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

SUNSCREEN WEEK [Day #4]: The Ordinary Mineral UV Filters SPF 30 with Antioxidants

ABOUT
“The Ordinary range of Mineral UV Filters formulas’ offer SPF protection along with antioxidant, hydration, and anti-irritant support.

The Mineral UV Filter formulas avoid the use of any nanoparticles. Instead, a refined dispersion of micronized ZnO and TiO2 in flexible, high-volatility, non-comedogenic silicones allows the formulations to remain extremely lightweight by optimizing the amount of the blocking agents. Our formulation uses mainly ZnO for its protective effects (because in addition to reflecting/refracting light, ZnO is actually also able to absorb UV rays without creating oxygen radicals) and the supporting TiO2 that it contains is only in rutile form (no anatase form of TiO2 is used at all since it’s an aggressive producer of free radicals).”

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Price: $9.70 CAD
Amount: 50ml / 1.7 fl Oz
Protection: Their Instagram comments said they only did UVB testing; Haven’t checked for updates on this.
Strength: SPF 30
UV FILTERS:
Type: Physical
Zinc Oxide 14.03%
Titanium Dioxide 5.44%
INGREDIENTS:

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CONSISTENCY: Thick cream.


APPLICATION
Difficult. Takes a while for it to spread evenly on the skin.

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FINISH: Matte – Satin on initial application, but then gets VERY glowy and stays tacky.

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FEEL:
On the heavier side compared to other sunscreens I’ve reviewed. I can tell it’s sitting on my face. My skin is also very tacky for a long time.
STINGS EYES? No.
WHITECAST? Yes.

WATER RESISTANT? No (although with the way it feels, I’m surprised it’s not).
SKIN BENEFITS?
Skin tone looks even, however my sebaceous filaments are more noticeable than usual.
UNDER MAKEUP:
I couldn’t blend and sheer out my It Cosmetics CC Cream at all. It’s like wherever you apply your makeup, it will stay. For those who wear fuller coverage and you want it to last a long time, look into this SPF. But you may be using a bit of foundation.
WHERE TO BUY:
The Ordinary

It is unfortunate to say, the Ordinary Mineral UV Filters SPF 30 with Antioxidants is not a hit for me. It’s not a pleasant formulation at all and I really don’t like using it. It’s okay around my eyes, but I don’t like the extra tugging I have to do to get an even base. I had too high of expectations for this one, and I’d rather return this and pay more for a more cosmetically elegant sunscreen.

xo, M

BEST OF BEAUTY 2017: SKINCARE

What. A. Year!

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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: The Ordinary Colours Serum Foundation 2.0YG

Welp, it was eventually going to happen.

I managed to get a hold of the Ordinary Colours Serum Foundation while restocking on the Niacinamide 10% serum. Even better, I scored the shade 2.0 YG – described as light/medium with yellow undertones and golden highlights.

If you haven’t heard of the Ordinary, either take a quick gander at my previous posts, or check out their website. I’ll wait.

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

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

www.ordinaries.com


ABOUT COLOURS

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Here is a simple breakdown of what the Colours range offers and their claims:

BASIC INFO

  • $6.70 1oz/30ml
  • 21 Shades
  • 1st category: shades divided in 3 ranges:
    – (1) Light
    – (2) Medium
    – (3) Dark
  • 2nd category: second digit 0-3 to classify depth of colour
  • 3rd category: letter to classify undertone:
    – P Pink
    – N Neutral
    – Y Yellow
    – R Red
  • 3 shades have additional letters to indicate a natural highlight:
    – S silver
    – G gold
    *more will be added to the future to customize foundations
  • Shade Guide
  • Difference between Serum and Coverage foundation is that Coverage has more pigmentation  to offer a full coverage look but without looking cakey. Their ingredients list however shows a different formulation all-together. I have not purchased the Coverage foundation, I have heard through the grape vine the texture is different from the serum foundation.
  • Can match at least 3 shades. So if you pick the wrong shade, it won’t look too obvious because of how natural the foundation sits on the skin.

CLAIMS & HOW TO USE


These [serum] foundations offer moderate coverage that looks natural with a very lightweight serum feel. They are very low in viscosity and are dispensed with the supplied pump or with the optional glass dropper available for purchase separately if preferred.

The pigments used in this format are treated for a rich, highly-saturated effect. These pigments are suspended in our proprietary spreadability system that allows pigments to look natural on the skin, resist collecting within fine lines and stay on for longer. The foundations offer a semi-matte finish and are compatible with most primers and are designed to work exceptionally well with the primers offering from The Ordinary.

Shake before use. Dispense a small amount into the palm or the back of your hand. Smooth on and blend throughout the face, ideally outward from the midpoint of the face.

 

INGREDIENTS

Cyclopentasiloxane, Aqua (Water), Caprylyl Methicone, Coconut Alkanes, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Coco Caprylate/Caprate, Dimethicone/PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer, Cetyl Diglyceryl Tris(Trimethylsiloxy)silylethyl Dimethicone, Dipropylene Glycol, Tocopherol, Polyglyceryl-3 Diisostearate, Polyglyceryl-3 Polyricinoleate, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Hectorite, Sodium Chloride, Hexyl Laurate, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Stearic Acid, Alumina, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin. May Contain [+/-]: Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Tin Oxide, Aluminum Hydroxide, Bismuth Oxychloride (CI 77163), Mica, Triethoxycaprylylsilane.

 


APPLICATION & BASE PREP

APPLICATION

I personally find best application is with what your momma gave ya: fingers! It wastes the least amount of product and you’ll still get an even coverage. If you’re feeling iffy, just blend lightly with a buffing brush or a face puff.

ON ITS OWN

I was impressed by the amount of coverage less than a pump and the natural glow it provides. I was also impressed with how long it lasted and how my makeup didn’t fade (blush, bronzer and highlight). At first I wasn’t sure because the finish really is natural; the proof that it was still on after quite the rainy day was when I used cleansing water on a cotton pad and saw it was still there! However the foundation alone REALLY emphasizes the texture on my skin, especially my scarry-looking pores. I also saw that it was clinging to a bit of my dry patches, and was slightly drying out my skin. At the end of the day my face was VERY glowy, it reminded me of my oily skin days.

WITH POWDER

Nope nope nope. If you have as dry of skin like I do, this is a big no no. My face felt SO dry after the lightest powder application on my t-zone and I looked cakey. Any natural glow this serum gave was completely gone. I doused myself in my DIY spray to feel relief.

WITH PRIMER

[001249]Using the foundation with the Ordinary High-Spreadability Fluid Primer is when I enjoyed this foundation the most. This primer in particular helps for even pigment dispersion of foundation so the finish won’t look patchy or collect on dry areas, and to keep a dewy look. This is very true. I never noticed dry patches on my skin, and the primer really helped to make sure the foundation didn’t emphasize any texture issues on my skin. The original glow you get with the foundation on its own was not as prominent. However, my skin felt more comfortable using the primer and foundation.


USAGE

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COLOUR

– Although I didn’t get matched in the store, 2.0yg blends into my skin pretty well. I also didn’t expect it to be too bad, since the claims of the foundation is that at least 3 shades should be able to match an individual with a natural finish.
– I’m impressed that there is no oxidization to this foundation, it for the most part stays true to how it sets onto your skin the first time. Having said that, I do notice more that my face is lighter than my neck.
– Undertone is not TOO yellow, but i’m very comfortable with it more than a pink undertone for sure.

FINISH

– My skin but better look.
-It goes from semi-matte to a dewy finish as the day progresses. I notice with the primer it stays at semi-matte better.
– Natural, moderate coverage; It’s such a liquidy founndation, I am VERY impressed with the pigmentation in one layer!
– Does not settle into pores or dehydrated line.
– Does not cover my pimples. It literally covers everything else except the dots! it makes them more annoying to look at.
– No point of layering, it looks the same and certain hyper-pigmentation marks look just as visible from the first layer.
– My skin feels dry after I apply this foundation, makes it pretty uncomfortable to wear.

PERFORMANCE

– Quite long wearing on its own. the first time i wore it, it was raining out and i didn’t prime or set. My foundation surprisingly didn’t look patchy, and my skin was still even tone by the time i removed it.
– Finish gets very dewy, and for this i don’t like it too much for my textured skin. if i w ear it with the primer though it doesn’t happen.
– Clings to dry patches. so around my nose and some pimples it make them look funky.
– No flashback.
– Any cream or powdered product sits beautifully on it.


OVERALL

Moderate coverage ✔
Looks natural ✔
Very lightweight serum feel ✔
Rich, highly-saturated effect ✔
Resist collecting within fine lines ✔
Stay on for longer ✔
Semi-matte finish ✔
Compatible with most primers (especially with the Ordinary ones) ✔

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This foundation does what it says it does. I usually don’t go for drugstore priced foundations because of their awful, awful oxidization. But this stays true to its colour and the technology behind it really does make it look natural on the skin. For that, and the price, I DO recommend.

Oily skinned peeps, I’d personally steer clear, because you’d be working quite a bit with this foundation to make it matte and not cakey.

Dry skinned peeps, make sure you’re properly moisturized, because it may get uncomfortable.

As for me, I will most likely give it away to my sister or cousin. They don’t have texture like I do, and I have other complexion products that don’t emphasize it when I wear them alone. Also, I really dislike the drying sensation I get almost every time I wear this foundation! I’d rather use my $59 foundation that has a ton of skincare benefits than this.


Hope this review was helpful to you! I mean for $6.70, we really need to put the claims to the test. I hope I did my best.

xo, M