I feel like it has been so long since I have written a blogpost. It has been quite the busy few weeks. Today I want to continue my post on my skincare routine/favourites, and talk particularly about exfoliants and masks. First, I want to speak a little bit about sunscreen. If you plan on putting any effort (and money) in to trying to achieve a more radiant, even complexion with less lines/wrinkles, the first thing you need to do is invest in a good daily sunscreen. There are several different types of sunscreens and studies proving why one ingredient is better than another for protection: You need to do your research to find out what is the best option for you. However, a few things to know are:
- It needs to protect against UVAs (rays that penetrate deeper and are responsible for skin cancer and premature aging) and UVBs (short rays that give you a noticeable sun burn).
- A sunscreen will only protect for on average two hours of sun exposure. Even if you are inside a car or near an office window, your skin is still being hit by UVAs (just look up studies done on teachers or truck drivers where one side of their face is constantly exposed to the sun coming in a window). Some daily sunscreens can be re-applied over makeup throughout the day. There are also sunscreens in the form of sprays or pressed/loose powder.
- I personally find it best to get one that is actually made for daily use and therefore very lightweight and fluid in texture. These wear better under makeup. You can also wear a moisturizer or foundation/bb cream with sunscreen as long as the protection is sufficient.
- The SPF should be at least 30.
- Chemical sunscreens (ingredients such as mexoryl, triazones, triazines, oxybenzone and avobenzone) protect your skin by absorbing the rays.
- Mineral sunscreens (ingredients such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide) protect your skin by reflecting the rays.
- Hybrid sunscreens do a bit of both chemical and mineral protecting.
I am sure you’ve heard this many times before, but exfoliating is a very important part of any skincare routine, and does make a noticeable difference. Working in the industry, I have discovered that many people think they should either not exfoliate or do so every day because of their skin type. That is nowhere close to the truth. Everyone, no matter skin type needs to exfoliate (unless specified by doctor/dermatologist); it is the way which one exfoliates and the frequency that varies. However, exfoliating every day is too abrasive for everyone and can cause the skin to become damaged or produce excess oil. As I’ve mentioned, I have sensitive skin and therefore am not a fan of harsh exfoliants with beads. Many are under the impression that if it feels more abrasive, it is working better and that is not true. Using products with beads with sharper edges could actually irritate the skin. Another reason why I am not a huge fan of these types of exfoliants is because many are not biodegradable, but that’s a whole other story. I am not going to get in to what type of exfoliants should be used for every skin type because that again is very personalized based on skin type and condition. Since my skin is sensitive I love liquid or “gommage” type of exfoliants (I will explain more below).
Using a sonic brush to cleanse is a good way to mildly exfoliate everyday. You can read more about my experience with the Clarisonic on my previous skincare post (cleansing & toning). If using it daily, choose your brush head and speed wisely to not overdo it.
I love these because they are easy to use, they exfoliate both the skin’s surface and inside of pores, and although they act quickly and deeply they are very gentle on the skin. The most effective one will use either BHAs (salicylic acid) or AHAs (glycolic, lactic or mandelic), or both, which will unclog pores, smooth out uneven skin texture due to the quicker renewal of skin cells, brighten skin, reduce fine lines, shrink pores and keep skin hydrated. I usually apply it every night or second night after my toner, before my moisturizer. If you find it to be too many steps you can replace your toner at night with the liquid exfoliant. Depending on the key ingredients, the results may vary but here are some of my favourites:
- Paula’s choice 2% BHA liquid. This product is great for all skin types, especially those with imperfection-prone skin. What I like a lot about this one is it is completely fragrant free, works great under any moisturizer and will give you noticeable results after once use. I am not kidding, if there is a miracle product out there it is this one! After the hundreds of products I have tried, I don’t think I can even count on two hands products that gave me results after just one use.
- Clarins gentle exfoliation brightening toner. Gentle enough for extra sensitive skin with conditions such as Rosacea. Using this product I definitely noticed that my skin was more bright and soft.
- Ren clarifying toning lotion. Primarily effective for those with oily, acne prone skin as it may dry you out otherwise. I find that using it twice a week does the trick for me.
- Pixie Glow Tonic. The glycolic acid in this product makes it great for anyone who wants more of a glow, especially during the winter when skin is typically more dull.
- Dr. Dennis Gross Extra Strength Alpha Beta Peel. Two easy to use pads soaked in BHAs and AHAs, again great for any type of skin. Great for those who want more of a glow, and even skin texture and tone as it helps with skin damaged by sun.
- Dermatologist Solutions Nightly Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate. A great more natural alternative without the use of chemical exfoliation.
This is an older exfoliating technique that is not as common anymore as most people are busy and seek the quickest, most effective ways to take care of their skin. A gommage is usually in the form of a cream, and after sitting on the skin for a minute or two can be gently rubbed off, shedding off the dead skin on the surface. This type of exfoliation leaves the skin super soft and is incredible to do before a mask. I use it once or twice a week. If you are one to take time out of your week to give your skin some special treatment, you need to try a gommage!
- Erborian Cream scrub with 7 herbs
- Clarins Gentle Peeling smooth away cream
- Jean D’Estree gentle facial scrubber
- Physioderme Bio Gommage
- Origins Modern Friction
- Boscia Exfoliating Peel Gel: Not sure if this is considered a gommage, but it works similarly
- Peter Thomas Roth Peeling gel: Similar to the Boscia gel
By microdermabrasion, I am talking about the ones done at home. I have yet to do a microdermabrasion procedure at the doctor (I have never felt the need to), and to be honest am not sure if the store-bought ones are even comparable. Nonetheless, microdermabrasion exfoliants (if formulated correctly) have smaller particles that effectively eat away dead skin cells and make for more even, luminous, line-free skin. I do not use these often (once every 2 weeks or so) as I find they are not the best choice for sensitive skins, but I do recommend these:
- The Body Shop Vitamin C Microdermabrasion
- Derma E Microdermabrasion scrub
- Dr. brandt microdermabrasion
- OLE HENRIKSON Power Peel
This is another great option for sensitive skin as it works while you sleep and you wake up with noticeably more clear and even skin with less redness. Like the title suggests, this product is your night cream and contains AHAs and/or BHAs to work similarly to the exfoliating liquid I discussed earlier. A little side note- I normally use the exfoliating liquid and cream separately to not overdo it (I’ll use the cream one night, and the liquid with a very basic moisturizer with no strong/overpowering ingredients the second night).
- Filorga Sleep and Peel- One of my favourites for a few years!!! I know it is a bit pricey, but it is totally worth every penny (trust me, I don’t say that often when it comes to “overpriced” skincare).
- Derma e Overnight Peel- less expensive alternative, still very effective
I have been a face mask addict since I can remember, from 99 cent packs from the pharmacy to pricey luxurious masks. As I am sure you know, face masks are very personalized and work to correct or repair a specific concern. As I said earlier, I highly recommend exfoliating the skin before a mask so it can work more efficiently and provide better results. Here are some of my favourites from over the years:
- Origins Clear Improvement Charcoal mask and Out of Trouble mask. Thess were my little saviours while I suffered with acne as a teenager, and I still go back to them when problem areas appear. The Clear Improvement uses charcoal to help unclog pores and remove oil, while its white clay removes environmental toxins. The Out of Trouble uses sulfur and zinx oxide to remove impurities. I would say the Out of trouble is stronger/more drying and therefore more for oily/acne-prone skin, while the Clear Improvement can be used as an occasional detox for anyone.
- Michael Todd Charcoal mask. A great alternative if you are looking for something completely. I also love how this detoxifying mask never feels dry at all.
- The Body Shop Tea Tree Face Mask. I love the feel and small of this mask! I also like how it is not extremely drying to the skin, so great to detoxify once a week to get rid of any impurities.
- TruSelf Organics Detoxifying mask. I had to see what all the hype was surrounding this product. The mask is actually a powder that you mix with either water or their detoxifying solution (which is an apple cider vinegar mix). I bought the kit that comes with the solution and I have to say I highly recommend it. I find it removes impurities, blackheads and leaves my skin feeling clean and bright. The only minute complaint I have is that it dries to quickly and feels very tight. To avoid this, (since it suggests to leave it on for 15-30 minutes) I put quite a thick layer.
- Caudalie Detox mask
- Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment. I am not including this mask because it is a favourite per say, but because there is a lot of hype about it. I did buy it, and I loved it. It worked really well with blackheads. Was it the best mask I have ever tried? No. Did I love it enough that I would buy it again? No. Do I think there are masks out there that are less expensive that do the same job or better? Yes (The ones I spoke about above this). Enough said.
- Origins Drink-Up Intensive Overnight Mask. Great for dry or dehydrated skin. The mix of apricot and avocado oils inject moisture in to the skin and this product’s ingredients also help to protect and repair the skin’s moisture barrier, which besides keeping the skin hydrated, helps to reduce pre-mature aging.
- Clarins HydraQuench Cream Mask. Love this mask!!! I usually use it after a detox mask to replenish the moisture. During season changed when my skin really feels dehydrated, I will layer it over Clarins’ Blue Orchid Oil (great for dehydrated skin- I’ll discuss this more in my next post on creams and serums) and sleep with this mask on instead of my night cream for a week or more as an intensive treatment.
- Caudalie Moisturizing Cream Mask. Just as great as the Clarins’ one, a good natural alternative.
- Clinic N.M.F Aquaringer sheet mask. Amazing for dehydrated skin or if you are feeling tired or swollen.
- SNP Animal Tiger Wrinkle sheet mask. Okay, so I tried this one on a whim because it looked cute and I fell in love. I must admit, I do not use it for the wrinkle aspect, nor can I really test that since I am in my mid 20s and do not exactly have wrinkles yet. Nevertheless, I find my skin to be much more hydrated, soothed, plump and evened out after using this mask, especially the morning after if done at night.
Well, I think that concludes this insanely long blog post! Hope everyone is having a lovely Monday afternoon 🙂