Skincare Journal No. 6

As usual, I have overdone it with trying new skincare products in the last few weeks and my skin has been none too happy about it. For those curious, outside of what I have already posted about I have managed to try:

  • Algenist Algae Brightening Mask
  • Algenist GENIUS Ultimate Anti-Aging Bi-Phase Peel
  • Algenist GENIUS Ultimate Anti-Aging Melting Cleanser
  • Perricone H2 Elemental Energy Firming Face Mask
  • Perricone High Potency Face Firming Activator
  • La solution 10 de Chanel
  • Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer
  • Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation
  • Hourglass Illusion Hyaluronic Skin Tint
  • Hourglass Veil Fluid Makeup
  • Estée Lauder DoubleWear Nude Cushion Stick
  • Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Foundation

I actually enjoyed each of them for different reasons, but my skin just did not enjoy the multitude of new things happening all at once. I have went back to my tried-and-true routine: NIOD LVCE, NIOD CAIS, NIOD MMHC, and Differin. I have even taken to photographing my face each day to see the results, and after a week of stripping it back I have noticed a strong reduction in surface redness and blemish severity. In fact, I have not had any new blemishes all week. So while my routine may be boring, it seems to work. Maybe next week I will slip in something exciting…


Latest Launches No. 1


Perricone MD CBx for Men

What is it: A science-based skincare collection for men.
Signature technology: Phytocannabinoids, which visibly calm irritation, balance oil production, and promote moisture-retention.
Who is it for: Men with the beginnings of fine lines, unbalanced oil, topical redness, and whose skin is often subjected to the environment and aggressive shaving.
How does it work: Cleanse skin with Super Clean Face Wash, a gel-to-foam cleanser featuring a gentle surfactant, vitamin E, aloe leaf juice, and glycerin. If you are shaving, do so and then follow with Soothing Post-Shave Treatment which features witch hazel, aloe leaf juice, ginseng root extract, barley seed extract, and green algae. Finish with Lightweight Moisturizer, a lotion-like cream high in cannabis sativa seed oil, shea butter, palmitoyl tripeptide-5, and sodium hyaluronate.
Thoughts: PRE:EMPT is a brilliant collection of products that I think anyone can use, and this seems to be built from the same concept; a simple formula with star antioxidants. My only worry is the fragrance, as this does have a woodsy scent which I always associate with irritation, but I have yet to go hands-on with the collection so we will see. From a marketing perspective, Perricone is one of the most universal skincare brands; they cater to all genders, and nearly every concern, and this and PRE:EMPT are great gateway collections to the brand. Now if only they would make a dedicated treatment collection for acne…
Shop: Perricone MD.


StriVectin Advanced Acid

What is it: A trio of acid-based skincare products.
Signature technology: NIA-114 is featured in every product, paired with either hyaluronic acid, glycolic acid, or oleic fatty acid.
Who is it for: Those looking for targeted products to address the first signs of aging, including dryness, loss of elasticity, rough texture, dullness, and fine lines.
How does it work: NIA-114 is a proprietary niacin molecule to StriVectin that has an enhanced ability to penetrate the skin as compared to traditional niacin and niacinamide. NIA-114 stimulates the repair of DNA, strengthens the skin’s moisture barrier, encourages cell growth, and reduces pigmentation. The Advanced Acid collection has three products, each pairing NIA-114 with a potent acid. Glycolic Skin Reset Mask features micro-encapsulated glycolic acid to refine texture and fine lines, Hyaluronic Dual-Response Serum features 6 forms of hyaluronic acid plus ceramides to enhance moisture retention, while Oleic Rapid Recovery Milk features oleic fatty acid to restore the skin’s lipid barrier and restore plumpness and comfort.
Thoughts: People are often terrified of the word ‘acid’, but this collection shows the variety of acids available in skincare. Glycolic acid has years of research backing-up its ability to exfoliate and stimulate repair, hyaluronic acid in 6 forms plus ceramides is a comprehensive upgrade from the usual 1-form-of-hyaluronic formulas we often see, and a milky serum with omega-9 fatty acids to restore oil to the skin is something rare. Once I finish my current exfoliators, the Glycolic Skin Reset Mask will be up next.
Shop: StriVectin, BeautyBoutique, Ulta.



What is it: A multi-ingredient brightening serum.
Signature technology: A blend of new technologies that target future and existing pigmentation.
Who is it for: Anyone looking to address brown and red pigmentation with a formula more targeted than vitamin C.
How does it work: Diglucosyl Gallic Acid blocks the melanogenesis process by interacting with the skin’s natural microbes. Acetyl Glycyl Beta Alanine inhibits the production of tyrosinase (which produces pigmentation) and the process of pigment being pushed up to the visible top layers of skin. Potassium Azeloyl Diglycinate is a new derivative of azelaic acid and glycine; it focuses on both red and brown pigmentation, as well as hydration.
Thoughts: Vitamin C is always touted as the gold standard at brightening, but so many people find it irritating, it destabilizes, or it is often paired with fragrance which further exacerbates the irritation. And while vitamin C can brighten the skin, there are far more effective ingredients to reduce pigmentation. RE:PIGMENT features a wide assortment of ingredients that all target pigmentation in different ways, which theoretically gives you a greater chance of seeing results. I currently use NIOD CAIS 1.00% in the morning and have seen a steady reduction in red marks, but once my bottle is done I think I will give RE:PIGMENT a try for a more targeted approach.
Shop: Deciem.

Updated Iconic Serums

In the world of skincare, serums are where the modern individual looks for results. A serum is typically in an aqueous base and focuses on delivering a clear benefit to the skin. They tend to be more concentrated with active ingredients as less volume in the formula is spent on the emulsifiers and conditioning agents so necessary to making a face cream. Now that does not mean that face creams cannot show results, and that does not mean that all serums are awesome; remember, most active ingredients like acids and retinoids perform the best in comparably lower concentrations. That being said, a serum may offer a greater assortment of different actives. In your routine, a serum is where you realistically should be spending the bulk of your money but also the product you should be the happiest about.

Lately there have been quite a few modernized face serums, enough to warrant a bit of discussion on what is new and who each formula is tailored for.

Clarins Double Serum Complete Age Control Concentrate

clarins-double-serum-2017-versionDear Double Serum has received a bit of a face lift as of late, and while the most dramatic (and obvious) change is the elimination of mineral oil, if you actually compare the ingredient lists nearly everything is different. Double Serum makes use of over 30 years worth of research, has both a water- and oil-soluble component for maximum bioavailability, utilizes 21 active ingredients, and has a dial-pump system that allows you to customize the amount of product it disperses according to age, skin type, and lifestyle.

Who is it for? Anyone over 25 (or younger if you have a harsh lifestyle) who wants a good ‘general’ serum, especially those with a busy lifestyle.
What does it do? Strengthens dermal fibres, preserves the epidermis’ ability to proliferate new cells, improves oxygenation, protects microcirculation, stimulates cellular energy production, strengthens lipidic ‘cement’ that binds skin cells together, enables skin to hold hydration longer, protects against free radical damage, offers an instant lifting effect.
What should I notice? Radiance, diminished fine lines and enlarged pores, smoother texture, a more rested appearance.
What is inside? Banana, avocado, myrothamnus, red jania, teasel, goji berry, beautyberry, horse chestnut, kiwi, mary’s thistle, leaf of life, quinoa, marsh samphire, cocoa tree, mango tree, huang qi, ginger lily, edelweiss, orthosiphon, organic oat.
Natural or synthetic? 9 organic active ingredients, 3 fair trade active ingredients, recyclable container.
How does it work? The new Double Serum focuses on protecting the ability for cells to communicate with one another. University of Kent has a fantastic article on cellular communication, but essentially cells communicate with one another through sending signal molecules which then bind to receptor proteins on the target cell. A multi-step process follows, resulting in the target cell changing its behaviour. Double Serum uses turmerone, a specific extract of turmeric not often used in skincare, to protect this ability to communicate.
Where can I find it? Clarins, Sephora, Hudson’s Bay, Nordstrom, John Lewis.
Continue reading “Updated Iconic Serums”


Filorga began in 2007 as a skincare brand inspired by aesthetic medicine. For the consumer that means Filorga is result-driven, focused on both visible signs of aging and invisible forms of damage. Their most notable innovation is their NCTF Complex which is composed of vitamins, amino acids, coenzymes, nucleic bases, minerals, and an antioxidant; the goal is to supplement skin with materials it lacks internally, which then results in a heightened ability to repair itself and make use of other treatment ingredients like retinoids and exfoliating acids. To ensure efficient absorption of NCTF and hyaluronic acid, Filorga encapsulates both within ‘chronospheres’, which I infer as similar to liposome technology.

I have been trying Filorga skincare for the last few months, partially because it became available locally in Canada at BeautyBoutique, it was something new, and the technology seems interesting. Overall I am incredibly impressed by the results I have seen, especially when you consider that comparable products are typically 1.5x-2x the price of Filorga.

Filorga Foam Cleanser

filorga-foam-cleanser-hydra-filler-time-filler-optim-eyes-1Purpose: Cleanse the skin.
Iconic feature: Hyaluronic acid, which should minimize dehydration commonly associated with sulphate-based cleansers.
Who is it for: Those not prone to dehydration, or those with a strong hydrating routine after cleansing.
Usage: Twice daily as a second cleanse, though it can remove makeup if used twice.
Ingredients: CosDNA.
Thoughts: This was the last product I tried from Filorga, and while I found it far less dehydrating than Drunk Elephant Beste I still found it to be too dehydrating for my skin. My skin did not feel tight or dry to the touch though, it was more that I noticed blemishes forming in areas of my face where I have learned they only appear when my skin is over-stimulated or dehydrated. The texture of this foam cleanser is what is making me wish it had worked wonders for me; the foam is so dense and softening.
Recommendation: Not unless you follow it with a toner, hydrating essence or serum, and a hydrating cream, and do nothing else to dehydrate your skin.
Alternatives: Estée Lauder Perfectly Clean Triple-Action Cleanser/Toner/Makeup Remover.
Continue reading “Filorga”

GlamGlow GravityMud

The only true way to use a face mask is to integrate it into your skincare routine. None of this ‘oh I use this one day, this one another day, I use them for fun’ nonsense. A face mask should be a treatment, a necessary component to your regular routine that gives your skin a boost. Does that mean you have to use the same masks all year round, no, but it does mean you should pare down your collection and stick to one for a long while to avoid throwing your skin out of balance.

Inherent in this is the assumption that the mask that you choose does something to your face. Maybe it removes impurities (NIOD FM, anyone?), hydrates (all eyes on this NeoStrata Hydrating and Plumping Sheet Mask), or topically exfoliates (Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask is a gem); it should do something. Now, there is an exception to this rule, and that is GlamGlow GravityMud Firming Treatment which does little for my skin but I love it nonetheless.


To firm, lift, and tighten skin while softening fine lines.

What’s so special about it?

A load of trademarked terms for common ingredients. Vizitight (firming matrix?, marine algae plasma, biodefine polymers?), Teaoxi Complex (licorice and marshmallow leaf), Lunarlift (soy isoflavone liposome red algae extract), and Cosmiplexion (Icelandic kelp, hyaluronic acid, glacial clay).

How does it work?

From the ingredient list I assume the ‘tightening’ effect comes from alcohol, witch hazel, clay, and polymers. Essentially this is tightening the skin by removing topical oils but compensating for that by infusing the skin with hyaluronic acid and drawing water to the skin with glycerin.

How often would I use it?

They recommend using it twice a week to maintain the results, and I would tend to agree.

Results and thoughts

Honestly the only reason I use this is because nothing bad happens when I wear it and I look damn good while doing so. I find my skin appears to be more even in texture and tone after wearing this, and yes I do feel a tad bit more lifted, but I would not say the results are dramatic enough to warrant the price. Realistically this is a mask I grab when I am feeling less-than-hot because I think the metallic silver is sexy to wear.

Find GlamGlow GravityMud Firming Treatment at Sephora.

Disclaimer: The product mentioned in this post was given to me free of charge. I receive countless products each month, and say nothing about the majority of them; I will only review a product if I think it is worthy of words, either negative or positive. Links are to the easiest and most common retailer. All opinions are my own and do not reflect those of the companies mentioned, nor my employer.

Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask

tata-harper-resurfacing-mask Here’s the thing; natural is not always best. You should know this by now, but some brands (ahem Tata Harper) enjoy creating loyal followers by scaring them into believing everything except their brand will kill you. ‘Non-toxic’ they say, ‘no chemicals’. The problem is that toxicity is dosage-based; ingest one Aspirin and you will be fine, ingest a handful and you will end up somewhere unfortunate. Much the same goes for skincare ingredients; many are dangerous at high concentrations, so companies use them at low concentrations where they are perfectly safe on human skin. Oh and chemical-free? A living organism, like a blueberry, has hundreds of chemicals inside of it; smothering it on your face actually introduces far more chemicals to your skin than a synthetic-based product which isolates specific chemicals which have a benefit to the skin. I truly hope that the more natural-inclined brands will stop scaring the public into buying their products, and instead would build their brand on fact.

Marketing aside: Tata Harper. Most of their products I cannot use because I am rather sensitive to essential oils, but the masks are brilliant. On a slow day I like to apply Purifying Mask first to draw out excess oil and remove any pollution particulates, then follow with Resurfacing Mask to gently exfoliate. I have an upcoming post on the Purifying Mask, but I thought I would start with my favourite of the two.


Minimize pores and give skin a good glow.

What’s so special about it?

83% organic, no essential oils except for Tata’s natural aroma, a soothing base of aloe instead of water, and a nice blend of hydrating and exfoliating ingredients to keep skin in balance.

How does it work?

Willow bark extract and meadowsweet act as BHAs, pomegranate enzymes smooth away rough texture, a base of aloe soothes and hydrates, pink clay minimizes the appearance of pores, beet extract improves the tone of skin, and lactobacillus ferment is a probiotic that theoretically balances skin.

How often would I use it?

I use it weekly, left on for fifteen minutes, after Tata Harper Purifying Mask. I follow with a retinoid, but it is up to your skin’s level of sensitivity. I would have no qualms in recommending this to sensitive skin because of the aloe base and relatively gentle ingredients.

Results and thoughts

Ah, Tata; you spoil me with this one. When I told a friend I was about to use this mask after Purifying she said “oh great, get that nice hydration!” and I was utterly confused. But this is an exfoliating mask? Hydration? But then I remembered the ingredients, and it all makes sense; the reason I love the way my skin looks after this mask is because of the ingenious mixture of aloe (hydrating), pink clay (purifying), BHAs (exfoliating), and enzymes (exfoliating). It is honestly a bevy of masks in one treatment, and does it all rather brilliantly. No this is not going to replace a hard-core acid peel, and no it will not banish your blackheads in one use, but what it will do is leave your skin plump, smooth, and a bit more radiant than it was before. My only qualm with this is the added fragrance and the price. Yes the fragrance is natural, but I have such doubts that its inclusion is necessary and I would feel better knowing it was free of any added ingredients. And at $77 CDN for 1 ounce this is an incredibly expensive face mask, especially when one considers Tata’s recommendation of a ‘thick layer’. That being said this is a regular in my routine, so I suppose none of my qualms seem to matter.

Find Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask at Sephora.

Disclaimer: The product mentioned in this post was given to me free of charge. I receive countless products each month, and say nothing about the majority of them; I will only review a product if I think it is worthy of words, either negative or positive. Links are to the easiest and most common retailer. All opinions are my own and do not reflect those of the companies mentioned, nor my employer.