Sunday, April 29, 2012

Current Skincare Routine for Acne Prone Oily Combination Skin

I've had mild to moderate acne for 18 or so years, I finally went to a dermatologist and became much more rigid about my skincare routine and staying away from harsher cleansers aimed at younger skin.  I'm happy to report that I've gotten it in a state that I actually am blemish free periodically or have only a few very small non-cystic/nodule spots.  I do still get cystic/nodule acne but much less than I was before which is a great relief, they remain sore for so long and take weeks to start receding.

Quick disclaimer: I strongly believe that skincare is extremely specific to each person, even if you have the exact same skin problems I do - my products may not work for you.  If you are suffering with acne, and have not been able to resolve it to your liking at home, I really urge you to visit a dermatologist.  They do have products that you can't get over the counter, and you may be suffering needlessly.  It's worth a try!

So let's get down to the details!  I've actually been switching up products a bit due to having the Sample Society box from and Allure which has been pretty skincare-heavy, so far I think my skin has slightly improved if nothing else.  I'm attributing that to better exfoliation and balanced cleansers (not too stripping or moisturizing).  It's a lot of products and it does bug me how long it takes, but it's working well for me so, oh well!

Morning Routine
 - Wash: Bliss Fabulous Foaming Face Wash: I got this in a Sephora 500 point kit, it does have small exfoliating beads but they aren't too harsh - only thing I don't like is that it's something I can't use in eye area
 - Moisturize with SPF: Boots No 7 Rebalancing Day Fluid 15 SPF (low SPF but I'm rarely in the sun and never during mid-day, otherwise I use a 70 SPF underneath moisturizer): Not sure I'd repurchase but I like it for face/neck/chest, it's suitable for the job
 - Extra moisture for dry patch-prone areas of cheeks/around nose/chin (which dries out from acne treatment):

  • Boots No 7 Intensive Line Filler: I originally bought this to see if it would do anything to smile lines (nope)
  • OR
  • Garnier Moisture Rescue Refreshing Gel-Cream: Sometimes I use this instead of the Boots (and will be using it going forward after the Boots runs out which it almost has), I like the fresh cooling feel and scent
 - Eye depuffing/because-I-have-it*: from a Sample Society box Skyn Iceland Icelandic Relief Eye Pen: I don't know if there's any difference using this than not, but I have it so I'm using it up
 - Eye cream for serious moisturization*, I have extremely dry skin under my eyes: Shiseido Benefiance (I think they've renamed/reformulated this) Eye Cream - I can usually use real concealer if I moisturize with this, but even that sometimes it will catch on dry spots under my left eye
 - Acne control: Prescription from Dermatologist - Sulfacetamide/sulfur cream: I always apply to my chin (and under chin) which is the most nasty-acne prone (cystic/nodule type usually) area for me and any other small little blemishes/bumps that have popped up

*Note: the eye goop I only apply to under eyes in morning, otherwise eye makeup will crease like nobody's business no matter how long I wait or the primer I use.

Whew, thankfully I'm done with the morning!

Evening Routine
 - Washing in shower, remove eye makeup with whatever foaming eye-safe face wash I have laying around (currently a CVS branded knockoff of an Aveeno calming foaming wash, for my face it dries it out but works fine for removing eye makeup quite well)
 - Face wash in shower: Boscia Purifying Cleansing Gel (another Sample Society item): not too drying, it possibly has also contributed to slightly less oil/shine during the day but I'm not sure, not sure I will purchase
 - Exfoliation, I just slap this on over the Boscia: Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant (you guessed it, another Sample Society item!): I do like how I can use this with whatever cleanser I'm using or by itself, doesn't feel too harsh and definitely leaves my skin feeling smoother.  I use it on my neck and chest as well and I think it's helped my neck skin slightly which is a bit saggy from weight loss years ago.  I am considering purchasing this!
 - Glycolic Acid time!  I use it on my face, neck and chest as well.
  • Alpha Hydrox 10% Glycolic Acid Lotion: I have used almost all of it (a big 6oz bottle), I attribute glycolic acid to helping with the acne quite a lot, the dermatologist regime got me going but I took away some of those components and added in glycolic acid which got rid of the extra dryness and helped reduce the spots even more
  • Peter Thomas Roth Glycolic Acid 10% Hydrating Gel: I'm almost done with the Alpha Hydrox and decided I'd go for a bit more high end glycolic acid that would pack in some extra ingredients (aloe vera and antioxidants they say)
 - Extra moisture for the dry patch-prone areas again, same stuff (Boots No 7 Line Filler/Garnier Moisture Rescue Refreshing Gel Cream)
 - Eye cream again, just the Shiseido Benefiance eye cream and now I can use it on upper lid and under eyes - another good thing about the Shiseido is that it does not make my eyes sting which most eye creams do
 - Acne control again, thin layer of sulfacetamide/sulfur cream in the same areas

So, that's it.  I've found that I can change up the extra moisture component without problems.  I've also tried a couple different daytime SPF moisturizers and not had any issues switching.  Using more gentle exfoliating items have helped with flakiness/rough patches I get from my dry areas and treating acne.

Basic Face - What a Difference Eyebrows and Mascara Makes

It's no surprise I'm very pale, my eyebrows and eyelashes are varying shades of blonde and my hair is a medium brown/red/blonde/gray(cough) mixture.  One day a few weekends ago, I thought I'd just take some snaps as I got ready to show the difference defining my eyes and brows can make.  You'll have to excuse the frazzletastic hair, I didn't do anything to it after showering (as is usual for a weekend).

Here's the blank canvas, skin routine (moisturizer w/SPF, extra moisturizer for dry spots, eye cream for mega-dry undereyes, acne goo for problem areas) is done.  If I dare go to work without at least some mascara on, I usually get comments that I look sick or tired.  Score!

Next up, some foundation to even out the redness on my cheeks/nose/chin.

Now to a basic neutral eye, because of the warmth it actually enhances the sickly look.  It gets better, I promise!

Next up, eyeliner!  I don't wear eyeliner every day, but it's an easy way to bring some emphasis to my eyes which can get lost in the paleness.  I'm also rocking the slightly crazy eyes, don't mind me!

Now.. this one is even more startling, eyebrows!  They're a little dark/warm this time up but I do like a strong brow (probably because my brows are kinda weak and sparse).

Lastly, I've got blush, mascara and some sort of lip color on.  I think for me, mascara makes the largest impact.  Brows certainly help give my face more structure, but I'd skip them for mascara if I had to chose.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Winged Eyeliner on Slightly Hooded Mature Droopy Eyes

I think winged eyeliner is such a neat look, relatively basic and easy but no matter how many times I watched someone else do it - I struggle with my eye shape.

My eyes are a little droopy, a little downturned, possibly considered slightly hooded or mature.  Whatever you call it, a wing will get caught up in the crease of my eye at the corner.  Here's the best I can usually manage, and I had to re-do this completely once because I was frustrated with the outcome from just using liquid liner.

Straight on, you can't see much.  It will kind of curl up and disappear with the crease of my eye.  I've tried bringing it out further, extending the base past the corner of my eye, starting the lift of the wing before the corner of my eye.. nothing seems to work right.  Here I used a very thin liner brush and a lackluster cream liner, then once it had set up completely I traced over with L'Oreal Lineur Intense Carbon Black to enhance the blackness, sharpen and extend the wing a touch.

Oh hey, there is some liner there!

And if anyone is curious, I was watching a video from Heidi on youtube, jalapena2007 - one of my favorites!

This was my original set of products, but I needed to augment with Physicians Formula cream liner, Anastasia Brow Wiz in Medium Ash.
- Primer: Smashbox Photo Finish (loving this lately, seems to help a tiny bit with shine during workday)
- Face: Physicians Formula Talc-Free Mineral powder in Translucent (also helps with the no shine formula)
- Concealer: Bare Minerals Well Rested on nose into cheeks for redness
- Under eyes: Garnier Anti-Dark Circle Roller
- Eyes: (primer LORAC first) Urban Decay 24/7 shadow liner in Sin
- Eyebrows: first I used Maybelline cream shadow Tough as Taupe on the spoolie but it was too light for photos, added on the Brow Wiz
- Winged Liner: Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips cream liner in black w/gold shimmer with L'Oreal Lineur Intense Carbon Black over top
- Waterline: NYX liner in White Pearl
- Mascara: several coats of Maybelline Full 'N Soft
- Cheeks: Jemma Kidd cream blush in Paw Paw - adore this stuff, it's so easy to apply and a gorgeous color
- Lips: LORAC Peach gloss
- And essentially makeup remover!: Estee Lauder Gentle Eye Makeup Remover with Q-Tips

Let me know if you have any tips or tricks for winged liner on trickier eye shapes. :)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Smashbox Be Discovered Spring 2012 Palette First Impression

Edit: I ended up returning this, the colors are nice but the lack of pigment in most of the shades was even worse when applying with a brush.  Even when I dipped my brush 3-4 times, I could barely get a visible crease with the brown shades.  Disappointing!

I used my Sephora VIB 15% off coupon at Sephora to pick up a variety of things, mostly boring skincare but for a treat I grabbed this Smashbox palette after swatched a couple shadows and really liking them.

The far right top shadow is looking blue, but it's due to the lousy light and flash when I took the picture.  It's a shimmery silver taupe type shade.  The top row are quite light, even against my pale skin.
Left to right: there's a matte/satin light cream which I could use for blending mostly, shimmery pale pink, opal pink/white, silvery taupe.

In the second row, they are a little more intense in color.  Left to right: first is a nude slightly warm light brown, light warm peachy gold, cool taupe, lilac with maybe a bit of pink shimmer?

To go with spring, everything is light pastels and soft.  Not sure how well it would work on darker skintones, they aren't richly pigmented and they might just blend into nothing.  I'm curious to see how they perform on the eyes.  The shadows feel very creamy and soft, slightly powdery.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

I hit pan on an eyeshadow!

First time since I started seriously acquiring a makeup collection that I've hit pan on an eyeshadow!

Woohoo! :P  But yeah, it's Urban Decay Shakedown which I use for my brows - so it's not really much of an accomplishment...  But it feels like it. :)

Monday, April 2, 2012

March 2012 Favorites Face of The Day

Quick FOTD post, I used several items from my March 2012 Beauty Favorites with this look.

Face: MAKE UP FOR EVER Face & Body Shade 38 Pink Porcelain, MAC Mineralized Skin Finish Natural in Light for touch-up
Concealer (under eyes): Clinique Line Smoothing Concealer in Light
Brows: Urban Decay Matte shadow in Shakedown, Anastasia Brow Gel
Cheeks: e.l.f. Studio Blush in Tickled Pink, Dior Shimmer Star in Amber Diamond
Lips: Fresh Sugar Lip balm (clear)

Lashes: Top - Maybelline Full 'N Soft, Bottom - e.l.f. Mineral Infused Mascara
Liner: Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips cream liner, green eyes (green liner)
Shadows: theBalm Shady Lady vol 1 Caught in the Act Courtney & Shameless Shana in the outer corner/crease, Sephora Prisma Chrome in Shimmery Sand on lid, touch-up of crease/lower lashline with matte light brown from newly purchased (tonight) Smashbox Be Discovered Spring palette

The Sephora Prisma Chrome shadow is very pretty and I like the not completely metallic effect but more of a fine intense sparkle.  The wave motif bulges out of the pan and honestly I wish it wasn't so pronounced.  It's interesting to look at, but a little strange to get shadow out of it with a brush.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

March 2012 Beauty Favorites

I've been enjoying quite a few products this past of March month, so here we go!

Primarily I've been using MAC Matchmaster in shade 1.0, it's an amazingly close match.  From what I understand, it's intended to be a more neutral shade and lighter than NC/NW15.  The only issue I have with it is it tends to sit in my pores which everything except my other favorite does - MAKE UP FOR EVER Face & Body in shade Pink Porcelain 38 (lightest shade, more pink).

Swatched here, can see the pinker tone of the MUFE on the right with MAC on the left:

And more blended out:

The brush I've been absolutely adoring for foundation is the Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman Buffing Brush.  Blends out foundation so easily, the brush is soft and doesn't stir up any dry skin flakes when used gently, love it.

And something I had seen many times on pixiwoo is the Clinique Line Smoothing Concealer for under eyes, definitely like how easily it works on my tricky/often-dry/fine-line-filled skin.  I have the shade Light which is too dark for my face but the peachiness works to cancel out the darkness well.

I've been having so many issues with mascara lately, I'm very pleased to have found a combo I really like.  Several things I'd tried worked well for the first week but then started flaking or becoming hard to work with rapidly.  So far, this has been perfect.  Maybelline Full 'N Soft for top lashes gives a nice amount of volume and some length.  e.l.f. Mineral Infused Mascara for bottom lashes because it's just easier with a wet small brush to get those lashes (to me) without worrying about any glopping up.

I find the Maybelline brush to be easy to work with, the formula isn't too dry or thick which helps me.

Another brush I have used exclusively for blush since I got it, the e.l.f. Blush Brush.  It's a nice small size, so I don't end up with blush everywhere.  And for $3, perfect!

For brows, I've been using my regular favorite shadow Urban Decay Shakedown and from my Too Faced Teddy Bear brush kit the small flush brush.  It gives a soft look plus it's probably three times faster for me than a typical brow brush.

Another pick from the Too Faced Teddy Bear brush set, the powder brush.  It's so amazingly soft, it's unreal.  A true pleasure to apply powder with!

And one everyone loves, Dior Diorskin Shimmer Star in Amber Diamond.  Gorgeous highlight that seems to almost smooth out the skin on my cheekbones.

I usually use the left two colors or just swirl everything together; top is the first two, second is everything swirled together, third is the last peachy color and fourth the two darkest shades: