Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask is Getting Me Through the Dry Spots


Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask

I am a huge Origins mask lover (my previous love affair was with the Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask, I still think its amazing for acne prone oily skin) and once my skin turned the flaky and dry route, I turned to Origins.

This mask is one of those leave-on overnight masks (the instructions say to tissue off the excess before bed, but I never do, all the hydration!). It smells so good, fruity and light, but somehow not too sweet and sickening. It just smells really nice. Its hydrating on the skin, but not greasy. It is something you can feel on the skin, but it just feels like a rich moisturizer. It doesn’t feel thick or oily (the two sensations I hate on my skin).

I find that this really works. My dry patches from my trentioin heal more quickly and makeup sits more evenly on my skin when I use this the night before. I use this a few times a week or when I see my skin needs it. It doesn’t break me out, or make my oily areas more oily (thank goodness). Its just a really lovely, nourishing product. Its on the heavier side, but its because its packed with great moisture for dry skin.

I would highly recommend this mask if you are looking for a good overnight moisture treatment. You can get this mask at Origins counters, online and at Sephora for $25.

The rundown: A


My Updated Nighttime Skincare Routine


the cast

My nighttime skincare routine is really what has changed the most lately. I use my trentinoin at night and its easier for me to use more moisturizing products at night.

I am using the First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser at night with my Clairsonic. Then I use an acid toner at night, just to help with surface texture of my skin. I’m currently using Ole Henriksen Grease Relief. Once that dries down I do a very thin layer of trentinoin all over.

I usually let that sit on my skin for a while and then just before I go to bed I put on my night cream, which is currently the Ole Henriksen Truth Creme Advanced Hydration, which works very well at hydrating my skin but can feel a bit greasy on. This is also when I apply my eye cream, which right now is a deluxe sample of the Algenist Complete Eye Renewal Balm (which I really enjoy).

Once thats all on my skin is really plump, so its time for bed. I find this keeps my skin hydrated and treats using my trentinoin. Its a balance. What do you guys use at night? I’m almost done with my moisturizer so if you have any suggestions for what I should try next, please let me know in the comments!


My Current Nighttime Cleanser – First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser


First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser

With my newly drier and flaky skin I have moved from my old standby (Shiseido Pureness, love this for oily skin, but it means business and can be a bit harsh) to a more gentle and hydrating cleanser. I have a whole bunch of deluxe sample sizes of the First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser so I decided to give it try, plus I’ve heard great things about it.

Those great things I heard were spot on, this cleanser is very creamy and hydrating so it doesn’t leave my skin dry or feeling stripped after I wash it off. It also actually cleans my skin (which some gentle cleansers have not done for me in the past). After I wash it off, my skin feels clean and well, happy. Can skin feel happy? Mine does.

Now, I still have acne when I use this cleanser, but don’t get the same clustering of spots I can get with other (less effective) cleansers.  Plus added into my entire skincare routine (my whole nighttime routine will be coming tomorrow), a gentle cleanser helps to balance out my skin. The smell of this cleanser is nice, its not minty and I actually can’t put my finger on what it smells like, but its just nice and comforting.

I find the whole experience of using this cleanser really enjoyable. Its creamy, soothing, moisturizing, clean feeling, and effective. It works with my Clairsonic well, lathering up and gliding over the skin. I plan on getting the full size when I run out of my deluxe samples. Like with all skincare, I would suggest trying a product for a good six weeks or so before making a decision (skin is frustratingly slow sometimes).

I think this is a great cleanser that is well suited for all skin types (though know that not everything works for everyone). You can get 5 oz for $20 online and at Sephora.

The rundown: A


The Product That is Changing my Skin – Trentinoin Cream


the stuff

If you have been following my blog for a while now, you know I have been battling acne for about two years now. I have moderate acne, ranging around 10-15 active spots at a time, most of the time. I did get my acne under control for about six months right after I started using my Clairsonic, and I was down to 1-2 active spots at any given time (it was amazing!). That ended up not lasting and for the last six months or so I have been on the battle field again, and I haven’t found anything that really changed my skin.

After trying a slew of products, going off/on the Clairsonic, using a washcloth, using oil cleansers, using balm cleansers, using acid toners (the list of what I have tried goes on and on) I decided to take this issue to a professional. My doctor recommended a retinol product. The one I got a prescription for (this is a prescription product, you can’t get it over the counter) is a 0.025% cream which has the active ingredient of retinoic acid, a form of Vitamin A that is slightly chemically different from the retinol you can get in products over the counter (which have the same parent of Vitamin A, but the prescription version is a more active chemical compound [aka has more bonding sites, let me know if you want me to get all chemistry nerd on you in another post] and much stronger).

I have only just started using this, so its hard to say if this has made a big difference in my acne for the long haul. It is very harsh and drying on the skin, which is why my whole skincare routine has changed lately. I have also been easing my way into using this product, I started by only applying once every other or every third night and now I use it every night in a very thin layer all over my face.

The first thing I have noticed (besides my peeling skin, which is a very common side effect) is that any active acne I do have passes much more quickly than before I started using this product. It is also helping clear up hyper pigmentation more quickly. Both are a product of the retinoic acid, which increases cell turnover rate. You basically get snake skin on your face, the cells die and regenerate at a higher rate due to the retinoic acid, so acne turns over and dark spots fade more quickly. Its been a hard start, I have never had to deal with seriously dry and peeling skin (with my same oily skin under the peeling top layer, its been a real trial, my biggest tip would be to use less of this than you think and start slow).

The routine I have now has balanced my new skin, I’m not peeling or dry much anymore (thats also due to my skin adjusting to the product). I’m using more gentle products on the whole, since this cream really does a number on my skin, and for the first time in a long time my skin needs pampering and hydration.

This kind of a product is really one I wish I didn’t have to use. It is very harsh, and I would much rather be able to pick up a nice cleanser at Sephora and never have to worry about a prescription or the prospect of my chin peeling if I used too much product the night before. This is also a product you need to talk to your doctor or dermatologist about (clearly as its a prescription), and it is not a solution for everyone. Heck, I don’t even know if its my solution yet. I can see that its helping my acne, but I don’t yet see less acne. I wanted to clue you into what is going on with my skin, and I will be keeping you up to date on my progress with this product (sorry for the mega long post) but I wanted to let you guys know what has been going on with my skin, since it greatly affects how I review products. I still have oily skin, it just has a tendency to dry and peeling patches now (which is greatly improved and mostly under control, so were back to just oily now).

A big caution is that a product this harsh is really only for people with acne that has not responded to over the counter treatment and is something more than average. If you get some spots here and there, this is not for you. Its harsh (and my skin used to take all kinds of harsh treatments, it was the antithesis of sensitive), and getting used to it is no fun at all (speaking from experience).

If you made it this far into the post, thank you for reading my ramblings. Let me know if you have ever tried a retinoic acid, or if you just enjoy retinol products (I know I loved retinols before this, and heck I still do).


Updated Morning Skincare Routine – February 2015


the lineup

I have changed up my skincare lately and since I’ve been doing this routine for about two months now, I wanted to let you guys know about it. I’m starting with my morning skincare routine, but over the course of this week you’ll see my whole routine with some key products highlighted.

I know color cosmetics (like blush, eyeshadow and, foundation, my three favorite types of color cosmetics) are more fun, but your skincare is the base for all that makeup. Without good skin, makeup becomes a struggle. Plus, after you take your makeup off your skin is what you have left. For me, good skin is more important than makeup, because its what you take with you your whole life. There will be many tubes of foundation, but you only have one face.  Don’t get me wrong, my skin is far from perfect (dang you acne) but keeping it smooth and hydrated has a huge effect on how my makeup looks (especially my foundation, which you guys have complemented me on before, thank you for being so sweet :-).

I have oily, acne prone skin (setting the stage here). In the morning I like to use a moisturizing but effective cream cleanser, I love the Shiseido Ibuki Purifying Cleanser which has some scrubs in it too (I am a big lover of exfoliation). Then I use a moisturizing, gentle toner (my beloved) Neutrogena Alcohol Free Toner. My daily serum is the Ole Henriksen Truth Serum which is vitamin c based and helps with my hyper pigmentation. My eye cream of the moment is the Algenist Complete Eye Renewal Balm (this was a deluxe sample but I am really enjoying it). My moisturizer is one I have mentioned before, the Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation, which is just amazing. It preps the skin for makeup beautifully and hydrates without feeling heavy (plus it also helps with hyper pigmentation).

My morning routine is geared towards getting my skin ready for makeup and gently caring for my acne prone skin.

What about you? What do you use in your morning skincare routine? Do you feel the same way I do about skincare (aka thats it is so important)?

A Return to Natural Brows


natural brow all the way


I never really strayed from a natural looking brow (aka drawn in and cubic, too dark, too full etc.). But lately I have just been loving more natural makeup as a whole, and brows are a great place to start.

I feel like in the last year or so the trends have been for more and more makeup. Brows were one of the features that really took a hit. They don’t even look real on some people now. In an effort to appreciate the natural beauty you have, I suggest stepping it back on the brows. If you have some natural brow hairs the way to go is powder and a gel, which is what I use. If you have less natural brow hair I would suggest a mousse like the Anastasia Dipbrow or the Make Up For Ever Aqua Brow to draw in individual hairs.


natural brow kit

What about you? Are you a fan of the full-on-brows that are in now? Do you prefer a more natural look?