August 2018 Roundup

Basic BG Statement: I CAN’T believe we’re near the end of summer! Seriously, as you get older, time passes so quickly. Anyone else feeling the same way? Anywho, here is August’s roundup!


FAVOURITES

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Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid – I totally get the hype. I like how gentle it is that I can bring it up to my eye area without worry. I’ve repeated this a couple of times to friends, but my face looks very poreless, smooth and “juicy” when I use this product. I want to say the texture is borderline toner to essence. Like an acid essence. It doesn’t dry out my skin at all, and I can wait a few minutes before adding other products.

Riversol SPF 30 Lightweight Broad Spectrum Sunscreen – This has been a very pleasant sunscreen to use. Despite the mica in it to create a natural shimmer, I find it doesn’t blend too shiny or white on my skin. Having said that, I don’t think the tint will 100% adapt to your skin type. Definitely a sunscreen meant for drier skin types, because I do notice it adds an extra layer of moisture on my skin. Until the weather becomes colder and I become a little more lighter, I like using this under my powder foundation.

La Roche Posay Anthelios Mineral Tinted Ultra-Fluid Lotion SPF 50 – It’s a bit pricey for the size, but I love how easy it is to apply without worrying about an obvious cast. This is the the sunscreen I reach for if I don’t want to wear any makeup, but I want some miniscule amount of evenness in my skin. It’s also great to wear at the gym!

I did a Sunscreen Week on my blog back in July, where I go more in depth about these sunscreens!
SUNSCREEN WEEK [Day #6]: Riversol SPF 30 Lightweight Broad Spectrum Sunscreen
SUNSCREEN WEEK [DAY #7]: La Roche Posay Anthelios Mineral Tinted Ultra-Fluid Lotion SPF 50

Featured CBB Blog of the Month – I am part of a group called the Canadian Beauty Bloggers Network, and I was featured as August’s Blog of the Month! Around this time I’ve been blogging for just about 3 years, and have 100+ blog posts. I love being part of this community of bloggers who are so supportive, helpful and encouraging!
My featured blog post – August 2018 Blog of the Month: MICHXMASH


EMPTIES

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SKINCARE

Consonant DHE Mask – This mask was REALLY good at cutting down the size and pain of very active zits! I mostly used this as a spot treatment, but occassionally all over the face. My skin didn’t feel dry from the clay, and it was fairly soft after washing the mask off. If you want a mask that doubles as a spot treatment, this is your go-to!
REVIEW: Consonant “One For All” Kit

COSRX Galactomyces 95 Whitening Power (Tone Balancing) Essence – I noticed such a difference in my skin the moment I incorporated this product into my routine! I stopped complaining about tightness in my skin, and my face felt smoother in texture. I was skeptical about essences, let alone Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate, but this essence performed really well. I bought the Secret Key essence instead of repurchasing this one however because I *did* give in to the nice packaging of it! Out of the two however, I prefer the texture of the COSRX one!
I’m Finally Sharing my Current Skincare Routines 2018

Too Cool For School Xakziuza Cleansing Water – Better than their Eye & Makeup Remover Counterpart. My face didn’t tingle, which normally happens when I use a product with micelles in it. I won’t repurchase because this also has a strong scent and I’m trying out Riversol’s Micellar Water at the moment.

Make P:rem UV Defense ME Blue Ray Sun Gel SPF 50+ PA++++ – Not completely empty, but I can’t get the rest of the product out! Argh! >_< Either way, this is a great chemical sunscreen. My face always looked even, also during days if I was outside in the sun all day. I also did a dedicated review on this sunscreen if you want more details!
SUNSCREEN WEEK [Day #1]: Make P:rem UV Defense Me Blue Ray Sun Gel SPF 50+ PA++++

Paula’s Choice Clinical Ultra-Rich Moisturizer – This was okay. When I first started using this, I felt like it was actually DRYING out my skin, and made the center of my face very discoloured. Now that the weather is a bit better and I have a different approach to my skincare routine, it’s doesn’t seem to do that anymore. I’m not saying this moisturizer is bad, I just think I’ve tried better moisturizers.
REVIEW: Paula’s Choice Moisturizers for Dry Skin

HAIR

Aveda Clove Color Conditioner – Already bought another one! Aveda has been my go-to since I discovered it for treating my coloured hair, and I can’t find anything else that’s easier and effective to use. Clove is what I use to keep the darkness of the ash brown in my hair. It’s been almost a month since I ran out of it, and I can tell my hair’s been getting lighter faster.
MICHXMASH & Vera Rapunzel’s Haircare Faves 2017

North American Hemp Co. Area 369 Hair Serum – I finally ran out of this guy! I really enjoyed this hair serum and my hair felt soft and detangled almost instantly. I would still have to apply this on a daily basis to make sure my ends were not feeling frayed. I just hate the packaging, What’s the point of it having a cap like this if the bottle doesn’t even let you squeeze!?

SAMPLES

Paula’s Choice Gentle Cleansing Cloths – Impressed how nicely saturated it was and GENTLE around my eyes! I’m not a makeup remover wipe kinda gal, but I definitely see the appeal of this one and would consider adding it into my cart the next time I buy PC products. I usually use wipes when I swatched a lot on my hands for a post/video!

Paula’s Choice Resist Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum – I can’t even recall anything special about this other than the texture was cool. Sure, it has a nice list of ingredients, but I already use a vitamin C serum, and I like my Cerave PM Moisturizing Facial Lotion for my ceramides.


And that’s that for last month’s roundup!

Hope you enjoyed the read.

xo,

M

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REVIEW + GIVEAWAY [CLOSED]: Some By Mi Products! (AHA/BHA/PHA 30 Days Miracle Toner & Cleansing Bar, H7 Hydromax Cream)

Seriously, how many of us saw this product and the before/afters circulate our social media feeds? Some By Mi reached out to me to try their very popular AHA/BHA/PHA 30 Days Miracle Toner as well as their Cleansing Bar and H7 Hydromax Cream.

Some By Mi (meaning: Attracted to Beauty) is a popular natural cosmetic Korean Brand that’s all about “Miracle of my skin with good ingredients” (this is their slogan translated to English). 400 thousand of their products sold out within 3 months, and from that popular before/after photo circulating around, their products seem especially catered to those with acne-prone skin.

For this review, I will be more detailed about the 30 Day Miracle Toner because it’s the only information I received in English from the brand. I will do my best to review the other products in this post.

And yes, as the title suggests, there will be a giveaway of all 3 products! Be sure to check out the details at the end of this post. Let’s get on to the review!


About the Brand

Some By Mi means “Attracted by Beauty”
Slogan is “Miracle of my skin with good ingredients”
Popular natural Korean Cosmetic Brand
400 thousand products sold out in 3 months
Products catered mostly to those with acne-prone skin
From what I’ve seen on e-retailers, these products are always on sale at a reduced cost / some type of deal


AHA/BHA/PHA 30 Days Miracle Toner

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CLAIMS / QUICK FACTS:

  • 150ml, 32, 000 won
  • Skin Cell Control
  • Exfoliating
  • Acne Control
  • Smooth Skin
  • Skin Cell and Body Waste Removal
  • Moisturizing
  • Pore Control
  • Improvement of Complexion
  • Passed the Hypo-Allergenic Test – I don’t know what this test is
  • Without 20  Stimulating Ingredients – meaning 20 ingredients that could cause a negative reaction
  • Sebum-Control
  • Blackhead Control
  • pH 5.5
  • Ingredients based on EWG Safety Ratings

Ingredient Highlights

Note: The ingredients listed is provided to me by Some By Mi. It doesn’t reflect the entire ingredient list, just the main ones.

AHA (Citric Acid): 500ppm = 0.05%
– Derived from citrus fruits
– Usually used as a pH adjuster
– Larger molecule than Glycolic Acid
– Not as studied as Glycolic or Lactic Acid
– If in higher % could exfoliate the skin and act as water-binding agent

BHA (Salicylic Acid): 100ppm = 0.01%
– Exfoliates the pore lining, making it very suitable for acne-prone skin
– Also has soothing properties

PHA Lactobionic Acid: 100ppm = 0.01%
– Supposed to be as effective as AHAs
– Larger molecular structure; Doesn’t penetrate the skin as quickly
– Less sensitizing

Tea Tree Water: 10, 000ppm = 1%
– Tea Tree Oil is skin-soothing
– Some By Mi explains that it helps soothe skin, relieve inflammation and disinfect skin (antibacterial properties)

Niacinamide: 2%
I love this ingredient, it’s multipurpose for your skin’s health
– Improves barrier function
– Controls oil production
– Minimizes pores and fine lines
– Brightening

Other Notables (stated by Some By Mi)
Adenosine: Anti-wrinkle
P-Refynil: Sebum Control
Fructan: Deep Hydration

Usage:
I removed my acne treatments – BHA wash, BP wash, Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum, Differin
Applied toner morning and night for 14 days (I only used it for this much because at the time of testing this, I was at the 2 month mark for Differin. It’s recommended to use Differin for 3 months to see its results, so it was very risking removing it from my skincare routine).
I’m Finally Sharing my Current Skincare Routines 2018

Scent: It has a noticeable smell of mint, but it doesn’t overwhelm my senses and last. After using Google Translate, Peppermint Oil appears as the last ingredient.

Texture: Very watery. To compare, Klairs Supple Preparation Unscented Toner is more viscous.

Application:  As recommended by Some By Mi, use a cotton pad and wipe upwards. I applied about 4 douses each time. For my bad breakout areas I let the cotton pad sit for a bit on that area for maybe 30 seconds to get extra treatment.

Finish: None. It sinks into the skin pretty quickly and I don’t find this has any softening effect like Klairs.

Immediate Results: Overnight any active pimples including cysts decreased in size. Imparted a brightening effect after use, making the skin look slightly even.

Long-Term Results: Inflammation around spots subsided, decreased the size and lowered the risk of long-lasting hyperpigmentation.

Final Thoughts: Stunned. I wasn’t expecting this to work as well as it did around my acne. I wouldn’t consider this an acid toner however; The pH is 5.5 and the percentage of acids are too low to show significant exfoliating results. Overall this is perfect as a pH balanced toner with good skin ingredients that any one using would find beneficial. It could prevent future breakouts to an extent, but there’s a lot of factors that contribute to a breakout 🙂


AHA/BHA/PHA 30 Days Miracle Cleansing Bar

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Note: The ingredients I’m about to list below is based on me using Google Translate’s app and highlighting the text area. This is NOT the official list and I can’t 100% guarantee the translation was correct.

Ingredient Highlights
Chlorella Powder: Antioxdiant, Emollient
Tea Tree Extract: Skin-Conditioning
Licorice Extract: Skin-soothing
Moisturizing: Olive Oil, Argan Oil, Green Tea Seed Oil

While using the GT app I didn’t seen any acids in the list…

Usage:
Used occasionally morning and night
Swapped it as either sole morning / post-workout cleanser, or second cleanse in my nighttime routine.

Scent: I don’t know how to explain this other than it smells like a natural soap. It’s not strong at all.

Texture: Not as stiff as a generic soap bar (let’s say Dove). Once lathered, the foam feels very soft on the skin.

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When I lathered more than necessary the first time lol

Application: Used with the foaming net and lathered it lightly between my hands. It produces a lot foaming lather really quickly, definitely better than using it without. Would wash my face with it for around a minute, including eye area.

Final Thoughts: My skin didn’t feel irritated at all while using this soap. I’m not a fan of using cleansing bars but this is definitely not a conventional one. I like the extra bit of moisture it provides and it’s overall very simple and gentle. This could wash off sunscreen, but I rely more on my cleansers with surfactants to do a better job with makeup removal.


H7 Hydromax Cream

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Ingredient Highlights

Note: The ingredients I’m about to list below is based on me using Google Translate’s app and highlighting the text area. This is NOT the official list and I can’t 100% guarantee the translation was correct.

Ulleung Sea Water – 71%
Glycerin
Niacinamide
Various oils: Avocado, Jojoba Seed, Palm Oil,
Various plant extracts: Green Tea, Yam Root, Okra Fruit, Kelp, Lotus Root, Licorice, Chamomile Flower
7 types of Hyaluronic Acid: Sodium Hyaluronate, Hydrolized Hyaluronic Acid, Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hyaluronic Acid (I can’t find the other 2)

Usage:
Used occasionally morning and night
Swapped with Hada Labo Perfect Gel as humectant moisturizer.

Texture: Light cream.

Scent: A noticeable smell of lemon as you apply it. Lemon Peel Oil translated at very end of IL. It does not last.

Application: Used nickel-sized amount and dotted it all over my face and neck. Spreads nicely and doesn’t irritate my eye area.

Finish: Slight tacky finish that leaves my skin feeling soft and smooth. Lighter than my Hada Labo Perfect Gel.

Final Thoughts: It’s a nice moisturizer more suitable for normal to oily skin types if you want to use it on its own. It performed nicely as a humectant moisturizer before going in with my occlusive one, but I love the Hada Labo Perfect Gel more.


Final Feels

Usually when it comes to hyped up products, I am super critical. However I have to say Some By Mi products took me by surprise and their AHA/BHA/PHA 30 Day Miracle Toner gave me great results. I’d say the couple of issues with them are 1) Google Translate struggle was real and I hope Some By Mi eventually adds an English description and ingredients list to each of their products 2) Up the acids in their claimed acid products (but I guess that would rid it of its gentleness).

I think anyone can try this line, for all the products are really easy to incorporate in your existing routine and only provides skin benefits. But if I were to really pinpoint who these were meant for based on just these 3 products, definitely for the teens starting out in skincare that need a simple routine with gentle but effective products.

Speaking of trying…

GIVEAWAY TIME!

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One winner will receive full size products of all the ones I just reviewed!
You’ll be receiving full-sized products of:
AHA/BHA/PHA 30 Day Miracle Toner
AHA/BHA/PHA 30 Day Miracle Cleansing Bar
H7 Hydromax Cream
There are many ways to enter and increase your chance of winning! Just be sure to provide the necessary information in the link down below.

SOME BY MI GIVEAWAY [CLOSED]

UPDATE 09/03/18: Giveaway is closed. Thanks for participating!

Terms of the Giveaway:
August 25th – September 2nd
International
Must be 18 years or older
No giveaway accounts
Winner will have 24 hours to reply
MICHXMASH and SOME BY MI are not responsible for customs fees or lost items.

Thank you Some By Mi for the opportunity to try your products, and giving the opportunity for someone else to as well!

Good luck everyone!

xo, M


This post is unsponsored. Products were just sent complimentary for review purposes.
This post contains affiliate links.
DISCLAIMER, PR, AFFILIATES

My Nighttime (PM) Skincare Routine 2018

Please read my “skincare announcement” monologue before reading this post!
I’m Finally Sharing my Current Skincare Routines 2018

Breakdown
1. Makeup Removal / Double Cleanse
2. Acne Treatment
3. Hydrators
4. Double Moisturize
5. Main Active


1. MAKEUP REMOVAL / DOUBLE CLEANSE

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Double Cleansing is a MUST in my nighttime routine. I first noticed skin improvements from this step alone, especially since I used to wear a cake-ton of makeup back in my early 20s.

I’m surprised with the Marcelle Gentle Make-Up Remover for Sensitive Eyes. Gentle really is all-encompassing with this. Just a quick shake and a squirt on a cotton round removes the most waterproof Japanese mascara I own with one cotton pad, doesn’t make my eyesight blurry, doesn’t leave a residue, or feel like anything for that matter after I use it.

At the top of the list, the eye makeup remover contains a few solvent-emollient ingredients such as Isododecane, Isohexadecane, Isopropyl Palmitate – ingredients that help dissolve makeup without stripping the eye area’s sensitive skin.

This eye makeup remover has been highly recommended by a few Canadian Bloggers, and I see why they love it and go back to it. It doesn’t add or subtract from my skincare (aside from makeup), so there’s really not much to it. It just works!

After I remove my eye makeup, I start off with my first 1st Cleanse using the Dermalogica PreCleanse Balm *. I only need a pea-sized amount to cover my entire face. Despite it’s thick consistency, it spreads easily and gently emulsifies after wetting your fingers.

The main oils in this product are Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil, and Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil – definitely explains it’s thicker consistency and why my face feels so soft after I rinse it off! I can see why Dermalogica advertises it as a makeup remover for drier skin types.

Even with such nourishing oils, my skin doesn’t feel like it has any residue after I wash the rest of the balm off. It also comes with a silicone mitt which is REALLY nice to use with the PreCleanse Balm, but I’ve opted for my fingers to be as gentle as possible because of the actives I use in this routine.

For the 2nd cleanse, I also use a pea-size amount of the Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel * .

It contains Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Disodium Lauroamphodiacetate, Sodium Trideceth Sulfate, and Quillaja Saponaria Bark Extract –  surfactants and foaming agents that effectively clean skin. The foam that is actually creates is so small, and my skin feels like it’s softening as I continuously massage the Special Cleansing gel into my skin.

This is probably my favourite step in my entire nighttime routine. It’s gentle to use, my skin feels softer as I use it, and I notice my skin looking slightly brighter. Even when my sister used it, she liked it so much she bought the big bottle of it! The one downside would be that if you take too long to apply your other skincare products, your skin will definitely feel a tad dry. But this is avoided easily by following suit with my skincare products while my skin is slightly damp. I’m actually on the fence of whether or not to continue with Cerave’s Hydrating Cleanser once I’m done with Dermalogica’s Special Cleansing Gel, because I really like this cleanser too!
I tried Dermalogica’s Double Cleanse Routine ft. the PreCleanse Balm


2. ACNE TREATMENT

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Nighttime is the best time to go in with a stronger acne treatment, that way whatever irritation or redness I get will only be at night.

Benzagel 5 Acne Wash is probably the best Benzoyl Peroxide product I have tried. The ingredients are no nonsense and you only need a small amount to effectively treat your face.

As the name suggests, it has 5% Benzoyl Peroxide, a very effective ingredient at killing acne bacteria quickly, and doesn’t pose the problem of bacterial resistance with continued use. I opted for the wash form that Benzagel offers because washes tend to be gentler than treatments, but just as effective if you use it long enough.

I use about a nickely to quarter-size amount and make sure I properly massage it evenly on my entire face, concentrating on my breakout prone areas. I do this for a couple of minutes until I rinse it off. I’m surprised for a small bottle it is still going! If I use it for too long I do notice my face becomes slightly drier, but most definitely nothing as severe as what I experienced in the past.

After doing this step for just over a month, I reintroduced acid toning into my routine, alternating with the wash. Since I am using Differin, I didn’t know what to expect in terms of irritation, so I stopped using my ByWishtrend Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep Water * until I felt confident enough to incorporate it back into my routine. I can’t do without an acid toner because nothing works faster when it comes to smoothing out the texture on my skin.

As the name suggests, it contains 5% Mandelic Acid, the largest molecule and considerably gentler acid in the AHA family. It also helps with breakouts because Mandelic Acid is supposedly slightly lipid-permeable (don’t quote me on this).

Although I haven’t experienced heavy sensitization to my skin, I do notice that my skin is slightly more sensitive to this acid toner than it was prior to Differin. (Note: I stopped using this toner because I have been testing out a hyped up one that I will be reviewing soon. I’ll finish up this one once I’m done the testing period.)
REVIEW | [ByWishtrend] Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep Water


3. HYDRATORS

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This step is the same as my morning routine! I’ll just be linking my morning routine here so I don’t repeat myself. This step is just as essential at night as it is morning, so I’m happy the products come in decent sizes at fairly affordable prices.


4. MOISTURIZE

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Again, very similar to my morning. While my face is still tacky, I go in with Hada Labo’s Perfect Gel, following with Mad Hippie’s Eye Cream. But to seal everything in, I follow up with a heavier moisturizer like the Cerave Moisturizing Cream.

I would typically finish off my nighttime skincare with an oil, but because I am using a retinoid, I opt for a heavier moisturizer to counteract the dryness from it. So far, it’s been working! Of course, Cerave’s Moisturizing Cream contains Ceramides, helping to moisturize and assist with my skin’s barrier function. It also contains petrolatum making it slightly more occlusive.

Despite how much thicker it is, this has never caused congestion! My boyfriend even uses it as his daily moisturizer. A bonus is you get a big tub of it and you don’t need a lot for it to work.


5. MAIN ACTIVE

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I’m glad I moisturize my skin well beforehand, because I do get quite dry with Differin. So far I have been using it for over a month and I can say I have seen some results. I have stopped using an exfoliating toner to make sure before I brought it back into my routine!

Differin contains 0.1% Adapalene, a retinoid specifically targeted for the treatment and prevention of acne. It is supposed to be more tolerant than its big brother, Tretinoin.

Although I apply this on top of my moisturizer, I find it still has shown results in the month or more that I’ve been using it. I have not gotten a huge cyst from the Crimson Wave (unless I really don’t maintain consistency), my skin looks smoother even without layers of hydrating product, and my hyperpigmentation is lightening up on my cheeks and under my jaw. I tried using it before my hydration step, and I just find my skin looks more red, gets dry really fast, and I don’t feel as satisfied with my skincare. I’m going to continue using Differin as the last step in my routine, and keeping Vitamin A as a constant active in my nighttime routine in general after I run out of Differin.


This nighttime routine has been working great for me, and I am so happy I’ve been seeing results. Paired with my morning routine, I can’t remember the last time or if I EVER felt so content with my skincare routine, enjoyed everything about it, AND saw results.

I really hoped my routines helped you out!

Be sure to check out my AM Routine: My Morning (AM) Skincare Routine 2018

xo, M

If you want to see the texture of the products and in action:


This post contains affiliate links.
DISCLAIMER, PR, AFFILIATES

July 2018 Roundup

Usually I like doing both video and blog posts on my monthly roundup, but I’ve been rushing to get a bit of content up (eg. Nighttime (PM) Skincare Routine video is published, not post) so for this post I’m sacrificing words that I am pretty much saying in my video. Enjoy!

Favourites

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Secret Key Lemon Sparkling Peeling Gel REVIEW: [JOLSE] secretKey Lemon Sparkling Peeling Gel 120ml (New Package) *

Marcelle Gentle Make-Up Remover for Sensitive Eyes

La Roche-Posay Serozinc Purifying Mist

Divine Essence Wild Cornflower Floral Water *

Supergoop! Forever Young Hand Cream SPF 40

It Cosmetics Celebration Foundation SPF 50


Empties

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Cerave PM Moisturizing Facial Lotion
My Morning (AM) Skincare Routine 2018

Banish Acne Scars Pumpkin Enzyme Masque
REVIEW: Banish Acne Scars Banish Starter Kit

Le Correcteur de Chanel Longwear Concealer (20)


Very short post, but I still hope you enjoyed it!

xo, M


This post contains affiliate links.
DISCLAIMER, PR, AFFILIATES

My Morning (AM) Skincare Routine 2018

Please refer to my “announcement” post if you haven’t already – it explains my skincare in a nutshell.
I’m Finally Sharing my Current Skincare Routines 2018

Breakdown:
1. Cleanse
2. Acne Treatment / Main Active
3. Hydrators
4. Moisturize
5. SPF


1. CLEANSE

I have tried going without washing my face in the morning, but I always get a lovely amount of zits on my face later in the day. I need at least a few splashes with water to start my morning skincare routine. If I feel like my skin has a bit of a residue from the night before, I’ll go in with a gentle cleanser.

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I’ve been really enjoying Cerave Hydrating Cleanser for this step! This is such a lovely, gentle, simple cleanser. One full pump really softens the skin as I massage my face and I don’t feel ANY sensation at all.

Just like its moisturizing partners, this cleanser also contains Ceramides and Hyaluronic Acid, great ingredients to help replenish moisture in its skin and support a good barrier function. The texture of the product is like a lotion and with the way it feels, the Cerave Hydrating Cleanser is definitely doing some good for my skin!

Because it is so gentle and slightly moisturizing, I always debate whether or not it would be good as a second step in my Double Cleanse. For now, I’m enjoying it as a go-to gentle cleanser in my skincare arsenal, especially the morning after using Differin the night before.

Every other day I go in with the Dermalogica Medibac Clearing Skin Wash * to incorporate Salicylic Acid in my skincare. It contain’s 0.5% Salicylic Acid, the minimal amount required to effectively exfoliate your pore lining. This is a much welcomed product, especially since I’m getting slightly oilier and actually maintaining a proper workout schedule. My lovely sebaceous filaments  on my nose have been getting darker, so this wash is effective, yet gentle and nourishing enough to even use it daily! I’m highly considering getting the full size of this product.

After rinsing my face I will lightly pat my skin dry, but not completely dry. I find if I do this, my skin is more susceptible to dehydration and dryness, so I always make sure it is “almost dry”.


 2. Acne Treatment / Main Active

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After cleansing while my face still has a tad amount of water, I first apply Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum on my forehead and each cheek. The idea of using my serum first is to get Vitamin C to make direct contact with my skin, so I can reap its benefits right away. It’s a light water-based serum so it doesn’t disrupt the flow of my skincare at all by using it first. It doesn’t sting my skin at all and feels rather refreshing both from the light sweet scent it has and how it makes my skin feel fresh.

It contains Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, a Vitamin C derivative said to be more stable and bioavailable than L-Ascorbic Acid, while still providing the same benefits. Ferulic Acid and Vitamin E are also in the formulation to amp up the benefits as well.

I haven’t really noticed a huge difference in my skin while using this serum, other than my skin feeling more hydrated. The only marker I have that this has helped with hyperpigmentation is on my neck – the only place I don’t apply Differin. The mark I had from a breakout is very faded now and doesn’t feel raised on my skin. Either way, I think this is a good starter Vitamin C serum, but I may opt for the popular Timeless Vitamin C serum after I’m done with the Mad Hippie one.

I pat it into my skin and once it gets tacky I move onto my other products.


3. Hydrators

I’ve been really enjoying the following products in my skincare routine because they have done an excellent job in adding back hydration to my skin. I don’t necessarily have to use both products, but I find my skin stays very comfortable throughout the day and I rarely ever get a tight feeling in my skin.

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I’ve raved enough about the Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner * and I’m currently using the Unscented version in my routine. So far, it performs the same! Hard to tell the difference anymore (aside from the scent) since it is summertime and my skin is slightly oilier. After 3 dime-size applications, it makes my skin feel just as comfortable as the original, and ready for more layers of skincare.
REVIEW & COMPARE: Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner – Scented and Unscented!

I follow up immediately with 2 pumps of Cosrx Galactomyces 95 Tone Balancing Essence (formally called Galactomyces 95 Whitening Power Essence – the one I have).  There’s not much information about Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate other than that it can help tighten and brighten skin, as well as improving skin’s barrier function. For me, I’ve noticed the tightness I used to get from dehydration is non-existent, my skin feels a lot smoother, and my face stays even-toned. I’ve noticed nothing but benefits from using a Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate product and will continue using it!

After all of this is absorbed into my skin and while my face is still tacky, I immediately go into moisturizing.


4. Moisturize

Inspired by Dr. Dray, I use 2 types of moisturizers – one as a humectant type to hold onto all that water I applied to my skin in my hydrating step, and sealing it further with a more occlusive one.

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I apply a minimal amounts of Mentholatum Hada Labo Koi-Gokujyun Perfect Gel to my face and neck, making sure to concentrate a little more around my eyes, middle of my forehead, and smile lines.

I was fascinated by this product originally because it had Urea high on the ingredients list. It is a moisturizing agent that helps increase the thickness of your skin barrier as well as help with the skin’s natural desquamation process. I had to get my hands on this product. Hada Labo is known to have 3 different types of hyaluronic acid to help further add to it’s skin-conditioning functions.

This gel always leaves my skin feeling very soft and smoother than before. I also find it has helped minimize my pores from keeping all the water in my skin cells, giving a plump look to my skin!

I use a tiny amount of the Mad Hippie Eye Cream under my eyes to my orbital bone. Whether or not eye cream is necessary – shush! I need something more moisturizing for my eye area, as it dries out easily, so for me, eye cream is a necessity.

What is really fascinating about this eye cream is the amount of actives! The eye area is very sensitive and I don’t have problems with this eye cream at all. It contains Matrixyl 3000, a peptide that helps collagen and elastin production. It also vitamins C, B3 and E, as well as Ceramide, Niacinamide, and other ingredients that aid in improving the look and strengthening skin.

I really like how this eye cream feels light yet it provides enough moisture for my eye area. Even on application while patting it in, I notice my eye area is brighter! The one big wrinkle I get around my eye area when I smile seems less deep, and the area in general looks a lot smoother. I don’t have a problem with darkness under my eyes, but I do notice after application it looks a tad brighter.

To seal all the good stuff in, I go in with 4 pumps of Cerave PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion to cover my face and neck. It’s also a gel moisturizer, but contains a high amount of Niacinamide. I love this ingredient because it helps with minimizing pores and increasing the strength of my skin barrier. And of course, it wouldn’t be a Cerave product without Ceramides in the list! Because it’s summer, and I follow up with a moisturizing SPF, I find I don’t need to mix this in with another moisturizer to make sure I’m well moisturized.


5. SPF

The topper to my skincare! Nothing ensures a protected skin barrier like using a sunscreen. I have a variety in my collection, but the following product is what I’ve been using constantly.

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Elta Md UV Facial Broad-Spectrum SPF 30+ Moisturizing Facial Sunscreen really is a cosmetically elegant sunscreen. It is also so moisturizing, I could skip using the Cerave PM Moisturizer if I really wanted to (but I won’t – can’t give up that Niacinamide).

It contains 7.0% Zinc Oxide and 7.5% Octinoxate as its UV filters. Because it’s a physical-chemical hybrid SPF, the cast you would get from zinc-oxide disappears as you massage it into your skin. I do notice my skin looks paler if I do not wear makeup, especially since my body is darker, but I’ve only noticed it while at the gym. It also has Sodium Hyaluronate, Vitamin E and Petrolatum, and a variety of moisturizing ingredients to help retain skin moisture. It spreads so smoothly on my face and makes my skin feel more moisturized. The finish is quite glowy but I don’t mind. I usually use this sunscreen when I plan on applying makeup because I can easily glide on my base and sheer it out without worrying about unevenness.


There you have it! My morning skincare routine. Even when I was experimenting with this routine in colder weather, my skin rarely felt dehydrated throughout the day. My skin has been feeling and looking good, and am overall really happy with how much my skin has improved. I could probably rid my routine of a few of the products to minimize it, but I enjoy my routine a lot right now and that’s what matters most to me. We’ll see once I finish them up.

Hope you enjoyed the read!

Be sure to check out my PM Routine: My Nighttime (PM) Skincare Routine 2018

xo, M

If you want to see the texture of the products and in action:


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