Spring 2022 Skincare Empties

Another season passed, another round of skincare empties for 2022! For the past 3 months I managed to empty a total of 14 skincare products. I surprisingly finished a lot of my serums this time around, and hopefully by the next empties video I’ll have sunscreens to share.

Check out my Winter 2022 Empties: Low Buy Update #1: 3 Month Check-In + Skincare Empties

Low Buy Update #2: Low Buy Update #2: No-Buy, Maximalism, Colour Palette, Other Interests


Asterisk (*) indicates an affiliate link. If you use the link to make a purchase, I earn a small commission. Thank you if you decide to use them! MICHXMASH Disclosure

YesStyle – code “YESMICH” for 5% off (affiliate code)

Anua Heartleaf Acne Facial Cleanser
* https://rstyle.me/+_270a66r5w8Nzyx-xxpUXg

Bonajour Green Tea Water Bomb Toner
* https://rstyle.me/+8_KjEgXaX5GXRYsPN2T3Rg

Bonajour Eggplant Daily BHA Toner
* https://rstyle.me/+x2WxopcSUxsVoPHwttcfEg

Skinceuticals Blemish + Age Defense Serum (PR)
* https://rstyle.me/+9XAF7_HYKmVXy3tkqwBIDg

NIOD Survival O
* https://rstyle.me/+cesWeLhI78jM_5U92sRx8w

Ma:nyo Bifida Biome Complex Ampoule
* https://rstyle.me/+3KTBbEac1FYTqHrBjf6lvg

Regimen Lab Wave Serum (original version)
https://regimenlab.com/products/wave-serum

Hylamide SubQ Eyes (discontinued)
* https://rstyle.me/+PGQt1iINfAFUnBxNY4p4uA

Geek & Gorgeous 101 C-Glow Serum
* https://iaff.geekandgorgeous.com/118-16-3-20.html

5% Dapsone (Aczone) – PRESCRIPTION ONLY

Dr. G R.E.D. Blemish Clear Soothing Cream
* https://rstyle.me/+S9s2VuThEMSuCEB0pjgLIQ

Avene Cold Cream
* https://rstyle.me/+HnJ5z7ObCNiu-8EvHvlAtw

Phytosurgence Verdant Forcefield Restorative Moisturizer
https://www.phytosurgence.com/product-page/verdant-forcefield-restorative-moisturizer

Bioderma Cicabio Pommade
https://www.caretobeauty.com/ca/bioderma-cicabio-pommade-soothing-repairing-ointment-40ml/


RELATED CONTENT

Regimen Lab Wave Serum Review
https://michxmash.com/2021/10/30/review-regimen-lab-wave-serum/

Geek & Gorgeous 101 C-Glow Serum Review
https://youtu.be/XbVaG80Uqmg

2021 Mid-Year Skincare Favourites
https://youtu.be/DHQrdof8P8U

2021 End of Year Skincare Favourites
https://youtu.be/vwP7G7oW-fo

CO2 Fraxel Laser Recovery Vlog
https://youtu.be/HCL9iFk60Lo

1st Skincare Haul 2022
My First Skincare Haul of 2022!

CO2 Fraxel Laser Review – Did My Old Atrophic Acne Scars Improve?

For those of you new to my corner of the internet, I have had acne for over 15 years. Thanks to topical prescriptions and lifestyle changes, I finally managed to gain control over my acne. Now that it’s well controlled, I was finally able to get professional acne scarring revision. I developed atrophic acne scars from the days when I didn’t like skincare and made bad decisions (that’s what your 20s are for).


TIMELINE OF PROFESSIONAL ACNE SCARRING REVISION

Winter/Spring 2018 – At-Home Microneedling.

First Impressions: Banish Acne Scars Banish Starter Kit

REVIEW: Banish Acne Scars Banish Starter Kit

I did 4 sessions of at-home microneedling with a 0.5mm needle to start the acne scar revision process. Unfortunately, my acne was still not in the best state of control at the time.

Banish Acne Scars Banish Starter Kit from 2018

While I noticed improvement in texture, it was not enough to significantly improve the old acne scars. I also still had uncontrollable acne to deal with. After this experience, I hopped on the vitamin A bandwagon and started taking my clear skin journey more seriously. I realized that I can’t address my acne scars if I didn’t stop what causes them in the first place. I did more at-home microneedling sessions in 2018 as well, but stopped to just give my skin a break.

Fast forward to Spring 2020, my skin has been the clearest it’s been. I thank major lifestyle changes in combination with topical prescriptions Aczone and Retin-A Micro. Once my skin was consistently clear, I started looking at professional cosmetic procedures for my atrophic acne scars.

Fall 2020 Professional Microneedling.

Collage of healing progress after a professional microneedling session.

2020 was a year that I had an “aha” moment for how to best control my acne. In short, the missing piece of the puzzle was lifestyle changes. It really put a perspective on my gut health and how it strongly ties to my skin. Anywho, I started up the journey of acne scar revision once again, and had 3 professional microneedling sessions done. After 3 sessions, my skin’s texture looked somewhat smoother and it temporarily plumped up my skin. However the stubborn scars with built up scar tissue still remained. I knew I had to take it a step further. Between at-home microneedling and professional microneedling, the latter is definitely superior.

2021 October First of 3 CO2 Fraxel Sessions.

What is CO2 Laser?

A carbon dioxide laser (CO2 laser) resurfaces skin with targeted beams of light. As the first laser designed for skin resurfacing, it’s been popular since the 1980s for the rejuvenation of aging and damaged skin. 

So how does a CO2 laser work? Electricity runs through a gas-filled tube to produce a specific wavelength of light. The light is emitted in short, concentrated beams, which target water molecules and vaporize skin cells. The laser removes surface cells of the epidermis, making way for fresh, clear new skin.

At the same time, it penetrates the skin’s deeper dermis layer to stimulate new collagen production, which firms and smooths skin over time.

CO2 laser treatments can address fine lines and wrinkles; discoloration (including sun damage and age spots); acne scars; stretch marks; and uneven skin texture on the face, neck, and chest. 

– Realself.com
A collage of three photos from my first CO2 Fraxel Laser session in October 2021. Left: numbing cream has been applied before the CO2 Fraxel Laser Procedure. Middle: state of face shortly after the CO2 Fraxel Laser Procedure + PRP Mesotherapy is completed. Right: face has been cleaned and a soothing cica balm has been applied.

I made a recovery vlog video how my face and neck healed. I also demonstrate my skincare routine and the products I used.


MY CO2 FRAXEL LASER RESULTS

It has now been 3 months since my last session. I waited this long to share my results purposely because you need that time to see the progress. Some of you have asked what I noticed in prior, but I didn’t want to give a premature answer. I wanted to wait after 3 months to properly review my experience with CO2 Fraxel Laser.

Keep in mind that 3 sessions and old scarring doesn’t mean the laser was at the highest strength each session. The last 2 sessions were lighter because my skin was not as tolerant to pain like in the first session. I had 3 sessions in the span of 4 months. My skin’s healing took around a month at a time until it finally normalized. The dermatologist also considered:

  • The time period between the previous session(s),
  • The actives I may have used in my skincare routine,
  • Whether or not I was on my period (fluctuating hormones will make your skin more sensitive at certain times of the month).
Left: June 2021, less exposure. Right: June 2022, more exposure.
Left: June 2021, more exposure. Right: June 2022, less exposure. It looks like I should have used equal exposure for before and afters, but I wanted to highlight that even with the right photo with less exposure and more shading on the cheeks, the texture is still not as visible. (I was also trying to pose the same but completely missed the mark on hand placement lol).
Left: June 2021. Right: June 2022, slightly more exposure (angle was difficult to replicate for the after photo). I find on the left, the scars are a bit more visible especially with the blush placement. Right, even with equal amount of blush application, I find I see more of the darkness of the blush than the texture. Texture still looks more obvious when I apply cheek products in general.

Atrophic Acne scars

I have been frequently asked to give a percentage of how much my scars have improved. Frankly, I have a hard time formulating one because when you look at yourself you always think the worst. I don’t want any one following to be fixated on a number. This is my experience, with my skin type, my skincare, my age, my wound healing process, the different laser intensity per session due to pain tolerance, and how I view myself. Having said that, I’m not going to give a number. I will do my best describe what I see knowing all these factors about myself. Below I will also provide some materials so I can hopefully convey the difference I see.

I noticed a way smoother complexion on my cheeks after the first session, more significant than microneedling. I’ve had family and friends in person and video call comment that they noticed a difference. Some of you in the comments have also noticed!

The most obvious, indented scars – one on each cheek – are noticeably more lifted and not as deep. On a daily basis doing my skincare routine I rarely notice them.

On a daily basis, going about my day, experiencing all kinds of lighting… I don’t even notice my scarring and I don’t even look like a person who has experienced really bad acne.

My mother-in-law who was a medical esthetician commented that it looks like I achieved what I sought out to do. My acne scars improved and there is no need to continue with the CO2 Fraxel Laser sessions.

As for my husband never cared about my scarring in the first place (but obviously cared how they deeply affected me). He has seen the change in my skin since the time we first met almost 9 years ago! From breakouts, post-red acne marks and atrophic scarring to now – he commented that he can also visibly see a difference in my cheeks and pores. Friends who have also seen me before and after all 3 procedures. They commented that they have noticed a smoother appearance and that it doesn’t look like I ever experienced bad acne.

There are still times I see some scarring. One of them being when I apply a heavy amount of makeup to my cheeks. Cheek products create shadowing and make them more noticeable, particularly on the backs of my cheeks. Before acne scar revision in general, my eyes would immediately wander to that area. I knew that if I placed a lot of bronzer or blush there, the texture would appear more obvious. Now it’s more subtle, but in general I don’t apply as much makeup as I used to.

If I look real close, in various angles and lighting that no one else other than myself would look, I still see some lingering texture. I did this a few years ago when I was first very concerned about my atrophic acne scars and I’ve come to realize how silly it was. If I look at past photos or videos of myself prior to treatments, my scarring really wasn’t that bad. The only time it ever looked bad was when I went out of my way to cast my cheeks under atrocious lighting that no one including myself would ever notice.

So I still have texture. But the fact that I have to go through such awkward angles and lighting to even see it on myself, plus how much more lifted the most visible indented scars are… I think doing CO2 Fraxel Laser has been quite successful.

Other things I noticed alongside acne scar improvement

My pores while still visible are definitely reduced. My makeup routine prior needed a pore primer and powder to really pack it in. Currently, it takes little effort to blur out my pores. Most days I don’t reach for a primer or powder (maybe in the hot, sweaty summer).

Neck skin texture looks smoother and more refined – I find the quality of it matches my face. I’m happy about this because I was barely using any actives on my neck prior to the procedure. The tech neck lines visibly reduced. Not 100%, but for me I notice they don’t look as deep and a lot lighter.


OVERALL THOUGHTS ON EXPERIENCE WITH CO2 FRAXEL LASER

PROS OF CO2 FRAXEL LASER

  • Procedure is exactly what I needed to see the improvements I wanted to achieve for my skin that skincare could not provide for me.
  • Solidified my expectations with skincare and what I can achieve. I’ve seen the benefits of layering hydration, using actives like tretinoin and chemical exfoliants, but doing this procedure definitely solidified my expectations on how far skincare can get me. 
  • I like that I saw visible improvements after 1 procedure. Family, friends and some viewers have noticed as well.
  • Neck looks more refined and skin quality matches with my face. The lines I have while not completely gone have lightened. I just need to not look at my phone so much and keep a good posture. My mom and mother-in-law for example have less visible lines on their necks than I do, and they are in their 60s.
  • Mental clarity. I know the scars were never as bad as I perceived them to be. When I look at past photos even before starting any type of acne scar revision, they were not that bad. But if I were to imagine myself, the scarring was always there and I would see them first. Now when I picture myself, I see me first. Not my acne scarring, not my acne, just me.

CONS OF CO2 FRAXEL LASER

  • Cost. If you have scars like mine where they are old it will take a few sessions to get them really smoothed out, so you may be investing in this procedure in the thousands.
  • Down Time Post-Laser. Depending on the strength of the laser, swelling takes a few days to die down, scabbing maybe 5 days, overall redness longer. Not everyone has the luxury of working from home and even then you can’t really go out with your face in such a sensitive state. For me I work from home and even I was getting impatient with the recovery after the 2nd session.
  • Extensive Healing Time for FitzPatrick Skin Types bordering 3 and 4. You may get a little scared. While my face now is bright and even, it took maybe a month or so for this dark and dull look on my face to go away. You can see it in my post-laser skincare routine video, I found my face not as collected as I like it to be. Despite the length of time, I consistently made sure to use wound healing, soothing and moisturizing products to ensure a successful healing process.
  • The Pain. No amount of numbing cream will stop you from feeling pain. Unless you are completely void of nerves…

BEFORE CONSIDERING CO2 FRAXEL LASER…

Watch Dr. Davin Lim’s Youtube channel. Dr. Lim is a dermatologist based in Australia that specializes in acne scarring – talks about CO2 Fraxel Laser, Microneedling, Subcision, and other acne related topics.

Browse Realself.com. On this website, you can find doctor input, patient questions, reviews on various skin procedures and treatments. You can also potentially find a doctor in your local area for a specific treatment/procedure.

Lastly, schedule an in-person Dermatologist consultation. No one online will be able to answer your questions. A professional who sees your skin up close, understands your skin concerns, history, the products you use, will give a better answer.


DO I RECOMMEND CO2 FRAXEL LASER?

Yes, because it is guaranteed to result in improvements in skin texture. However, I would reserve this procedure for those of you who:

  • Have a very good understanding of your skin and body,
  • Have good control over your acne,
  • Have realistic expectations of the results.

If you do not meet the above, I would say hold off. This procedure may turn into a waste of money for you.


And that’s all folks! I hope my experience with CO2 Fraxel Laser helped you in some way when it comes to your own skin concerns and whether or not this procedure is worth the price and down-time.

xo, M

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. Back then, I couldn’t really grasp what exactly they were doing for my skin. In 2021, I had a “skincare funk” or “skincare fatigue”. I was getting very fed up with my routine and skincare in general. I added The Ordinary Buffet and The Ordinary Buffet + Copper Peptides 1% into my routine to try something different. I opted for The Ordinary peptide products because I like that they offer straight shooter formulas. It helps to understand 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:
Deciem
* https://rstyle.me/+HBxu6GJf_OEmPQwjwBk-aA


The Ordinary “Buffet” + Copper Peptides 1%

Amount: 30ml
Price: $33.70 CAD
Where to Buy:
Deciem
* https://rstyle.me/+S48B2mDwskRFm2_XTWEpxQ


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
  • The Ordinary Buffet + Copper Peptides 1% 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

INCIDecoder


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, The Ordinary Buffet + Copper Peptides 1% had a thinner consistency. I found myself applying The Ordinary Buffet more liberally. For The Ordinary Buffet + Copper Peptides 1%, I only needed 4 drops to find it effective (could also be price/size difference lol). The Ordinary Buffet did not have a scent to it, whereas The Ordinary Buffet + Copper Peptides 1% smelled like vinegar.

Upon first use, both The Ordinary Buffet and The Ordinary Buffet + Copper Peptides 1% 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 The Ordinary Buffet + Copper Peptides 1% in particular. My husband was also using The Ordinary Buffet+ Copper Peptides 1% every night. 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. The Ordinary’s straight-shooter formulas have been helpful to understand what peptides do. I want to continue incorporating peptides in my skincare routine. I found The Ordinary Buffet mostly served as a hydrating serum. I used The Ordinary Buffet + Copper Peptides 1% more as an active/treatment along the lines of Tretinoin, AHAs, etc. The Ordinary Buffet + Copper Peptides 1% definitely furthered my interest in copper peptides. I purchased the favourite NIOD CAIS3 in 2021 during Deciem’s Slowvember Sale.

I haven’t been consistent in using NIOD CAIS3 however. I am still trying to finish up The Ordinary Buffet, 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. However I am now near the end of The Ordinary Buffet. Rest assured, NIOD CAIS3 will be used regularly soon! If you are thinking of picking up one of The Ordinary peptide serums, opt for The Ordinary Buffet + Copper Peptides 1%. Yes, you get double the amount for a similar price with The Ordinary Buffet 60ml. However, I found I saw more benefits with The Ordinary Buffet + Copper Peptides 1% 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.

Hello, Malezia!

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

Ingredients

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

Ingredients

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.

Malezia Urea Moisturizer Experience

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.


Malezia BPO Acne Treatment Gel Experience

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.

It seems I was too confident in my skin, for I 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 applied the BPO gel 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.

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 on SimpleSkincareScience. However, the big achievement was creating 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 do not divulge how. Malezia actually shares what they’re doing from the ground up, making 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 small ingredient lists help us understand what’s in our products, and reduce the likelihood of negative reactions. The 3-step skincare routine demonstrates we don’t need a lot of lotions and potions to achieve clear, healthy skin.

On Malezia’s socials and website, the before and afters are quite compelling. I do feel it’s a mix between the products themselves and the skincare regimen. Basically, 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 recommend doing a bulk order if you already tried and liked the products. Since I have tried both skincare items, I plan on repurchasing both in the future. 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. 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 the gel, I wash my hands properly and wear a white shirt as my pajama top. I also sleep on a white pillowcase.


Overall, I like the simplicity of both formulations in the Malezia Moisturizer and Acne Treatment Gel. Unforuntaely, it is not enough for my thirsty skin if used on its own. If you want your skincare routine to be minimal, these two items are better for oilier skin types. For dryer skin types like myself, it’s easy to include both the moisturizer and treatment in your existing skincare routine!

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. It’s definitely a brand worth supporting if you have the budget for it.

WHERE TO BUY:
Malezia Offical website (affiliate link and code)
MICHELLE“* 10% OFF
https://malezia.com/Michelle

*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!

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.

I very much relate to this because I felt so negatively affected by my skin. When cystic acne was in full force all over my face and neck, I was at an all time low. I just graduated university, had $14k of student loan and credit card debt, and was “underemployed”. A bad relationship ended, I struggled to find a full time job, ate inflammatory foods. I 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.

At my skin’s worst and at my most stressed, I finally said to myself “I don’t give a fuck anymore”. It was like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I felt so much happier with myself despite my acne. This is the mindset shift I hope this video can help you with. With social media and advertisements bombarding us on the daily… What we see is not what we get in real life. 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.

I have suffered with some type of acne since my preteens. 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. 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. A language learning video by Lindie Botes – “Mindsets you need to have to learn any language!” inspired me. It helped me not only with my personal goal of learning a language, but how to organize my thoughts for this post/video.

I tried my best to list these mindsets/attitudes in a sensible order. In a way that you could easily and constantly practice in your clear skin journey. I applied these tips to 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.

With that said, here are the 5 mindsets that are tried and true. Hopefully they will 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. Of 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. They also 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. It’s like my brain switched and the weight lifted the moment I said “I don’t give a fuck anymore”. 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 also 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. Instead, I got a customer facing job at my skin’s worst. I met my now husband. My friends always pushed me to go out with them; 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.

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. Do not be distracted by the other concerns that acne causes such as pigmentation, texture, large pores. Once you get a handle on your acne, you will prevent most of the other skin problems associated with it. 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. It 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:

Here’s my simple scalp and hair care routine for my 1B, low porosity, virgin hair. The easiest routine yet!


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.

Extras:

  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!

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The Products I Use in my Scalp and Haire Care Routine

Herbis Shampoo with Rosemary for Hair with Oily Scalp and Dry Ends
https://www.zoya.bg/en/Shampoo-with-rosemary-for-hair-with-oily-roots-and-dry-ends-300-ml.13099

Herbis Natural Conditioner for Healthy Hair and Scalp
https://www.zoya.bg/en/Natural-Conditioner-for-Healthy-Hair-and-Scalp-200ml.11857

Herbis Mask for Dry and Exhausted Hair
https://www.zoya.bg/en/Natural-Conditioner-for-Healthy-Hair-and-Scalp-200ml.11857

Ducray Squanorm Anti-Dandruff Treatment Shampoo
https://www.caretobeauty.com/bg/ducray-squanorm-anti-dandruff-treatment-shampoo-dry-dandruff-200ml/

Dabur Amla Gold Hair Oil
* https://rstyle.me/+RiqiQebI2ucFNZ7cx_BPqQ


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 French Pharmacy skincare that replaced an empty product. 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
* https://rstyle.me/+9vL2Sj3BkuGIkRLZdjfcig


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
* https://rstyle.me/+KfcqhEIiWH7FO05wV3ocHA


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
* https://rstyle.me/+53FftnxpnGicuzKJTUhk8Q


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
https://www.caretobeauty.com/ca/bioderma-cicabio-pommade-soothing-repairing-ointment-40ml/


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

Purito Daily Go-To Sunscreen SPF50+ PA++++ – Sunscreen Sunday #22

For those of you well in-tune with the skincare world, last year Purito (and others) pulled their sunscreens off market as they were not meeting the SPF claim as indicated on the label. Recently, Purito launched their new and (supposedly) improved sunscreen called Daily Go-To Sunscreen with an SPF50+ and PA++++. I decided to give them a chance as out of all the brands that experienced similiar issues with their sunscreens, Purito seemed to be the most upfront. In general, I also find Purito takes customer feedback well and have seen them reformulate their products throughout the years. Looking at the ingredients list alone, I felt like they did just that.

Video version of my review on Purito’s Daily Go-To SunscreenSPF 50+ PA++++

Information on Purito Daily Go-To Sunscreen

“The new PURITO hybrid sunscreen is formulated with both chemical and physical filters to provide exceptionally high, broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection.

The fragrance-free and moisturizing formula instantly melts on the skin during application, allowing an easy and even spread. The lightweight texture leaves a sheer finish with no white cast. This sunscreen has been designed specifically for easy re-application and effective performance when worn with makeup or alone.”

– puritoen.com

Price: $19.50 USD
Amount: 60ml/2.02oz
Packaging:  Opaque white plastic tube with a twist-off cap.
Water Resistant? On box package, it says to reapply after 40 minutes of swimming or sweating, but on the tube and website I don’t see this number. I’m going to say no, this is not water resistant, because it shouldn’t be this confusing to figure out.

UV FILTERS:
Ethylhexyl Triazone – Uvinul T 150 (UVB)
Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine – Tinosorb S (UVB, UVA1 & UVA2)
Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate – Uvinul A Plus (UVA1 & UVA2)
Titanium Dioxide (UVB & UVA2)
Type: Hybrid

Protection:
UVB: SPF 50+
UVA: PPD 16 or more

INGREDIENTS: Water, Butyloctyl Salicylate, Dibutyl Adipate, Propanediol, Butylene Glycol, Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine, Ethylhexyl Triazone, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Titanium Dioxide, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, Hydrogenated Poly(C6-14 Olefin), 1,2-Hexanediol, Polyglyceryl-2 Stearate, Aluminum Hydroxide, Glyceryl Stearate, Stearyl Alcohol, Sodium Polyacrylate, Stearic Acid, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Behenyl Alcohol, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Ethylhexyl Stearate, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Caprylyl Glycol, Trideceth-6, Ethylhexylglycerin, Xanthan Gum, Centella Asiatica Extract, Madecassoside, Asiaticoside, Asiatic Acid, Madecassic Acid

INCIDecoder

Just like their original Green Level Unscented Sun (reviewed), Purito’s Daily Go-To Sunscreen contains Centella Asiatica Extract and it’s constituents Madecassoside, Asiaticoside, Madecassic Acid, Asiatic Acid. Their skin benefits range from wound-healing, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties.

Aside from that, there’s not much else going on other than having a base to provide the texture and moisture! For those of you sensitive to Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopherol, and/or Niacinamide, those ingredients are not in this formula. It is also free of alcohol and additional fragrance.


My Experience with Purito Daily Go-To Sunscreen

TEXTURE: Gel-cream.

APPLICATION: Applied all in one go all over my face and neck. I saw a little bit of white as I blended the sunscreen and there was no gross industrial type smell.

FINISH: It looks like there are particles in the formula that help diffuse the look from shiny to glowy.

FEEL: Light, has an oily finish for a while.

STINGS EYES? No.

UNDER MAKEUP: If you plan on wearing foundation, I recommend either blotting or applying a grippy primer for the oily, slick finish stays for a while.


Final Thoughts on Purito Daily Go-To Sunscreen

Pros

  • Highest protection offered in Asian sunscreens
  • No “industrial” smell – quite scentless
  • Removed some key ingredients that may not be so nice for those with irritated skin, making it as friendly as possible for sensitive, acne-prone skin types.

Cons

  • I want consistent labels, especially if one package says to reapply after 40 minutes of swimming but the other says immediately.

In-Between Feels

  • It is possible Purito told us foreign consumers one thing about their previous sunscreen manufacturer and another to the Korean Cosmetics Association. Watch this video to get more detail.
  • This sunscreen is nowhere to be found on their Korean website. Why? It’s being sold on their American and Russian website. Why is it not being sold in their home country? I buy sunscreens from South Korea because I want a sunscreen that’s regulated in the their market.

Overall Purito’s Daily Go-To Sunscreen SPF50+ PA++++ has been okay to use – I like that it’s gentle, has no weird smell and is still at a decent pricepoint. However it’s quite disconcerting that the truth of last year’s low SPF value may be different to what us foreign, non-Korean speaking consumers heard. To add a cherry on top, they’re not even selling their new SPF in the Korean market, which to me makes the whole situation even more odd.

WHERE TO BUY:
YesStyle + YESMICH for 10% off first order, 4% off returning orders (affiliate link and code)


As always, I hope you found this review helpful and informative!

xo, M

Violette_FR Boum-Boum Milk Review

Back in the summer, I had quite the splurge-fest. I purchased almost all of the products from Violette_FR’s beauty line – perfume, makeup, and skincare. As I mentioned in my Unboxing and First Impressions video, the brand just spoke to me. I appreciate Violette’s aesthetic and what she emits into the beautysphere.

In this post, I will be reviewing Violette_FR’s Boum-Boum Milk. Violette described it as a 3-in-1 cream spray (toner, serum, moisturizer). It is something that can be used on your face, hair and body. In addition, she wanted to create a reliable product when one has done too much to their skin. Something anti-inflammatory and moisturizing, all the while promoting a minimal skincare routine.

I finished my second bottle, so I have a pretty good idea of what the product is all about and how it works/doesn’t work for me in my skincare routine.


General Information on Violette_FR Boum-Boum Milk

The French tradition of science-backed beauty innovation paired with the desire to streamline the skincare routine (for reasons of sustainability and minimalism), led to the formulation of Boum-Boum Milk. The key ingredients— Fermented Birch Sap, Glacier Water, Olive Leaf Extract— were selected for their results-driven composition by veteran chemists with over 20+ years of experience in the clean beauty world. The 3-in-1 “smart” product efficiently acts as a toner, serum and moisturizer. With one or two sprays (boum, boum!), it acts as a toner (balancing and moisturizing), a serum (highly concentrated, quick absorption) and as a hydrating moisturizer. Suitable for all skin types.” – violettefr.com

Price: $58 USD
Amount: 100ml
Packaging: Clear plastic spray bottle with a frosted gold cap


Violette_FR Boum-Boum Milk Ingredients

Up-close photo of the Violette_FR Boum-Boum Milk Ingredients list.

WATER (AQUA)(EUA), BETULA PENDULA (BIRCH) SAP, GLYCERIN, PENTYLENE GLYCOL, CAPRYLIC/CAPRIC TRIGLYCERIDE, HELIANTHUS ANNUUS (SUNFLOWER) SEED OIL, SQUALANE, AESCULUS HIPPOCASTANUM (HORSE CHESTNUT) SEED EXTRACT, ARTHROSPIRA PLATENSIS EXTRACT, CAMELLIA SINENSIS LEAF EXTRACT, OLEA EUROPAEA (OLIVE) LEAF EXTRACT, CALENDULA OFFICINALIS FLOWER EXTRACT, CYAMOPSIS TETRAGONOLOBA (GUAR) GUM, CETETH-20 PHOSPHATE, CETEARYL ALCOHOL, DICETYL PHOSPHATE, TOCOPHEROL, LEVULINIC ACID, SODIUM HYDROXIDE, SODIUM LEVULINATE, XANTHAN GUM, BENZYL ALCOHOL, DEHYDROACETIC ACID, CITRIC ACID

INCIDecoder

Glacier water and fermented birch sap make up the base of the Boum-Boum Milk’s formula. I believe the former is sourced from Iceland. so I’m under the assumption it has mineral content as well as the soothing properties similar to classic French Pharmacy spring thermal water mists. The latter makes up 38% of the formula. It was explained by Violette to be what the French drink the day after a lovely night out to “detoxify”. While that’s nice to hear, that’s ingestion, not topical application. Fortunately, Korean skincare has gone down this route of using birch sap in their products! It’s rich in probiotics (when fermented), soothing and contains amino acids, vitamins and minerals. It’s overall a nice, different kind of humectant to have in a skincare product. Fermentation in general can boost nutritional properties of an ingredient. I would say overall, glacier water and fermented birch sap are a nice vehicle alternatives to the classic distilled water.

As for olive leaf extract, it seems to have both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. But there are other extracts in the formula that also offer these benefits and are more well-known:

  • Horse chestnut extract – anti-inflammatory and wound healing
  • Calendula extract – antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
  • Camellia sinesis leaf extract – antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial

Some lovely moisturizing ingredients can also be found in the formula:

  • glycerin – a star humectant,
  • emollients capriylic/capric triglyceride, sunflower seed oil, and squalane,
  • antioxidants Arthrosperia platensis extract and tocopherol.

My Experience Using Violette_FR Boum-Boum Milk

Upon first spritz, I noticed right away the moisturizing properties of Violette_FR Boum-Boum Milk. The finish is very reminiscent of the Laneige Cream Skin Refiner (reviewed), it has an emollient feel. However I do find the Boum-Boum Milk sinks into the skin more and has a calming effect after application. After a few more uses, I’ve come to realize I’m not a huge fan of the spritzer. It’s a bit assertive, does not have even distribution of the liquid, and I noticed product leaking from the spout.

As seen in my Summer 2021 Nighttime Skincare Routine, I used the Violette_FR Boum-Boum Milk in my hydrator step. I applied a few spritz to the palm of my hands and lightly massaged it on my face and neck. I have also used the Boum-Boum Milk over makeup and a refresher throughout the day if my skin felt dry. I’ve decanted a bit in a mini spray bottle; I took it with me to the beach to remoisturize my skin after swimming in the salt water. I found I most enjoyed the Violette_FR Boum-Boum Milk when I used it in the last two ways.


My Final Thoughts on Violette_FR Boum-Boum Milk

PROS

  • Gentle.
  • Calming and soothing.
  • Can use it in a number of ways to add moisture to my skin – in my skincare routine, throughout the day, at the beach 😀
  • I recall Violette saying in one of her Instagram lives that she wants clinical trials conducted on the Boum-Boum Milk – it would be a biased study mind you, but at least she wants data to show how it helps certain skin conditions.

CONS

  • The packaging – the spritzer does not dispense the product evenly, the mist itself is quite direct and not a gentle veil, and the fluid leaks.
  • Shipping – this is just a general con when ordering from violettefr.com, but it was a bit pricey. After speaking to my friend, the shipping is becoming more expensive :\ If you plan on investing in the Boum-Boum milk, be sure to keep the costly shipping in mind.

Two bottles later, I definitely like what the Violette_FR Boum-Boum Milk offered. It is gentle and adds light moisturization, but I am ready to move on. Firstly, I can’t actually repurchase it where I am. Secondly, the cost in CAD plus the increasing shipping prices is just becoming too expensive. I also have the NIOD SDSM waiting to be opened! It seems to also offer a gentle, light hydrating effect plus effective antioxidant protection. If Violette_FR finally ships to the country I’m residing in, I may consider repurchasing.

Where to Buy: Violette_FR Official Website
(affiliate link – if you use this link to make a purchase, I earn a small commission. Thank you so much if you decide to use it!)

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

XO, M

Skin Update #6: Acne + Scars

In this update, I will be sharing my 1 year experience with using Tretinoin (Retin-A Micro), 2 year experience using Dapsone (Aczone), why I stopped taking Spironolactone after 6 months of use, and a brief chat about my experience with CO2 Fraxel Laser.

I highly suggested looking at past skin updates to understand the context of this one:
SKIN UPDATE #5: 0.04% to 0.1% Tretinoin, 6+ Months of Spironolactone, Professional Microneedling
SKIN UPDATE #4: Switching From Adapalene (Differin) to Tretinoin (Retin-A), Taking Spironolactone, Acne Scar Revision?
SKIN UPDATE #3: 1+ Year using Differin
Skin Update [#2]: August 2019: My Skin’s Progress so Far!
Skin Update [#1] December 2018: Acne + Scars


Tretinoin 1 Year Later

If you recall, I started using Tretinoin last spring. My derm bumped up my prescription from 0.3% Adapalene.Iit was clear that its strength was not enough to controls intense breakouts. It has been just over a year since I started incorporating Retin-A Micro in my skincare routine. Here are my thoughts.

  • It is a powerful molecule. I said it before and I’ll say it again, 0.04% Tretinoin did more for my skin than 0.3% Adapalene. I noticed in a month existing acne healed quicker, pores looked smaller, overall skin texture is smoother, skin quality is just overall better.
  • Slow and steady really wins the race. When I bumped up to 0.1% Tretinoin, my skin still had to go through a bit of retinization because I did experience more sensitivity with it. I was using it every night after, but started noticing my skin would look flushed and my pores would look very exaggerated. I now cut the usage to 2-3 times a week and my skin has been in a very happy state.
  • It is not the end all of acne control and anti-aging. Yes, I noticed a number of benefits when I started using it and will continue using it for the rest of my life. However, after years of on and off using a vitamin A topical, even using sunscreen, chemical exfoliants, vitamin C serums… Being super consistent with my skincare for years, I can still see wrinkles coming through on my forehead, my pores were sagging a bit which is a sign of collagen degradation, I still freckle when it’s summer time. It has only been in recent times I’ve been able to control my acne, and a big reason for it is both the use of this topical prescription as well as taking care of myself on the inside. After a year and a half of experimenting, I have finally managed to connect the way I eat to my skin health. Being disciplined in my eating habits plus these topicals help keep my skin clear and overall contribute to the graceful aging process.

Dapsone 2 Years Later

I started using it day and night everyday since January 2020 when I did my 1 year of Differin update. I felt like I could have saved myself a lot of time and money if I just stuck with what was prescribed to me and not freaked out so much about short term side effects. Dapsone is one of the gentlest prescription topicals I have used for my acne and it’s an unsung hero for sure.

  • It helps reduce inflammation around active acne,
  • I have been able to use it alongside other actives with no issues (tretinoin, AHAs, BHAs, Vitamin C),
  • there’s no irritation if I overapply,
  • it doesn’t make other skincare textures not work in my routine.

Now that my skin has been staying fairly clear, I reduced the usage and only use it at night when I use my tretinoin.


6 Months of Spironolactone

Spironolactone is an oral medication to help further assist with acne control. Originally prescribed as a diuretic to help lower blood pressure. How it works for acne is it also inhibits androgen production. Those of us with hormonal acne tend to be in excess of.

I had a bad breakout when I saw my dermatologist in the summer of 2020. Fed up with breakouts, I agreed to going on Spironolactone while continuing my topical treatments tretinoin and dapsone. The first 3 months I most definitely had side-effects, the worst being dizziness and spotting for an entire month. After this time had passed, I definitely noticed its benefits. When I ate too many carby foods, I still did not have a bad breakout. Maybe a small pimple that disappeared quickly. When it was my time of the month, same thing! Little to no breakouts. It was about 98-99% clear at that point.

I took Spiro consistently for another 3 months until I ran out and decided not to get a prescription refill. Deep down, I knew it was a bandaid to my lack of discipline with what I ate. As time passws, this fact bothered me a lot more. I finally figured out my gut health and how it has been effecting my skin. The Spiro just allowed me to be lazy and undisciplined. I also didn’t like the side effects when it came to hormonal changes.

In the past, I took birth control. Part of the reason I stopped taking it is to not be reliant on oral medication. I wanted control over my body. Spiro also effected my hormones, my period being the obvious indicator. If I was younger I wouldn’t care. But now that I’m in my 30s, hormonal health is very important for me. I know a few people who had difficulties conceiving and I was afraid that iIwould have that problem. Although the rewards of taking Spiro were good, for my situation the risks outweigh it.

Frankly I don’t miss it. I’m way more disciplined with my way of eating and lifestyle than the time when I started taking it. I also feel very free not relying on oral medication for my acne.


CO2 Fraxel Laser

YES, I finally did it! I got my first CO2 Fraxel Peel session to address my old atrophic acne scars. I started 3 professional microneedling sessions last year. It definitely lifted some of the scarring, improved my pores and gave a moment of plumpness to my skin. Still,I knew I needed something more heavy duty. Even the dermatologist who performed the procedure said prior that my scars are too old and therefore difficult. I documented my healing time over on my Youtube so be sure to check it out! Long story short, it hurt lol. Now that my skin has settled from the procedure, I find my skin definitely looks smoother. Scars look more lifted, pores look more minimal, and obviously overall skin texture has been refined. I have already completed a 2nd session and will probably get a 3rd in the new year.


And that’s all, folks! As always, I hope you find content like this helpful and informative.

xo, M