Morning Skincare Routine

Recently, I have actually been keeping to a routine when it comes to skincare, which is pretty rare for me as I'm always switching between products, so I figured I would share it on the blog. I like to keep things simple in the morning because during the day, my main concern is to protect my skin from environmental damage such as sun damage and the dry Vancouver air. Here is my 5 product (I left one out in the photo; my apologies) morning skincare routine.

I start my routine with the Fresh Soy Face Cleanser, which I mentioned previously in my February Empties post, and yes, I have already repurchased it. This is quite possibly my favourite cleanser of all time. I've tried using home-made soy milk on my face before, and it always leaves my skin so soft and supple, so I am a firm believer of soy as a skincare ingredient. This cleanser has a light gel texture and is so refreshing to use in the morning. It cleanses the skin of any oils that might have accumulated throughout the night, but also leaves the skin very soothed and hydrated.

After that, I mist my face with a spray toner, which is what I forgot to include in the photo. Currently, I've been reaching for either the Lush Breath of Fresh Air or Lush Tea Tree Water. Breath of Fresh Air is great at calming redness and giving the skin a punch of hydration, while Tea Tree Water is reserved for particularly spotty days.

While my skin is still wet from the spray toner, I go in immediately with a lightweight eye cream. I have a deluxe sample size of the Caudalie Vinosource SOS Morning Eye Rescue that I received when buying my beloved Caudalie SOS Thirst Quenching Serum. This sample is only 7mL of product but has lasted me such a long time, because you only need a tiny amount. It has a light souffle type texture that is incredibly hydrating, and also contains antioxidants to help with aging around the eye area. It does seem to help with de-puffing the eye area as well, but I don't really suffer from puffy eyes, so it's hard for me to really tell. For my face, I've been loving the Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Radiance Lotion. This is the newest addition to the Fresh product line. I am going to do a separate post on this moisturizer because I just love it that much, so I'm not going to go into detail here, but I will say that this moisturizer leaves the skin so hydrated and plump, and have this beautiful illuminating effect on the skin. I don't understand how it happens, but I can't stop looking at myself in the mirror.

Finally, I finish off with an SPF, and my current pick is the AmorePacific Natural Protector SPF 30. This is a physical-chemical sunscreen hybrid (which means it contains both physical and chemical sunscreen ingredients) that offers full spectrum UVA/UVB defence. The product has a slight pink tint to it which sort of helps to even out skin tone, but the effects are minimal. The product does not leave any white cast on the skin. It is fairly lightweight in comparison to other SPF products and absorbs quickly. I wouldn't say that this is my holy grail SPF because it does contain a lot of fragrance and is still just a little bit heavy for my liking. It also tends to flake off in little white bits when certain makeup products are layered on top, so there is a lot of trial and error involved. I have already ordered a new SPF to play around with, so I will report back on how we get along. Until then, I am content with my current routine.


Orange is the New Red (Lip)

During the winter, I was suddenly possessed with the frantic need to purchase orange lip products and have been accumulating products ever since. Now that we're nearing spring, I'm starting to notice that orange lips are very in. They've been popping up all over the runway, even more so than the darling of makeup artistry - red lips. The orange lip look has been popular among Korean girls for a while now, and I can really see why. Although I adore the look of a good red lip, I've always felt that red lips look a bit harsh on me. Orange lips really complement yellow undertoned skin, and just bring a sort of brightness to the whole face.

I have two orange lip products that I've been reaching for almost everyday. The first one is the Benefit Cha Cha Tint. The product looks neon orange in the bottle, but sheers out to a beautiful finish on the lips. It can also be used on the cheeks as blush, although I have yet to try that out. This product is more of a lip stain, so it doesn't provide any shine to the lips, but the colour is very long lasting. I like to dot it on the lips, blend out with a small brush, and build up in thin layers until I get the intensity that I want. I find that the colour lasts a lot longer if blended out with fingers instead of a brush, however the product will stain your fingers and you will be walking around with a single orange finger for the better half of the day. And no, it doesn't even wash out with soap and a good scrubbing.

The second product is the Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Rendezvous. This is one of those chubby lip crayon type products. It feels kind of like a balm, but I don't find it particularly moisturizing and it can cling to dry patches, so be sure to moisturize well beforehand. It's not so much a lip stain as it is a lip tint, since the colour does rub off onto the edge of my tea mug and definitely does not last as long as the Benefit Cha Cha tint. However, the Revlon has a nice sheen to it that the Benefit doesn't have. It comes off sheer on the first coat but can look a lot more vibrant than the Benefit Cha Cha tint after just two or three coats.

Are you going to try the orange lip trend this spring?


Just In: Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask

The Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask is a new release and when I first heard of the product, I thought the idea was genius. I get super dry, chapped, flaky lips in the winter, and the idea of an intense nourishing treatment for lips sounded like just about the best thing. However, as much as I praise the thought, the product itself was a big disappointment for me.

The product comes in a small metal tube and has a very thick texture, but is still fairly easy to spread. It looks like honey, feels like honey, and also tastes like honey and vanilla, which is delicious. I tried this product two ways: as an overnight treatment, and as a regular 10 minute mask. Using this overnight was a disaster. My pillow cover, blanket, and hair kept sticking to my lips, and I kept tasting honey in my mouth and wondering whether it could give me cavities. By morning, there was no trace of it left on my lips, but my lips also did not feel nourished. In fact, my lower lip cracked and started bleeding later in the day, so I assume the product is just somewhere on my bed now. Not cute.

I then tried it as a mask treatment that I would put on while doing face masks. After 10 minutes, I removed it with a washcloth to provide a bit of exfoliation. I tried this method a few times, and it works alright. My lips were pretty smooth and soft immediately after, but within an hour they were back to being dry again, so I do not see this product having any long term effects. $30 is a pretty hefty price tab for a lip treatment so I was expecting miraculously kissable lips 24/7, but that definitely did not happen. Alas, the search for the miracle lip treatment continues.


Sephora Formula X Love Chemistry dupe

I'm not normally one to get excited over nail polishes, but even I get giddy when I come across a dupe for one of my favourite polishes in the drugstore aisles. The Sephora Formula X Sparklers polish in Love Chemistry is a gorgeous polish composed of fine gold glitter mixed with hexagon pink glitter suspended in a clear formula. I always thought that this was a very unique combination of colours, and it's one of those polishes that is not noticeable when chipped, which is always a plus for me as I absolutely hate the look of chipped polish. However, it is considered more of a high-end polish and comes at a price of $15. The Maybelline Color Show polish in Gilded Rose was originally released as part of the Brocades collection but is now the newest addition to their permanent line. At my local drug store, the Maybelline polish came at $5, so it was considerably cheaper than the Formula X.

Left: Maybelline Color Show in Gilded Rose. Right: Sephora Formula X Sparklers in Love Chemistry

On the nails, the two polishes  look identical. If I hadn't written down which polish was on which hand, I would not be able to tell the two polishes apart. The formula of the polishes is very similar too. The first coat comes out quite sheer, although some may prefer that "glitter on nude" look. I used two coats for both polishes, but actually had to go in for a third coat of the Formula X on some spots that weren't opaque enough for my liking. It looks quite opaque in dim light applied like this, but in very bright light, you can tell that neither polish is completely opaque since they are more of a glitter top coat type polish. However, I think that the subtle pink of the skin underneath looks quite nice with this colour combination, and I personally quite enjoy the look. The brushes are very similar as well, a sort of soft brush that fans out easily to get the corners of the nail. Because this look is so multi-dimensional, it's very easy to apply, with no frustration of missed spots or accidental dents (two things that seriously drive me up the wall). Those who have been interested in Formula X Love Chemistry should definitely check out the Maybelline Color Show Gilded Rose as a cheaper alternative.


Winter Skin Saviour

You know when it gets really dry in the winter and your legs start to look a bit scaly, resembling lizard skin? Well, that happens to me. Up until now I've always just sort of put it off with the ever convincing argument that no one will be able to tell if I'm wearing pants anyway, because I just can't be bothered with putting on body moisturizer. Naughty, I know. This winter, I received a sample of the Kiehl's Creme de Corps. I was planning on just using up the sample, but I completely fell in love. The product comes out as a very lightweight cream that has a slight yellow tint to it, and almost has a cooling effect when applied. Because of the colour, I always read the name as "Creme de Corn", like cream of corn soup. (Yes, I know "corn" is not "corn" in French, but you get my point.) Despite all that, this product definitely does not smell like corn (shocking). In fact, it doesn't contain fragrances at all, which is something I really love about it. Body moisturizers are often very heavily loaded with fragrances, and while it might feel great to smell like roses or sensual seduction, it gets a bit annoying when I slather myself all over with moisturizer and it smells like I've knocked over an entire bottle of perfume. This moisturizer is super lightweight, so it absorbs very easily, and doesn't have any unpleasant smells. No bed sheets sticking to my skin as I try to roll around, no irritated nose, no more lizard skin. Yes.

For those who like a thicker moisturizer, there is also a Creme de Corps Soy Milk and Honey Whipped Body Butter, which sounds delicious. I'm going to stick with the bottle though because I would take the pump bottle over trying to dig product out of a jar any day.


February Empties

It would seem that February being a short month did not stop me from accumulating a stash of skincare empties. Up this month is four beautiful products that I'm quite excited to talk about, so let's get right to it.

The Avene Thermal Spring Water is a product that comes up regularly on this blog and that I have repurchased many times. Yes, it does seem like you're just buying water in a spray can, and I was very skeptical at first as well, but let me just tell you that the Avene really does work for reducing redness and calming sensitive skin.  I like to spray a bit of this on before I cleanse my face to prep and soften my skin, after I cleanse my face to neutralize the effects of unwanted impurities in tap water, and under face masks for an extra boost of redness relief.

The Fresh Soy Face Cleanser comes with a funny anecdote. I had gone into Sephora looking to try out the Philosophy Purity Cleanser, but was cornered by a very sassy male associate trying to sell me the Fresh cleanser whose marketing technique was just sticking his face about an inch from mine and saying "Touch my face. Just touch my face and you will change your mind." Well I did touch his face, and it was indeed very soft and smooth, so I bought the cleanser. This cleanser turned out to be possibly my favourite cleanser of all time and I have repurchased it on several occasions. It's a gel cleanser that is packed with great skin ingredients like soy extract, amino acids, rose water and cucumber extract. After cleansing with this, my skin always feels very smooth and balanced. It doesn't dry out the skin at all, so I reckon it would be great for all skin types. Highly, highly recommend.

I was absolutely obsessed with the Sibu Daytime Facial Cream over the summer but haven't actually used it as much recently, just because I do like to experiment with new products. It's a really simple, no-fuss moisturizer that absorbs effortlessly and doesn't leave the skin feeling greasy at all. It claims to be 100% natural and seems to pack some really great ingredients, so this would be great for those who prefer to go more natural on their skin. A really great choice for those days when you're just not sure what to do with your skin.

I'm sure we all read Caroline Hirons's blog so the Indeed Labs Hydraluron Serum should be a pretty familiar face. While I do read Caroline Hirons's blog regularly, my skin doesn't seem to tolerate her skin philosophy very well, so a lot of her recommendations are really hit-and-miss for me. For those who don't know, Hydraluron is a hydrating serum that contains hyaluronic acid, which helps draw moisture to the skin. The product is a clear gel that works best when applied over slightly wet skin. While I obviously enjoyed the product enough to finish the tube, I wasn't exactly wow'ed by it, and would prefer my Caudalie SOS Thirst Quenching Serum any day.