My 3 Must-Have Actives After 3-6 Months of Differin

Recently I shared my *simple* skincare routine – basically the go-to products in my routine to tackle my top priority skin goals: acne control, hydration, barrier protection.

In today’s post, I’m sharing with you the three extra actives I added to my skincare routine once my skin adjusted to my prescription topicals. They are powerful ingredients that are no one-trick ponies, but have a multitude of functions that contribute to skin’s overall health!


Products marked with * are PR Samples/gifts. Links marked with a * are affiliate links. This means when you use the link to make a purchase, I earn a small commission at no extra charge to you. Thank you if you decide to use them! If you feel uncomfortable, feel free to google a new link.


Niacinamide

Niacinamide is an amazing all rounder ingredient that addresses multiple skin issues, it is actually my favourite ingredient out of the 3! It is an antioxidant, increases skin’s lipid production to improve skin barrier, minimizes pores, helps refine wrinkles, brightens and evens skin tone, helps with sebum control, and fades pigmentation.

Current go-to: The Ordinary 10% Niacinamide + Zinc

  • $5.90 USD, $10.60 USD
  • 30 ml, 60ml
  • Use PM, mixed with Hada Labo Premium Lotion before Differin

Why it’s my go-to:

  • Cheap, lol!
  • A simple, straight-shooter formula that I like to use to mix in with my HLPL
  • Provides pH level and percentages
    • pH: 5.5 – 6.5
    • Niacinamide: 10%
    • Zinc PCA: 1%
  • Skinthusiast perspective: Niacinamide and Zinc PCA are the only star actives in the formula, but the bulk of the formula still has solvents doubled as humectants.

I  currently have a rotation right now of other Niacinamide serums/boosters out of my sheer curiosity (Niacinamide battle soon), but TO’s has been a constant repurchase for me and it’s a staple in my skincare collection.

Where to buy:


Glycolic Acid

Glycolic Acid is a water-soluble chemical exfoliant. It increases cell turnover on the top-layer of skin, the Stratum Corneum, acts as a humectant, and increases Collagen and Hyaluronic Acid in the dermis, making it thicker and less prone to TEWL. For my skin, GA has also shown to be the most effective with improving my skin texture, most notably in smoothing out my atrophic acne scars.

Current go-to: Krave Beauty Kale-lalu-yAHA *

  • $25 USD
  • 200ml
  • Use AM 1-2x week, before Vitamin C

Why it’s my go-to:

  • Low percentage Glycolic Acid that’s gentle but can still exfoliate
  • KB also provides pH level and active percentage
    • pH: 3.0-4.0
    • AHA: 5.25%
  • Skinthusiast perspective: Also has additional ingredients that promote skin’s health:
    • Aloe, Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin B5 – humectants and skin soothers
    • Dark leafy greens kale, spinach, parsley – antioxidants
    • Allantoin – skin soother

KB was a good product to reintroduce after acclimating to Differin. However, after I finish this bottle, I will move on to Paula’s Choice 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant. KB is still unavailable to Canadians to purchase, and also I am ready to move up in strength. I opted for PC because I find they do a great job at formulating high percentage active products that don’t irritate my skin.

Where to buy:


L-Ascorbic Acid

LAA is the best researched Vitamin C ingredient compared to its derivatives; It is an antioxidant, provides photoprotection, promotes collagen synthesis, brightens and evens skin tone, and fades pigmentation. Combining L-Ascorbic Acid, Ferulic Acid, and Vitamin E has shown to increase the effectiveness of LAA and improve its stability.

Current go-to: Paula’s Choice Resist C15 Booster

  • $49 USD
  • 20ml
  • Use AM daily, freshly cleansed skin

Why it’s my go-to:

  • PC uses the most well studied ingredients in this formulation and tries (or maybe did) dupe the famous Skinceuticals CE Ferulic Serum
  • Provides the percentage of LAA as well as the pH level of this product:
    • pH: 3.0
    • LAA: 15%
  • Skinthusiast perspective: Contains additional ingredients that are good for the skin:
    • Sodium Hyaluronate and Glycerin – humectants
    • Hexanoyl Dipeptide-3 Norleucine Acetate – hydrates, improves skin texture
    • Panthenol and Bisabolol – soothing
  • Only LAA Vitamin C serum at a high concentration that does not burn my skin

I already repurchased my 3rd bottle of this booster! I have tried the infamous Timeless Vitamin C serum – 2 bottles worth actually – and it stung a LOT! And for those of you who may mention MaeLove’s Glowmaker Serum – no shipping to Canada! I believe they’re working on that, so maybe once it does become available I will purchase. In the mean time, I’m content with spending the extra cash on the PC C15 Booster.

Where to buy:


And that is it for this blog post! I know all too well how overwhelming the skincare world is. Lot’s of good ingredients, but not sure where to start or understand what exactly makes it so good! I hope my top 3 helped you out with your own skin journey, especially if it’s similar to mine! (Acne prone, dry, preventative aging…)

xo, M

BEST OF BEAUTY 2017: SKINCARE

What. A. Year!

IMG_3434.jpg

2017 I’d say was the year of a lot of skincare discoveries. Not just my own curiosity and purchases, but some awesome opportunities to try products to review from PR samples. It also helped having a significant other use products as well so I can go through them faster!

From the past year, the skincare products I am mentioning in this post are the standouts. Like when I think about them and use them, it gives me the happy feels and I never want them to run out.

I tried my best to find a product under every possible category of skincare, but a girl can only mention so much until the happy feels disappear, and I don’t want to mention a product for the sake of filling in the category of a possible skincare item. And also, some of the categories may have more than one product mentioned teehehehee.

For those curious of my skin type:

  • Dry
  • Dehydrated
  • Can get oily by end of the daily
  • Acne-prone
  • Used to be super oily-skinned

Skin concerns:

  • Prevent & Prolong (preventative aging)
  • Acne
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Indented post-acne markers (lighter than deeply pitted marks)

Read More »

[REVIEW] One Month (and more) of the Ordinary: Hyaluronic Acid, Niacinimide + Zinc, Lactic/Azelaic Acids (plus last minute buys)

Since my last post, [The Ordinary Haul] Focus: Dry & Dehydrated, Acne-Prone, Texture, Prevent & Prolong, I have used day and night, non-stop, the following Ordinary products for one month:

Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5
Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2%
Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%

I know many people have already reviewed this brand, but in my previous post I mentioned my concerns are:

  • Dry & Dehydrated
  • Acne-Prone
  • Texture
  • Prevent & Prolong
With that in mind, I hope this post is more catered to you and helps you better understand the thoughts I have on these products.

I have used all of them day and night for just over a month. The lactic acid however had to be put aside when I went on vacation to Cuba for the week, but I used it a couple of times after.

MORNING:
Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5
Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%

NIGHT:
Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
HA, Azelaic, & Lactic in rotation (2/3 always used)


20170205123324_img_2136-2Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5
Use 1-2x a day
Feels like any other hyaluronic acid serum I’ve ever used. Momentary relief and then goes away. I actually purchased the Hyalimide a few days ago and notice it leaves my skin slightly softer and my skin feels a tad more rich with hydration. Truthfully I think I have been using this serum wrong. The air in my apartment and outside have been so dry, the HA has nowhere to draw moisture from except from within my skin, thus making my face feel drier. I gave the Ordinary HA to my boyfriend and will be continuing with the Hylamide.

20170205123310_img_2135-2Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
Use 1-2x a day
PORES: The effect it has on the pores are noticeable once applied, and it made me feel like it was only an “in the moment” effect that wouldn’t last. I still used it everyday the whole month to see if I was wrong.  Nick actually changed my thoughts when commented that my pores are a lot smaller compared to their size when we started dating.
FINE LINES: The dehyrated line on my forehead is almost non-existent! WOOHOO. And  the ones that *I* felt were developing around my nose and mouth have stopped in its tracks.
BLEMISHES: I thought it was working on my breakouts in a sense that it gets them poppable without any marks after. However, after  couple of weeks of using it day and night, it wore off. My breakouts were not controlled, and even some small cystic spots appeared. I went on vacation and didn’t change my routine. It still did nothing to control breakouts. I don’t think this causes breakouts at all, but it hasn’t really been doing anything for them. Maybe it’s something that will come in time, since niacinimide is all about helping the immunity of your skin.

Use 2-3x a week
All I know about this product is that it’s supposed to help with brightness and texture. I don’t like the mattifying effect because it makes my skin feel more dry. It also pills up like a MOFO even if you apply minimal amount or wait for a few minutes. I do not recommend this at all if you are going to follow up with a facial oil after, and be very mindful when applying moisturizer. My face however does appear to be smoother after using this consistently, althought I don’t think it had that big of an effect on my indented scars like the lactic acid serum.


20170205123256_img_2134-2Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2%
Used 3-5x a week at first, then 1-2x a week
The tazmanian pepperberry definitely helps with lowering irritation, although I have built a high tolerance for acids. My skin actually feels very smooth and soft after using this product a few times. I was using it almost every night before my vacation down south and decided to put it on hold since the equator sun is quite strong. The monkeys at the abnormal beauty company  recommended I use this 1-2 times a week and up the amount of product to use as a face mask so I’m not using it every night, and so my face doesn’t become significantly pale compared to my body. So far I have used a quarter-sized amount all over my face, left it on for 10 minutes and rinsed off. My face is left feeling and looking incredibly smooth! It’s also a bonus that it never dries out my skin when I leave it on. It’s definitely a method of application I’ll continue using. Even though the first 3 weeks I used it almost every night, my skin does not look thinner nor has the product ever dried me out while using it.


RESULTS

wp-1490546942696.jpg
LEFT: FEB 6, 2017 RIGHT: MAR 26, 2017

– Texture is improved; indented scars are less prominent, skin does not feel congested
– Skin is more even tone, have been using minimal makeup since using the serums consistently
– Doesn’t feel hydrated because the air is perpetually dry, but skin still feels very soft and not as chapped as it used to be, some slight relief of dehydration
– Skin does not look thinned out and weak
– Breakouts have not stopped; still get the occasional cystic spot
– Pores considerably smaller. (Without asking) Nick commented that my pores look smaller and I look younger because of how smooth my face looks (yayyyyy)
– I saw my friend who I bought this with over a month ago and she said she also noticed my face looked a lot smoother

Favourites from most to least:
Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2%- improves texture and quality of my skin
Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% –
Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% – pills like a mofo and truthfully I don’t know if this does anything for the longterm.
Hyaluronic acid 2% + B5 – Meh.

I like this brand and how it’s about potent, stabilized and safe ingredients, and the overall simplicity of the line. With the price point and and ability to layer 3 at a time, this is definitely a low-risk buy if you’re looking for something new.
I will continue using them all to the end, and still buy from the brand, and will definitely update on a post about “Ordinary Empties” to give my final thoughts.

I recently bought Hylamide Booster Low-Molecular HA ($20.00 CAD) to see if it’s more potent and powerful than the Ordinary HA 2% + B5; I also picked up the Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA ($8.90 CAD) to help fade my hyper-pigmentation marks and prevent age spots!


And that’s that! Hope you enjoyed the review, definitely let me know if there’s something I must try from Deciem, and I’l blog for you soon.

WATCH THE VIDEO FOR DEMO:

xo, M


www.ordinaries.com

Not sponsored. Not affiliated. I took it upon myself to review this day and nigh for a month because GOSH DARN I couldn’t believe!

[The Ordinary Haul] Focus: Dry & Dehydrated, Acne-Prone, Texture, Prevent & Prolong

I am somewhat late on the bandwagon.

I cannot, and I repeat, CANNOT believe I wasn’t paying attention to this brand until now!

If you still don’t know, the Ordinary is a skincare brand under the umbrella company Deciem. It is a Canadian brand that’s pretty much no nonsense: you get what you need with minimal, effective ingredients and a true price point. And by true price point I mean… Extremely affordable. Like, more affordable than drugstore products affordable. SO affordable, I had such a dumb look on my face going home, because I could not believe.

Description: The Ordinary is an evolving collection of treatments offering familiar, effective clinical technologies positioned to raise pricing and communication integrity in skincare.

As the title of the post suggests, my current skin concerns to tackle for my shining age of 26 are:

  • Dry & Dehydrated
  • Acne-Prone
  • Texture
  • Prevent & Prolong

Below I’ve listed the items I have purchased, and a blurb of why I thought it would be good to help with my current skin situation.

Read More »