BEST OF BEAUTY 2018: Skincare

I feel like with every passing year, I always learn a different aspect of skincare. I found this year I focused a LOT on scientifically proven ingredients, as well as new, popular ingredients that are commonly talked about in the beautysphere. This was also the year I showed more interest in drugstore products! Out of everything I tried and used up this year, here are the skincare products that really stood out to me this year and deserve some praises.

Before we get into the individual products, I want to give a shout out to a few brands that have impressed me with almost every product I’ve tried from the line. If I didn’t, I feel like the list would be a lot longer! I also have product shoutouts along the list as well. They may not be my top pick for the year of 2018, but again, they deserve a mention since I did enjoy using them.


BRAND Shoutouts

DRUGSTORE: Cerave – If you need affordable, effective skincare with a simple ingredients list, this is the brand to turn to. Almost any skin type can turn to this brand! I’m looking forward to trying more from the brand and provide you all affordable alternatives in skincare.

MID-RANGE: Krave Beauty – I actually would have featured everything in this post, but since I only started using them near the end of the year a handful of times, I’ll leave the praises for a future post *hint hint*. A new skincare line created by acne-prone, sensitive-skinned beauty Youtuber Liah Yoo. The brand is all about respecting the skin’s natural function and makes sure to promote its helf rather than further sensitizing it.

HIGH-END: Dermalogica – She may be pricey, but she works, and a little goes a long way with every product I have tried! I love the combo of science-backed ingredients mixed with botanicals and essential oils in their formulas. This is one of the few skincare brands I’m willing to splurge money on because I’ve reaped nothing but benefits!


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Makeup Remover

Marcelle Eye Makeup Remover for Sensitive Eyes – Favourited by a handful of Canadian Beauty Bloggers, and I can see why. It is simple, it is gentle, it works really well at removing waterproof makeup, all the while never irritating my eyes or drying out my eye area!

Cleanser

Cerave Hydrating Cleanser – Jesus where was this when I had worse skin problems? Cerave has impressed me this year as a drugstore brand and this is one of their standout products to me. Preferably used for my morning cleanse, I find it softens my skin when massaging for a minute or so and does a decent job at removing overnight fluffs. If you need a very gentle cleanser, I don’t think you’d be disappointed with this one!

Shoutout:
Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel * – She’s expensive, but she also has a lovely texture, amazing second cleanse, and a little goes such a long way it took me forever to finish it!

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Hydrator

COSRX Galactomyces 95 Tone Balancing Essence – I seriously miss this from my routine! I’m currently using Secret Key FTE which is nice, but COSRX is pretty much the same but with my preferred consistency! It wasn’t until I started using this that the plateau I was experiencing in my skincare ended. Face felt more hydrated, looked even tone, and I actually started noticing improvements in my hyperpigmentation.

Shoutouts:
Klairs Supple Preparation Unscented Toner *
Some By Mi AHA/BHA/PHA 30 Days Miracle Toner *

I already threw out the COSRX Essence so I couldn’t take a new solo photo :3)

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Moisturizer

Hada Labo Koi-Gokujyun Perfect Gel – I pine for this. Has the different HA molecules, Urea, Ceramide, and Squalane! A seriously lovely humectant moisturizer that I’m highly considering repurchasing.

Cerave PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion – Surprise surprise! But seriously, I really am surprised that I liked a drugstore moisturizer so much. It worked with my dry skin and I see the workings of the 4% Niacinamide.

Klairs Vitamin E Mask * – Love it as my night time moisturizer in the colder months, and it’s also just a joy to use because of the texture and the instant brightening effects. The bonus is that it is a heavier mask that doesn’t aggravate my acne or enlarge my pores!

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Actives / Treatments

Dermalogica Biolumin-C Serum * – I cringe that this is a favourite because of the price point, but it’s SO GOOD! It does everything you could want in a vitamin C serum – hydrate, brighten, create an even tone, lighten pigmentation. I felt like it just simplified my morning routine when I used it.

Differin OTC 0.1% Adapalene – My gateway drug into retinoids (lol). After years of experimenting with skincare outside of prescription, and learning so much this year about its benefits, I decided to go back to Vitamin A. It was definitely a turn for the better, because I’ve only noticed my skin improving since incorporating it into my routine. I now use prescription Differin with a higher percentage, but Americans are very lucky to have easy access to this in your local drugstores!

Benzagel 5 Acne Wash – Simplest, gentlest BP product I have ever tried. It was very affordable, I was surprisesd at how long it lasted, and yes, I found it very effective at killing any spots within a few days. I never thought I’d like a BP product as much as this!

Exfoliator

Dr. G Brightening Peeling Gel – Gentle and easy to use, and I like that I can use it on wet skin!

Secret Key Lemon Sparkling Peeling Gel * – Must be used on dry skin, but love how my skin is noticeably softer after using this. This one is particularly good for not just it’s quality but the low cost!

Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid – Out of all the products I’m mentioning, this one is probably the gentlest. I always anticipate a stinging sensation when using this, but it’s always soothing and moisturizing! Like I’ve said before, it’s like an acid essence. My skin always looks bright and even, and pores look smaller.

Krave Beauty Kale-lalu-yAHA * – This year’s AHA favourite. Love that it’s gentle, especially now that I am using a retinoid, and still effective as an exfoliant for my skin. I especially like how both this and the PC product can be used under my eyes!

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Sunscreen

Elta Md UV Facial Broad-Spectrum SPF 30+ Moisturizing Facial Sunscreen – We hear time and time again from skin professionals, experts and enthusiasts how important sunscreen application is, and this is the one I used that really made me enjoy applying sunscreen. I also consider this a gateway drug into trying out many other sunscreens!

Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence SPF50+ PA++++ * – How can I not include this? Seriously one of the best Klairs releases. Chemical sunscreen with photostable UV filters, doesn’t sting my eyes, is slightly moisturizing, doesn’t have a cast, and comes in a great size for a great price.


And there you have it! I’m impressed that I managed to keep the list * rather * short this time around. Hope you enjoyed this post and be sure to check out the related content below!

xo, M


RELATED CONTENT

BEST OF BEAUTY 2018: Makeup
BEST OF BEAUTY 2017: SKINCARE
The Best of Beauty 2016
My Morning (AM) Skincare Routine 2018
My Nighttime (PM) Skincare Routine 2018
SUNSCREEN WEEK [Day #2]: Elta Md UV Facial Broad-Spectrum SPF 30+ Moisturizing Facial Sunscreen
SUNSCREEN SUNDAY #1: Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence SPF 50+ PA++++
BRAND REVIEW: Dear, Klairs
I tried Dermalogica’s Double Cleanse Routine ft. the PreCleanse Balm
Skin Update [#1] December 2018: Acne + Scars


This post contains affiliate links.

August 2018 Roundup

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


FAVOURITES

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

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

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

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

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


EMPTIES

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SKINCARE

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

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

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

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

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

HAIR

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

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

SAMPLES

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

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


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

Hope you enjoyed the read.

xo,

M

My Nighttime (PM) Skincare Routine 2018

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

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


1. MAKEUP REMOVAL / DOUBLE CLEANSE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


2. ACNE TREATMENT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


3. HYDRATORS

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


4. MOISTURIZE

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

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

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


5. MAIN ACTIVE

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

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

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


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

I really hoped my routines helped you out!

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

xo, M

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


This post contains affiliate links.
DISCLAIMER, PR, AFFILIATES

My Morning (AM) Skincare Routine 2018

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

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


1. CLEANSE

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

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

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

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

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

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


 2. Acne Treatment / Main Active

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

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

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

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


3. Hydrators

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

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

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

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


4. Moisturize

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


5. SPF

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

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

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


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

Hope you enjoyed the read!

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

xo, M

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


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Glass Skin for the Unblessed: Skincare Focused, Minimal Makeup

What is Glass Skin? Glow Recipe Co-Founder Christine Chang describes it as “…when your skin is so healthy, even toned, and plumped with hydration that it’s almost translucent, like a shard of glass.” – Vogue Article

It was almost instinctive that I brush off glass skin to be something achievable for me. Why? First off, I still break out. Secondly, I’m still trying to heal the atrophic scarring I have from my cystic acne past. So I did what everyone else would do, watch perfect-skin looking YouTubers do it and enjoy the aesthetic vicariously. It actually wasn’t until I saw Edward Avila’s take on glass skin that I became inspired to try it myself. Edward is a KBeauty YouTuber based in Seoul and he has a considerable amount of texture from acne like myself. Despite the crazy glow mixed with texture, his skin overall looked REALLY good and in my opinion definitely achieved the look. To see someone with a similar skin-type as mine prompted me to try it for myself.

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