Skincare Journal 05

Back at it again with the Drunk Elephant, I have been trailing a few different products from the line these past three weeks in a follow-up to my original post. This time it’s been about C-Firma Day Serum*, T.L.C Framboos Glycolic Night Serum*, and Marula Oil*. This is my first proper trial of a vitamin C product (the first was a dalliance with Indeed Laboratories C24) and my goal is to drench my skin in antioxidants while correcting post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation. I am using T.L.C as a night serum, alternating with Differin, in an effort to correct surface irregularities. As a final step, a little layer of Marula Oil. How this compares to The Ordinary Marula Oil still alludes me, mostly because I haven’t any idea whether Deciem’s is unrefined and I am sceptical as to whether or not they would even know for certain. An overall glance at my routine:

AM: Dior Hydra Life Lotion to Foam Fresh Cleanser, Drunk Elephant Shaba Complex Eye Serum*, Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum* mixed with Drunk Elephant B-Hydra*, Drunk Elephant Marula Oil*.

PM: Dior Hydra Life Lotion to Foam Fresh Cleanser, Drunk Elephant Shaba Complex Eye Serum*, Drunk Elephant T.L.C Framboos Glycolic Night Serum* OR Differin Gel, wait twenty minutes, Drunk Elephant Marula Oil* mixed with Drunk Elephant B-Hydra*.

First impressions after three weeks:

– C-Firma gives a good instant glow to the skin, though I am always sceptical of vitamin C’s ability to correct red post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
– T.L.C. is potent and fantastic at reducing inflammatory acne; I love it as a spot treatment during the day.
– B-Hydra is nice, though I do not see a major difference using it when I already use the day and night serums.
– Shaba is pricey for what it is, though it is fantastic at plumping dehydration lines and making me look a bit more awake than I really am.
– Marula Oil is lightweight but intensely soothing.

Disclaimer: Products marked with an asterisk (*) were 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.

Skincare Journal 04

Luxury skincare has always had its draw, but the ingredients never hold a candle to the price. For that reason I often glaze over La Mer, La Prarie, Elizabeth Arden, Sisley, Lancôme, Chanel, etc. That being said, the new Dior Hydra Life collection is a pleasure to use and exists in brilliantly-designed packaging to match.

The nine-part collection of cleansers, masks, and hydrators is suited in Kubrick-inspired white with hints of faded colour and priced below $100. Of the collection I have tried four products. The Hydra Life Lotion to Foam Fresh Cleanser was so lovely that I have already bought my own bottle; plant saponins remove impurities and it may be used on dry or wet skin. My skin feels soft to the touch with that good ‘tight’ feel. Hydra Life Oil to Milk Makeup Removing Cleanser is my evening first cleanse, and it makes quick work of full-coverage foundation while rinsing off rather effortlessly. Hydra Life Deep Hydration Sorbet Water Essence is a hydration serum that also happens to brighten and tone the skin with natural fruit acids; I find it a treat for the morning after I use retinol as I often develop dehydration lines around my cheeks. Is it more effective than Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 or Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Serum, I doubt it, though the texture is far less tacky. Hydra Life Fresh Hydration Sorbet Crème hits the right balance between gel and cream, and its formulation respects skin’s natural flora which, in theory, better balances the skin and prevents hydration loss rather effectively. For the price I would recommend Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream, which has a similar texture and result but comes in at a more approachable price (though you lose the balancing effect on skin flora).

All of this being said, the new Hydra Life collection has impressed me. The ingredients are rather unique, the sensorial experience is legendary, and the science Dior puts into its products is commendable. If you try any new luxe brand this year, I hope you take a look at Dior.

NIOD Cleanse

niod-cleanse-skincare-2017In the spirit of a new year—though I never have much thought for the turning-over of a number—I took today to begin the rebuild of my skin from the last few weeks of gift buying, long days at work, travelling, and preparing for the winter semester. I have already brought back NIOD CAIS into my routine, after spending a great deal of time reading academic papers on inflammation; trust me, copper is a good thing. After reading the January edition of the Victoria Health newsletter I was inspired to share my adapted NIOD cleanse routine, something I hope to incorporate weekly as the results are truly remarkable.

As for my goals this year, I am working very hard to not set any; I always find myself far more willing to excel if I am left limitless. On the whole though, you can expect more intelligent writings here on the blog, and a refined selection of product reviews. Personally I am cleaning out most of the no-good products in my drawers and trying to limit my intake of gluten, sugar, and dairy in an effort to become Gwyneth Paltrow (and better my skin and body). Now, onto the cleanse.

The Weekly NIOD Cleanse Routine

Components: NIOD Low-Viscosity Cleaning EsterNIOD Sanskrit SaponinsNIOD Superoxide Dismutase Saccharide MistNIOD Flavanone Mud, NIOD Myrrh ClayNIOD Mastic MustNIOD Hydration Vaccine, NIOD Multi Molecular Hyaluronic Complex.
Indication:
 Congestion, dullness, enlarged pores, unbalanced sebum production, irritation, redness, areas of dryness, puffiness.
Frequency: Weekly, either morning or evening.
Aftercare: Makeup application is discouraged.
Substitutions: Replace Hydration Vaccine with Voicemail Masque for the further benefit of improved cellular communication. If you are particularly congested I would use NIOD MMHC instead so as to not promote further congestion with a silicone-laden occlusive layer.

  1. If makeup is present, dispense NIOD Low-Viscosity Cleaning Ester into the centre of one palm. Spread the liquid across both palms, then massage into the skin using upward, slow, firm motions. Continue until makeup is removed. Gently rinse with tepid water. Pat skin with a clean towel until dry.
  2. Squeeze a large dollop of NIOD Sanskrit Saponins in the palm of one hand. Wet the other hand. Massage both hands together to form a creamy paste. Starting on the cheeks and shifting outwards toward the ears, press the paste into dry skin using firm, slow motions. Take the time to breath between presses. Now press paste onto the temples, along the forehead, down the nose, and onto the chin. Let activate for five minutes. Gently rinse with tepid water. Pat skin dry.
  3. Mist face with NIOD Superoxide Dismutase Saccharide Mist, four or more spritzes should do.
  4. Take a dollop of NIOD Flavanone Mud on the tip of a finger and draw a line along each cheek, then across the forehead, and then down the centre of the face. Smooth the lines outward, avoiding the eye area, until a thin layer coats the entire face. Relax for twenty minutes. Generously wet your hands with water and, with force, hold your cheeks for a count of five. Do the same with your forehead. Take more water and massage the face, loosening the mud from the skin. Continue until face is clear of residue. Pat skin dry.
  5. Mist face with NIOD Superoxide Dismutase Saccharide Mist.
  6. In the same manner as the NIOD Flavanone Mud, apply NIOD Myrrh Clay. Pay special attention to taking Myrrh Clay down along the neck and across the chest to promote a tauter appearance. Remove Myrrh Clay in the same manner as NIOD Flavanone Mud. Pat skin dry.
  7. Squeeze a generous dollop of NIOD Mastic Must in the palm of both hands. Apply to the face in upward, slow, sweeping motions beginning along the jawline and moving upward to the top of the forehead. Relax for ten minutes. Remove in the same manner as NIOD Flavanone Mud. Pat skin dry. On a low-heat setting, use a blowdryer to further activate the blurring properties of Mastic Must. Close your eyes and slowly move the airflow across the face. Spend no longer than fifteen seconds.
  8. Mist face with NIOD Superoxide Dismutase Saccharide Mist.
  9. For those not prone to congestion, take a small bit of NIOD Hydration Vaccine in the palm of one hand. Smooth Hydration Vaccine across the other hand, then apply to the face in upward, slow, sweeping motions beginning along the neck and moving upward to the top of the forehead. For those prone to congestion, take a full dropper of NIOD Multi Molecular Hyaluronic Complex and smooth from the neck upward to the top of the forehead.

Recent Acquisitions – Winter

Photograph of Dr. Jart Dermaclear Micro Milk Peel, Dr. Jart Dermaclear Trans-Foam Clay in Green, and IGK Rich Kid Coconut Oil Gel for hair.

To celebrate the winter season—and mourn the loss of autumn—here are my latest skincare and haircare acquisitions worthy of note. A video version of this post up now, and you can watch it here.

On the hunt for a gentle yet effective cleanser these last few months, I was rather unhappy with the options available domestically; hence my purchase of UK-favourite Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel. Yes, it has been mentioned by almost every other blogger; yes, it is worthy of acclaim. After cleansing with NIOD Low-Viscosity Cleaning Ester, I apply this to dry skin, wait a few minutes, massage with my Foreo, and then rinse off with a hot cloth. My skin feels incredibly smooth, redness is reduced, and my skin feels comfortable. This is my all-time favourite cleanser.

After I cleanse I liberally spritz with NIOD Superoxide Dismutase Saccharide Mist, which supplements the human body’s natural superoxide dismutase to reduce oxidization—and thus inflammation—whilst marine exopolysaccharides aid in moisture retention. I will report back after using this one for a bit longer to determine its relative efficacy.

The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% is responsible for the numerous compliments I have received on my skin these past few weeks. A treatment for both acne and rosacea, azelaic acid reduces inflammation and bacteria. I have ordered many backups of this.

NIOD Hydration Vaccine has been my saviour this brisk winter. Formulated with fungi composite organisms, a silicone mesh, a blue algae molecular film, and more technologies to retain moisture, this goes far beyond a ‘moisturizer’ to enable the skin to better retain its own hydration rather than simply creating the illusion of such. On days I go out only for groceries or for a run I mix this with NIOD Photography Fluid Opacity 12% to add a cinematic look to my skin through a reduction in redness and the appearance of texture; together they make a far more effective—and natural-looking—alternative to cosmetics.

A newer release, Dr. Jart Dermaclear Micro Milk Peel* meshes well with my philosophy on acids; if you use them, be gentle. Hydrogen water—a key ingredient to the Dermaclear line—removes impurities, lactic acid topically exfoliates, salicylic acid reduces pore-level congestion, coconut milk calms irritation, while a trio of panthenol, squalene, and allantoin hydrate. While I am not thrilled by the inclusion of bergamot oil—a photosensitizing essential oil—I have enjoyed using this weekly to even out my skin’s texture. I have also tried Dr. Jart Dermaclear Trans-Foam Clay in Refreshing Green*, a mask which—when applied for a few minutes and rinses with water—turns to a deep cleanser. It too contains several fragrant oils, which I would prefer were not included, but it makes for a fine deep cleanse treatment.

Bosica Sake Brightening Hydrogel Eye Masks* are something I use on clients often, but for some reason have yet to try on myself. My favourite aspect of these is the use of hydrogel rather than cotton; these stick to the face and stay put. Sake hydrates and brightens, marine collagen reduces moisture loss, willowherb reduces inflammation, and jojoba leaf defends against free radical damage. These make for a refreshing treat for a weekend facial—or as a prep-step before an event—through reducing puffiness, soothing the sensitive under-eye area, and plumping dehydration lines.

For the hair, IGK Rich Kid Coconut Oil Gel* comes from a trio of America’s top-requested stylists. Formulated with coconut oil to hydrate and comfrey extract to soften, Rich Kid is a great styling product to achieve a natural look, especially for those with shoulder-length hair. I appreciate the lightweight texture, and even the smell is luxe.

Disclaimer: Products marked with an asterisk (*) were 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.

STEMM Hair by Deciem

While traditional hair care deals with the hair fibre itself, STEMM places the focus on the scalp and follicle. Hair itself has never been of concern for me, but lately I have been rather interested in not necessarily the appearance, but rather its health. So goodbye to silicones—which coat the hair and mask damage—and sulfates—which both dry and damage the hair—and hello to modern ingredients like caffeine, black fulvic root, and amino acids.

I like STEMM.

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The collection—sent to me by the wonderful team at Deciem—includes High-Amino Shampoo, Black Fulvic Conditioner and Density Stimuli. I have been testing out the shampoo and conditioner over the last few weeks and have rather enjoyed using this collection as a treatment. That meaning I use the pair two or three times a week, and wash with HIF (currently all being reformulated) on the off days.

Why? STEMM is a little too much of a thorough clean-and-condition for my fine, dry hair. I have seen a notable difference in the density of my hair using STEMM, do not get me wrong, but after using STEMM my hair does not feel as soft and comfortable as it does when using HIF. That makes sense; HIF is for now, STEMM is for later.

So, if you are interested in hair health, then I think STEMM is a brilliant option. Thinning hair, lack of volume, breakage: STEMM is your new love. If you are more interested in what your hair looks like now, I think HIF is a fantastic balance between nourishment and immediacy. If you are greedy (like me) and want the best of both worlds: use both.

Disclaimer: The STEMM collection was sent to me by Deciem. I am writing about it because I like it.

Recent Acquisitions – Autumn

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Everyone does an ‘autumn favourites’ video, and though it may have become common I cannot hesitate to do one myself. Autumn is my season; the scent of the leaves as you walk—very briskly—along the sidewalk, the warm ceramic of a latte mug, and the feeling of nothing to do as you hide beneath the wool blanket on the sofa. Autumn is best.

Products mentioned, in order as they appear in the video. Continue reading “Recent Acquisitions – Autumn”