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…

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Latest Launches No. 1

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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.

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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.

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NIOD RE:PIGMENT

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.

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.

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.

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”