I am proud of myself to say that my first set of skincare purchases of 2022 was back in March, all of which replaced an empty that couldn’t be replaced by another item in my skincare collection. 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:
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
Back in the summer, I had quite the splurge-fest and 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), 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
Glacier water and fermented birch sap make up the base of the 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 and 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, and 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, the third highlighted ingredient in the Boum-Boum Milk description, 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 such as glycerin as a star humectant, followed with emollients capriylic/capric triglyceride, sunflower seed oil, and squalane. Arthrosperia platensis extract and tocopherol make appearances in the INCI list as well for antioxidant benefits.
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) in that it has an emollient feel, however I do find the Boum-Boum Milk sinks into the skin more and there’s a more obvious 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 by applying a few spritz to the palm of my hands and lightly massaging the fluid 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. In addition, I’ve decanted some of it in a mini spray bottle and took it with me to the beach to remoisturize my skin after taking a dip 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
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.
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 for my skin in terms of gentle and light moisturization, but I am ready to move on. Not just because I can’t actually repurchase it where I am, but the cost in CAD plus the seemingly increasing shipping prices is just becoming too much. 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.
It’s been quite a while since I shared my last skin update, so I thought it was about time for a new one!
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.
If you recall, I started using Tretinoin last spring. My derm bumped up my prescription from 0.3% Adapalene because it 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, so 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, and 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, which us with hormonal acne tend to be in excess of.
I first started taking it because 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. I would say I 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. I knew it was a bandaid to my lack of discipline with what I ate, and as time pass this fact bothered me a lot more. I finally figured out my gut health and how it has been effecting my skin, and the Spiro just allowed me to be lazy and undisciplined. I also didn’t like the side effects when it came to hormonal changes. I have had experience with birth control in the past and 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, so that’s why I stopped taking it.
Frankly I don’t miss it, because I’m way more disciplined with my way of eating and lifestyle than I was at 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 and while it definitely lifted some of the scarring, improved my pores and gave a moment of plumpness to my skin, 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.
Final product in my series of reviews from Regimen Lab – their C.R.E.A.M.! Be sure to check out my reviews on their Vitamin X and Wave Serum.
General Information on Regimen Lab C.R.E.A.M.
“C.R.E.A.M. is based on game-changing research that gives us a new understanding of how moisture moves through the skin. We use high-concentration ceramides to better replenish your skin’s natural barrier and aquaporins to help generate and lock in moisture.” – regimenlab.com
Price: $49 CAD/$39 USD Amount: 50ml Packaging: Opaque white bottle with an airless pump pH: 4.5 – 5.0
For the skincare enthusiasts, I’m sure we have seen the “Why Most Ceramide Products are a Scam” reddit post and felt shook if our beloved moisturizer was mentioned to not have the 3:1:1 (ceramides, cholesterol, essential fatty acids) ratio of ingredients. So what is this ratio and why are us skincare enthusiasts obsessed with it? The 1:1:1 or 3:1:1 molar ratio of ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids is sought after in skincare because this is reportedly the ideal ratio seen to recover the skin barrier. Since our skin is made up of these substances, it only makes sense that if we have an impaired skin barrier, we replenish it with what the skin lacks. The reason there is a range of the molar ratio is due to the barrier recovery being dependent on factors such as your skin type, your use of topicals, etc. You can read more about it in the pdf down below, but it is a difficult read for us non-science lingo oriented folk:
Regimen Lab states their C.R.E.A.M. has a 3:1:1:1 (note the extra 1) ratio of ceramides, cholesterol, essential fatty acids (EFAs), and non-essential fatty acids (NEFAs). So naturally, I was excited to try it out and see what impact it may have on my skin!
Ceramides – make up 50% of the outer layer of our skin – they help make up the glue that holds our skin cells together, keeping our skin hydrated.
Cholesterol – make up 25% of the lipids on the outer layer of our skin
Fatty Acids – make up 15% of the lipids on the outer layer of our skin
From my understanding (a non-science profession one), the ratio C.R.E.A.M. is as follows based on their 5% of the following ingredients and how it’s ordered in the INCI list:
Alright, now that we (including I) understand this 3:1:1:1 ratio offered in C.R.E.A.M., time for the rest of the standout ingredients!
5% Glycerin – also an ingredient naturally occurring in our skin that acts as a humectant.
2% Isosorbide Dicaprylate and 2% Glyceryl Glucoside – according to Regimen Lab, help activate more efficient hydration alongside Glycerin.
2% Bisabolol – soothing.
2% Ursolic Acid Liposomes – according to Regimen Lab, this ingredient helps support the skin barrier.
Tocopherol – antioxidant.
Are you still with me? That was quite a doozy to go through and write down considering I haven’t blogged in quite a while. But I’m glad you made it through this skinthusiast perspective about the madness behind this 3:1:1 ratio! Now on to my personal use of C.R.E.A.M.
My Experience Using Regimen Lab C.R.E.A.M.
As you may have guessed, I used Regimen Lab C.R.E.A.M. as my moisturizer lol. In the AM it was after all the serums, before SPF (of course), in the PM it was the last step in my skincare routine. I applied 2 pumps of C.R.E.A.M. for my face and neck as it was well within summer I started using it. Now that we’re going into the colder weather, I find myself doubling the amount!
The finish feels nice and velvety, it also doesn’t look super glowy, it just gives the skin a nice healthy look. Unfortunately both in the summer now fall months I found this moisture to disappear, particularly if I was inside majority of the day; My skin felt dry to the touch and my face would start to feel a tad tight. My face would feel comfortable if I was out and about, producing tidbits of my own oils mixed into C.R.E.A.M. When I used this moisturizer at night on its own however, I found myself waking up with dry, slightly tight skin. This plus the weather change is what prompted me to increase the amount I used; While the feeling did improve a bit, I still sometimes find myself applying my go-to moisturizer as a safeguard.
I also tried using C.R.E.A.M. in combination with the Wave Serum and I wasn’t a fan of this mixture, I’d rather use the two separately. In addition I used it as a “supplemental” moisturizing product in my routine on its own but I just wasn’t into the feel and finish of it on my skin, I preferred the Wave Serum for this purpose.
My Final Thoughts on Regimen Lab C.R.E.A.M.
I appreciate the formulation of Regimen Lab’s C.R.E.A.M. in that it’s offering us skincare nerds that “golden” ratio of barrier repairing ingredients, but unfortunately it doesn’t really suit my routine at the moment. It is not rich enough for my dry skin to use as a moisturizer, I just use too much for 50ml. I wasn’t a fan of mixing it with the Wave Serum, and overall on its own I didn’t really notice any significant impact it had on my skin’s health. I don’t think I am the right candidate for this skincare product, it may be better suited to those who are in dire need of something repairing.
I first heard of Regimen Lab from Sarah of No BS Beauty, and shortly after watched Dr. Dray’s brand review. I was so pleasantly surprised to learn that a science-backed, peer-reviewed skincare brand existed in Toronto, Canada, where I’m from!
When I looked at Regimen Lab’s website for the first time, I really liked what I saw. Here’s the breakdown of their brand, products, and website in general:
Products made for us skincare nerds
Only use ingredients backed by thorough, independent scientific evidence
Use the best ingredients in their highest effective concentrations
Formulation, sourcing, production are all done in their lab
Curate specific products with a cocktail of beneficial ingredients, don’t release based on an individual key ingredient
List the pH of each product
An encyclopedia of skincare ingredients
Informative blog posts
No fear-mongering “free of” marketing, but just say that their products do not contain common concerns to make their skincare as straight to the point as possible
Perusing their website more, it is probably the first time in a while I felt like I was learning something new about skincare, all coming from a skincare brand no less! I find their encyclopedia on skincare ingredients and blog very insightful and I feel like a skincare student again.
As you can imagine, after checking out what they have to offer and rave reviews, I was very keen on trying Regimen Lab products, so I bought 3 out of the 5 that seemed to suit my skin needs – Vitamin X serum, Wave Serum, and C.R.E.A.M. I have been incorporating all of these items in my skincare routine one by one over the course of a few of months – so I’m ready to share my experience with you all!
In this post, I will be reviewing the Regimen Lab Vitamin X Serum. I originally attempted to review all 3 items in this post, but as you can imagine, it got quite lengthy!
General Information on Regimen Lab Vitamin X Serum
“Vitamin X is packed with more antioxidants, in the highest clinically proven concentrations, than anything before it. It’s the antioxidant of the future, but we got it here a little sooner.” – regimenlab.com
Price: $59 CAD/$47 USD Amount: 30ml Packaging: Opaque white bottle with an aireless pump pH: 3.0
We see – of course – the Ascorbic Acid (AA), Ferulic Acid, and Tocopherol trifecta all at a lovely low pH of 3.0. I saw the brand was doing a Q&A on instagram so I asked there what the percentage of LAA was, and they said 15%! So to all the vitamin C conoisseurs out there, the Vitamin X serum hits the bells and whistles.
But as advertised, this is more than just a vitamin C serum, we can’t forget the 8 other antioxidants in the formula! EGCG, Resveratrol, Quercetin, and Hesperidin Methyl Chalcone also have soothing properties. Definitely a nice bonus, as AA at a low pH can irritate my skin and this has always been a struggle for me when trying to find a vitamin C serum!
Regimen Lab also highlights 2% Acetyl Zingerone helps reduce immediate and delayed DNA damage, and Dimethulmethoxy Chromanol provides double scavenging action against reaction nitrogen and oxygen species.
Genistein helps reduce UVB-induced redness, and Silymarin adds some skin-conditioning benefit (I feel like a lot of plant-derived skincare offers some moisturizing ability…).
And lets not forget good ol’ Glycerin – one of the best humectants out there and always welcome in a skincare product.
Another interesting point to make note of is that Regimen Lab also shared on their Instagram Q&A that the Vitamin X Serum (as well as the other products) are good for up to a year. Without refigeration. Actually, they said not to refigerate Vitamin X as it was formulated to be stable at room temperature.
My Experience Using Regimen Lab Vitamin X Serum
Upon first pump, I did get thrown off that the colour was a bright neon yellow despite being told by the brand that this is the natural colour. I was even more thrown off when they said not to put it on the fridge as it was tested to be stable at room temperature. I have been using it daily in my AM skincare routine for a couple of months and I haven’t noticed any intense oxidization until the 3rd month when the colour became deeper.
The texture is not watery like I’m used to using, but a rather slippy, runny gel. As mentioned, I use the Vitamin X Serum in the AM after applying a hydrating toner or essence, and one pump is enough to cover my entire face and neck. Regimen Lab suggests to wait 5 minutes for maximum absorption until following up with the rest of your skincare routine. I personally just wait until it feels like it settled on my skin then continue. I don’t like waiting long between steps because I run the risk of dehydration. First time I applied the serum, I did feel a little bit of irritation, but I have not experienced this since so overall I find it gentle. I also find it leaves a bit of a moisturizing layer on my skin.
As with any properly formulated AA serum, I find the Regimen Lab Vitamin X Serum maintains a bright complexion on my skin, even in recent times where I have been going to the beach a lot, my skin does not look compromised. While this didn’t do anything to prevent freckles (I don’t really care), I have noticed that when I get a breakout on my chin, it performs well alongside my tretinoin to help reduce the colour and longevity of post-acne red marks I may get. I used to get very dark red marks after dealing with a breakout and it would take 6 months minimum for them to fade. I’ve noticed this since using gentler, properly formulated vitamin C serums that they disappear significantly faster – I’d say within a couple of months. With the Vitamin X Serum in particular, I also notice my skin is looking smoother.
Unfortunately you can’t have so many good things without a little bad involved. One major con I have with this serum is that it does oxidize after a few months and I can’t refrigerate this serum to prolong its freshness. I tried to remove my bias of using clear coloured vitamin C serums and continued to keep on with Vitamin X. Unfortunately I started to notice blackheads on my nose, around my nose, and surprisingly some faded black dots all over my chin. I’m no stranger to using richer products in the colder months and the only time I experience blackheads like this is in the summer with too many emollient layers. In addition I have been continuing the same skincare routine as I had in the summer months, so why am I getting these blackheads? Well, it’s because the vitamin C in the Vitamin X Serum has oxidized, and it’s showing on my face.
My Final Thoughts on Regimen Lab Vitamin X Serum
Regimen Lab’s Vitamin X Serum has the bells and whistles I’m looking for in a vitamin C serum but with a hell of a lot more antioxidant prowess (I’ve been liking this word recently lol). It is quite a pricey serum at $59 CAD for a 30ml bottle, but in my opinion I believe it is worth it considering its formula and that you use it in a timely manner. I say timely because you still notice the colour of the serum changing and for me I need any skincare product with L-Ascorbic Acid to be as fresh as possible. Vitamin C has been one of the biggest-love hate products for me for quite a while because of 1) finding the right formula 2) whether or not it is gentle 3) price and 4) accepting that there are some results I will not see unless I use it longterm. With Regimen Lab’s Vitamin X Serum, it fits in my skincare routine, I like the texture, I see the brightening, post-acne mark fading benefits, it’s gentle, my skin feels smoother, it feels like it adds a touch of moisture to my skin, it’s local (or was local, currently in Europe lol)… It is one of the best vitamin C serums – or antioxidant serum I have come across. I am considering repurchasing, but right now I actually repurchased the Geek & Gorgeous 101 C-Glow Serum (reviewed) and I want to try NIOD’s Survival 0. It may be 2 products, but I want to see if both would last longer. I’ve used 2 bottles of C-Glow in the past and the clarity was kept for a long time when stored in the fridge.