La Roche-Posay Haul & Review

Aside from my Toleriane moisturizer which I raved about in my previous empties post here, I have actually never tried any other products from La Roche-Posay, which is quite odd considering how easy it is to find La Roche-Posay in drugstores around here. Recently, I have really been getting into French pharmacy skincare, so I picked up some bits from La Roche-Posay when I was at the drugstore, and after using them for three weeks, I am ready to report back.

First up on the far right is the Toleriane Purifying Foaming Cream. Since the Toleriane moisturizer was so good for my intolerant, sensitive, breakout-prone skin, I really wanted to try a cleanser from the range. When I saw this on the shelves, I was really confused thinking, how can a cream produce foam? But when I tried it at home, the name really makes sense. I like to use a foaming net with my cleansers, and this cleanser produces really dense, almost creamy foam, which feels really nice on the skin. A little bit of this stuff really goes a long way. The first time I used this, I had about enough foam on my hands for five days worth of cleansing, so just use a small pea-sized amount. There is a lot of hate these days for foaming cleansers, saying that they dry out and irritate the skin, which is fairly justified given that a lot of foaming cleansers produce foam because of the sulfates that they contain. This cleanser is preservative-free, fragrance-free, paraben-free, and sulfate-free. It also contains a lot of glycerin to help retain moisture. After cleansing with it, my skin just feels very clean and purified, but not the type of squeaky-clean feeling you get from the "bad" foaming cleansers. However, those with really dry skin should probably look to the other cleanser in the range aimed towards dry skin.

In the middle we have the Effaclar Duo. This is an acne treatment cream that is formulated with salicylic acid in Europe and with benzoyl peroxide in the US. I always thought that Canada would carry the benzoyl peroxide version. My skin, being so sensitive, is very easily dried out by benzoyl peroxide, so I always avoided this product. However, when I finally picked it up and gave it a proper read, I realized that Canada sells the European version with salicylic acid, so into the shopping cart it went. Over the past three weeks that I've used this, this product has been a little bit of a miracle worker. It really helps with unclogging pores, and most of my persistent under-the-skin spots went away within the first week. I still do get a few spots here and there, but they are a lot less swollen and always come to head after the first or second day. Acne fighting products take about six weeks to really work, so I will continue to use the Effaclar Duo and see what happens.

Finally, on the left is the Toleriane Rich Soothing Protective Cream. I had mentioned that while I love the regular Toleriane moisturizer, it wasn't quite enough moisture on really cold, windy days, and it has been snowing buckets around here recently. The Toleriane Rich contains shea butter, so it is a bit thicker than the regular Toleriane, though I still find the Toleriane Rich to be very light weight and it absorbs just as easily. Shea butter is effective as a moisturizer because it creates a barrier over the skin, preventing moisture from evaporating off. Sometimes, shea butter can clog the pores and result in break outs, but I haven't had any problems with this moisturizer. No more dry cheeks! Just smooth, dewy skin.

What are some of your favourite La Roche-Posay products? Leave me some recommendations so I can try them out!


The Sunday Mask

My Sunday nights are always reserved for the deep-cleansing mask, because my skin always looks great the morning after using these masks and I like to start the week with my best face (and make Mondays a little bit less terrible). When I say "deep-cleansing mask" or "detox mask", I'm referring to the clay/mud/charcoal mask. These masks are designed to draw impurities out of your pores and get rid of clogged pores, which often result in spots, black heads, white heads, and larger looking pores. Although it may be tempting to use these masks every other day to keep skin super clean, a deep-cleansing mask should really only be used once or twice a week, because they can draw moisture out of the skin and dry it out. 

My current deep-cleansing masks of choice are the Kiehl's Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Masque and the Avene Cleanance Mask, so I'll be talking about both of them today. The Kiehl's mask is made up of kaolin and bentonite clay, and is just your most basic clay mask. It claims to purify skin and minimize pores, which most clay masks do. The texture of this mask is very smooth and almost feels creamy, which is a bit odd for a clay mask, but it feels wonderful to apply. This mask also contains aloe vera juice and oat flour, both fantastic ingredients for soothing and calming the skin, and really helps in reducing the inflammation in those really big, red spots. 

The Avene mask is both a clay mask and an exfoliating mask. It contains kaolin clay, but also contains glycolic acid and salicylic acid, which are chemical exfoliants. Chemical exfoliants are a great way to exfoliate because they can get rid of that top layer of dead skin without the irritation of physical exfoliating scrubs. This mask gets rid of the dead skin and then draws out impurities with clay, making it extra effective. Avene is a brand targeted towards those with sensitive skin, so even though this mask sounds super heavy duty, it's not harsh at all.

Both of these masks are applied the same way. After cleansing, press a hot towel on your face to open up the pores, or skip this step if you shower at night. Spread an even layer on the face, avoiding the eye area. After leaving it on for a few minutes, the mask will start to dry. We all know that feeling, you can't move your face anymore and the mask starts to crack in places. It's a very satisfying thing to look at and can be a very amusing feeling, but you really should never let your clay mask dry until it cracks. At that point, all the moisture in the mask will have evaporated into the air, and the mask will start drawing moisture out of your skin, which is never a good thing. The stiffness of the mask will also be pulling at your skin as you move your face, which can result in fine lines. I like to spray some Avene Thermal Spring Water on my face when I feel the mask starting to dry, to keep it from getting super stiff. After ten minutes, just wash the mask off with a towel and water, and continue with your regular skincare routine.

I've included the ingredients list for both masks as a point of reference. 

Kiehl's: Aqua/Water/Eau, Kaolin, Bentonite, Propanediol, Glycerin, CI 77891 / Titanium Dioxide, Caprylic / Capric Triglyceride, Cetearyl Alcohol, Zea Mays Starch / Corn Starch, Phenoxyethanol, Ceteareth-20, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Tocopherol, Lecithin, Aloe Barbadensis / Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Avene Sativa Flour / Oat Kernel Flour, Allantoin

Avene: Avene Thermal Spring Water, Triethylhexanoin, Kaolin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Glycolic Acid, Water, Cyclomethicone, Sodium Hydroxide, Polyethylene, Ceteareth-33, Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Gluconate, Bisabolol, Cetrimonium Bromide, Cucurbita Pepo Seed Oil (Pumpkin), Fragrance, Pyridoxine HCl, Salicylic Acid, Xanthan Gum

The Face Mask Schedule: here
The Hydrating Mask: here
 The Treatment Mask: here


The Treatment Mask // Manuka Honey

Continuing on from last week's post about hydrating masks, today we are going to talk about the treatment mask. Now, the term "treatment mask" is a very broad term that encompasses many different types of masks, but basically, a treatment mask should be used to address imperfections that you are most concerned about. This could be a mask to combat acne, dark spots, redness, or to restore firmness, radiance, etc. I don't really advocate the use of oil-control masks, because they often strip the skin of moisture, which actually can lead to an increase in oil production and can accelerate the aging process. Instead, mattify the face throughout the day with blotting sheets, powder, or oil-controlling primers.

For those who already have pretty good skin and aren't concerned with any particular issues, use treatment masks according to the changes that occur in the skin as a result of change in the environment: sensitivity during the spring, dark spots during the summer, and dryness during the winter.

Recently, I've been loving using organic manuka honey for my treatment mask. The one I have is the Wedderspoon Premium Raw Manuka Honey Active 12+, but you can find manuka honey from all sorts of different brands in just about any organic food store. Honey is great for the skin because of its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, so it really helps with acne-prone and sensitive skin, both of which apply to my skin. Manuka honey contains a chemical called methylglyoxal, which is a by-product of a natural chemical process in the honey. Methylglyoxal is the major antibacterial component in honey, so manuka honey has a stronger antibacterial effect than regular honey. It is good to buy organic honey when you're going to be putting it on your face because organic honey does not contain pesticides.

I had originally wanted to purchase the new honey mask from Fresh, but I was turned off by the price tag of $130 for 100mL of product, so I just bought some manuka honey instead. Whenever I use manuka honey, the next morning my skin is incredibly soft and my break outs are visibly smaller and less red. Especially those huge, swollen cystic spots (too much information?), they either come to a head or just go down completely. However, the spots are not smaller because they are dried out, they are just much less inflamed, so this is a very gentle way of dealing with breakouts. Using raw manuka honey is great because you know that there are no added chemicals, and it's edible too, so add it to your tea or biscuits or cakes for a healthy alternative to sugar.

I'm sure we all know what honey looks like so I won't bother with showing a photo. I do find that manuka honey is a little bit thicker than regular honey, so I like to spray Avene Thermal Spring Water on my face before applying the manuka honey, just to make it a little bit easier to spread on the face. Then, I just scoop some manuka honey out with a spoon and spread a thin, even layer over my face. I leave it on for 10 minutes, and then wash off with water and a face towel.

The Face Mask Schedule: here
The Hydrating Mask: here


The Hydrating Mask // Fresh Rose Face Mask

Here it is, the Fresh Rose Face Mask, my current hydrating mask of choice. Ever since I got this, I have used this mask for almost every single "Hydrating Mask Day" of my face mask schedule (if you haven't read the Face Mask Schedule post yet, check it out here). Occasionally I stray towards some Asian sheet masks or the Origins Drink Up masks (will make a post on those another day), but the Fresh mask really gets things done. 

I was suffering from some seriously dehydrated skin around Christmas time, perhaps due to the cold weather and dry climate of Vancouver, and this mask really came in as a saviour. After using this for about a week, my skin was visibly more plump and the dry patches on my cheeks were gone, so makeup both went on easier and looked better throughout the day. For those who are already keeping skin very hydrated with serums and creams, this mask probably will not have much of a visible effect, but I still think that using a hydrating mask can help with pigmentation and wrinkles in the long run. 

This mask claims to hydrate, brighten, soothe, and calm. I for one don't think that this mask does a whole lot for redness, sensitivity, or pigmentation. It's mostly marketed as a hydrating mask, and when it comes to hydration, this mask really does it well. Sort the other skin problems out on your Treatment Mask Day. As you can see in the photo, the texture of the mask is a bit bizarre, like a very watery gel. It will drip down like a liquid so be careful not to make a mess when applying this mask. There are real rose petals suspended in the gel, which the product claims "literally melt into the skin". I would be a little bit concerned if rose petals started melting on my face (read: they do not melt into your skin). Rose has been a very popular ingredient in skincare products recently, mainly for its hydrating and soothing properties. Now some people may think that paying so much for what seems to be a jar of rose petals in water seems a bit absurd, so let's take a look at the ingredients list: 

Aqua (water), Butylene glycol, Glycerin, Pentylene glycol, Peg-60 hydrogenated castor oil, Rosa centifolia flower, Maris aqua (sea water), Rosa damascena flower water, Cucumis sativus (cucumber) fruit extract, Anthemis nobilis flower oil, Camellia sinensis leaf extract, Porphyridium cruentum extract, Rosa damascena flower oil, Aloe barbadensis leaf extract, Aspalathus linearis leaf extract, Faex (yeast extract), Sodium hyaluronate, Carbomer, Tetrasodium edta, Sodium hydroxide, Caprylic/capric triglyceride, Glyceryl acrylate/acrylic acid copolymer, Caramel, Maltodextrin, Parfum (fragrance), Bht, Citronellol, Phenoxyethanol.

As expected, the first - and therefore most abundant - ingredient in the product is water, which is typical of skincare products. As we go down the list, sea water and rose flower water are also pretty close to the start of the list, meaning that they are present in considerable quantities as well. Take a look at the at the rose floral water toners available on the market nowadays (for example, Fresh Rose Floral Toner and Lush Eau Roma Toner) and you'll see that they are not exactly cheap, so paying for the Fresh Rose Face Mask feels a little more justified. 

I am trying to post every week on Monday and Thursday. Next post will be my current treatment mask of choice, so please follow me and check back. Happy Valentine's Day everyone! Don't forget to give yourself lots of love as well by giving yourself a nice pampering session on the weekend (what I plan on doing anyway).


The Face Mask Schedule

I was converted into a face mask addict by Elle China editor-in-chief Xiao Xue, who says that using a face mask everyday is her best kept beauty secret as a successful business woman who has no time for sleep or spas. For the most part, I use face masks six days of the week. It is important to use serums and creams everyday to nourish the skin and replenish moisture and nutrients, but a face mask really takes your skin that extra mile.

Because face masks are so concentrated in their active ingredients and are designed to work in a short time, it is important to not leave a mask on for too long, even if it is that $300 mask that you splurged on while looking away from the price tag over Christmas season. 10-15 minutes is more than enough for any face mask.

When it comes to face masks, I believe that getting the most expensive and high tech products really isn't the most important thing. That pack of 30 My Beauty Diary sheet masks that you got on discount from your local Asian supermarket is just as good as a high end buy from Sephora, albeit not as luxurious of an experience. The most important thing is using face masks regularly and religiously. Don't expect a mask to erase all your dark spots overnight. Although some face masks can make skin imperfections look a lot better after just one use, we all know that it's easier to prevent skin imperfections than to treat them, so why wouldn't you do the same with face masks? And really, 10 minutes while you're brushing your teeth at night is all you need, so I won't be accepting any excuses of "Well I just don't have the time, you know?". Not on this blog.

That being said, not all face masks are the same. Face masks with different ingredients are targeted towards different skin concerns and should be used at varying frequencies. My typical face mask schedule looks something like this:

Monday: Hydrating mask
Tuesday: Hydrating mask
Wednesday: Treatment mask (for acne, sensitivity, redness, or whatever problem I'm having at the moment)
Thursday: Hydrating mask
Friday: Hydrating mask
Saturday: No mask! It's also important to not overload your skin with product, so give it a break once a week and let your pores sort themselves out in preparation for...
Sunday: Deep cleanse/Detox mask. We all know about this one. The clay mask that you leave on until it dries up and cracks, except you really shouldn't be doing that. Tsk tsk. More on that later.

As you can see, the majority of my face mask schedule consists of hydrating masks. Keeping the skin hydrated is key in preventing spots and wrinkles and speeding up the process of healing. Hydrating masks are typically more gentle on the skin than others and are suitable for everyday use. Treatment masks, exfoliation masks, and deep cleansing masks can be much more harsh on the skin and, in any case, do not need to be used so often anyway.

For the next few posts, I will be blogging about my current face mask favourites, so remember to follow me and check back regularly.


January Empties

As someone who regularly switches up their beauty routine due to an insatiable impulse to try new products out on the market, the products that are actually used up from top to bottom are always the ones I can speak volumes on, so what better way to start this blog than to talk about some of my empties from the month of January? 

(As a point of reference, I have combination skin that can be extremely sensitive and is very prone to break outs.)

This is the Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm. As you can see from all the writing having been rubbed off of the packaging, this product has been well-loved (and between you and me, I already have three back-ups of this in the back of my skincare drawer). This is the first product of my night time skincare routine, and for the most part, this is the only product that I use to take off makeup and sunscreen. I use about a bottle-cap-sized amount for my entire face and neck, and as you rub this product gently into the skin, it almost melts from the temperature of your skin and becomes very easy to spread and smooth over. One of my favourite feelings ever.

What I particularly love about this product is that there is no fragrance at all. In fact, it doesn't really smell like anything. Perhaps the product lacks a bit of luxury because of this, but my extremely sensitive skin is very happy with it. 

I have decided to write about these products in the order that I would normally use them, so next up is the famous GLAMGLOW Youthmud Tinglexfoliate Treatment. Right off the bat I am going to say that I did not enjoy this product and would not repurchase this. The only reason I used it up is because this is a very small jar and only lasted about 5 uses. Because this is a very popular and very expensive product, I kept trying to give it another chance, but my opinion of it has not changed. 

This product is a clay mask which also exfoliates the skin. I am surprised to find that this product does not contain glycolic acid or another form of acid because when this product is on your face, there is the stinging sensation typical of acid exfoliators. For some reason, there are pieces of green tea leaves in this product, making it very messy to apply and hard to spread on the skin. Green tea extract is one of my favourite skincare ingredients, but if I wanted to rub tea leaves on my face, I might as well pour my mug of tea into the sink and save myself $21, which is how much this product cost. There are also pieces of volcanic pumice rock for manual exfoliation, but I find this to be incredibly harsh on the skin and can hurt if not carefully applied. 

Now for the high price point and the hassle to put this product on, the results were unimpressive. I did not see anything this product did that something much cheaper like the Queen Helene Mint Julep Mask could not do. Quite honestly, I like the Queen Helene a lot better because it is much easier to apply and does not contain harsh exfoliating bits.

Next up is the Caudalie Vinosource S.O.S. Thirst Quenching Serum, and this is a product that I absolutely loved. Since it is winter, and Vancouver can get pretty dry during the cold months, I try to keep my skin very hydrated with serums. Caudalie is one of my favourite skincare brands and this product did not disappoint. This a water-based serum (made with Caudalie's famous grape water) and the consistency is extremely light. I always prefer water-based serums over oil-based serums because water-based serums are so easy to absorb and almost feel like nothing on the skin. Just very comfortable to use. The product has a very light fruity scent, probably from the grape water and extract, but nothing too strong or irritating. 

When I used this product, I found that my skin was indeed very hydrated. My skin also felt plump and soft, and seemed to look more radiant. This product was not irritating at all for my sensitive skin, which is to be expected of Caudalie products. The only downside is that this product ran out very fast. I used one pump day and night, and this product only lasted about 1.5 months, maybe a little longer. Because this product is so light and watery, it is very easy to use more product than needed. But for a $48 price point, I really hope this could have lasted longer. With that said, I would still repurchase this serum. 

Another great product for sensitive skin is the La Roche-Posay Toleriane Soothing Protective Skincare. Basically, this is a light moisturizer with the consistency of a gel-cream. Again, no fragrance, and also no preservatives or parabens, if you happen to be concerned about those ingredients. After I put this on, my skin just feels very soothed and comfortable, so I particularly enjoy using this when my skin is having a rough time with break outs. This product gets rid of a lot of the redness in my skin, and did not make my T-zone oily throughout the day. However, I do find that this product is not quite enough moisture for the cold winter months, and I do find that my cheeks are a bit dry on particularly cold and windy days. Those who live in cold climates or have dry skin may want to try the richer cream version of this product, which I am hoping to pick up soon. Already repurchased this product, but will save until the warmer months.

This month, I managed to use up a makeup product, which is extremely rare and very exciting. My daily makeup routine usually only consists of BB cream, brow pencil, tinted lipbalm, and blush, and the Skin79 VIP Gold Collection Super Beblesh Balm is my favourite BB cream. The product is packaged in an opaque, airtight container, which I think is very sanitary and good for preserving the skincare benefits of the product. You dispense the product by pushing the top of the bottle, and let me just say that it was a very sad moment when I pushed down on there and no more product came out. A real tragedy.

Although I did not really see any skincare benefits from using the product, possibly because I am always switching up skincare products, this BB cream was fantastic as a makeup product. It is very easy to blend in with fingers, brushes, or sponges. I typically apply BB creams with a Beauty Blender sponge, mostly because the sponge is easy to wash daily and applies product very quickly in the mornings, and when blended in this product looks very natural on the skin. Although it cannot completely cover up spots and scars, this product has fairly high coverage and can cover up all the redness in my skin, so that is good enough for me for a daily basis. Will definitely repurchase soon.