In this post I will be reviewing the Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant, an award-winning multi-purpose cream. I first bought this cream on an airport 5 years ago, and ever since then my mom and I have been obsessed with it. Of course, I’ve also done my research before purchasing this cream and I noticed a lot of people mentioned a way too greasy/sticky texture and an unpleasant, almost medicinal smell. Keep reading to find out about my first impressions!
What does the internet say?
Based on reviews on Elizabeth Arden’s website and independent review websites, the cream scores an average of 4.4 out of 5.
The Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant is usually sold in a tube packaging (50ml), and is priced around 20 EUR.
Eight Hour® Cream Skin Protectant is the legendary skincare formula created in 1930 by Miss Arden to soothe and protect skin. An instant, overwhelming success, the Eight Hour® brand continues its legacy today. Celebrated by makeup artists and beauty influencers around the globe, its wonderful versatility and proven results have elevated it to “cult status” in the beauty industry.
This award-winning skin protectant deeply moisturizes and protects skin any time, any way you choose. Its versatile formula goes beyond moisturizing, working wonders to shape brows, add shine to cheeks, soothe dry hands, smooth cuticles and nails, and more.
Dermatologist-tested and clinically shown to hydrate and protect skin for eight hours!
DID YOU KNOW? The name Eight Hour® was coined by a devoted Elizabeth Arden client who used the cream on her child’s grazed knee, and ”eight hours later”, it was magically better.
AT FACE VALUE: Simply rub a dime-sized amount in the palms of hands to warm through, then pat onto the face to seal in moisture.
COMES IN HANDY:Deep condition by working the formula into palms and over the fingers, then wrapping each hand for 10 minutes in a warm towel.
HEEL-TO-TOE HEALING:Relieve weary feet by massaging the cream generously onto soles, pads and heels, then topping with cotton socks for deeper moisturization to heal dry skin.
A FLASH OF BRILLIANCE:Create instant radiance wherever skin normally catches the light, including legs, shoulders, collarbone, cheeks and bow of the lips.
LAVISH THE LIPS:With its effective moisturizing ingredients, this do-it-all wonder perfectly re-hydrates chapped lips.
THE MANE BENEFITS:In addition to its properties as a “skin savior,” the cream’s petrolatum and natural lanolin help smooth strands and moisturize dry ends.
FROST SMITTEN: It can be smoothed onto skin as protection from windburn, particularly when adventuring outdoors.
KEEPING IT HIGH-BROW: Run the tiniest amount through eyebrows to groom hairs, helping neaten and define the arch.
What are my first impressions?
After having read all the reviews before purchasing the cream, I expected the texture to be way stickier than it actually was. In fact, I wouldn’t consider it to be sticky at all. The cream has a smooth texture and, indeed, has a strong fragrance that might come off as unpleasant or medicinal to some, but it definitely isn’t disturbing to me.
When I initially bought the cream, I intended to use it for my dry and chapped lips only. Soon I found out I could also apply it to dry patches on my face and body, and I even applied it on my nose which tends to get very dry when I have a cold.
Even if I might not use this cream everyday, it always comes in handy. I often find myself grateful to have a spare tube in my bathroom cabinet and when I notice I’m running out, I rush to the stores to stock up. This last one doesn’t happen very often, one tube lasts me and my mom an entire year. You only need a little squeeze, whatever you’re using the cream for.
How do I use it?
During the cold autumn and winter days, I apply this cream to my lips when I wake up and go to bed. On my days off I also apply a bit to my eyebrows instead of makeup for a nice and subtle shine and shape. A while back I applied benzoyl peroxide to some acne on my forehead every morning and night for two weeks, and it incredibly dried out my skin. After I was done using the benzoyl peroxide treatment, I applied this cream to my forehead before going to bed for only two nights and my skin was as good as new. My skin doesn’t get very dry very often but if you’re going through skin treatments such as isotretinoin, you might suffer from the occasional dry patches and dry lips. In that case, this cream would be a great solution.
I’m convinced that this cream is a must-have for any household. Even if you’re not using it daily; believe me, it will come in handy and at moments like that, you will be thankful to find a tube in your kitchen or bathroom cabinet. However, if you’re not a big fan of (strong) fragrances, this might not be the right product for you. If you’re still looking for a multi-purpose cream, consider looking at the Eucerin Aquaphor Healing Ointment.
Hi there, I hope you’re all doing well and had a lovely Easter Sunday!
In this post I will be telling you all about my top 5 favorite fragrances. Even though we’re not going out as often as we used to anymore, I still like to have one of my favorite scents following me all day (even when I’m at home).
Let me start off with a little backstory on my fragrance preferences and how I wear them, so that the list below makes a bit more sense. I personally like fresh and floral fragrances that are light but still stick around all day. I’m definitely not a big fan of deep, strong, and heavy scents. I actually came up with a theory about this preference by looking at my personality. I automatically associate strong fragrances with strong, clearly present personalities who aren’t afraid to stand out and have all eyes on them. I personally prefer to stay away from the center of attention, which might explain why I prefer soft, subtle scents over stronger ones.
I generally like to spend a bit more on a fragrance, so that one or two sprays in the morning can last me an entire day. I don’t have a lot of fragrances, but the ones I do have are my signature ones and I keep purchasing them over and over again.
Now, let’s move on to my favorites.
Good to know:Most of the fragrances I mention below are available in several types and variations. The specific fragrances I’ve tried out are all the initial and original fragrances, and they are all Eau de Parfums (often confused with Eau de Toilette).
Chloé Signature (Eau de Parfum)
Price: 65 EUR (30ml)
Scent: Lychee, damascena rose, magnolia, lily of the valley, amber, and cedarwood
This iconic Chloé fragrance has been around for quite a while yet never went out of style. This fragrance, like many others, comes in several variations. However, the Signature one has always remained my favorite. The Chloé Signature EdP fragrance has a very light, classic, and floral yet recognizable scent. I personally do find that the fragrance fades off quite fast, it doesn’t last an entire day. But, to me, this wonderful scent outweighs this disadvantage. Also, this signature bottle is just too cute! (Here’s a little secret, I first fell in love with the packaging before I fell in love with the fragrance itself. The little bow made little marketing heart too happy.)
Carolina Herrera Good Girl (Eau de Parfum)
Price: 65 EUR (30ml)
Scent: Bulgarian rose, jasmine, orange blossom, praline, cinnamon, bergamot, lemon, tonka beans, sandalwood, cedarwood, cashmere, patchouli, amber and musk.
Another iconic fragrance, but not one that I would typically go for when looking for fragrances. The original Good Girl fragrance by Carolina Herrera is floral, but also quite heavy. This strong scent stays around all day (which might be exactly what you’re looking for). I personally think this fragrance is perfect for fancy dinners or big events, but I barely wear it to small gatherings. Like I mentioned before, strong fragrances make me feel too present which is not something I like. However, the feeling of walking past a group of people in a fancy restaurant and knowing that they’re all turning their heads to follow this amazing scent you’re wearing, that’s priceless. In fact, one of the reviews I read for this fragrance was titled “Compliments guaranteed!”, so that should say enough, right?
Tip: One of my friends described this fragrance as “perfect for marking your territory, if you know what I mean *wink*”.
Just like the Chloé Signature fragrance, my little marketing heart initially fell in love with the packaging. Because, let’s be honest, who could not want this classy stiletto standing on their dressing table?
Another floral, classic fragrance; one that I will forever associate with Julia Roberts. La Vie Est Belle was one of my first high-end fragrances that I absolutely adored. It is exactly what I’m looking for in a fragrance. Wearing this fragrance and smelling throughout the day just gives me a little boost of happiness, which is exactly what your favorite fragrance should be doing. La Vie Est Belle has this sophisticated scents, the kind that anyone could recognize out of a hundred others.
This fragrance is slightly more expensive than the Chloé Signature and Good Girl one, but then again, that should tell you something about the fragrance, right? This is the fragrance my aunt, my grandmother, my mother, and me, all have sitting on our dressing table and keep reaching for nearly every day. No matter your age, your personality type or occasion, La Vie Est Belle could be your newest go-to.
Miss Dior (Eau de Parfum)
Price: 75 EUR (30ml)
Scent: Bergamot from Calibria, rose from Grasse, rosewood; originally from Amazon
One year ago, I bought a set containing four miniature Miss Dior fragrances (once again, the packaging convinced me…). I already went through two little bottles, and one of them was the original Miss Dior fragrance. To be honest, I expected Dior to make their iconic Miss Dior fragrances just a tiny bit stronger. I’m loving the scent, but it just fades too quickly. Then again, this could also be because I haven’t used the spray fragrance yet, so let’s keep this topic open for discussion. The scent itself is wonderful, you can clearly notice the dominating rose scent and a hint of wood. In fact, if I would have to describe this fragrance in terms of seasons, I would associate it more with autumn than with spring.
In a way, the Miss Dior fragrance reminds of the Lancôme’s La Vie Est Belle, I can’t really put my finger on it yet (aside from the fact that they are similarly priced). So ,if we have similar fragrance preferences and you’re planning to purchase all the fragrances from this list, you might want to opt for either one instead of both.
“I refined her florality to make her vibrant and evocative. It had to sparkle like the feeling of being in love. A declaration of love, to love!”
François Demachy, Dior Perfumer-Creator.
Georgio Armani Sí
Price: 75 EUR (30ml)
Scent: Nectar of black currants, modern chypre and blond musk wood – with hints of freesia and may rose.
I bought this fragrance a while back in Spain. It had just come out and wasn’t really popular back then, but it was a good deal so I went for it and oh my- I can’t believe I doubted this fragrance! Sí reminds me of both Lancôme’s La Vie Est Belle and Miss Dior, it has a floral and wood-y scent that will stick around all day. When I describe this fragrance as subtle and elegant yet strong and deep at the same time, do you know what I mean? If not, I’m sorry, you’re going to have to smell this fragrance yourself and you’ll know that that is exactly how to describe it.
This fragrance is perfect for standing out but could also be worn as a subtle fragrance for small gatherings (one spray). Its versatility is one of the things I love most about this fragrance. I personally wouldn’t wear Sí every day, but it’s a wonderful go-to fragrance for events.
Those are my five favorite fragrances and as they’re mostly classics, I’m convinced that most of them will become my all-time favorites. I still want to try out Georgio Armani’s My Way, I’ve heard some really great things about that one. If you have any recommendations, feel free to leave them below!
Unfortunately, I’m not wearing fragrances as often as I’d like because we’re simply not able to go out as much. Hopefully, this summer will be a great opportunity to go out more and show off some great outfits, makeup looks, jewelry combinations, and of course, iconic fragrances. But before then, let’s make sure to all stay safe and avoid crowded places, wear your masks, get your vaccine, and keep yourself and others healthy.
Today I’ll be telling you all about my all-time favorite (and affordable) foundation: the Maybelline New York Fit Me Matte + Poreless foundation! Before we dive into the review, let me start by telling you two things about this foundation.
1. This foundation comes in several types.
This is the range for dry to normal skin:
Luminous + Smooth
Hydrate + Smooth
Dewy + Smooth
Maybelline New York didn’t really create a range for normal to oily skin. For this skintype they only created the following foundation:
Matte + Poreless
As I have a combination skin (dry areas and oily areas), I only tried out the MNY Fit Me Matte + Poreless foundation, which means that I cannot guarantee that my review and personal experiences will also apply to the other foundation types.
2. The MNY Fit Me foundations are available in a bottle (right) and tube (left) format.
I have tried both and genuinely couldn’t find any difference. The quantity of the bottle and tube are both 30ml. The bottle looks more luxurious but for someone with limited space or frequent travelers, you might want to go for the tube packaging. In my experience, the product quality is entirely the same.
Now, let’s start with the review!
What does the internet say?
The Maybelline New York Fit Me Matte + Poreless foundation is priced around 10 EUR and available in most drugstores worldwide.
Fit Me® Matte + Poreless Foundation face makeup. Mattifies and refines pores and leaves a natural, seamless finish.
Ideal for normal to oily skin, our exclusive formula with micro-powders controls shine and blurs pores. Leaves a natural, seamless finish. Dermatologist tested.Allergy tested. Non-comedogenic.
Apply foundation onto skin and blend with fingertips or an applicator and blend.
The foundation is available in over 40 shades, but the available shades in drugstores may vary.
Based on reviews on the Maybelline New York website and independent review site, the Maybelline New York Fit Me Matte + Poreless foundation scores an average of 4 out of 5 stars.
What are my first impressions?
I know I might be a bit too biased as this foundation is one of my personal favorites, so I’m trying my best to stay objective and look at both the pros and cons of this foundation. The shade that matches my skin tone the best is 250 (sun beige).
First off, I think that Maybelline New York has increased the coverage of this foundation over the years. I first tried out the Matte + Poreless foundation as it came out in 2016, and I definitely do not remember the coverage being this great back then. I still had a very clear and even skin back then, and felt like the foundation was more of a BB-cream to me. That’s why it wasn’t love at first sight, and I kept looking for that ‘perfect’ foundation. A year ago I decided to give this foundation a try again. My skin changed a lot over the years, I have discolorations around my mouth and eyes and I have quite some acne spots. So you can image, I was pretty skeptic about using this foundation again. However, this time, the MNY Fit Me Matte + Poreless managed to cover it all up. Whatever MNY did to the formula, I’m thankful!
The foundation has a smooth texture, not too liquid but not too dry. Just a small amount can go a long way, which is why most of my MNY foundation tubes last me months or even up to a year (daily use).
The MNY Matte + Poreless foundation is one of the reasons I stopped buying high-end foundations about a year ago. It’s way more affordable, the quality is the same (if not better) and it’s just way easier to carry around for traveling. Of course I still have one high-end foundation, which is the Huda Beauty Faux Filter foundation, but I haven’t touched it in nearly a year (also partly because of lockdown).
The foundation has a medium to high coverage (with layering) and stays on all day. However, if you have oily skin, the occasional powder touch-up might be necessary; this also depends on the intensity of your day.
In conclusion, I’m a big big fan of the MNY Matte + Poreless foundation. I’m convinced that, when you have a dry to normal skin, the other MNY Fit Me foundation types might be better for you and you will be just as satisfied! Even if you aren’t entirely convinced yet, the foundation is available in most drugstores and incredibly affordable, so it might just be worth the try.
And of course, for any skincare or make-up routine goes: don’t forget to wear your SPF! Spring has arrived, sunnier days are coming so it’s even more important to really apply your SPF and keep re-applying (consider SPF-powders). But more on (the different kinds of) SPF in another post!
Hey there! Today I’m going to review one of my all-time favorite foundations: the Huda Beauty #FauxFilter Luminous Matte foundation! I purchased this foundation as soon as it arrived to Sephora, and I’ve been loving it ever since!
Okay so first off, I only have two foundations. I’m using the Maybelline New York Fit Me! foundation for everyday wear, and I’m using the Huda Beauty #FauxFilter foundation for special occasions such as parties, dinners and other social gatherings because of its full coverage (even with one layer!).
What does the internet say?
Huda Beauty’s #FauxFilter foundation is priced at $40, so it definitely does not qualify as an affordable makeup product. However, the quantity (and quality) might compensate with the price.
Huda Beauty offers the foundation in 40 different shades with 4 undertones, which makes it perfect for every skin tone. However, this wide range also makes it harder to find the perfect shade: more on this in an upcoming post!
#FauxFilter is back with the same full coverage and long-lasting properties, you know and love from the OG formula, but with 24-hour flexible wear, a luminous matte finish AND… it’s fragrance-free!
The true filter effect gives instant coverage so seamless that it immediately unifies skin tone and texture as it blurs skin to give a radiant finish. The non-cakey formula is life proof (waterproof, super long wear (24hr), transfer proof, fade proof, sweat proof, humidity proof.) No matter what the weather, occasion or situation, #FauxFilter Luminous Matte will NEVER let you down.
Formula: Liquid Coverage: Full Finish: Matte, Luminous
Note: When I bought my first Faux Filter foundation, it wasn’t fragrance-free and didn’t qualify as non-comedogenic, so a major shoutout to Huda Beauty for improving this!
What are my first impressions?
The first thing I noticed when I saw the bottle, was the quantity. In fact, my first bottle last me two years (!). I know that most makeup products have an expiration date, but the foundation was still in perfect shape and I think $40 is a bit too much to just throw away a half-full bottle because it might or might not have exceeded its expiration date.
My first shade was Toffee, and after that I tried Tres Leches. Both shades seemed to match my skintone in the store, but as soon as I applied it at home and went outside, I could see that it wasn’t quite the right shade for me. It wasn’t a very obvious difference and mixing it with a lighter concealer often did the trick, but when I eventually tried out Dulce De Leche (350G), that’s when I knew I finally found the perfect match.
I also noticed the full coverage while I was blending the foundation for the first time. I expected to have to layer to obtain a full coverage look, but you only need as little as one pump. If you’re not looking for that full coverage look, you might even be okay with half a pump.
It’s important to know that the Faux Filter foundation is definitely not ‘lightweight’, you can feel and see that you’re wearing makeup but it doesn’t make you look cakey or oily which is just great.
If you’re ready to invest in a good full coverage foundation, this is the one! Whether you’ve got oily, dry, and/or sensitive skin, Huda Beauty’s #FauxFilter Luminous Matte foundation is perfect for every skin tone and skin type!
As I mentioned in my previous post(s), I’m a huge advocate for simple and effective skincare. No more tons of serums, face washes, facial oils, or harmful exfoliators or peelings. Right now, I’m trying to use the bare minimum and it’s working great for me so far.
I had been reading about La Roche Posay’s skincare products for quite a while, but I never really thought much of it. Then one day, I noticed that my local pharmacy also sold the La Roche Posay Effaclar line and I realized that maybe it really is as good as people claim it to be. As someone who has been battling acne for quite a few years now, I was intrigued and started a thorough research into the Effaclar line.
In this post I will be reviewing the La Roche Posay Effaclar DUO+ Acne treatment and the Purifying Foaming Gel.
La Roche Posay Effaclar DUO+ Acne Treatment
**La Roche Posay Effaclar DUO+ is also available with SPF or with a tint, I used the original one.
What does the internet say?
First off, I realized that the products were not as expensive as I initially thought. The Effaclar DUO+ is priced between €10-€15, with a typical quantity of 40ml in one tube.
The cream claims to effectively target impurities such as existing and upcoming pimples, avoiding them from coming back (anti-return effect); and lighten and avoid acne scars. This shows that the cream is mainly meant for acne-prone skin. The cream quickly absorbs without leaving a trace on the skin. One of the cream’s main ingredients, niacinamide, gives a matte finish. La Roche Posay claims that one should be able to see a significant difference within 12 hours.
Good to know:
Tested on oily acne prone skin, severe and recurring blemishes, and stubborn scars.
Tested on over 6,700 subjects, all skin tones *
Tested under dermatological control
Excellent make-up base
Dermatological observational study – 2 months of use, 6 photo types.
Main ingredients and their purposes:
Procerad: prevents the formation of red or brown scars.
Mannose: stimulates skin regeneration.
APF: helps restore the skin balance for a long time.
How to use: 1. Cleanse skin thoroughly with the Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel. 2. Apply a thin layer to the whole face every morning and evening. Only a small amount of cream is needed. 3. Avoid getting this product in your eyes, nose or mouth, or on any broken skin as this may cause irritation. If contact occurs, rinse the area immediately and thoroughly. 4. Apply Effaclar Duo (+) to help hydrate the skin, target pimples and reduce breakout recurrences.
I bought the La Roche Posay Effaclar DUO+ and the Purifying Foaming Gel on Black Friday 2020, and couldn’t wait to start using them. I read about some people who mentioned that usage of the Effaclar cream and purifying gel should not be started at the same time, because apparently the skin needs to be given time to get used to the cream first before you start using anything else (this advice came from a pharmacist where they bought it from). This is why I first started using the Effaclar DUO+ for a week, and started using the Purifying Foaming Gel after.
I noticed right away that the Effaclar DUO+ felt very comfortable on my skin. Even though it’s not supposed to leave a ‘trace’ on the skin aside from a mattifying effect, it felt like satin to me. In my opinion, the cream didn’t feel very moisturizing (I expected it to because I was going to use it as a moisturizer in the AM and PM), but since I have an incredibly oily skin I didn’t mind. If you have dry skin, you might want to apply another moisturizer on top of the Effaclar DUO+ (such as the La Roche Posay Effaclar-H Multi-Compensating Soothing Moisturizer)
The main thing I noticed after using this cream for two months was that I did not get any major breakouts anymore. I do still get the occasional pimple (once in a few weeks) that can be fairly hard to get rid of, but as long as the huge breakouts stay away I am more than content. However, I did not notice any difference in the appearance of my hyperpigmentation which was a bit disappointing. The redness from my hyperpigmentation seemed to have reduced, but my hyperpigmentation itself is still as visible.
I am still using the Effaclar DUO+ every morning and evening, after my niacinamide serum (check out my review on The Ordinary’s niacinamide serum here) and I am incredibly satisfied. Truthfully, I was already happy when I didn’t get any allergic reactions or breakouts from the product itself which I was a bit afraid of initially, as my skin is very sensitive. If you’ve got oily, acne-prone and sensitive skin, you definitely want to give La Roche Posay’s Effaclar DUO+ a try.
If you’re solely trying to get rid of your hyperpigmentation, I would opt for something else.
If you are looking for an effective acne treatment but you have normal to dry skin, La Roche Posay developed the Effaclar-H Multi-Compensating Soothing Moisturizer, which you can apply after the DUO+ treatment. This will keep your skin from getting dehydrated which makes the Effaclar line also useful for people with dry skin.
La Roche Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel
*The La Roche Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel is available in a triangular tube (200ml) and round bottle with a pump (400ml), the ingredients are exactly the same.
What does the internet say?
The La Roche Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel has a similar pricing as the Effaclar DUO+, varying from €10-€15 (depending on the packaging).
La Roche Posay’s Effaclar Foaming Gel is a mild cleanser targeted on young, oily and acne-prone skin. The Foaming Gel is formulated with thermal water from La Roche-Posay, which has calming and irritation-avoidant features.
Good to know:
Foaming, lightly scented and hypoallergenic gel texture
Tested under dermatological control
pH 5.5 (physiological)
Against impurities and excessive sebum
For oily skin, blemished skin, acne-prone skin
How to use:
The Foaming Effaclar Gel may be used 1 to 2 times a day (morning and / or evening).
In the hands, lather the gel with some water and massage gently on the face. Rinse thoroughly with water.
The Foaming Gel is indeed very mild and gentle on my skin, the first thing I noticed is how my skin wasn’t left with an immense redness after washing my face (which I usually get from harsh cleansers). I was also happy to find out the product itself didn’t cause any breakouts, as I have a very sensitive skin. I am convinced that this product, in combination with the La Roche Posay Effaclar DUO+, is the reason that I haven’t had any major breakouts ever since I started using the products.
In my opinion, there are a few turn-offs that come with this product though. One of them is the fact that the product contains sulfates, which I am not a big fan of (and you shouldn’t be either). Sulfates are not the best for your skin, but I think it might have been necessary for the gel’s purposes. Another turn-off is that the gel is not the best cleanser for (waterproof) makeup. It’s a good thing that we’re mostly staying home right now and not wearing much makeup, so the cleanser is fine for now. But when the time comes that we start going out to the office or school every day, I might need to use another kind of cleanser before or after, to make sure no traces of makeup are left on my skin.
In my opinion, La Roche Posay Purifying Foaming Gel does what it claims to do. I also like the fact that La Roche Posay is honest and transparent of the product containing sulfates, which many brands usually don’t. This cleanser is great for anyone with oily skin, as it effectively reduces excess sebum (which causes oily skin) and keeps acne at bay as much as possible. If you’re someone who wears lots of waterproof makeup, you might want to consider using another type of cleanser before or after this one, or opt for another cleanser altogether if you’d like to keep your routine as simple as possible.
Good morning! I hope you’re all doing well and staying healthy; both physically and mentally.
Looking back at 2020, I think it is safe to say that this was the most challenging year many of us have ever been through. Some lost their jobs, some are still fearing for their job, some couldn’t graduate on time, some lost a loved one and couldn’t say goodbye, some are having trouble dealing with a full house at all times, and some are experiencing a terrible loneliness. All we could do was sit at home, find ways to keep ourselves sane and hope that 2021 would be better and more promising. But, through all the stress, anxiety and worrying the past year has caused us, we tend to forget about the positive aspects; because we also learned a lot. We learned how to be alone without being lonely (and some are still learning, and that’s totally OK!); we learned to be more creative in order to keep ourselves busy, to keep in touch with loved ones or to keep our businesses standing; and perhaps the most important lesson of all: we learned to listen to ourselves, our needs and wants, and we started spending more time on self care and researching mental health. We got to know ourselves better on a physical and mental level, and that might be one of the most positive things 2020 taught us.
And then, as if things weren’t hard enough already, several more infectious mutations of the coronavirus made their entrance and resulted in new lockdowns in many countries worldwide. This second (and in some countries third!) lockdown feels harder than ever, and at this point we’re very close to giving up on all our plans for 2021 as well. However, I’m definitely not thinking that all hope is lost for this year as well. In fact, I’m still quite hopeful. I mean, we didn’t expect to just leave COVID-19 behind in the past year just like we did with our toxic friends and bad habits, right? If only it were that easy…
The new year started off with fresh hope and positivity: the vaccines. Even though there is still a lot of controversy surrounding the vaccines, at this point they are one of the few things that could help us get our normal lives back faster. The other thing? That would be us listening to our government’s restrictions by staying home as much as we can, wearing our face masks and avoiding unnecessary social meetings.
And now, the reason why you’re really here: how the hell are you going to survive another lockdown?!
1. Accept the situation
Okay, yes, we were all hoping that 2021 would be a better and more promising year for all of us. Now we’re approaching February and things didn’t get as good as we had hoped yet, making it hard to keep up that optimism. I am not going to tell you that everything is going to be okay (which it eventually will) because we all know that’s not making anything better. Instead, I am going to tell you to sit back or lay down, take three deep breaths, and realize that you as an individual cannot change this uncertain and scary situation. The entire world is fighting against this pandemic and we are all struggling, some more than others but that definitely doesn’t make your struggles any less serious.
You can spend hours, days, weeks or even months worrying about the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths, overcrowded hospitals, people protesting against the restrictions and much more. But is your worrying going to improve the situation? If anything, you’ll only end up feeling worse and more anxious and the situation will not have changed a single thing. In conclusion: try to accept the situation you’re in. Tempted to check the latest news every other hour? Try turning off notifications for news apps or social media notifications and limit your time to check up on news to one hour day, let’s say between 3PM and 4PM. This gives you enough time to catch up on anything you missed in your country and/or around the world and after that, you can tell yourself it’s time to focus on other things now.
Also important: Your feelings and emotions are extremely valid and you should acknowledge them. It is totally okay to feel sad, anxious, mad, confused or depressed. Accept the current situation we’re in, but also accept the way you’re feeling.
2. Stay in Touch
We all know that the best thing to do right now is stay at home and physically isolate ourselves from the outside world. This makes it tempting to isolate ourselves altogether, as you don’t see your colleagues, friends or family as often as you used to. During the first lockdown, many people decided to focus on themselves and get their sh*t together while (often unconsciously) ‘abandoning their loved ones’ for a little while. This isolating behavior is more common than you might think, among all generations.
Sometimes you just want to stay away from your electronic devices and spend the day watching your favorite TV show, going for a walk in nature, reading that book you haven’t touched since you bought it or finally pick up a brush and start painting again; and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. In fact, I encourage you to do all that! Be creative, find a new hobby, learn a new skill, explore your neighborhood, you should! But this does not mean you don’t need any social interactions at all, because you do.
If you are one of these people who tend to isolate often or if you know someone who is, you know better than anyone how easy it is to assume that “they don’t check up on me so they don’t like me” or “he hasn’t replied to my text in days, maybe he’s mad at me?”. Instead of assuming, tell yourself to ‘be the bigger person’ and communicate. Double-text them, make that phone call, visit that someone, start the conversation again, it will be appreciated because god knows we all need to have that someone in our lives right now. Now more than ever, we all need someone to share our thoughts and feelings with. Whereas last year we simply would’ve gone for a cup of coffee, brunch or dinner to catch up with someone; right now a (video) call or text will have to do.
TIP: Show your genuine interest and ask deeper, more meaningful questions.
Also important: We’re humans, and we judge, a lot. Sometimes we’re aware of our judgmental behaviour, and sometimes we’re not. Either way, that’s okay. But now that we’re all living in uncertainty with lots of extra time on our hands, it is even more tempting to find out how other people are coping. But here’s the thing, try not to judge someone on their social media activity! By now you must know that people always share their successes, achievements and good times, never failures and bad times. Maybe that one friend who keeps sharing her new recipes, paintings, yoga tricks and WFH-tips on her Instagram-story is struggling with loneliness, staying awake all night worrying about her uncertain future while being triggered by dark, scary thoughts. At the same time, you’re making yourself feel bad because she’s oh-so-active and seems to be handling it all so well. No, this does not mean you should be DM’ing your entire following-list to make sure they’re all doing okay (unless you want to, that’s fine too, I guess), just make sure to never assume anything based on what you see on social media.
3. Find Structure and A Routine
Now that we’re all working or studying from home, it’s hard to keep your professional, academic and personal lives separate. We’re replying to work emails while walking around in PJ’s, we’re attending online classes while still laying in bed…We’re waking up later, going to bed later, and basically we’re doing everything we couldn’t dream of doing before COVID-19. For the first few weeks, this was all okay and sometimes it was even fun! But now that we’re heading into another lockdown, you can feel the lack of structure and a routine taking a toll on your mental health.
This is why I advise you to plan your days or week ahead and create some structure for yourself. For instance, free up some time on a Sunday afternoon to sit with your agenda and your to-do list. What are you going to do next week, and when? Also don’t forget to schedule in some time for yourselves, which can be as easy as a 15-minute walk around the block or a long, hot bath with candles and a glass of wine (preferably on a Friday, in case the wine-drinking gets out of hand and you end up waking up with a terrible headache….).
Why is structure so important? You see, if you wake up at irregular times every single morning with no routine or planning for the day ahead, your mind gets confused and you automatically start feeling unproductive and unmotivated. Both of which you probably cannot use right now, as following online classes or meetings are hard enough as they are already. Structure is also important because it gives us a kind of certainty, something we’ve been craving for nearly a year now. No, we still don’t know how long this pandemic will last and we still cannot plan our plans for spring break or the summer. In fact, we don’t even know if we’ll be able to spend the Holidays this December with our entire family again. Lots of uncertainties, so if we can successfully create a certainty for the following week, it can only do us good. Let’s focus on the present and the short-term future right now, the long-term future is yet to be decided and that is okay.
4. Spend Your Free Time Wisely
Nearly one year ago, out-of-nowhere, we stopped waking up early to get ready for work, school or other responsibilities. From that moment on, all we had to do is look appropriate enough for a Teams or ZOOM meetings that only take up a few hours of your day.
We lost the everyday routine that we were so used to and we’re not sure what to do instead. You’re aware that you have more free time than ever, yet we still tend to do the things we’re comfortable with (A.K.A. Netflix! All! Day! Long!). We know it’s not healthy and we know we can do better, but we don’t. We’re getting lazy! But why not use all this free time to do the things you never had the time to do?
What worked for me was finding a new hobby and picking up two other hobbies that I didn’t have the time for anymore. The new hobby I turned out to love a lot is painting. On Instagram, I saw a few of my friends who picked up painting and they all seemed to be incredibly talented; or was it just really easy? I decided to try it out for myself I ended up loving it. For me, it was more about the relaxation and calmness it brings to my mind. I don’t really care too much about the results, I just love putting all my thoughts and energy into creating something. From that moment on, I started painting a few times a week.
The two hobbies I picked up again were learning Spanish and reading romantic comedy novels. Ever since I came back from Spain, I didn’t have anyone to speak Spanish with anymore. I went back to speaking Dutch all the time and almost entirely forgot my Spanish knowledge. Then, a few months ago, my Spanish cousin called me and I realized how much I was struggling to understand her. This shocked me because I used to perfectly be able to communicate with her when I visited her in Spain. This made me want to start learning again, I started listening to Spanish podcasts at night, analyzing the lyrics of my favorite Spanish songs and I even started talking to myself, in Spanish! It’s been working great so far.
Other hobbies, skills or activities to keep yourself active and productive could be writing (blogs, novels, poems, etc.), playing an instrument, yoga, drawing, following an online course, etc.
Why is it so important to fill your free time with activities rather than watching Netflix all day? Because when you do, you get this feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day; and that feeling of accomplishment is much needed now that we are not physically going to the office or school anymore.
5. Get Outside & Keep Moving!
Many countries have closed their gyms during lockdown, and if the gyms in your country are open you might still hesitate to go (totally understandable!). However, it is still important to keep moving. When we work from home or follow classes from the comfort of our warm and cozy beds, it is incredibly tempting to stay in all day and not get any fresh air at all. You might consider going outside for your weekly (or every-other-day) trip to the grocery store to be enough, but it simply is not. Aside from not getting enough fresh air, we tend to eat more now that we spend more time at home. Another reason to get some exercise! A daily 20-minute walk or run will suffice, as long as you get yourself out there. In addition to the walk outside, you can opt for at-home workouts (yoga, pilates, muscle training, etc.). Whatever you choose, make sure to keep moving!
When you live in a crowded city or if you have a busy lifestyle (despite WFH), you’re more likely to get stressed, neglect your (mental) health and get a burn-out. To avoid this, try implementing simple selfcare methods in your everyday routine, such as a no-phone walk outside.
TIP: Consider a weekly walk in nature to calm the mind and gather your thoughts (which means no phone, no music, just you and your mind!). You might not think you need it; but before you judge, try it first. Really. You’re going to love it.
I hope these tips and little bits of advice have given you more inspiration and motivation for another lockdown. It’s an incredibly weird and uncertain time and we’re all trying to make our way through, you’re definitely not alone in this. If you do need someone to talk to, someone to give you advice or simply someone who wants to listen to you, feel free to send me an e-mail (email@example.com) or contact me on any of my social media profiles.
Hi all! First off, happy new year to all of you! Let’s hope for 2021 to be much and much better than the rough year we left behind, filled with lots of happiness, love, laughter and perhaps the most important one of all, good health.
Let’s get straight to the point, because this post is a must-read for pretty much everyone who likes an occasional DIY face mask or natural remedies for skin issues.
By now we all know skincare is incredibly important and not to be underestimated. Young and old, men and women, almost everyone has started taking (better) care of their delicate skin; which creates the perfect opportunity for brands to develop their own skincare line. In a world where status and reputation matters more than ever, people are willing to spend crazy money on skincare that might not be as effective or healthy for your skin as it claims to be. Your skin is the one thing that will stay with you your entire life, so you really do want to treat it as delicately and carefully as a newborn baby.
Not everyone can afford or wants to spend lots of money on skincare products which is totally understandable, most of the time you’re paying for the brand anyways. This is why people start looking at other options: DIY skincare. Homemade face masks, lip balms, moisturizers, etc. It’s easy to believe that these actually work since you’re making it yourself, and you know exactly what you put in it. You’re most likely only using natural ingredients, so what’s the harm? Unfortunately, it’s not that easy.
There is quite a list of ingredients influencers claim can do wonders for your skin, but in reality they can do more harm than good. Take a look at the list below and the reasons why you should think twice before you apply them to your face.
Disclaimer: I am no dermatologist, skincare specialist, or esthetician. For serious skincare issues, doubts or worries, you definitely want to consult a professionalor see a doctor.
1. Lemon (juice)
For many people, lemon juice is considered a holy grail for quickly drying out pimples or to lighten / brighten (acne) scars. It is believed that it works when you feel it burning, but in fact the exact opposite is happening. If you’re putting something, anything, on your skin and it starts burning right away, this means you applied it to an open wound (no matter how minor) or the product is so acidic it’s breaking through your skin barrier. Either way, the burn and tingling sensation you’re feeling do not mean it’s working, it means you’re permanently damaging your skin. Even when it doesn’t burn, lemon juice is a highly acidic liquid which harms the skin barriers and messes up its pH-level. This makes your skin even more sensitive to sun exposure, making you more prone to hyperpigmentation (chances are this is one of the reasons you wanted to put lemon juice on your face to begin with).
I hoped this helped you realize that there are so many side effects and consequences that outweigh the benefits of lemon juice, which will hopefully make you want to steer clear of putting lemon juice on your face. If, for some reason, you still want to apply lemon juice to (a part of) your face; consider watering it down with only 1/3 lemon juice. Want to read more about lemon juice and why you should not be putting it on your face? Check out this article from the True Skin Care Center.
Tip: Whether you have a damaged skin, are prone to hyperpigmentation or your skin is perfectly healthy: always wear your SPF! The lighter your skin tone or the more damaged or sensitive your skin (especially when you’re going through facial treatments such as chemical peels, lasering or microdermabrasion), the higher the SPF you should be putting on your face. Also keep in mind that SPF only works for 2-3 hours, make sure to re-apply, even in the winter or if you’re staying in all day! If you’re wearing makeup throughout the day, consider using a transparent SPF spray. Not sure which SPF spray will work for you? Take a look at this article from Health.com!
Toothpaste is often used as a DIY ingredient to dry out pimples or remove blackheads. If you’ve used this method before, you probably noticed your pimple turning red after you removed the toothpaste. This redness is caused by its strong ingredients, and these strong ingredients can lead to burns and infections. Yes, in some cases toothpaste manages to make pimples disappear overnight but most of the time, it only makes it worse. This is why you might want to look for safer options to treat your acne, preferably something that contains salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. A well-known acne remedy is the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion which dries out the pimple, making it shrink faster (note: the drying lotion has to be applied multiple times and usually cannot miraculously make pimples disappear).
3. Baking Soda
Baking soda might be the most popular DIY ingredient for skincare right now. People are claiming it can dry out pimples, brighten the skin, lighten dark spots, smoothen skin texture, minimize pores, etc. Truthfully, I am not saying baking soda does not work for any of these issues because I’ve tried it in the past and it often worked great. But! Baking soda harms your skin’s pH-level and will most likely cause skin damage in the long term. When your skin’s pH-level is disturbed, it can cause breakouts which is exactly what you don’t want, right?
If, for some reason, you still want to apply baking soda to (a part of) your face; consider watering it down with only 1/3 baking soda.
Tip: A lot of the ingredients in this list can harm the skin because they disturb the skin’s pH-level, so what products are safe for your skin? These are often products developed by dermatologists, labeled non-comedogenic or labeled to be pH-neutral. If you want to be entirely sure, research the product’s ingredients and try to find out if any of the ingredients can affect the pH-level. Some types of products (such as exfoliators) are highly acidic and will therefore always disturb the skin’s pH-level, which is why it is often recommended to use another product before or afterwards to balance the pH-level. The popular science-based skincare brand The Ordinary is incredibly transparent about its ingredients and offers lots of information about their products’ pH-levels, it’s worth taking a look if you often use acid exfoliators, serums or chemical peels. Take a look at my review of The Ordinary’s most popular skincare products.
4. Coconut oil
Many people swear by oil-cleansing as it is believed that oils are more effective in removing waterproof makeup. Natural coconut oil does not contain very harmful or damaging ingredients, but you might still want to avoid it if you have an oily skin. Coconut oil takes time to get absorbed into the skin, and if you already have an oily skin the oils will clog your pores, eventually leading to breakouts.
Tip: When you have oily and/or acne-prone skin, it is tempting to start using harsh products filled with chemicals you might never have heard of, hoping to ‘fix your face’. But the thing is, the only thing that your skin will really benefit from is taking gentle care of it. I’m sure you heard of the expression “Less is More”, and that really is the case. You don’t need 3 cleansers, 4 serums, 2 exfoliators and a bunch of weird moisturizers. Pick skincare products you really need and make sure they’re mild and gentle for the skin.
5. Hair spray
Okay, so this one really shocked me, but apparently people are using hair spray as a setting spray for their makeup? Please, please don’t! Hair spray always contains alcohol (unless it is specifically labeled alcohol-free). The alcohol decreases the moisture level of your skin, leading to dry and dull skin, and long-term use of hair spray on your skin can lead to faster aging symptoms such as fine lines and wrinkles.
Tip:If you’re often wearing (lots of) makeup for long days, you should consider investing in a good setting spray to apply while and/or after applying your makeup. Believe me, it will be worth it. One of the best setting sprays right now, based on customer reviews? That would be Urban Decay’s All Nighter Long-Lasting makeup setting spray.
6. Hot water
Showering with (nearly boiling) hot water just feels good, I’ll admit it, I love it. However, our skin? Not a fan. Hot water can severely burn our skin, and you might not even notice it right away. When you wash your face or get out of the shower and your skin is all red, that’s a sign that your water might have been too hot. Lower the temperature to lukewarm to make sure you and your skin feel comfortable and you’re not causing any harm.
7. Essential oils
Essential oils have grown more and more popular over the years, people are using it in baths, on hair, on the body, in (facial) steamers, on pillowcases and even directly on the skin. But the thing, is essential oils have the potential to severely damage and irritate the skin. It is always recommended to avoid sensitive areas such as the eyes, ears and mouth but I would strongly advise you to avoid putting essential oils on your skin at all. Most of the time, it’s not really doing anything for your skin except giving off an extremely strong smell (which can never be good for the skin). Keep your essential oils in your bath, and avoid putting them directly on the skin.
Mayonnaise is considered an effective ingredient in DIY face or hair masks. And while it works like a miracle for your hair (try adding eggs to your mayonnaise hair mask, a guaranteed success!), your skin is not going to like it. Mayonnaise is highly acidic, which disturbs the skin’s pH-level and can clog your pores, both of which can lead to breakouts. Some ingredients in mayonnaise, such as egg yolk and soya, can also lead to allergic reactions. Keep putting mayonnaise in your hair and definitely keep dipping your fries in it, as long as you keep it far away from your delicate skin!
9. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
Apple cider vinegar is believed to dry out acne without leaving any scars, or even make old acne scars disappear. Technically, this is true. ACV contains acetic acid which could help with these issues.. But just like lemon juice, using pure ACV will only burn and irritate your skin. If you’d really like to use ACV, consider mixing it with water (1/2 water and 1/2 apple cider vinegar).
Tip: Make sure your apple cider vinegar isn’t too old. As it grows old, the water leaves the vinegar which makes it stronger and ends up doing more harm than good for your skin.
10. (Electric) Cleansing Brush
Two to three years ago, electric cleansing brushes were a huge hype. Brands encouraged their customers to use the brush every morning and every day for “optimal results”. Later scientific studies showed that daily use for electric cleansing brushes actually disturbed the skin barrier resulting in (often invisible) damage. According to dermatologists, cleansing brushes are not necessary at all. A mild face wash and your fingertops are often enough to clean your face. Everyday usage of a cleansing brush can also damage your pores and lead to irritation such as acne flares and other skin problems. Try using your cleansing brush every 2 or 3 days to avoid damaging your skin.
I know this post contained a lot of information, some of which you maybe already knew and some things might have been entirely new for you. Eitherway, use this information well to take even better care of your precious skin.
A last tip: there are a number of skincare brands that are either developed or backed by dermatologists and labeled non-comedogenic (meaning they don’t contain ingredients that are known for causing breakouts or allergic reactions). If you want to keep your skincare routine as simple and mild as possible (recommended!), consider the following brands that are available in both the US, Asia and Europe: Cerave, Cetaphil, Murad, Neutrogena & La Roche-Posay.
Today I want to talk to you about a major (and for some even essential) skincare topic that you might want to consider. As most of you might know, I am obsessed with trying out new skincare products, from high-end moisturizers to Korean cleansers and “underdog” serums. However, do we really know what we’re putting on our face? Since I’ve had some more time on my hands these past few months, I’ve been doing some research into skincare ingredients (e.g., what they mean, what they do for your skin, what can and cannot be combined, etc.) and I realized that a lot of our favorite products are filled with ingredients that can either harm our skin (if not now, then in the long run) or are simply not doing anything good or effective and therefore, unnecessary.
In this post I will be talking about a number of labels and terms on skincare products that you might want to pay attention to. If you have an easy, non-sensitive and non-problematic skin, I can imagine you don’t see a reason to switch up your skincare routine. And, as long as you’re still aware of what you’re putting on your face, that’s okay! But if you find yourself struggling with acne, blackheads, oily skin, large pores, redness or simply cannot maintain a balanced skin (aside from hormonal issues)- you should consider looking for the following labels and terms on your next skincare products.
If you’re dealing with oily-skin and nothing seems to work for you, try specifically looking for oil-free products. If the product isn’t meant for sebum regulation or mattifying purposes or if it doesn’t specifically mention “oil-free” on the packaging, chances are that the product contains some ingredients that will lead to an oily skin throughout the day. I personally have always dealt with oily skin. No matter whether it was warm and humid or freezing cold, my skin would always get shiny a few hours after my skincare / makeup routine. I would blot my T-zone several times a day and the oils would still come through. So, when I read about the difference switching to oil-free products could make, I did not hesitate for one second and started looking up suitable products. Now, all my skincare and makeup products are water-based instead of oil-based, and I switched my Teaology Rose Tea Micellar Cleansing Water to the Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-Free Toner. I can’t be too optimistic, applying this toner in the AM and PM does not guarantee that your skin won’t get oily throughout the day. But the times I need to blot my T-zone has drastically decreased and that’s something, isn’t it?
Despite popular beliefs that alcohol is good for drying out acne and oily skin, it’s probably for the best if you try to avoid alcohol on your skin. It doesn’t even sound right, does it? Shortly put, alcohol is too harsh, too drying and too damaging to the skin’s protective barrier. This means that the skin won’t be able to lock in moisture and will therefore cause dryness, irritations and even breakouts. But…there are also “good” kinds of alcohol (no, not the mojito you’re planning to have this Saturday night!). These good kinds of alcohol (A.K.A fatty alcohols) are derived from vegetables. Fatty alcohols (often indicated as Cetearyl, Stearyl, Cetyl and Behenyl in an ingredient list) help emulsifying purposes. This means that, for instance, they help keep the product together so that the oil and water don’t separate. Fatty alcohols do not dry or irritate the skin at all and are therefore safe to use. So, don’t shy away from all products that mention ‘alcohol’ in their ingredient list, make sure to check if it’s the good or bad kind first.
Let’s be honest here, most of our favorite skincare products contain fragrances (sometimes also indicated as “perfume”in an ingredient list). Several studies have shown that fragrances in skincare products are the most common cause of sensitizing and other negative skin reactions. This goes for all skin types, not just if you’re dealing with sensitivity, redness- or acne-prone skin. If you’re not noticing any damage to your skin, that doesn’t mean your skin is not hurting. Our skin is very good at hiding when it’s being aggravated, and it will come back to haunt you in the long run. So if you can, opt for fragrance-free skincare products. Click here for an article by Paula’s Choice on why you should be choosing fragrance-free products. This was a hard one for me because I found out that the majority of my go-to skincare products contained fragrances. However, I did manage to switch my Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer to the CeraVe Facial Moisturising Lotion (which is even cheaper!).
Non-comedogenic is a term used to describe skincare and make-up products that are formulated in a certain way that they are not likely to cause pore blockages and breakouts. When a product is labeled non-comedogenic, it means that the product does not contain any ingredients that are known to clog pores. Especially if you’re struggling with acne, you might want to consider purchasing non-comedogenic skincare products and make-up. Click here for more reasons to be using non-comedogenic products.
Parabens are ingredients that should be avoided altogether: in makeup, skincare and even in hair products! But why? Parabens disrupt the hormone functioning by mimicking oestrogen. Still don’t see the harm? Too much oestrogen can trigger an increase in breast cell division and growth of tumors. Several studies have linked paraben use to breast cancer and reproductive issues. For more (detailed) information about this, check out this article by ELLE Magazine.
The main reason you should be avoiding silicones in your skincare is because it clogs your pores. Silicones trap everything like bacteria, impurities, dirt and sebum in your skin by forming a barrier on the skin (this is why most make-up primers are silicone-based!). Silicones can cause large pores, acne and blackheads so try to avoid it as much as possible! Check out this article by Fitglow Beauty for 9 other reasons to avoid silicone (although this one should have been enough…).
I’m not going to sugarcoat it, finding average-priced skin care products with (most of) the above-mentioned labels is hard. That’s why it’s important to learn how to read ingredient lists, don’t you want to know what kind of acids, soaps, oils, etc., you’re applying to your precious skin every morning and evening? You can also consider to use products that are either developed by dermatologists, meaning that the ingredients are carefully selected and most likely to be non-comedogenic.
If you have problematic skin, I know it’s tempting to switch to another skincare product or routine when you don’t see any results right away. It’s frustrating, because why is the $40 vitamin E-serum that you’ve been using for a month not getting rid of your hyperpigmentation yet? It was expensive, so it must be good, right? Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that (anymore). That’s why it’s important to be patient and learn to stick with one particular product routine that works for you. If it isn’t causing any breakouts or redness, it is definitely worth using the product for a few months and see what it does. Check out this article by Business Insider for 11 clean skincare brands!
What are some things you pay attention to before purchasing a new skincare product? Comment below!
For those who have known me for a while probably also know that I’ve struggled with acne for a long time. Now that (most of) my acne is gone, I’m left with quite some scarring (the ‘official’ term is: post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation). Although I should consider myself lucky that most of my scars are superficial and barely affecting my skin structure (deep scarring), I’m still not comfortable leaving the house with a bare face. I’ve tried so many methods to get rid of the dark spots, from home remedies in my kitchen cabinet to chemical peelings and expensive skincare products (note: I have never done the dermabrasion treatmentwhich is also considered an effective treatment for hyperpigmentation).
So of course, I did what any other desparate girl would have done: I went to the internet. I read tons of articles on how to reduce hyperpigmentation, I read reviews of skincare products I could never afford, and I watched as many “how to get clear skin” tutorials as I could. There was one thing that recurred in every article, review and tutorial: I need to drink more water. Lots of water. Everyone made it sound like drinking water was going to solve all my problems (Spoiler: it doesn’t). But, I did start drinking more water than I did before. Now I’m not saying that this is the holy grail to clear skin but it sure helped my skin stay hydrated and healthy.
Alright- let’s move on to the reason you’re here. Here’s how(I think) my skin has improved drastically over the past year.
About one and a half year ago I asked some friends about their must-have products to clear acne and acne scarring; and based on all the comments, one brand was significantly the most popular: The Ordinary. I had never heard of the brand before and when I looked it up, all the chemical terms and names sounded a bit scary to me. I mean, BHA? AHA? Acids? Ascorbyl Glucoside? Alpha Arbutin? What was I about to do to my face?! The pricing surprised me though, almost everything was priced for less than 10 EUR. I figured it was worth a try.
Note to self (and my readers): Thoroughly research skincare products before you purchase/use them, especially when they contain acids or other chemicals. Do they fit in your skincare routine? What do the listed ingredients mean and (how) do they improve your skin? Is it making your skin (temporarily) more sensitive?
I’ve tried several serums, peelings, acids and creams by The Ordinary; and here’s how I implemented my favorites into my current skincare routine:
2times a week: TO AHA 30% + BHA 2% peeling solution
Every morning and evening, I tone my skin with pure rosewater. Then, I apply a few drops of Alpha Arbutin on my entire face. On the weekends, I like to use my jade roller which allows my skin to absorb the product better; but on weekdays I just let it dry. Lastly, I apply Niacinamide and let it dry before I put on my moisturizer.
On the nights when I apply the peeling solution (for me, that’s on Sunday and Wednesday), I don’t use any other skincare products after; except for moisturizer.
Please note: this combination makes your top-surface skin more sensitive and prone to sun burn and damage. Make sure to wear SPF (minimum of SPF 20) the next day(s). But of course, you should already be wearing a daily SPF anyways :)
I’ve been using the combination of The Ordinary’s peeling solution, Alpha Arbutin and Niacinamide for more than 6 months now, and my skin has never looked better. See below for the descriptions and directions of these 3 products.
This peeling solution (mask) exfoliates the skin for a brighter and more even appearance.
Apply on dry, clean face + do not forget to use an SPF the next day. It is recommended to apply this mask in the evening as it may leave some redness on the skin. The peeling comes with a number of important don’ts:
Don’t leave the peeling on for longer than 10 minutes.
Don’t apply on wet skin
Don’t use this peeling if you’re not an experienced users of acid exfoliation.
Don’t use on sensitive, damaged skin.
Don’t use more than twice a week.
The pH-value of this peeling solution lays between 3.5 and 3.7, which is why it is recommended not to combine this solution with products that have a higher pH, as this could make the formula (even more) irritating
The Ordinary’s Alpha Arbutin is a highly-concentrated serum and also includes hyaluronic acid (HA). The serum is supposed to reduce spots and hyperpigmentation. The Alpha Arbutin in this serum is proven to be much stronger than Arbutin or Beta Arbutin.
A few drops should be applied on dry, clean skin in the AM and PM, don’t forget to wear an SPF in the morning!
Alpha Arbutin has a pH value between 4.85 and 4.90. It should be noted that the serum is extremely sensitive to degradation in the presence of water if the pH of the formulation is not ideal. The pH value of this serum is shown to be the most suitable to minimize the degradation of Alpha Arbutin. If you’re not sure what all this means: that’s okay! I do recommend researching the meaning of pH values if you’re planning to use skin care acids more often.
Niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, is supposed to reduce the appearance of skin blemishes and congestion. The added Zinc (1%) balances visible aspects of sebum activity, which reduces large pores and makes the skin less oily. However, niacinamide is not an acne treatment (salicylic acid).
Niacinamide can be applied in the AM and PM, before heavier creams such as moisturizers or oils.
According to The Ordinary, independent studies have also shown that niacinamide is an effective ingredient for brightening skin tone.
Niacinamide has a pH between 5.50 and 6.50 which technically means it is not suitable to use in combination with the Alpha Arbutin serum. However, this combination has been working out great for me. If you’ve been using this combination and you’re not noticing any improvements, you could consider applying Niacinamide in the AM (recommended if you have oily skin) and Alpha Arbutin in the PM. The other way around should be fine as well. If you’ve got some more time on your hands in the AM and PM, you could consider waiting 30 minutes after applying Alpha Arbutin before you move on to Niacinamide.
P.S. If you have any questions regarding The Ordinary products, or any other product(s) in my skincare routine, shoot me a message!
P.P.S. Coming up: A post with detailed explanation of the (chemical) skincare terms frequently used by The Ordinary and other skincare brands, such as retinoids, AHAs, BHAs, pH-levels, etc.
First off, I hope that you’re well, staying inside and making the best out of this bizarre situation. Please remember to stay positive, even if your life seems to be falling apart right now or if you simply feel lost or desperate. This too, will pass.
The gladdest moment in human life, methinks, is a departure into unknown lands. – Sir Richard Burton
It has been a while (more than a year ago, to be exact) since I posted my last blog. I thought that my busy, chaotic lifestyle back then did not leave room for my favorite hobby anymore. Well, a year (and many new experiences and memories) later I’m realizing that I was incredibly wrong. I found that, no matter where I lived or how busy I was, I still missed having a creative outlet. I missed sitting down for a few hours and focusing on something entirely different than work or school- so I decided to free up some time and go for it again.
In my last post, I wrote about how my time in New York City was coming to an end. Those five months were amazing and changed me as a person. I gained a new perspective on the world; I met so many new, interesting people; I learned what it’s like to be out there in the real world, practicing my career with people who trust me to do what I’m good at (in NYC, nonetheless…!). I am so thankful for my family that looked after me during this time, and – ofcourse- my internship company for giving me this wonderful opportunity.
Less than 6 months after I returned from my internship, I moved to Pamplona (Northern-Spain) for to study for one semester. Pamplona is known for its annual bull fights (San Fermin) and is located on the famous Pilgrim-route to Santiago de Compostela. To be honest, I had never heard of the city before, but I wouldn’t want to have gone anywhere else. I studied Management & Business Administration at UPNA (Universidad Pública de Navarra) for six months. During these months, I met some incredible people and made friends for life. I traveled more than I ever had, I felt what it’s like to be living on my own and be a 100% independent. And I loved it. I learned Spanish, fell in love with the Spanish cuisine (Paella, tortillas, churros, patatas bravas, croquetas…) and tasted the most wonderful wines. I had the most meaningful conversations with people from all over the world, and locals. There were happy moments, and sad ones, and I am grateful I got to experience every single one of them.
Now I’m back home, working on my bachelor thesis during my graduation internship and I’m hoping to graduate with a BBA in International Business and Languages by the end of this year.
P.S. I’m hoping to do some product reviews again soon, what do you guys want to see?