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: Coming Soon


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!

3 CO2 Fraxel Laser Sessions Later – 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 and it’s only been in the past few years that I managed to finally gain control over my acne thanks to topical prescriptions and lifestyle changes. Now that it’s well controlled, I was finally able to get professional acne scarring revision on the old atrophic acne scars I developed from the dark days when I didn’t like skincare and had more than 15 active cysts at a time.


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 handle the old acne scars and my acne was not getting any better. It’s actually right after that experience which I hopped on the vitamin A bandwagon and started taking my clear skin journey more seriously. I realized that I can’t address the problem of acne scarring if I didn’t even have a handle on what caused them in the first place. I have done a few 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 thanks to 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.

I have mentioned this in passing, but 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. I noticed after the 3 sessions my skin’s texture looked somewhat smoother, it temporarily plumped up my skin, but the stubborn scars with built up scar tissue still remained and I knew I had to take it a step further. Between at-home microneedling and professional microneedling, the latter is definitely superior; It just did more for permanent improvements on my skin.

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 if you want to check out how my face and neck healed as well as 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 me what I noticed in that 3-month period, but I didn’t want to give a premature answer. I wanted to wait until the right amount of time has passed for me to properly judge the procedure and review my overall 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 weren’t as heavy as the first because my skin was just not as tolerant to the pain like it was in the first session. Remember, I had these 3 laser sessions in the span of 4 months and my skin’s healing took around a month at a time until it finally normalized. The dermatologist had to consider 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. Also I don’t want any of you watching to be fixated on a number because 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 am just going to best describe what I see knowing all these factors about myself and 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 for my acne scars and there doesn’t seem to be a need to continue with the CO2 Fraxel Laser sessions.

My husband who never cared about my scarring in the first place (but obviously cared how they deeply affected me) 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 commented they have noticed a smoother appearance as well, 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 because 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, like such a close amount 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 but now it takes little effort to blur out my pores and 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, and 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 as well as a professional who sees your skin up close, understands your skin concerns, history, the products you use.


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 body, your skin, how you heal, and if you have realistic expectations of the results.

If you are trying to achieve unrealistic skin goals, you do not understand your skin, you don’t have good control over your acne which is causing the scarring in the first place – I would say hold off; It 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 and couldn’t really grasp what exactly they were doing for my skin. In 2021 I had a “skincare funk” or “skincare fatigue” where I was getting very fed up with my routine and skincare in general. I added The Ordinary Buffet (TOB) and Buffet + Copper Peptides 1% (TOB+CP) into my routine to try something different. I opted for TO peptide products because I like that they offer straight shooter formulas to get an idea what an ingredient does for you, all the while at a decent price point.


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

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

The Ordinary

The Ordinary “Buffet”

Amount: 30-60ml
Price: $18.30 – $32.90 CAD
Where to Buy:
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
  • TOB+CP has of course 26.1% of peptides in the formula, the extra 1% being the Copper Peptides – wound-healing, promotes good collagen, anti-inflammatory. It is naturally occurring in some bodily fluids (plasma, urine), and we lose on average a few ng/ml every year

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, TOB+CP had a thinner consistency. I found myself applying TOB more liberally, whereas TOB+CP I only needed 4 drops to find it effective (could also be price/size difference lol). TOB did not have a scent to it, whereas TOB+CP smelled like vinegar.

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

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


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

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

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

xo, M

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


About Malezia 5% Urea Moisturizer

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


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

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

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

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


About Malezia 2.5% BPO Acne Treatment Gel

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

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

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

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

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

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


My Experience with Malezia Moisturizer and Acne Treatment Gel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Final Thoughts on Malezia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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! – My Tried and True Tips

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


1. Release

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

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

2. Fearlessness

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

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

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

3. Focus

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

4. Patience

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

5. Belief

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


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

I will end this post with a few quotes:

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

—Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

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

—Khalil Gibran

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

—Roald Dahl

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

xo, M