Skin Update [#2]: August 2019: My Skin’s Progress so Far!

I forgot to schedule this because my mind drifted during the Long Labour Day weekend ๐Ÿ™‚

It has been around 9 months since starting 0.3% Adapalene, so it’s about time I do a skin update and show you my skin’s progress!

Be sure to read my first one so you’re up to date: Skin Update [#1] December 2018: Acne + Scars


Here’s a breakdown of what I’ve been doing since my last update in December 2018:

  • Still have not used a microneedling device since November when I reviewed the Banisher 2.0.
  • No professional facials done, just stuck with topical products I purchased.
  • Using Differin almost every night since I got it end of November 2018.
  • Aczone was good up until the 4 month mark, then I switched to Finacea (AA). I noticed Aczone would dry out my skin and make it look darker and red.
  • Upped my chemical exfoliators to 2 times a week – still using Krave Beauty’s Kale-lalu-yAHA and Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid.
  • Have been attempting to apply minimum SPF50 PA++++/PPD 16 up to 2mg/cm2 of sunscreen on exposed areas.

BEFORE / AFTERS

NOTE:

  • It’s really hard to match exact lighting and angle!
  • I also added the same photos with increased the shadows and highlights to emphasize the texture – even then it’s hard to truly depict what’s happening on my face
  • Ignore that cut on the bottom part of my face – I shaved and cut myself (yes I’ve been shaving my face! it’s quite magical)
  • TIMEFRAME: November 27, 2018 – July 13, 2019
michxmash-before-afters
Top: Befores, Bottom: Afters
michxmash-before-afters-2
Emphasized shadow and contrast. Top: befores, Bottom: Afters

ATROPHIC SCARS

In general, they look like the got smaller, and my face generally looks smoother. At first I thought I really wasn’t getting a good angle for the photos; but maybe, just maybe… they actually look that much better! My mom said my skin looks smoother every time she sees me, that has to count for something lol.

PIGMENTATION

I find a lot of the pigmentation I had lingering lightened up ever since I introduced AA and applied proper amounts of higher UVA protecting sunscreens to my routine, and a general boost in my skin’s health.

ACNE

I definitely don’t get as many breakouts since last year, and they are well under control. When I do experience a bad breakout, the connection is from eating too much processed food and drinking very sugary drinks. I find the actives I use in my routine however really help rid any active breakouts quickly, and I don’t find myself stressing over cystic spots as much as I used to.

OVERALL SKIN CONDITION

  • Clearer – acne is under control, pigmentation does not last for months
  • She is slow, but there have been some improvements with my atrophic scars
  • Feels fairly normal since we’re in summer, but still prone to dryness
  • I find my skin gets sensitive to products that I used prior without issue

And that’s it for my 2nd Skin Update! It’s by no means perfect, but I’m happy it’s getting better. Healing old scars as mine with topicals can only do so much, and I’ve accepted that, but at least there’s SOME improvement!

IMG_20190830_133143.jpg

ACTION PLAN

  • Continue with what I’m using, sticking with Differin
  • Use micro-needle again to boost the process
  • May look into the vampire facial, or other professional treatments to help speed the process for my atrophic scars. It’s so expensive doe ;_;
  • I like my skincare routine at the moment ko, so I’ll be sticking with what I’m currently doing and share it in good time!

It’s always nerve-wracking sharing my skin like this, but I really hope these updates help you out, especially if you’re going through the same skin struggles as I am!

xo, M

Current Everyday NO Foundation Makeup Routine

It’s taken a long time to reach this point in my life – liking my skin enough that I don’t rely on foundation! This video is all about how I apply my makeup with no foundation. I pretty much rock this everyday for work and I always look put together by the end of an 8 hour day! I forgot to demo it in this video, but sometimes I like mixing a primer with Drunk Elephant’s D-Bronzi. If I mix it with Canmake, I always apply a different SPF prior and use Canmake exclusively as a primer.

I know there is a stark contrast between my face skin colour and neck, and I assure you in person it does not look this obvious ๐Ÿ™‚ That SPF has a little bit of bounce back and I’m facing a window with bright light coming in.



Products marked with a * were either PR items sent to me or gifts. Links and/or codes marked with a * are affiliate links/codes. This means if you use this link/code to make a purchase, I make a small commission. Thanks for your support if you decide to use them! If you feel uncomfortable, feel free to google a new link.

List of products used:

Canmake Mermaid Skin Gel UV
http://shrsl.com/187qy *

Ecobrow Eyebrow Defining Wax – Liz
http://shrsl.com/1ru6i *

Milk Makeup Kush Fibre Brow Gel – Grind
https://seph.me/2souBMk

Tatcha Silk Canvas Primer
https://seph.me/2RJ1JN4

Heroine Make Volume & Curl Mascara Super Waterproof – 01
http://shrsl.com/1ek66 *

Glosser Stretch Concealer – Medium
https://www.glossier.com/products/stretch-concealer

Nudestix All Over Face Color – In the Nude, Bondi Bae
https://seph.me/2Zq8IdD

Fenty Beauty Invisimatte Blotting Powder
https://seph.me/2KRQGwI

Hope you enjoy the video!

xo, M

REVIEW: The Innate Life Small Complete Hair Care Bundle

Inspired to take care of my scalp more + the desire to try something new, I purchased Toronto-based brand Innate Life products and had to share my thoughts on their products!

IMG_20190606_165101-1.jpg

I’ve strayed away from Green Beauty marketing-based companies when it comes to skincare, but when it comes to my hair I find that’s when these types of products benefit me the most! I decided to purchase their Small Complete Hair Care Bundle with the small sizes of the following products:

  • Scalp Treatment for Problematic Scalp
  • Herbal Hair Mask
  • Rose Hair Elixir

As I just mentioned, the Innate Life is a Toronto-based Canadian brand that takes an ayurvedic approach to hair care! Every product contains their signature blend of the following ayurvedic herbs, all supposed to promote either hair growth and overall scalp health:

  • Bhringaraj
  • Brahmi
  • Amla
  • Tulsi
  • Neem

My personal opinion: I do believe traditional medicines serve a purpose and have some promise since it’s based off of thousands of years of trial and error, which is why I occasionally like using these kinds of products. It is consistent long-term use for potentially long term gain, and sometimes it’s hard for them to compete with new Western medicine, especially when you’re living a modern lifestyle of differentย  (and more often than not, a lot more) stresses (environment, food, etc.).

The Innate Life Small Complete Hair Care Bundle with tax cost $55.53 USD / $76.19 CAD have used this bundle for a couple of months now, so I am ready to share my thoughts!


Scalp Treatment for Problematic Scalp

IMG_20190815_194423_1.jpg

Hair growth starts at the root. The Scalp Treatment is the ultimate product for hair growth because it nourishes and stimulates the scalp. Itโ€™s packed with natural goodness that will benefit your scalp and hair in ways you never thought possible! Used a couple times a week, The Scalp Treatment will provide intense hydration and repair the scalp for ultimate growth. Itโ€™s relaxing herbal scent makes it an essential part of any self-care day.

IMG_20190815_194506.jpg

AMOUNT: 2oz
INDIVIDUAL PRICE: $20 USD

Coconut Oil as the main oil is also great for hair health, for it is able to penetrate the hair shafts, create a water-blocking layer, and prevent protein loss. The ayurvedic and other plant extracts in the list are shown in herbal medicine to have soothing properties – definitely a must when applying potent essential oils on the scalp and trying to lower irritation from buildup. The essential oils listed, particularly Rosemary Oil, have studies on how they contribute to hair growth (Rosemary Oil was compared to be just as effective as Minoxidil (key active in Rogaine) but without irritation!). Pair all of these ingredients with the act of scalp massaging, it sounds like this is a go-to product for literally getting your head in the game of scalp health.

I’ll leave the following links below if you’re interested in the read:

Human studies:

2015 Rosemary oil vs minoxidil 2% for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia: a randomized comparative trial

Standardized Scalp Massage Results in Increased Hair Thickness by Inducing Stretching Forces to Dermal Papilla Cells in the Subcutaneous Tissue

In vitro & in vivo:
Effect of mineral oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil on prevention of hair damage.

Animal studies:

2016 Study Hair Growth-Promoting Effects of Lavender Oil in C57BL/6 Mice

Peppermint Oil Promotes Hair Growth without Toxic signs

USAGE: 2 hours before I planned on washing my hair, every wash. My scalp was quite irritated at the time, and I confirmed with Innate Life that I was able to use this every wash (for me that’s every 2-3 days).

SCENT: Light herbal scent, the Peppermint Oil is the most noticeable scent.

TEXTURE: Runny, make sure to take little amounts rather than a lot in one go.

APPLICATION: Parted my hair in sections, and massaged thin layers directly on the scalp. After my entire scalp area was covered, I massaged it for 3-5 minutes.

FEEL: While massaging, I felt my scalp heating up. Not in an irritating way, moreso that there was a lot of blood circulation gong on. This feeling lasts from 30 minutes to an hour.

WASH: Need to shampoo twice to make sure all the oils from my hair are out.

OVERALL THOUGHTS ON THE SCALP TREATMENT FOR PROBLEMATIC SCALP

PROS:

  • My scalp became less itchy; Usually it gets itchy by the 2nd day, and I haven’t experienced that since using this treatment
  • In combination with the shampoo and conditioner I am using (see Haircare Haul), I’ve been told my hair looks fuller at the front
  • I’ve noticed baby hairs that I usually don’t see finally sit on my head differently and look more visible (they already existed, the photo does not show brand new growth)
    IMG_20190815_200534.jpg

CONS:

  • Not a fan of the clear, jar packaging. It is great that it’s in glass, the essential oils act as a natural preservative, and I can keep it in a dark cabinet, but it should be in an opaque package with a small dispenser to further prevent any ingredient degradation.

Overall I have seen benefits while using the Innate Life Scalp Treatment. My scalp feels less irritated, baby hairs are coming out to play, and it is not difficult to wash out.


Herbal Hair Mask

IMG_20190815_194833.jpg

Dry and damaged hair rejoice! The Herbal Hair Mask is the answer to your prayers. This intensive once-a-week hair mask has the power to naturally transform hair into a silky dream. Formulated with over 15 plant-based botanicals, The Herbal Hair Mask keeps hair soft, silky, and shiny. Natural detanglers leave strands tangle-free and manageable. This Mask also reverses damage caused by heat tools and hair dyes. For sad-looking locks, The Herbal Mask is sure to cheer them up!

IMG_20190815_194756.jpg

AMOUNT: 4oz

INDIVIDUAL PRICE: $25 USD

USAGE: 2 hours before I planned on washing my hair, once a week alongside the Scalp Treatment on dry hair. I tried damp and after-conditioning as well; I did not notice a difference between the application methods, so I stuck with the pre-wash.

SCENT: Citrusy Lavender. Definitely took a handful of whiffs while applying it!

TEXTURE: Light cream.

APPLICATION:ย Massaged product in from the mid-length to ends on dry hair, making sure it was properly coated.

FEEL: Like a light oil, not as overwhelming as Coconut Oil on its own.

WASH: Rinses out pretty easily without using shampoo at the ends.

OVERALL THOUGHTS OF THE HERBAL HAIR MASK

PROS:

  • Smells divine – I definitely enjoyed this while applying.

CONS:

  • Hair feels the same, nothing crazy different
  • I get similar results from just leaving conditioner in my hair for a couple of minutes

Overall this was my least favourite product out of the 3. Not just the Innate Life Herbal Hair Mask, but I find conditioning masks in general don’t do much for my hair. Maybe my hair is less damaged than I thought? If you’re looking for a light hair mask, still consider this one – lots of other users have benefitted from this hair mask!


Rose Hair Elixir

IMG_20190815_194722.jpg

IMG_20190815_194730.jpg

 

The Rose Hair Elixir is the Holy Grail product of hair care. Formulated with over 15 organic oils, this Elixir is potent and serves a number of purposes. It can be used daily or whenever your hair needs a quick pick me up. It can be used on dry hair to nourish split ends, tame frizzy hair, repair damaged hair and add shine. This little bottle does it all! It even works as a heat protectant before styling or on damp hair as a leave-in treatment. If thatโ€™s not enough for you, itโ€™s intoxicating rose smell will have you coming back for more.

AMOUNT: 20ml

INDIVIDUAL PRICE: $15 USD

USAGE: 2 times a day, morning and night before brushing my hair.

SCENT: Starts off smelling like rose. It isn’t overwhelming, but I definitely liked sniffing my hair throughout the day. After a few hours the scent wears off and your ends smell like a mix of oils.

TEXTURE: Similar to a silicone-based hair serum, but feels like an oil, if that makes sense…

APPLICATION: Apply 4 drops to my mid-length to ends, more of a focus on the ends.

FEEL: Does not weigh down my hair and does not leave an oily look.

OVERALL THOUGHTS ON THE ROSE HAIR ELIXIR

PROS:

  • First oil-based hair serum that performs well
  • Ends feel very soft and healthy
  • Lovely, subtle scent of rose

CONS:

  • Another deduction for packaging; Clear bottle and the dropper doesn’t even reach the bottom, you’d have to poor out the oil when you’re near the end

Overall this is my favourite oil-based hair serum I have tried to date. I personally preferred silicone-based hair serums because I saw better results, but I’m happy to have discovered the lovely formula that is the Innate Life Rose Hair Elixir.


FINAL THOUGHTS

OVERALL PROS:

  • All products have very promising ingredients that contribute to scalp and hair health, particularly Coconut Oil, Amla, and Rosemary Oil
  • Fairly affordable price and lasts fairly long considering I have long hair
  • Quick delivery once ordered – being in Toronto in particular it takes 3-5 business days
  • Saving $10 when buying the bundle as opposed to the individual products
  • The Scalp Treatment in particular was the catalyst for paying more attention to my scalp, leading down the endless hole that is haircare

OVERALL CONS:

  • The packaging on the Scalp Treatment and Rose Hair Elixir needs to be updated for better function and product preservation
  • Just like other brands, I am not a fan of the scare-tactics type of marketing; They use the “no chemicals” and “non-toxic” approach to their products. If they changed their marketing to show the real scientific-based plant power going on in their products and promote these beneficial chemicals, they could definitely gain more of a following and trust with their brand

OVERALL IN-BETWEEN FEELS:

  • ย I’m going out on a guess, but these products are not made by a chemist or in a proper lab. There’s no guarantee you’re getting controlled amounts of “actives” in these formulas like the studies would do. I obviously don’t mind using the products either way, but it is still a point I address for general caution if you’re particularly sensitive, even with wash-out products
  • Adding to the previous point, would love it if they included percentages for how much of the actives they are using
  • Scalp Treatment and Herbal Hair Mask can be left on overnight, but I didn’t notice much of a difference than if I were to just keep it in for 2 hours

The Small Bundle is a great introductory purchase for the Innate Life products. On top of the sensorial experience from each product, 2/3 products actually delivered for my hair type and have played an essential role in gaining and maintaining healthy scalp and hair. It was easy to consistently use these products, especially knowing that they wouldn’t run out so fast.

IMG_20190815_194708.jpg

I already repurchased their Long Hair Bundle which contains full sizes of the Scalp Treatment (Problematic Scalp) and the Rose Hair Elixir. They’re definitely part of the reason I’ve been loving my hair state lately and will continue using them and supporting a Canadian brand!

All products were purchased at https://theinnatelife.com/ย (not affiliate)

Have you tried these Innate Life products? They also have a shampoo and conditioner, let me know what you think about them in the comments if you’ve tried!

xo, M

IMG_20190815_194535.jpg