terça-feira, 19 de maio de 2020

5 Great Toners

Hi guys! Long time no see. Can we chat about toners today?

A few weeks ago posted about my morning and evening skincare routine on Instagram. And some of the questions people asked were the toners I use and how I'm using them, so I thought this could be helpful.

First of, what is a toner?

Let's start with the basics, I think everyone over 20-25 probably remembers the old fashioned tonics that did very in the big scheme of things. Most of them were, fortunately, improved and even if some still are called tonics, they are indeed toners. And their job is very clear, they come after cleansing the skin and are used to remove all traces of cleansers. These cleansers can be stripping and unbalance the skin, so the toner helps to regulate the skin's PH.

How to pick the right toner?

Like any other skincare product, there's no universal toner fit for every skin type/need. And this is when things become a little confusing with the hundreds of options available nowadays. What you need to remember is the main function of the toner, regulate the skin. So you should look for a products specific for your skin type, that will give you what your skin needs after cleansing, for example if your skin gets dry with cleansers, you should look for a hydrating toner. If your skin is still oily even after washing, then you should look for a toner to control the excessive oils. If you're graced with the worst case of combination skin like me, who never knows what to expect, well, use the toner according to whatever your skin needs at the moment and look for ingredients that will help with that. And your skin can need different things in different moments so don't hesitate to have different toners for morning and evening. Even for different days. I do. And my skin improved a lot since I started.

What you need to remember is that this is a toner, not a serum or even a cream. This means that whatever the most appealing ingredient is (hyaluronic acid, retinol, vitamin c, niacinamide, glycolic acid, etc, etc, etc), is nowhere near as strong as it would be in a serum. But, that being said, it's a good way to get you introduced to those ingredients. And they do get some results!

So, what is my toner routine?

At the moment I have five different toners in rotation. Yes, five! Why? Because my skin hates me and tries to be as difficult as possible every single day! I have combination skin that can be extremely dry in the mornings only to become oily in the evening or vice-versa. And I can have extremely dry cheeks and forehead with  very oily nose and chin... or any other possible combination! So at the moment I'm using:

Pixi Vitamin C

It's my usual toner in the morning. I love that it actually brightens the skin and contains Aloe Extract that soothes and hydrates while the Willow Bark provides some gentle exfoliation . It's perfect for mornings when my skin is feeling normal or even a little dry, so I admit it's the one I use the most.

Laneige Essential Power 

My other morning toner, this is for combination to oily skin, so this is what I use in those days that I wakeup with extra oiliness or some acne. It contains niacinamide, which is great to all these problems, but what makes it so good is how well it balances other hydrating ingredients like Quinoa Seed Extract. It contains alcohol as a second ingredient, so if you have sensitive skin, you should probably stay away from it.

Fresh Rose Toner

This is the really good stuff! I both use it in the mornings or evenings, sometimes both, but I actually use it more like an essence than a toner. Meaning, I use whatever I need as a toner and then, when my skin is feeling too dry or irritated, even when it has some nasty acne, this is what I apply to sooth is. I make sure there's a petal in the cotton pad and then I press it into the skin, leaving it for a few seconds. It's full of soothing and hydrating ingredients.

Pixi Glow Tonic

I think this is the most famous toner in history! It's an exfoliating toner, containing Glycolic Acid (that's why I think it's a bad idea to use it in the morning, even with sunscreen), but it's not harsh at all, maybe because of the Aloe Vera. It's a good way to introduce you to AHA's. I don't use it every night because I alternate it with the Retinol Tonic, but to be very honest, I like this one a little bit better, especially when it comes to control my breakouts.

Pixi Retinol Tonic

My other night toner. It's another one that I'm really not comfortable to use in the morning even with sunscreen. The retinol helps to reduce fine lines and smooth the skin. While I don't think this toner does much about fine lines it does smooth the skin and the Jasmine is a really good anti-inflammatory, it soothes my hyperpigmentation and even active acne and helps the acne scars.

These are the toners that I use more often and as you can see, I always try to pick them according with whatever my skin needs at the moment.

What's your favourite toner?
Have you used any of these?

quinta-feira, 12 de março de 2020

5 Face Cleansers I've Tried Recently

Hello darlings!

My skin has been changing so much over this past couple of years, that I felt like none of my usual cleansers were appropriate anymore and I started looking for different things in the products. That's how it started the quest for the perfect face cleanser! 
Before we start, I should explain that I have combination skin with a tendency to dehydration. Sometimes it's such a mess to define it because different parts can be completely different. Usually I have dry cheeks and forehead, but my chin and the area around my nose are oily. This means that it's very difficult to find products that work for me. 

Do you think that I was finally able to find my Cleanser Holy Grail? Well, keep Reading to find out!

First Aid Beauty Pure Skin Cleanser

This is a very gentle cleanser. It says it removes surface oils, makeup, dirt and grime and it’s absolutely true! It’s infused with botanical antioxidant like aloe to calm, sooth and nurture the skin and glycerin to hydrate the skin. It can be used even by sensitive skin types. It works! For a long time this was my go to cleanser, it’s so gentle, I never noticed any redness, doesn’t dry the skin and feels very fresh. It’s fragrance free, cruelty free, vegan and gluten free. If you have sensitive skin this is an amazing choice.

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser

I think the names says everything about this cleanser. It’s suited for normal and dry skin, with 3 Ceramides, NP, AP and EOP (1, 3, 6-11) and Hyaluronic Acid to lock the moisture into your skin. I use this in the winter when my skin gets dry or dehydrated, but it breaks me out a little when the skin is back to normal. Otherwise, it removes any dirt but is a little stubborn with makeup, that's why I usually recommend it as a second or a morning cleanser.

Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip

This is a gentle cleanser that uses Green Clay, Bentonite and White Kaolin to clean pores without stripping the skin from moisture, Rice and Olive Oil Esters to balance and soften sensitive skin and Neroli Extract to brighten and soothing the skin. It’s cruelty free, vegan, sulfate free, paraben free, gluten free and fragrance free. I’m not even sure what to say about this cleanser. I love the fact that it immediately soothes any redness I have, but other than that… well… it doesn’t remove makeup, it doesn’t make my face feel clean, it’s a weird liquidy form… but in its defence it’s actually very gentle and doesn’t dry out my face. It’s not an awful cleanser, but for me it’s certainly not worth the price.

Laneige Multi Deep-Clean Cleanser

Even though it says that it can be used by all skin types, this is more appropriate for combination and oily skin because the Papaya Enzymes purifies the skin by removing dead cells, excess sebum and waste in pores, while the Blueberry Extract is an antioxidant that soothes and brightens the skin. This is my cleanser Holy Grail! It does everything I wish for in a cleanser: removes every trace of dirt and makeup, cleans deeply, makes my skin feel fresh without drying it or that horrible tightening feeling and the tiniest dot is enough to clean my entire face.

Dr. Jart + Dermaclear Micro-Foam

This is a creamy foaming cleanser with Hydrogen Bio Water (Whatever that is!) that helps draw out impurities and excess oil, Dead Sea salt with antibacterial and disinfecting effects and Coconut water to soften and moisturize the skin. Well, this is good. I actually feel like my skin is clean and hydrated. When I first got it, I thought the effect would be horrible, because coconut water products usually breaks me out. Not the case at all! I believe this can be used by all skin types… just maybe not sensitive.

And these were the five cleansers I've tried recently. Here I could also include the Youth To The People Superfood Cleanser, but I left it out because I already reviewed it. You can find my opinion about it here.
And in case you were wondering which of these cleansers is my absolute favourite, well… I have one with a very close 2nd place. Of course the Laneige Multi Deep-Clean Cleanser is the winner. It's everthing I look for in a cleanser and I couldn't be happier with the results. That is of course, at the moment, with the warm weather, when my skin is almost always on the oilier side.
My second favourite is the First Aid Beauty Pure Skin Face Cleanser. This works a little better on dry skin so, once the Summer is over and the cold wind is back, I believe it will be my front runner again. 

 Have you tried any of these cleansers?
 Which one is your favorite? 

sexta-feira, 6 de março de 2020

Review: Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair

Hello people,

So today I've decided to review one of my favourite skincare products ever, the Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair. I've used it on and off since I was 26-27, but have been more consistently over the last couple of years.

What is the Advanced Night Repair? 

It's a night repairing serum that reduces and prevents signs of ageing, like lines, wrinkles and dullness. Hydrates and smooths the skin, giving it a healthy, fresh and youthful look.
It uses Estée Lauder's ChronoluxCB technology to enhance the skin's natural cell repair and protection. It also contains Hyaluronic Acid, to attract and lock in moisture into the skin, helping with dryness and dehydration. Non acnegenic, it's a fragrance and oil free formula that won't clog the pores, suitable for all skin types.

Advanced Night Repair is available in four sizes: 20ml, 30ml, 50ml and 75ml. The prices go from 35€ (30£) up to 135€ (115£), depending on your location.

How to use?

It can be used mornings and evenings, on clean skin, before the moisturiser, applying a drop on each fingertip of both hands and rubbing them together, then massaging them on the skin, moving from the centre outwards.

My opinion

First of all, I love that it comes in so many sizes. No matter how much I like a product I also enjoy to try new things, soI usually go for the smaller sizes. Not only they don't bankrupt my account, but it also avoids products going bad or being wasted. One of the aspects that I have some mixed feelings about is the fact that it comes with a dropper instead of a pump. This exposes the product to air and bacteria but on the other hand, makes it easier to control the dosage that goes into the skin.

Usually I ignore part of the instructions and only use it in the evenings. If you decide to use it during the day, don't forget your sunscreen. I put four drops on my face (forehead, each cheek and chin). This is a very thick serum, which I first thought would be a problem, but it actually spreads very easily and the skin absorbs it in a matter of seconds without any weird residues, stickiness or oily feeling. It's just very comfortable. The smell is nothing to right home about, but it's soft and goes away once the product dries, so I'm not really complaining.

I love how good it immediately feels. As soon as I apply it, I can feel some extra freshness and a few seconds later my skin feels so smooth, I have to stop myself from touching it every ten seconds.
My skin is usually dehydrated combo and I never felt like it made it oily, in spite of the hyaluronic acid. It also doesn't give me a big hydration boost, but keeps it hydrated enough throughout the night, no dry patches or redness, so I count it as a win (specially if compared with other serums). When I wake up the skin feels silky and rested (I always joke and say it's the caffeine in the ingredients list).

In my opinion this serum biggest weapon is the long term results and here I have nothing but praise! I have some fine lines around my mouth and nose and the ANR worked small miracles on them when I first started using it. And I don't think they got more pronounced over the past two years.

Another aspect that I always notice after a few days of uninterrupted use is how beautiful the skin looks. Bright, even and healthy. It brings an amazing glow. 

Final thoughts 

Over the past two years this serum became a usual presence in my night routine and unless I have some sudden skin change or they change the formula, I doubt it will go anywhere. I don't use it every single night and sometimes I stop for a few months but it always returns, in spite of the hefty price. But I have such good results that it's actually worth it. 

Have you ever tried the Advanced Night Repair? 
Let me know your thoughts about it down in the comments.

quinta-feira, 5 de março de 2020

Review: Youth to the People Superfood Cleanser

Hello guys!

Today I'm bringing you the review of the Superfood Cleanser from Youth to the People. I got the travel size when I went to Italy back in March and, while I was waiting for my train from Florence to Milan, I decided to enter Sephora. They already had the Super Ingredients Box (we only got it this month here in Portugal) and of course I couldn't resist bringing it home with me.
I was so curious to try any of the Youth to the People products that I started using the cleanser the very next morning!

🌸 What is the Superfood Cleanser 🌸

It's a face cleanser gel for daily use with cold-pressed antioxidants like kale, spinach and green tea. It removes makeup, prevents clogged pores and balances skin's PH without drying it. It is suitable for dry, combination, oily and normal skin and helps preventing oiliness, fine lines, wrinkles, dullness and uneven tones.
It's sulfate-free, alcohol-free, cruelty free and vegan.

Superfood Cleanser is available in three sizes: 30 ml, 59ml and 239ml

🌸 How to use 🌸

It is used twice daily: mornings and evenings. Use two pumps and rub them into a lather with wet hands, then apply to wet face and massage it for thirty seconds before rinsing it. To remove makeup add more water gradually during the massage.

🌸 Ingredients 🌸

Water, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Panthenol (Vitamin B5),Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Butylene Glycol, Brassica Oleracea(Kale) Leaf Extract, Spinacia Oleracea (Spinach) Leaf Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea)Leaf Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Medicago Sativa (Alfalfa) Extract,Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Extract, Natural Fragrance, Lecithin, HydroxypropylMethylcellulose, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Chlorophyll.

Kale: contains phytonutrients, Vitamin C, E and K, strengthens the skin and makes it glow
Spinach: it has cooling properties that soothes the skin 
Green Tea: anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory to clear the skin.

🌸 My opinion 🌸

The very first thing that I loved about the Superfood Cleanser was the container. Even the travel size comes in a glass, clear bottle. But I would have changed the plastic lid (which I actually broke closing the bottle) for a pump, just like the full-size has.

One small detail that I loved about this and I believe that all skincare products should have, is the actual expiration date besides the shelf life after opening. This is something that helps us consumers be sure that our products haven't been laying around for years and may not be as efficient as they once were.

I have to admit I was a little sceptical about the ingredients list. I'm not a stranger of Vitamin E cleansers and I do like the ascorbic acid specially to prevent the first signs of ageing. I've used plenty of cleansers with green tea and aloe vera, they're both amazing to sooth the skin from any kind of irritation. But I never used anything with kale or spinach. And while I don't mind them in my soup or salad, I wasn't sure I wanted them in my skincare.

My first concern about this cleanser was the smell. Even though I don't have sensitive skin, I noticed that this had a natural fragrance, so I was kind of worried that I would go around smelling like spinach, or worse... kale! Fortunately, as soon as I opened the bottle all I could find was a soft herbal scent.

The cleanser is a transparent, very liquid gel. It is thinner than anything I've used before, except maybe for oils, almost watery-like. It feels very lightweight when massaged into the skin. And this is where that pump would be a great help. It's not easy to 'guess' how much is enough and even harder to prevent spilling half the bottle into our hands.

While the gel is being massaged into the skin it feels very gentle but I wouldn't use it as my makeup remover because I feel that it's not enough, specially if I'm using a lot of makeup. Now if I use it as my second cleanser that's where its strengths are. It removes all traces of leftover makeup, dirt, grime, even excessive oils. But it doesn't make me feel like the skin is deeply clean or fresh and unlike what it claims, it makes it feel slightly dry. Not to the point that it becomes an issue, but as soon as I rinse it off, I feel like I need my moisturiser as soon as possible, even if it never caused any kind or irritation or even redness, which I definitely like about it. It's not easy to find a cleanser that doesn't cause me immediate redness and so far I never saw any.

For me, I think this would be an okay morning cleanser, to remove traces of skincare and excessive oils formed overnight, but while I love that this is sulfate and alcohol free, cruelty free and vegan, I'm not sure I will repurchase it at least on a regular basis. For the same price there are other products out there that don't cause me the small issues this one does, mainly the slight dryness. I have combination skin, it can be oily around my nose and chin area but very dry in my forehead, around my eyes and cheeks and this cleanser makes these later areas feel even drier so I think this would work better with normal or oilier skin types.

Have you ever tried the Youth to the People products?
What about this face cleanser?
Let me know in the comments what your favourite face cleanser is.