularly soon! If you are thinking of picking up one of The Ordinary peptide serums, I would opt for TOB+CP. Yes, you get double the amount for a similar price with TOB 60ml, however I found I saw more benefits with TOB+CP with just a few drops at a time.

As always, I hope you find content like this helpful and informative!

xo, M

Malezia 5% Urea Moisturizer and 2.5% Micronized Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Treatment Gel Review

Oh snap, it’s finally here – Malezia is on the market!

Recall back in 2018 the Michelle that started using a 5% Benzoyl Peroxide wash and OTC Differin in her skincare routine? Well, it was after learning a lot about skincare and skin ingredients from awesome people such as Dr. Dray, Lab Muffin Beauty Science, and F.C. from Simple Skincare Science.

SimpleSkincareScience was one of the first places where I really began to understand my skin and how to look for skincare catered to its needs. His focus is on malassezia folliculitis, or as the internet calls it, “fungal acne”. In short, it is a yeast that’s naturally part of our skin’s microbiome that grows in the presence of oil. Its growth seems to be a common factor when it comes to various skin conditions, such as acne!

For extensive information, definitely check out his blog post on the topic, it’s a great learning experience.

While my acne is not “fungal acne”, I can definitely appreciate using products that wouldn’t overfeed the yeast on my skin that may be triggering my acne.

That’s where Malezia comes in – it is a “microbiology-based” skincare company started by F.C. from SimpleSkincareScience. The goal is to “destroy skin diseases” (F.C.’s words lol) by using simple but effective products in a minimal skincare routine. If you look at his skincare guide, it’s just 3 products!

If there is one relatable person on the internet when it comes to dealing with skin concerns, trying everything under the sun and flipping some figurative and literal tables – it’s F.C. My skin improved because of what he shares with the world and I guess in a way I’m trying to “pay it forward” with my blog and youtube by sharing my experience in maintaining clear skin.

With all that being said, I absolutely had to buy Malezia skincare! I’ve have both the 5% Urea Moisturizer and 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide (BPO) Acne Treatment Gel. I have been rotating them in my skincare routines since April 2021 to June 2021 and I am ready to share my thoughts!

About Malezia 5% Urea Moisturizer

Price: $22
Packaging: Opaque pink beige aluminum tube with a twist-off cap.
Amount: 50ml

Urea is a humectant, helps with skin’s desquamation, and it helps improve the function of your skin barrier by thickening it, thus preventing excess Trans Epidermal Water Loss (TEWL).

There are additional, classic moisturizing molecules in the formula – Glycerin and Hyaluronic Acid for humectants, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride as an emollient, Dimethicone as an occlusive.

Allantoin is also present in the INCI list, a classic soother.

Overall the formula is nice and simple, with 5% urea being the star! The list has 13 ingredients total, none that should comprimise those with malassezia folliculitis and other skin concerns related to this overly fed fungi.

About Malezia 2.5% BPO Acne Treatment Gel

Price: $11.50
Packaging: Opaque black aluminum tube with a twist-off cap.
Amount: 50ml

Malezia Acne Treatment Gel has a whopping 7 ingredients! The focus is around the 2.5% BPO in the formula.

In my skinthusiast opinion, BPO is THE best OTC active you can use for inflamed, active acne. It’s a pro-oxidant that inhibits the acne bacteria, and it can’t “get used to it”. The main issue with this ingredient is while it works really well, it definitely comes with side effects. Micronized, 2.5% BPO is used in the Malezia Acne Treatment as a gentler alternative. Speaking of gentle, you don’t need a high percentage for BPO to work, you don’t even need to leave it on your skin overnight, you can use this like a mask aka Short Contact Therapy!

The Acne Treatment Gel also includes 0.5% Sodium Phytate. According to the Malezia website, it helps “boost skin moisture and elasticity, regulate oil production, and combat hyperpigmentation.”

You’ll also find classic Glycerin in the formula, a humectant naturally occuring in our skin.

Overall the formula is simple and purposeful – beat that acne’s butt without the need to dry the skin out.

My Experience with Malezia Moisturizer and Acne Treatment Gel

Both Malezia’s Urea Moisturizer and BPO Acne Treatment gel have a lovely light gel consistency with no stickiness. The Urea Moisturizer definitely has more body to leave a moisturizing layer, whereas the BPO Acne Treatment Gel is so nice and light, it’s really easy to incorporate in your skincare routine either on the whole face or as a spot treatment.

I would use the Urea Moisturizer right after cleansing as my only hydrator, I stopped using vitamin c as well to see what it would do as the main performer in my AM routine. When I use this, my skin always feels super comfortable, looks even, plump, and overall healthy and unbothered. I have tried a number of times using this on its own, but alas, it’s not enough for my parched skin! I also noticed my sebaceous filaments looked good when I used this as my sole supplemental product in my morning routine. Not sure if it’s because of the urea, or because I stopped using layers of other hydrators, or both! In addition, it managed to calm an allergic reaction I had on my cheek quickly.

For the BPO Acne Treatment Gel, I discontinued Aczone and tried it in both my morning and nighttime skincare routine; I would not use Tretinoin if I used BPO at night.

Reaction the morning after using Malezia 2.5% BPO Gel all over my face.

I got too confident in my skin and applied this 2.5% BPO gel all over my face one night, and woke up the next morning with a red, puffy, and itchy face 😀 Learning my lesson, I tried the BPO gel via spot-treatment. I personally am not a fan of spot-treating, but it was the only way my skin could tolerate the Acne Treatment Gel at the beginning since I messed up first use. I used it on a couple of acne cysts I got on my chin (typical) and I was happy with how quickly it lowered the size and inflammation around the pimple. My husband also uses it on the rarely so often spot, and he also noticed how quickly the pimple flattens. I’ve recently been using it all over my back because gym + hot weather = gnarly cystic bacne breakouts. I’ve experienced no irritation, dryness and the size and redness has already significantly reduced.

Selfie after using Malezia 5% Urea Moisturizer in my skincare routine.

Overall I like the simplicity of both formulations in the Malezia Moisturizer and Acne Treatment Gel, but it is not enough for my thirsty skin if used on its own. If you’re looking at keeping your routine minimal, I think these two items are better for those of you with oilier skin types. If you’re a dryer skin type like myself, you can definitely incorporate both of the urea moisturizer and bpo treatment easily in your existing skincare routine!

Final Thoughts on Malezia

I can feel that this brand was created with genuine intentions to help those of us that suffer from acne. F.C. and supporters created a massive list of “fungal acne” safe products but the big achievement is to have reliable products that check all those boxes without navigating through the noise.

Easy understanding of what they’re doing to be sustainable. I find brands just say they’re environmentally friendly but the method of delivery and claiming glass packaging is the extent of it. Malezia actually shares what they’re doing from the ground up and just makes the information very easy to access and understand.

Makes me embrace the minimalism of skincare. Less is more, both in the formulations and the skincare routine as a whole. The ingredient lists are small to help us consumers understand what’s in our products as well as reduce the likelihood of having negative reactions to products. The 3-step skincare routine also goes to show we really don’t need a lot of products, actives, lotions and potions to get clear, healthy skin.

On their instagram stories and website reviews, the before and afters are quite compelling and I do feel that’s a mix between the products themselves as well as the skincare regimen on the website where you keep it very simple – simplicity is also part of achieving clear skin as well.

The one notable con for me is the shipping. It is quite pricey, so I would recommend doing a bulk order if you did like the products the first time around. Now that I have tried both skincare items I do plan on repurchasing the moisturizer and having it as a staple in my routine. Another “holy shiz” moment the shipping is the time – I got 6-45 days! Hot dang that’s a long ass time. Malezia is a new company run by a small team trying to uphold quality and value as much as possible, so this is why I’m not letting this con effect my opinion of the products and brand as a whole.

Another reminder is that the BPO Gel can still bleach fabric. After I apply it, I wash my hands properly and wear a white shirt as my pajamas and have a white pillowcase.

Overall I love the heart of what Malezia stands for and its attention to detail. Choosing effective ingredients, minimal formulation, cosmetic elegance, and packaging choices. Being a baseline skincare routine for those with acne-prone and other malassezia-induced skin concerns. This is definitely a brand worth supporting if you have the budget for it – in the long run, if you end up just needing these products, it is worth it.

Malezia Offical website (affiliate link and code)

*If you use the code and/or link to make a purchase, I earn a small commission. Thank you so much if you decide to use them!

As always, I hope you find content like this helpful and informative!

xo, M

5 Mindsets for Mental AND Skin Clarity! – My Tried and True Tips

Achieving clear skin is more than just the products you use. What’s going on internally matters. What you consume mentally, and your thoughts about yourself.

A few years ago Dr. Sam Bunting had an instagram post sharing a study that demonstrated 63% of individuals diagnosed with acne were more likely to experience depression than those who had clear skin in the first year. Dr. Dray also uploaded a video in May about the mental impact acne has on an individual and how comments affect one’s emotional toll.

I very much relate to this because I felt so negatively affected by my skin. I was at a low myself about my skin, especially when the cystic acne was in full force all over my face and neck. I just graduated university, had $14k of student loan and credit card debt, was “underemployed”, got out of a bad relationship, struggled to find a full time job, ate inflammatory foods, thought of ridiculous hypotheticals of not achieving the things I wanted in life, how people perceived me… Overall I was just confused with my life and having acne made it all feel significantly worse.

I remember at my skin’s worst and at my most stressed, when I finally said to myself “I don’t give a fuck anymore” – it was like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders and I felt so much happier with myself despite my acne. This is the mindset shift I hope this video can help you with for those of you also struggling with acne or any other skin issue you are suffering with. With social media and advertisements bombarding us on the daily… What we see is not what we get in real life so we need to have strong convictions and a realistic approach to the clarity we want to see in our skin. I truly believe the first step is mental clarity.

For those of you who haven’t read previous posts/watched previous videos, I have suffered with some type of acne since my preteens, and it’s only been in recent times I managed to really understand my skin and gain control over my acne. One of the first steps to skin clarity was fixing my mental state.

Reflecting on my past self, I’m glad I managed to reach this inner peace and acceptance with my skin at its worst state. I believe we all deserve to have this feeling and not let the state of our skin impact us so much.

I have been wanting to make a video related to mindset when it comes to skincare for a while now, but wasn’t really sure how to create it. I was actually inspired by a language learning video by Lindie Botes – “Mindsets you need to have to learn any language!” and it really helped me not only with my personal goal of learning a language right now but how to organize my thoughts for this post/video.

I tried my best to list these mindsets – these attitudes – in a sensible order that you should constantly practice in your clear skin journey. As the title says, these are tried and true tips, meaning I did these myself and they work for me – I say work because mindset is always changing.

Disclaimer: I am not a professional anything; I just want to share my clear skin journey with you all so you can take it into consideration with your own.

With that said, here are the 5 mindsets I came up with that will hopefully help you achieve some mental and skin clarity.

1. Release

Let it go. Let go of all the negative thoughts, worries, concerns of what you have of your skin and what you think people think of your skin. Overcome the obsession and worry you have for your skin concern by not putting it on a pedestal. You’re hurting yourself with your own thoughts more than what others actually say to you

I compared myself to my friends who never once said anything bad about my acne and never made me feel like shit about it. Even my colleagues never made me feel bad about it. But no matter the good intentions or words, I could not get out of my own head. The moment I said “I don’t give a fuck anymore,” it’s like my brain switched and the weight lifted. I felt like I started living my life way better from there.

2. Fearlessness

Do not be afraid to walk out in public. Do not be afraid of looks, whispers, comments. Stop letting the fear of being seen with your acne prevent you from living your life. Live your life how you think you would if you had clear skin – without caring what other people think. I know how heavily concerned you are about your appearance, but you need to stop putting it at the forefront of your mind.

I used to not want to do anything because I hated how I looked. If I had to do something, I needed to wear a full face of makeup, even if it was just going grocery shopping. I als thought I wouldn’t become employed, be in a relationship, that my friends would not want to hang out with me because of how bad my skin was. Here’s what happened instead – I got a customer facing job at my skin’s worst, I met my now husband, and my friends always pushed me to go out with them because they knew I was so afraid of people seeing my skin in public. I actually started to feel more fearless when I followed the first step first.

Don’t let your acne being seen in public stop you from living your life. As Cher Horowitz once said, “carpe diem, okay?”

3. Focus

Streamline your skincare routine. I wrote a blog post back in 2015 on how to create a skincare routine. I listed questions to ask yourself when creating it. One big question is what is your greatest skin concern – in this case, it is acne. Focus on that skin concern, and do not be distracted by the other concerns that acne causes like pigmentation, texture, large pores. Once you get a handle on your acne, you will prevent most of the other skin problems associated with it. Once you curate your skincare routine specific to acne control, give 0 shits about fancy packaging, the latest key ingredients and what influencers say you need to try because they’re obsessed. Stick to your skincare plan and do not be swayed by what others say about other shiny things online.

4. Patience

In the age of instant gratification, social media is skewing our perceptions of what is realistic and attainable in the pursuit of clear skin. I’m here to tell you that there is no miracle within a day, week, or a month. I used to feel desperate to clear my face as soon as possible, but that just:
1. gave me unrealistic expectations
2. Made me overuse products and torture my skin
3. made me more depressed about my skin that it wasn’t getting better
4. made me spend more money on products I did not need
Bring yourself back to reality, take it day by day, enjoy your life while tackling your acne. Before you know it, you will have clear skin.

5. Belief

The belief that you WILL have clear skin, that this won’t last forever. Achieving clear, healthy skin is a definite outcome. This moment in time with acne will not last forever, you will get your healthy skin back. The journey just may be different from others, may be longer or shorter, but you will get there in your own time.

I know how painful it is both physically and mentally to have acne. To feel less than, to not feel beautiful. But you need to be kinder to yourself – you are not your acne, you are not your skin condition. Once you change your mindset towards yourself, the good will just flow. For me personally, I feel free, I like myself more, and my baseline for stress about skin breakouts is significantly lower.

I will end this post with a few quotes:

“My philosophy is that worrying means you suffer twice.”

—Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

“Beauty is not in the face; Beauty is a light in the heart.”

—Khalil Gibran

“A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”

—Roald Dahl

As always, I hope you find posts like these helpful and informative!

xo, M

Scalp and Hair Care Routine 2022: 1B, Low Porosity, Virgin Hair

Another year, another post on my current scalp and hair care routine! The past year I’ve been trying out many different kinds of products – I did the “clean” beauty shampoo/conditioners, bars, gentle surfactant formulas, traditional SLES/SLS and dimethicone containing products, oil-silicone blends, scalp treatments, anti-dandruff washes… Like I said, I’ve been trying a lot. But this routine I’m about to share is by far the simplest, easiest one yet!

Before we get into the routine, about my hair:

  • Type 1; I’m thinking B because it’s not fine, ultra thin hair
  • Medium strand
  • ~*ViRGiN*~
  • I consider my hair to have majority low porosity – the only place where it may be questionably higher are right at the tips. Even then, they’re not near as bad as when I had bleached ends! Either way, I think no matter the porosity, all of us have a similar goal on keeping our hair moisturized so the water levels in external environments don’t effect our hair and retaining moisture in general.
  • Oily scalp – I prefer washing it on an as need basis instead of piling on the dry shampoo.
  • Hair – pretty normal! Now that it’s all ~*ViRGiN*~ again I haven’t felt the need to pile on the various moisturizing products.

Check out my hair routines from previous years:

My Scalp and Hair Care Routine

Here’s what my usual scalp and hair care routine looks like on wash day:

  1. Wash scalp and crown of hair with a simply formulated shampoo for oilier scalps.
  2. Condition scalp and mid-shaft to ends with a conditioner simply formulated with oils.
  3. Wrap hair in microfiber towel for 5-15ish minutes.
  4. Blow dry hair with medium heat at a distance; Switch to cool setting once almost dry.
  5. Apply hair serum/oil at the tips and brush hair starting at the ends.


  1. Hair mask once a week.
  2. Use anti-dandruff shampoo as needed.

And that’s it! Surprisingly, once I switched back to “clean” beauty products – essentially just shampoo/conditioners with saponified oils – my hair felt great. It actually reminded me of the year I used a lot of Calia Natural. Simply formulated hair wash products + just washing my hair as needed is keeping my scalp healthy while just making sure the rest of my hair is nicely conditioned. I’ve rarely had to reach for an anti-dandruff shampoo because my scalp doesn’t have noticeable dandruff and it doesn’t feel as irritated as it used to. I like doing a hair mask once a week to maintain the soft feeling I like for my hair. Last year I did the Capillary Schedule and while I don’t think one needs 3 different types of hair masks, I saw the benefit of hair masking in general and I learned what works best for my hair. Maybe in another post I can talk more about my experience with the Capillary Schedule and whether or not I think it’s worth it. In the mean time, check out my instagram post!


The Products I Use in my Scalp and Haire Care Routine

Herbis Shampoo with Rosemary for Hair with Oily Scalp and Dry Ends

Herbis Natural Conditioner for Healthy Hair and Scalp

Herbis Mask for Dry and Exhausted Hair

Ducray Squanorm Anti-Dandruff Treatment Shampoo

Dabur Amla Gold Hair Oil

I feel like my scalp and hair health have come a looooooong way since I stopped bleaching and dying back in 2017. After much trial and error, I’m really happy that I’ve come to finally understand my scalp and hair needs without using an excessive amount of products. I feel like I broke out of the vicious cycle!

Now that I’m here, I hope I can do more scalp and hair care posts in the future; Such as more detailed posts on how my scalp’s health improved, general hair care, damage prevention tips, and more first impressions on hair masks and DIYs!

As always I hope you find this content helpful and informative.

xo, M

My First Skincare Haul of 2022!

I am proud of myself to say that my first set of skincare purchases of 2022 was back in March, all of which replaced an empty that couldn’t be replaced by another item in my skincare collection. You’ll notice many of the ones I will mention are French Pharmacy, and a couple of purchases was specifically for my post – CO2 Fraxel laser care.

Before you continue reading, please be sure to check out the following relevant blog posts that may provide further insight into this one:

Let’s Low Buy! My Rules for 2022 | Journey to Minimalism
Skin Update #6: Acne + Scars
Low Buy Update #1: 3 Month Check-In + Skincare Empties

Skincare I Purchased

Please note that products marked with an “*” indicates a PR item or gift. Links marked with “*” indicate an affiliate link – by clicking on this link and making a purchase, I earn a small commission. MICHXMASH Disclosure

Bioderma Sensibio Micellar Water

The first time I tried micellar water, I wasn’t the hugest fan. Looking back, it was probably because I wore a full face of makeup on a daily basis, so a soaked cotton round just wasn’t enough to achieve a properly cleansed face. Now that I wear minimal makeup with no foundation, and was quite lazy near the end of 2021 – micellar water just seems to fit.

Bioderma Sensibio Micellar Water

Avene Thermal Spring Water

While recovering from CO2 Fraxel Laser (3 times), my skin was in dire need of something soft, light, cooling, and just overall gentle. The Avene Thermal Spring Water spray produces a fine, lovely, cloudy mist all over my face and neck and gave my skin immediate relief from irritation. I also like having this on hand for days my skin has become sensitized, or it just needs a bit more TLC.

Avene Thermal Spring Water Spray

Bioderma Atoderm Intensive Baume

Are we suprised here? Emptied so many tubes and bottles of the Bioderma Atoderm Intensive Baume! It’s my holy grail moisturizer; It comfortably moisturizes my skin without exacerbating my acne and is a great value for the price.

Bioderma Atoderm Intensive Baume

Bioderma Cicabio Pommade x2

The Bioderma Cicabio Pommade has replaced my previous go-to, La Roche Posay (LRP) Cicaplaste Baume. I find they both do the exact same thing in terms of lowering inflammation, only I prefer the texture and finish of the Bioderma Cicabio Pommade more. It has a tackier finish rather than greasy, and no white cast! I was limited to only nightly use or post-laster recovery days with LRP, but with this I can comfortably use any time of day. I love this pommade so much, I’m already on my second tube!

Bioderma Cicabio Pommade

That’s all for my first skincare haul of 2022. Considering that we are already 4 months into the year, purchasing 5 products ain’t too bad. 2 of which I use daily in my skincare routine, and the others which I still like to keep on hand in case of a skin-mergency.

As always, I hope you find my content helpful and informative!

xo, M