GlamGlow GravityMud

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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.

Purpose

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.

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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.

Purpose

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.

Fresh Mask Menu

My first ‘good’ skincare product was a kit of Fresh skincare products; cleanse and moisturize was the goal. I remember my thoughts the first time I used it; I felt bored. The cleanser left my skin comfortable and the moisturizer was lightweight, both facts which ran counter to my idea of a good thorough clean followed by a thick layer of occlusive hydration. I only realized how much my skin had improved months later when I switched to something else, and it was then that I made a point to try Fresh’s seaberry oil, umbrian clay treatment bar, and umbrian clay lotion; all became staples in my routine for over a year of controlling acne and oiliness. As always I become bored of things and move along, but it was a pleasant opportunity to revisit the brand where it all began for me.

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For a few weeks I have been making proper use of the binge masking routine, that is, masking every day. Excessive, possibly, but it is rather nice to carve out ten minutes each day to do a proper balancing treatment for the skin. I started with a gentle cleanse of the skin (my current favourite is Dior Hydra Life Lotion to Foam Fresh Cleanser) followed by a thin layer of Fresh Umbrian Clay Purifying Mask. Composed of a high mineral content, this mask acts to balance the skin and is a brilliant—and surprisingly non-drying?—fixture in a routine for often-irritated skin. After five minutes I rinsed then followed with a more generous layer of Fresh Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask. This mask was newer to me, and I was surprised by how much it knocked away redness in my skin which is a permanent fixture along my forehead and nose. It does have a rather gentle cooling sensation on the skin, but I cannot pinpoint the ingredient which gives it that property though it is a rather nice way to start the day. I followed with the Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream, which is a favourite of mine for almost three years now as it tackles a little bit of everything (hydration, elasticity, antioxidants) with a complex of ingredients rather than resting upon one single component.

So while my daily routine may not be Fresh (instead more clinical in nature), Fresh is a classic which should not be overlooked for those who want to take a moment and experience their skincare.

Disclaimer: Products mentioned were given as a gift from Fresh with no obligation for promotion, I have simply enjoyed Fresh for years and thought it best to share my experience.

Skincare Journal No. 1

A different format, one where I can spend less time on aesthetics and more time on sharing my thoughts on the newest products in the beauty and skincare industry.

I have taken another look at Tata Harper. In the morning I have been experimenting with the Purifying and Regenerating cleansers, and I now remember how much I enjoyed using them last year. Purifying gives a deep clean with a light lemon scent, while Regenerating leaves my skin rather luminous. Neither would make for a great twice-daily cleanse for anyone but the most oily of skins; instead I would alternate them with a gentle oil cleanse (perhaps the Nourishing Oil Cleanser). As for the Rejuvenating Serum, I have been using it in the morning as a moisturizer. It hydrates and illuminates brilliantly. Every other day I have been using the Resurfacing Mask, which has sloughed away any rough texture resulting from my retinol. Tata is a great brand to consider if skincare is an experience for you, and you value naturals.

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.

The Deciem Skincare Routine

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Working in the beauty industry means I receive bags of new products to try. I never love everything, but after trying something I can usually come up with an ideal client for it. Now, while these bags of goodies are one of my favourite parts of the job, my skin is far from perfect and it needs consistency and serious treatment products. This means that sometimes I have to push the newness away for a bit and pick products for me rather than everyone else. When I do that, the answer is always Deciem.

Morning

While I tried to do a gentle oil cleanser in the morning, my skin became rather congested and I had to scale it up a notch. I use NIOD Sanskrit Saponins on wet skin after the shower, let it sit for a minute, then massage and rinse. Next I mask with NIOD Mastic Must every other day. This is a brilliant product and one that leaves your skin—I exaggerate not even the slightest—clear of any visible pores. Think of it as a primer that lasts two days. Next is hydration with Hylamide SubQ Face, banishing dark circles and dehydration lines with SubQ Eyes, blemish calming with The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, and a healthy dose of colour from Hylamide Glow.

Evening

To remove any complexion makeup and pollution from the city I use NIOD Low Viscosity Cleaning Ester, followed by NIOD Sanskrit Saponins. With NIOD SS still on my face I go in with my Clarisonic Mia Fit, which has done nothing but surprise me. I feel so clean and smooth from it, and despite the qualms of it removing one’s natural acid mantle I am rather enjoying it every night. After rinsing I follow with Hylamide SubQ Face and SubQ Eyes, then The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2%. This vitamin A emulsion has been the first product that has noticeably eliminated my cystic acne, nearing the point where I only have the occasional spot with only a month of use. If you have persistent acne that has not responded to other treatment, get yourself to vitamin A (and stay properly hydrated!).

I have been vigilant with this routine for about a month now and have seen a massive improvement in my skin; never before has it been this clear of blemishes. More than that, it feels comfortable and I feel more confident. All in all, Deciem you are one of my favourites.