My Skincare Emergency Helpers

Thank you for 200 follows! I am utterly amazed so many people (or bots?) took the time to click on the follow button. :)

To celebrate I thought I’d write about my SOS skincare. (Sorry if you wanted a giveaway – I don’t have the time.) Sometimes skin is just not behaving. Be it acne, allergic reactions or annoying dryness, there are all sorts of skin problems that might pop up or get worse than usual when skin is “angry”. Sometimes, when you’re really lucky you get all of them at once! :|

And then it’s time to step back from all the fancy stuff and elaborate skin care routine and reach for the SOS helpers. (Please note I can only write about what works for me here. I cannot guarantee it’ll work on everyone.)

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Yes, it’s all La Roche Posay. While I like many skin care brands, I have found that when worse comes to worst, I reach for LRP.

Starting from the smallest: It’s a sample of Effaclar Duo. You’re not allowed to be a blogger if you don’t at least own a small tube of it. ;) Kidding, but there is a reason it’s so popular among bloggers and that is because it’s quite strong and shows visible effects in a matter of days. The Effaclar Duo is for acne, especially for the really big lumps deep inside the skin. It’s a strong exfoliant. This means while using this you’ll have a worse pizzaface than usual. While it seems as if it pulls the pimples to the surface, it really exfoliates and removes the top layers of the skin, so what was deep down before is on top now. That doesn’t sound so great, but it is a lot better than having massive lumps deep down for weeks!

When I use Effaclar Duo my skin starts shedding a whole lot more and I think it helps with the healing process. But it also means there’ll be dry pieces of skin every day. I tried to put a thin layer of this all over my face a few times thinking it would help prevent more acne. That did not work out so well for me. My face was red and even swollen all over and then shedding for two weeks. This is simply too strong for me, so I only use it on the lumps in very small amounts. Some bloggers report using it all over; I guess it depends on how sensitive you are. I still have the old version, I don’t know how the new version differs.

 

The middle tube is Cicaplast. This is my answer to pretty much every skin problem. It’s a soothing balm that helps with healing and calming down the skin. It was created to be used after chemical peels, but you can use it whenever. When my skin is really bad I use it instead of moisturizer and primer, but it’s not either. It’s more a salve and not made to be used every day. Emergency only. For me, it helps calm down and heal up pimples, angry red skin, cracked lips, you name it. It even works on small wounds (don’t use Effaclar Duo on wounds!). While I’d use the aggressive Effaclar Duo only at night or when I’m staying in, I’ll use Cicaplast evenings and mornings. Immediately after application my skin is redder, but then it settles down. It’s not really a good primer unless your skin is very dry. When I wear it under makeup I usually leave the nose or it’ll get too shiny.

 

And last is a cleanser, the Toleriane cleansing milk. It’s a gentle cleanser made to not aggravate the skin any further (very important for people with allergic skin problems and similar things). The bottle also claims it can be used for makeup removal all over including eyes. Well, I tried it and it didn’t work so well. It didn’t get the makeup off very well and it burned in my eyes. Funny that such a gentle cleanser burns, but it is gentle as long as I keep it away from eyes. (For gentle makeup removal try Garnier Micellar Cleanser instead.) That’s why I use this only on makeup free skin.

Before I got into makeup I used the same products morning and evening, but when I got into makeup I noticed two things: first, that strong cleansers made my skin red, which fades later but is annoying when putting on makeup. You don’t know if you’ve used too much, too little etc. And secondly, my skin seems to have a yo-yo effect. The stronger the cleanser is, the more sebum my skin produces afterwards. And that is noticeable in how oily and shiny my skin gets. Using a gentle cleanser like Toleriane in the morning makes my makeup last longer. So my philosophy to skin care became: gentle in the morning and stronger in the evening. The only times I use Toleriane morning AND evening is when my skin is so bad I don’t want to irritate it any further.

 

So these are my SOS skin care helpers, may you never need them. All of them are fragrance free and paraben free.

What are your favored helpers, tips, approaches?

OPI Do you have this color in Stock-holm?

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The next OPI mini from my little northies: Do you have this color in Stock-holm?

Shown are three coats, no top coat. I put on a top later for shine. So yes, three coats and it’s still patchy in places. Beautiful color though. The pic pulls a little blue, it’s more purple than that. I swear it’s the color and not the camera; the color looks like this on other blogs as well, haha. So this one is NOT blue, it’s purple. And very pretty. And dry time was extra fast, which is good since I needed three coats.

Alphabet Cream Central

I was going to call this the BB & CC post, but then I saw that some companies are as far as EE by now, so umbrella term. In this post I will explain about BB and CC creams and list all reviews I’ve done on this blog.

In the last few years, double letter creams have popped up all over the place, every brand has one or more of them. So what are they?

A marketing gag, of course. All those creams might have been sold as foundations, tinted moisturizers or primers respectively, but the term BB Cream proved to sell, so that is what we got.

 

What are BB Creams?

The term ‘BB’ usually stands for Blemish Balm or Beauty Balm. They have been around in Asia for a while, and then someone discovered it for the western market. The very first Blemish Balm ever seems to have come from German brand Christine Schrammek, though. Lisa Eldridge tells us about the origin of BB Creams in this video.

In general, BB Creams include some sort of coverage, so they come in flesh tones (sometimes they are colorless in the tube and gain color upon application, for example the one from the Body Shop). They are also suposed to have skin care ingredients, making them the new generation of tinted moisturizers. They also usually contain SPF, but that ranges from very high to very low. Some don’t list SPF, but at least with all the creams I looked at they still contained some sort of sun protection ingredients. Creams created for the Asian market often also claim to have whitening properties.

Even with these three things in common, one BB Cream can be very different from the next. At the moment, some brands offer more than one BB Cream (Dior, Guerlain etc).

BB Creams I have reviewed on this blog:

Aok Blemish Balm

Biotherm Aqua Source BB Cream

Clinique Age Defense BB Cream

Diorskin Nude BB Creme

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau BB

La Roche Posay Hydreane BB Cream

 

What are CC Creams?

Since BB Creams proved to be a seller, companies were on the lookout for the next big hit, and this sort of seemed like the logical consequence. The CC usually stands for Color Correction or Complexion Correction. I think the name operates on the assumption that Blemish Balm is for skin with pimples, and skin with age spots and such needs its own cream. Sometimes the marketing or SA will try to tell you that BB is for young and CC for mature skin, but frankly that is a gross overgeneralisation, also because I’m sure BB Creams weren’t really created with this in mind. (Compare Clinique‘s Age Defense BB Cream. And also, my approach for skin care is that anti-aging skin care is the best for skin with acne.)

The color correction is approached from two sides: one, the skin care side, which (hopefully) includes ingredients to help with pigmentation and discoloration from scars. Two, the cream itself is tinted to optically help with discolorations. And here we have two versions, lets call them Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 comes flesh-toned, just like BB Creams. That, like most BB Creams, makes them a form of tinted moisturizer or even foundation. Examples for Type 1 are Chanel‘s CC Cream, or the creams by Dr Brandt. Type 2, on the other hand, comes in pastel colors to color correct the skin before you put makeup on top. That means they are primers. Examples for this type are the CC Creams from YSL or MAC. Both have CC Creams in several different shades (lavender, peach etc), to combat different discolorations.

What do CC Creams have in common with each other? Pretty much only the tinted aspect (and even that is sometimes very slight, see Diadermine). They should all include skin care ingredients that help even out the complexion over time, but some contain more and some a whole lot less. SPF is also not a common denominator. Some have a high SPF, and some have none at all. I think they all should have some, because if you boast that you’re helping with pigmentation you should protect the skin from further UV damage. That’s just my personal opinion, though. So, really, CC Creams are all over the place, even more so than BB Creams.

CC Creams I have reviewed on this blog:

By Terry Cellularose Brightening CC Lumi-Serum

Diadermine Lift+ CC

Dr Brandt CC Mat

 

Recently smelled: Guerlain L’Homme Ideal and Narciso Rodriguez Narciso

I received some very tiny samples in the mail, and decided they get a joint review.

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First off the new male fragrance by Guerlain, L’Homme Ideal EdT. The advertising tells us that, nope, the perfect man doesn’t exist, but his perfume does.

At first dab, I wasn’t all that impressed. It just had this regular, sorta fresh and slighly sharp opening. I was like, whatever, and went on with my day. An hour or half in, I suddenly thought, yep, that’s a Guerlain. It seemed so familiar. Reading up on the official notes, it must be the “amaretto” heart, based on tonka bean and almond. So after a while, this turns into a softly sweet scent, is what I’m trying to say. The longer I wore it, the more I liked it. The review over at Bois de Jasmin calls it the Petite Robe Noir for the man. And I agree. So is it the ideal man fragrance? If the lady you want to impress calls La Petite Robe Noir her favorite perfume, probably.

Personally, I think I’d rather keep it on myself. ;) That or Dior Homme. If you like sweet scents, but find the female offerings way too cloying, try those two.

I almost forgot: lasting power is pretty good.

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List of ingredients, click to enlarge. L’Homme Ideal was created by Thierry Wasser.

The other perfume that fluttered into my house was Narciso EdP by Narciso Rodriguez:

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I don’t know how I can begin to describe this one. This is the fragrance Cara Delevigne will wear when getting gay married to lady of her choice. (Disclaimer: nobody’s getting gay married to Cara Delevigne. SO FAR.) What I mean is, this is incredibly sexy to me and at the same time makes me feel like I can rule the world. Yet I find it clean and elegant, not raunchy. What does it smell like? According to official notes list, rose, gardenia, vetiver, cedar and musk. I am not a big fan of rose, but I couldn’t really make it out here. Unofficial lists also include amber.

I think it’s not that dissimilar to L’Homme up there (notes are different, but the development is similar).

Longevity of Narciso is pretty good, lasts all day on my wrist.

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There was no ingredients list on Narciso, just the promo image. Might be the only time that I think promo image and scent match.

In a nutshell: I wish those samples had been bigger.

Dr Brandt CC Mat

Dr Brandt offers two different lines of CC Cream: CC Glow (pink packaging) and CC Mat (grey packaging). I got testers of CC Mat and I’ve been using them on and off since July.

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This is the last pack. I received the color “light to medium”; I’m pretty sure both lines of CC cream also have a “medium to dark”. You can see a bit of the color left on top. At first I was critical if the color would work for me; light to medium is usually too dark. However, it spread out pretty thin and the coverage is light, so it worked.

I think I’m writing this review backwards. Let’s get the stats: This is a CC cream, meaning it has skin care properties and is supposed to help with discolorations. It comes with SPF 30 PA +++, and it comes flesh-toned. There are two sorts of CC creams if you ask me, one type comes in soft pastel colors, which makes them primers. The others come in flesh tones, which means you can use them instead of foundation (or as primer).

I’ve been using this instead of foundation. The coverage is light, but it’s there. The color of “light to medium” matches up to MAC NC 20, that was the shade of concealer I was using along with this CC cream. But when I fell back to NC 15, it worked as well, so there’s certainly a range of tones it works with.

At first I tried to use it on its own, without any primer or moisturizer underneath, but I found it sinks into pores and highlights them instead of hiding them. So a pore-filling primer was a must. And that’s why this CC Mat does not work as a primer itself. But with a primer underneath I was pretty happy with it. For a while I’ve combined it with the By Terry CC Lumi Serum, that gave the prettiest result.

The product is mattifying as the name suggests and it did control the shininess on my nose. Since our summer wasn’t overly hot this year and my skin isn’t that oily to begin with (my nose gets shiny throughout the day, usually I need to blot twice) I cannot promise it works with very oily skin. I didn’t have to blot during the day while wearing this, though. Since it is mattifying and I applied all over my face I was afraid it might be drying on the cheeks. But that didn’t happen.

Since I used it with a pore-filling primer to keep it from sinking in I cannot say if it had any positive effects on skin, but it didn’t have any negative effects.

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The back with a long list of ingredients. Click to enlarge.

All in all I think this is a pretty good product. I won’t buy a full size because I prefer better coverage, but I think it’s worth checking out if you’re looking for only a little bit of color in a mattifying cream with sun protection.

OPI My Dogsled is a Hybrid & My Voice is a Little Norse

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Out of the cute Little Northies set by OPI I tried the green one first, My Dogsled is a Hybrid. To my own surprise I discovered I own a lot of clothes in this color so I had fun color-coordinating outfits for a whole week. Shown in the picture are two coats and no top coat. It is a little streaky, the polish is very thick and while the brush is as good as the regular size brushes, it was a little smaller, so I needed more strokes than usual. But the strokes aren’t as visible in real life as they are in this picture, especially with top coat over it. The pic pulls blue, the color is greener than it looks like here.

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Then I decided to put the glitter topper on my ring finger. This is one coat of My Voice is a Little Norse. It’s the best glitter top I own. What you see up there is what happens when you drag the brush once across. No placement of glitter needed, no fishing for glitter in the bottle either. This pic doesn’t do the sparkle any justice, so I made another out of focus:

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I hope you can see the multi colored sparkle better here.

After I took these pics I slapped Essie Good To Go on top and the mani has been holding like cement for a week.

YSL Gloss Volupté Beige Nu

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The last item I picked up from YSL‘s current fall collection was the Gloss Volupté Pure in 210 Beige Nu. There are several more lip products, beiges and browns and whatnot. There’s one for everyone. This pick is unusual for me for two reasons: firstly I am not one for gloss. I do own glosses, but I am usually more into lipsticks. Secondly I am wary of anything with “beige” in the name. Beiges and nudes are hard to pull off for me, I feel like they pale me down too much. But as you can see up there, Beige Nu isn’t all that beige. It’s more a mauvey, dusty pink.

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The curvy applicator. It’s actually shaped like lips.

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Finally, a swatch. This gloss is completely without sparkle. What you see in the swatch is simply light reflection from the glossyness.

I like the color on my lips. It’s nude, but not paled down. I also really like the shiny look without any shimmer. I feel like this gloss makes my lips look bigger, which is always a welcome effect.

Weartime is okay for a gloss; it doesn’t survive drinking.

And this is the part where you can tell it’s my first ever YSL gloss: Man, that thing is perfumed! At first I didn’t realize where the smell came from and went like “what the hell is this?”. It’s very strong and fruity. During testing I got some of it into my mouth and it has a strong taste as well. Do you know that feeling when you’ve eaten pineapple and your mouth is all prickly? That’s what this gloss is like. I am not entirely sure if this is the case for everyone, I might be allergic to it? But I’ve seen many a blogger complaining about the smell at least.

So a huge plus for the color and look, but a huge minus for smell and feel. I won’t buy another YSL gloss. (I have not had this reaction to any other of their lip products, be it lipsticks, the kiss & blush or the vernis a levres.) I’m sad about it, because colorwise this would be a wonderful every day item. But I can’t deal with a prickly mouth every day. And this is why makeup and skin care should be unscented. If I want to smell like YSL, I’ll douse myself in their perfume!

All Used Up September 2014

A new month, a new empties post.

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First off, Clarins UV Plus HP with SPF 40: used this on my face during ‘summer’. This has a lightweight texture, it sinks in immediately and doesn’t leave a white cast either (even if it first looks like it will, but it just needs to be blended in). It’s not mattifying, it leaves a little dewy shine (possibly whats left over from the white cast). I think it protected well enough. My biggest problem, and I mean with ALL sunscreens, is that they always leave me with clogged pores. I experiemented around, and I’m pretty sure it’s the sunscreens (when it’s not MAC foundations). So this product is pretty good, also to wear under foundation, but not mattifying and I’m still on the look for sun protection that doesn’t clog pores. Before I forget this was only a 3 ml sample, but I needed so little for the whole face that it last a long time.

 

To battle the clogged pores and every other skin problem: Lancome Advanced Genifique: been wanting to try this for a while, but I waited until I had several samples to have a nice long testing period. Now I’ve used up my last sample and I’m already missing it. Advanced Genifique claims to be a youth activating concentrate. It doesn’t really claim much else. What does it do on my skin? The first couple days it reminded me a lot of Biotherm’s Blue Therapy Serum. It also felt like it flushed out some blemishes, meaning after about a week I had more pimples. Those healed up in record time. After that, Advanced Genifique went to town on my pores, blackheads vanished or got significantly smaller. This puts it ahead of Blue Therapy in my books, because that one never managed to get my pores smaller. Does Advanced Genifique also reduce wrinkles? Small ones, I guess.

Is Advanced Genifique really as good as the hype says? I say yes, and I’m already saving up for a full size.

 

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Also used up: a 300 ml bottle of Balea hand cream Sheabutter Arganöl: I like that you can unscrew the pump to get at the very last bit of the cream. I’m neurotic about hand washing so I use a lot of hand cream. Big bottles are perfect for me. Sadly, despite being described as rich, this one isn’t rich at all. It’s a very thin cream, not like the name would make you believe, since both shea butter and argan oil are very rich ingredients. It was okay for summer, but now I need something better.

 

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Also used up two perfume samples:

Moschino Chic Petals: This is a fresh fruity floral. And that’s about all I can say. It’s not overly offensive, but not very interesting either. Longevity is medium to strong, imho.

Chanel Chance Eau Fraiche: Perfect for summer, it has a very citrusy opening, although I can’t quite pin down which citrus. That phase is very short and then I am left with a clean chypre*, possibly the regular Chance smell (I don’t know Chance, sorry). Longevity is extremely short, so I had to reapply during the day. To be honest I also used it as a room spray. I think it’s a wonderful room spray. I wouldn’t buy a full size of this for myself (a scented candle would be another story), but I’ve bought a full size for my mum. My mum likes inoffensive clean chypre.

* the emphasis here not on chypre, but on clean. very very clean.

 

I’ve also used up a CC cream, but I’ll give it its own post.

Thank you for reading.

YSL Rouge Pur Couture the Mats Fuchsia Fetiche

As seen in my haul post I picked up two more items from YSL‘s magical Fall 2014 Collection. In this post I will show you the lipstick I went crazy about as soon as I saw the first promo pics: 208 Fuchsia Fetiche.

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Here it is in all its glory. I loved it from the second I laid eyes on it but I was scared, too. What if I couldn’t pull it off? So I did a whole lot f swatching and sampling first. And the good news is it looks amazing on my lips and also nowhere near as scary as I feared.

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Comparison shot: right on top is Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet La Malicieuse, then YSL Rouge Pur Couture the Mats Fuchsia Fetiche, Chanel L’Exuberante, YSL Rose Perfecto and on bottom the Gloss Volupte Beige Nu. Minus the gloss all of these are matte lipsticks. I think in the bullet La Malicieuse and Fuchsia Fetiche look the most similar.

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Swatches, same order as above: La Malicieuse, Fuchsia Fetiche, L’Exuberante and Rose Perfecto. Rose Perfecto looks a little darker than it is here, next to these traffic lights.

In the swatch there’s a clear difference between La Malicieuse and Fuchsia Fetiche. Fuchsia Fetiche is the most vibrant in a row of vibrant and strongly pigmented colors. LOVE.

Lasting power is great, it survived a meal almost unscathed. Only dinner killed it. In my experience strong pinks usually hold the longest. While as a matte lipstick it is drying, it’s not very bad. A creamy MAC lipstick is worse to my lips.

Fuchsia Fetiche is a real gift to the bright lipstick lover and I think it made my teeth look less yellow, too (might be wishful thinking).

Availability: This lipstick is currently out of stock in several places, others still have it. At least one SA claimed to me that all the Mats lipsticks are non-limited, but don’t take my word for it.

Maybelline Color Drama Berry Much

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Remember when I said I had a really hard time walking past the Maybelline counter when there’s new things? Yeah. Shown here is the new lip crayon color drama. They call it an intense velvet lip pencil and I can agree that the color is intense and the finish is indeed velvet, as in matte. The color range is small, but useful. That I picked 310 Berry Me is completely the fault of Lisa Eldridge.

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Swatch time. This pic was taken in the shade.

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In direct sunlight. No shimmer whatsoever.

The texture is the trendy lightweight matte we currently see everywhere. I could not feel it on my lips at all. Lasting power was good, but after a meal I had to reapply. Might not be necessary with the other, lighter colors.

I have not sharpened mine yet, but it looks like standard big pencil size, should work with regular sharpeners. Only downside in my opinion is that it smells exactly like school supplies.

Big recommendation.