TRIED & TRUE TIPS: How I Repaired My Dehydrated and Dry Skin!

Press Samples in this post will be indicated with (PR)
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I thought I’d start off a new blog / video series called “Tried and True Tips” – basically I share tips that like many of us, go Googling for all over the internet for that I have tried, and have worked!

Since it’s now snowing here in jolly Ontario, I thought  it would be the perfect time to share my Tried and True Tips on how I repaired my dry/dehydrated skin! Before I do, quick recap:

  • I was oily-skinned for ~24 years
  • Past 4-5 years, after working in a stupidly dry environment and aging in general, my skin became so dry, it not only felt uncomfortably tight, there was no moisturizer, or oil in general to be found on my skin when I touched my face!

After many a months to a couple of years of trial and error, I finally found what has been working for me in maintaining my skin’s moisture! If what I’ve gone through sounds similar to your current circumstance, then keep on reading!


1. GET A HUMIDIFIER

Picture from Costco.ca

The most common tip, and for good reason! To start improving your skin’s hydration levels, this is an easy way to set it up for success. Like I mentioned, my skin gets easily sensitized in dry environments, so having a large humidifider that lasts hours was much needed for my place.

The one I purchased: Homedics Humidifier
Costco
Amazon.ca

2. PLAN YOUR MORNING CLEANSE ACCORDINGLY

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All these cleansers have a pH around 5-5.5

As demo-ed in my Morning Skincare Routine, I do not wash my face in the morning, and go straight into my Vitamin C serum. Most of the time, my skin doesn’t feel like there’s a heavy layer of product, feels oily, or crusty, so skipping morning cleanse in these instances work for me. It’s particularly beneficial for dry skinned folks because as we know, every time we cleanse our skin, we are promoting Trans Epidermal Water Loss (TEWL); So limiting the amount of times you wash your face in a day helps. However, on the off days where I do feel like my skin has a greasy buildup or feels so crusty my skin texture is uneven, I use a low pH cleanser for 30 seconds in the morning. While cleansing, I already feel my skin becoming softer and smoother than before. Since the cleanser is pH balanced, it doesn’t dry out my skin and I can comfortably follow with my skincare routine; Sometimes my skin actually feels more moisturized! By planning my morning cleanse accordingly, I haven’t had the urge to jump into a chemical exfoliant right away, which overdoing could make your dehydrated skin worse!
Products:
Bioderma Sebium Purifying Cleansing Foaming Gel
Dr. Sam’s Flawless Cleanser (reviewed)
Cerave Hydrating Cleanser (PR)
Dermalogica Active Clearing Skin Wash (Previously Medibac)

3. KEEP YOUR SKIN DAMP

In relation to the previous tip, when washing your face, try not completely drying with a towel. When we completely dry out all the water on our faces, we’re helping speed up the process of TEWL; This leaves our faces tight and uncomfortable, and now we’re using more skincare products than necessary to replenish what we helped lose. My face never feels tight anymore and I don’t feel like I need to use as many replenishing items or layers to feel comfortable again.

4. ADD IN EXTRA HUMECTANTS, EMOLLIENTS, AND/OR OCCLUSIVES

Rule of thumb for finding a moisturizer is that it should contain a good balance with all 3 types of ingredients mentioned above to help retain and prevent water loss from your skin – humectants to attract water, emollients to soften and smooth skin, and occlusives to seal in the deal (See Chemist Confessions post explaining further!). Depending on our individual skin concerns and our preferred products, you can incorporate an extra step into your routine to further help your moisture level.

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Using a hydrating toner, essence, lotion, and/or gel moisturizer is my favourite way of adding in extra moisture! They’re typically humectant rich, some may have emollients as well. I use these all year round, but come winter, I either layer a light one, or swap for a hydrator with a thicker consistency, and one that may leave a film.
Products:
I’m From Rice Toner (PR Sample) *
Laneige Cream Skin Refiner
Hada Labo Hyaluronic Acid Lotion *
Hada Labo Premium Lotion *
Hada Labo Perfect Gel *

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Plant oils are another easy way of incorporating something more emollient into your routine. Oils I have tried and liked are Marula and Rosehip Seed Oil. Another popular oil is Squalane; I have never tried this one before but I constantly see it appear in people’s skincare routines!
Products:
Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil
The Ordinary 100% Cold-Pressed Virgin Marula Oil
Not shown cause I forgot: Jordan Samuel Soothing Facial Oil

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If my skin is in dire need, I will go in with the big guns and either mix or add a pea-sized amount of the best, cheap occlusive of its kind – petrolatum! Applying Vaseline or Cerave’s Baby Healing Ointment were some serious game changers in providing my dry skin with relief, especially when I started using 0.3% Adapalene around this time of year!
Products:
Cerave Baby Healing Ointment
Vaseline


And there you have it, the tried and true tips that have helped me fix my dehydration / dryness!

I know this isn’t a super long list, but I wanted to share the very effective ones that worked so well for me! Hope you found this post helpful and informative.

xo,

M

My Updated Skincare Routines 2019

Hey everyone,

Here are the videos of my current morning and nighttime skincare routines! I’m proud to say that I’ve simplified my routine even further, and yet everything is very purposeful and contributes to my skin’s health.

Morning Skincare Routine:

Nighttime Skincare Routine:

Note that these routines are on the days/nights I do not test out new products, or if I need to give my skin a break.

Before you watch, please be sure to take a gander at other posts / videos related to my skin:

I’m Finally Sharing my Current Skincare Routines 2018

My Morning (AM) Skincare Routine 2018

My Nighttime (PM) Skincare Routine 2018

Skin Update [#1] December 2018: Acne + Scars

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

Thanks for watching!

xo, M

BRAND REVIEW: Stubborn Cosmetics

People, if you love Krave Beauty, Dr. Sam, you absolutely must check out this brand, especially if you live in the U.S. of A!

Stubborn Cosmetics is an indie American brand that is literally a one-woman show providing products with my favourite combo: scientifically proven ingredients paired with beneficial ingredients from nature.

The founder Annalisa, runs the show and here are the many hats she wears:

  • Lead Cosmetic Scientist
  • Production Engineer
  • Procurement Agent
  • Graphic Designer
  • Lab Technician
  • Operations Manager
  • Cleaner
  • the first Customer
  • the “We”

Stubborn Cosmetics currently is focused on creating moisturizers for all skin-types, and she goes so far as to offer a customized moisturizer, based on your quiz results. Recently she formulated an anti-oxidant face mist and it’s been a hot minute since I’ve used one!

Here’s the site’s blurb that sums up what they’re about perfectly, and something I appreciate:

“We’re an indie skincare company with the mission of creating cosmetics that bring together the best of the natural world with the best of scientifically studied ingredients. Our aim is to share skincare that is effective, fun, and positive by nature. We’re not going to scare you with buzz words like “toxin- and chemical-free”. That wouldn’t be in line with our ethics. Instead, we curated a selection of naturally derived ingredients and scientifically proven synthetic actives (like peptides and vitamins) because they are just too good to be given up.

We believe in nature and science. We believe they can coexist in harmony. We believe in community, we believe in hugs, we believe in kindness, we believe in well-formulated products as well as in a personal approach to skin care. These beliefs are the essence of our creations. Others call it skincare – we call it personal skin love.”

Here are the products I’ll be reviewing, all purchased myself.

  • Custom Moisturizer for Normal to Dry Combination Skin, $40 USD
  • Face Hug – for Dry Skin, $25 USD
  • Face Cuddle – for Normal Skin, $25 USD
  • Skin Mercy Anti-Oxidant Face Mist, $22 USD

QUICK FACTS:

  • Every moisturizer has 4% Niacinamide
  • Cruelty-free
  • Made in the U.S.
  • Custom Moisturizers are made-to-order based on a mandatory Skin Quiz, and get PIN for repurchase
  • Shelf life ~6 months after opening
  • Products are only scented from aromatic plant extracts
  • Most products are vegan; Face Hug only moisturizer not vegan because it contains silk amino acids (sourced from vacant cocoons)
  • International shipping
  • pH levels are 4.5-5.5 (based on blog post “How to Use Moisturizers“)

CUSTOM MOISTURIZER

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This was my first purchase as I was curious how Annalisa would formulate a product for my all-over-the-place skin. I’ve mentioned it before, but right now I’m normal to dry, get easily sensitized from dry environments, but I still get pretty oily by the end of the day, and I still have acne! I was sent a card with my Skin Quiz results, Product PIN for re-ordering, and the ingredients list. Unfortunately, I cannot find the card ;_;

PACKAGING: 30 ml plastic bottle with airless pump. Love that there are 2 pumps – teal for normal areas, white for dry.

USAGE: 1 pump of each.

TEXTURE: A thin, thick cream (if that makes sense).

FRAGRANCE: Custom Moisturizer has the option to add fragrance in via phyto-scents (plant extracts); I chose raspberry, tangy and zesty! It’s not too strong.

APPLICATION: Green pump on my T-Zone, White for my C-Zone; Sometimes I like to mix the two.

FINISH: She may be thin, but she feels very moisturizing. I do have a glow and it doesn’t make me look super matte (which I like).

INSTANT RESULTS: Moisturized skin.

LONG-TERM RESULTS: Skin hasn’t been experiencing congestion and my sebaceous filaments haven’t been looking awful. Sometimes I feel a bit dry near the end of the day, but my work environment is pretty freaking dry, as is my country’s climate (Canada). I also lack in water-drinking skills :3  Overall it performed well in the colder months here in Canada (haven’t tried it in snow mode yet).


FACE HUG & FACE CUDDLE

PACKAGING: 30 ml plastic bottle with an airless pump.

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USAGE: 2 pumps to cover face and neck comfortably in the morning before SPF.

TEXTURE: Face Cuddle – gel cream, Face Hug – more emollient version of a gel cream.

FRAGRANCE: I’m not sure how to describe it, but there is no added scent and it’s just the smell of the formula.

APPLICATION: Massage into face.

FINISH: If you don’t apply the moisturizer properly, it looks like there is a film on your face. If you take your time, it leaves a nice moisturized, not overly glowy look.

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Top: Face Cuddle, Bottom: Face Hug

INSTANT RESULTS: Moisturized!

LONG TERM RESULTS: Skin hasn’t been experiencing congestion and my sebaceous filaments haven’t been looking awful. Moisturized feeling lasted better in summer months here in Canada. Sometimes these both sting my face.


SKIN MERCY

PACKAGING: 4oz, glass bottle with a spray top.

USAGE: I typically use this in the mornings, because that’s when I like using antioxidant based products the most (like Vitamin C).

TEXTURE: Watery.

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FRAGRANCE: Smells like pine – the cinnamon peppercorn type of smell!

APPLICATION: Spray spray spray.

INGREDIENTS:

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FINISH: The watery consistency is quite deceiving, for I find this moisturizes my skin pretty well on it’s own and it leaves a moisturized film on my skin.

INSTANT RESULTS: Skin feels moisturized, tingly and bright.

LONG TERM RESULTS: Currently, this in rotation with my Jordan Samuel Hydrate the Mist. I usually reach for Skin Mercy when I feel like I need more of an oomph for my skin.


FINAL THOUGHTS

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PROS:

  • INCI list is out of this world. I’ve never seen a list where I have all the major ingredients I want – Niacinamide, Ceramides, antioxidants, peptides, Beta-Glucan, Hyaluronic Acid…
  • Offers customization. Especially handy if you’re super sensitive, and I can’t help but wonder if this would be a great moisturizer for those with fungal acne!
  • No bullshit. Love the marketing and they’re not about fear-mongering, but educating consumers on awesome ingredients despite their chemical name!
  • Prompt shipping. I’m pretty sure all of us had a moment (or multiple moments) when we’re ready to drop $100 and then the shipping fee just cuts that shopping joy in half! Well despite a charge for international shipping, it’s speedy, and you can expect your moisturizer within a week (obviously depends where you are in the world and weekends not included).

CONS:

  • Both Face Hug and Cuddle occasionally sting my face and pill on me.
  • As much as I love the INCI list, it’s a bit daunting to figure out what’s causing the moisturizers to sting my face (at first I thought it was from using a chemical exfoliator beforehand, but sometimes it still stings even with a basic routine).
  • Skin Mercy’s pump stopped working for me after a few uses. It almost feels as if it’s stuck :\

IN-BETWEEN FEELS:

  • Price / size. Another classic “stupid Canadian dollar” type thing. WHY CONVERSION, WHY!? Aside from this, I can see this as a pretty fairly priced moisturizer to Americans and anywhere else in the world that doesn’t have a shitty dollar.

Overall, a lot of love and effort goes into Stubborn Cosmetics and Annalisa is making it available internationally. On top of that, she does not do any BS marketing whatsoever and tries to accommodate all skin types and needs.

I’d personally repurchase the Custom Moisturizer because it is suited for my skin needs, but I’d still like to try out any new items that SC comes out with!

WHERE TO BUY:
Official site: https://stubborncosmetics.com/

Hope this review helped you out!

xo, M

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 🙂

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
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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!

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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

REVIEW: Physician’s Formula the Perfect Matcha 3-in-1 Melting Balm

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Let me start off this post by saying: It’s not a dupe for Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm.

Sure, they’re both balms, they’re both green, and they share less than 10 ingredients, but that’s pretty much all you’ll find in common with them.

As per the title, I will be more detailed about PF’s Matcha 3-in-1 Melting Balm, but along the way I will make comments about Farmacy’s Green Clean.


CLAIMS

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WHAT IT IS:
An ultra gentle 3-in-1 cleansing balm that melts away makeup, deeply cleans away impurities and leaves the skin fully supple and hydrated.

WHY IT’S GOOD FOR YOU:

Antioxidant-packed and enriched with Matcha Green Tea, Bamboo Shoot, and Lotus Extract.

Physician’s Formula Offical Website

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Price: $14.99 CAD
Amount: 1.40 oz / 40g
Price per oz: ~$10.7 CAD

At first glance it looks like the best bang for your buck, right? Let’s compare to be sure:

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Farmacy Green Clean MINI size
Price: $28 CAD
Amount: 1.7 oz / 50 ml
Price per oz: ~16.47 CAD

Farmacy Green Clean FULL size
Price: $44 CAD
Amount: 3.2 oz / 90 ml
Price per oz: ~$13.75 CAD

As we can see, PF is more cost effective than the Farmacy Green Clean full size by $3.05 CAD, and I’m surprised at the price per oz for the Farmacy Green Clean Mini!


INGREDIENTS

Skincarisma

FARMACY GREEN CLEAN MELTAWAY CLEANSING BALM INGREDIENTS: Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Peg-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate, Peg-10 Isostearate, Polyethylene, Phenoxyethanol, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Melia Azadirachta Leaf Extract, Melia Azadirachta Flower Extract, Amino Esters-1, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Amber Powder, Cananga Odorata Flower Oil, Coccinia Indica Fruit Extract, Solanum Melongena (Eggplant) Fruit Extract, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract, Ocimum Sanctum Leaf Extract, Corallina Officinalis Extract, Moringa Oleifera Seed Oil, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Water, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Echinacea Purpurea Root Extract, Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Extract, Moringa Pterygosperma Seed Extract, Disodium Phosphate, Citric Acid.

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PF 3-IN-1 MELTING BALM INGREDIENTS: CETYL ETHYLHEXANOATE, CAPRYLIC/CAPRIC TRIGLYCERIDE, SORBETH-30 TETRAOLEATE, PEG-5 GLYCERYL TRIISOSTEARATE, PEG-10 ISOSTEARATE, POLYETHYLENE, FRAGRANCE/PARFUM, CAMELLIA SINENSIS LEAF POWDER*, PHYLLOSTACHYS EDULIS SHOOT WATER**, NELUMBO NUCIFERA FLOWER EXTRACT***, CITRUS NOBILIS (MANDARIN ORANGE) PEEL OIL, WATER/EAU, PHENOXYETHANOL, SORBITAN SESQUIOLEATE, POLYGLYCERYL-10 OLEATE, BUTYLENE GLYCOL, LACTIC ACID, SODIUM BENZOATE, CAPRYLYL GLYCOL, POTASSIUM SORBATE, ETHYLHEXYLGLYCERIN, HEXYLENE GLYCOL, MALTODEXTRIN, YELLOW 5 (CI 19140), BLUE 1 (CI 42090). *MATCHA, **BAMBOO, ***LOTUS

CAMELLIA SINENSIS LEAF POWDER: antioxidant

PHYLLOSTACHYS EDULIS SHOOT WATER: skin-soothing, antioxidant

NELUMBO NUCIFERA FLOWER EXTRACT: skin-soothing, antioxidant

Sure, there’s some similar ingredients, especially the base of the balms. However, the exprience of each is completely different!


EXPERIENCE

SCENT: Light, artificial pear scent. Notice how for PF it just says parfum and Green Clean actually lists the fragrance derived ingredients.

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TEXTURE: Thick balm.

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Top: Farmacy Green Clean, Bottom: Physician’s Formula3-in-1

APPLICATION: Scoop of a nickel-quarter size amount for my face and neck. I’d use the latter amount if I was wearing a lot of makeup that day. Melts quickly and keeps a fairly melted, vaseline-like consistency.

FINISH: No residue or heavy moisture.

INSTANT RESULTS: No residue and skin is left feeling calm.

LONG-TERM RESULTS: Nothing crazy to report.


FINAL THOUGHTS

For a Western drugstore brand, Physician Formula the Perfect Matcha 3-in-1 Melting Balm is a nice makeup remover balm. Also the ingredients are not that bad. I’d have to say though, after trying Farmacy Green Clean Meltaway Cleansing Balm in rotation, the experience is totally different. FG feels more luxe, whereas PF just feels like a standard, no fuss balm. Also, Farmacy doesn’t use dyes to get the green colour 😉 So out of the two, I’d still choose Farmacy Green Clean, but I still recommend Physician’s Formula the Perfect Matcha 3-in-1 Melting Balm for those looking for a drugstore alternative!

What do you guy’s think of Physician’s Formula new skincare? I’m glad drugstore brands are coming out with better skincare products and more options for us to choose from!

xo, M

WHERE TO BUY:
iHerb
Shoppers Drug Mart


REVIEW: Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm