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2013 Favourites- Skin Care

I went through a major skincare obsession about 2 years ago which led to me trying various cleansers, moisturisers, exfoliators, masks and skin treatments. I found many that I really liked and I might have even repurchased if I didn’t have so many others to get through. Today’s post is a round up of my favourite’s so far and the ones that I keep going back to.

1. Favourite Skincare Tool– Clarisonic Mia

I love my Clarisonic and have been using it for 3 years now and attribute my much improved skin to it. I used to have a lot of pigmentation and used to break out all the time so I decided to pare down my skin care routine. I started cleansing with the Clarisonic and Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser and finished up by moisturising with the Cetaphil moisturiser. I did this for a few months and my skin started improving exponentially. I didn’t change my makeup routine but having this proper cleansing routine meant that it didn’t matter.

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2. Favourite Use Alone Cleanser- Emma Hardie Natural Lift and Scuplt Moringa Cleansing Balm

Having two ‘cleanser’ options is kind of cheating but I like one for use on its own and one for use with the Clarisonic. My Emma Hardie Cleansing Balm is my favourite for use on its own because I can work it into the skin to remove my makeup then wash it off with a face cloth and feel confident my skin is clean. My bottle is a little worse for wear from delivery but still works great. I love cleansing balms and oils and this one is a great option.

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3.. Favourite Cleanser for use with Clarisonic- Alba Botanica Natrual Hawaiian Facial Cleanser

I bought this while I was travelling in the States and fell in love with it and have been using it non-stop since then. I find it to be a perfect companion for my Clarisonic and the pineapple and papaya enzymes act as a chemical exfoliant. It also doesn’t irritate my eyes or leave my skin feeling dry and tight.

4. Favourite Toner- Hadalabo Super Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizing Lotion

This is kind of cheating because I don’t know if this is a toner as such but I use it in place of a toner. My friend picked it up for me while she was travelling in Japan quite a few months ago and I’ve used it every day since. The Hyaluronic Acid leaves my skin plump and moisturised and is really gentle.

One of the main philosophies I have about my skin now is to use gentle and hydrating products instead of the harsher, drying products that I used to favour. I didn’t like the effect alcohol based toners had on my skin and have seen an improvement since I started using this instead. Another product that I like using is the SKII Facial Treatment Essence but the price means that I only purchase it some times.

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5. Favourite Moisturiser- Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturiser with SPF 15

No matter how many fancy moisturiser’s I try, I always come back to this and this is my 3rd bottle so far. The moisturiser isn’t greasy and works well on my normal-combination skin. I love Aveeno products because they’re really no-nonsense, they do what they say without the bells and whistles and they’re very budget friendly.

6. Favourite Breakout Controlling Product- La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo Corrective and Unclogging Anti-imperfection Care

This is a blogger/youtuber cult favourite and that’s for a well deserved reason- it works! Or at least it does for me. I’ve stopped using products that dry out my pimples and use this instead. I put it on my face when I feel a break out coming on or when I’m likely to break out such as right before getting my period. Since I’ve started using this, I haven’t had many breakouts and when I do, it’s usually because I forgot to use it. If you are planning on buying it, make sure you don’t get the acne treatment by accident because that one has Benzyl Peroxide and is spot treatment versus this one which is like a clear, hydrating gel texture that can be used all over the face.

7. Favourite Exfoliator- Alpha H Liquid Gold

I don’t use physical exfoliant’s like scrubs anymore and prefer chemical exfoliants and find they work better on my skin. I kept reading rave reviews of the Alpha H Liquid Gold range so I bought the kit and gave it a go and loved it! My skin felt so supple and radiant after I started using it. The pack comes with 3 bottles which contain 3 varying concentrations of Glycolic Acid in them. You finish one bottle before moving on to the next to get your skin used to the products.

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8. Favourtie Mask- Omorovicza Deep Cleanising Mask

I love watching skin care video’s by Ruth over at ‘A Model Reccomends’ and after she spoke about this mask, I went out and tried it. I love this brand and this mask is fantastic. I use it when my skin feels clogged or a week or two before a special event to give my skin a good deep clean. It’s quite pricey so I use it sparingly when I can.

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So there you have it, my 2013 Skin Care Favourites! It should go without saying that these are my favourites and what works well on my skin. They may not work on yours so always make sure you read ingredient lists and other reviews before you try them.

Have you tried any of these products before? What’s your ultimate skin care favourite? Let me know below!

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Adore Beauty Serum Sampler Pack

Adorebeauty.com has just released a Serum Sampler pack and I jumped at the chance to test it out because I’ve become addicted to serums in a big way in these last few months.  The pack contains 6 different serums and costs only $29! The price is what got me the most excited when I heard about the pack because serums are so expensive.  I was really interested in 4 of the included serums and it was actually kind of bad timing in a way when I received the email about this pack because I’d just ordered the full sized versions of three them in the last 2 weeks.


I only received this a few days ago so I haven’t had the chance to test everything out and won’t be giving review on each serum but I will show you what’s included and what each serum is meant to do and how to use it.

1. SK-II Facial Treatment Essence ($100-$185 AUD / $100-$195 US)

I’ve always been intrigued by this brand because my friend Becks always has so many items from this range in her bathroom. The included sample is 30ml and is described on the SK-II site as follows:

Containing more than 90% Pitera™, this much loved miracle water is a must-have for healthy, radiant skin. It helps maintain the skin’s natural renewal cycle to its optimum condition to allow skin nourishment. It also works to balance the skin’s pH and sebum secretion, so oily and dry areas are properly moisturised. Benefits include Texture Refinement, Firmness Power, Wrinkle Resilience, Radiance Enhancement, Spots Control

You’re meant to use it twice a day, morning and night. After cleansing you gently pat your face and neck using a cotton pad soaked with Facial Treatment Essence and it’s also recommended for use on the eye area. I’ve tried it a few times now and I like it. It’s very gentle on the skin and seems like a great toning product. This is one of the items I purchased a full size bottle of.

2. Lancome Genefique Youth Activator ($115- $165 AUD/ $60-$130 US)

This sample is 7ml and is described on the Lancome site as follows:

Our first skincare that boosts the activity of genes1 and stimulates the production of youth proteins2. A true skincare innovation with 7 worldwide patents pending, Génifique is the foundation of every woman’s skincare at any age or for any skin concern.
1In-vitro test on genes.
2Clinical study on skin proteins associated with young skin – France.

Result:
Visibly younger skin in just 7 days. Skin looks as if lit from within – breathtaking radiant. Its youthful quality returns: cushiony soft and velvety to the touch. Drop by drop, skin is vibrant with youth, its tone becomes astonishingly even, its texture dramatically refined.

2 to 3 drops of this serum is supposed to be applied to the skin after cleansing and toning both morning and night. I haven’t actually tried this one yet so all I can tell you so far is that the bottle it comes in is really cute!

3.Ole Henriksen Truth Serum ($99 AUD/ $48-$72 US)

This sample is 7ml and described on the Ole Henriksen site as follows:

Like a daily vitamin for your face, this high powered vitamin C complex helps smooth out lines and wrinkles and prevents further damage. Loaded with antioxidants to fight off environmental aggressors and moisture-binding ingredients to keep your skin nourished and protected, this aromatic serum is absorbed instantly and penetrates to the deeper layers of the skin to provide long term results. Sensitive skin prone to irritation will benefit immensely from the calming properties of this oil-free serum.

Ingredient benefits

Grapefruit and orange extract Purifying, astringent, brightening
Green tea extract Protects against damage with antioxidants
Licorice extract Evens out skin tone
Rosehips extract Repairs and strengthens with concentrated vitamin C
Sodium hyaluronate Binds moisture to the skin
Vitamin C Calms, heals and strengthens collagen
Vitamin E Heals, restores and nourishes

You apply this evenly to your face and neck after cleansing and toning both morning and night and then follow up with your moisturiser. I’ve used this 3 times now and I like it so far. It’s a bit more gel like in texture and smells like vitamin c tablets.

4. Trilogy Rosehip Oil Antioxidant+ ($29.95 AUD)


This serum is from Australian brand Triology and is 7ml. It’s described on their site as follows:

Certified organic and 100% natural, Rosehip Oil Antioxidant+ combines nature’s most powerful skin restoring and skin protecting properties in a unique and advanced formulation, RosapeneTM.

Rosapene is a red berry seed oil blend, which provides daily antioxidant protection and intensive nourishment to replenish softness and elasticity for healthier, younger looking skin.

Potent super antioxidants lycopene from Tomato and phytosterol from Acai help protect skin from premature ageing caused by environmental free radical damage.  Nourishing essential fatty acids (Omegas 3 and 6) from Cranberry and Rosehip moisturise and renew.  Mineral and vitamin rich Oat extract provides a soothing and luxurious feel that glides on the skin.

Ideal for all skin types for Protecting, Nourishing, Regenerating, Restoring and Moisturising

To use this you just massage 2-3 drops into cleansed skin on face, neck and décolletage ( I pretty much never remember to include my decolletage!). I haven’t tried this product yet but me and Rosehip go way back to my late teens when I had big chicken pox scars I need help healing. I only used to use this type of stuff at night as I found it a bit too oily to use under my makeup.

5. Alpha-H Liquid Gold Prep and Prime ($42.46 AUD)

You get a 10ml sample of this and it’s described as follows:

Liquid Gold Prep and Prime is the foundation of flawless, fresh-looking skin! This multi-action, water-based fluid leaves skin plumped and luminous, to provide the perfect canvas for makeup application.

The unique mattifying formulation instantly absorbs into the skin, working at a cellular level to refine pores and dissolve cell build-up on the surface layer of the skin.

The Liquid Gold Prep and Prime contains no filler ingredients with a 93% pure formulation made up of rich botanical extracts teamed with hard working Glycolic Acid to ensure the overall appearance of the complexion is enhanced.

Benefits:

  • Smoothes, plumps and hydrates the skin.
  • Diffuses redness and promotes a more unified skin tone.
  • Improves the appearance of age spots, sun damage, pigmentation and Melasma.
  • Accelerates cell renewal and collagen production
  • Improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Reduces pore size, breakouts and post-acne scarring.

This product is usually stage 1 in a 3 stage process and is meant to build tolerance to active enzymes and fruit acids whilst improving the appearance of fine lines, open pores and broken capillaries.

You apply it each night using a cotton pad to cleansed face, neck and décolletage, avoiding the eye and lip areas. A tingling sensation may be experienced. You don’t follow with your night cream and instead allow it to work ‘uninterrupted’. Once you’ve used the entire bottle, you move onto stage 2.

I purchased the 3 stage kit but it hasn’t arrived yet so I was glad to have this sample to try out. I’ve pretty much started purely using enzymye exfoliators in place of physical exfoliants so I love this stuff! This is the only product I have tried so far that actually feels like it’s working on my skin. I do get a bit of a tingling, cooling sensation on my skin but I haven’t had any reactions in the 3 days that I’ve tried it so far. I’ll definitely be doing a review of this set once I’ve used it for a while.

6. Subtle Energies Facial Blend ($78 AUD)

 

The included sample is 10ml and described on the site as follows:

Ideal as a daily facial moisturising oil or for facial massage. The Facial Blend gives a youthful glow, providing rejuvenation and hydration to dry and normal skin types. This exquisite and precious blend is unique in its aroma with the essential oils of mogra, sandalwood and Indian rose together blended in a base oil of jojoba and the fortifying oil of ashwagandha. The Facial Blend helps to soothe the senses and revitalise the appearance of damaged skin.

I’d never actually heard of this brand before but the product smells amazing. Growing up in a Sri Lankan family, this product reminds me of my childhood for some reason probably because it’s the type of scent that I associate with religious events due to the strong (but natural) floral scent it has. I usually can’t stand floral scents in my skin care but this scent is really soothing because it doesn’t smell artifical. I haven’t tried it yet but I can see myself using it at night every now and again.

That’s all the included serums and I can’t wait to try everything out! I think it’s such a great idea to have a pack of deluxe samples of serums that you can test out and  gauge your skin’s reactions to before taking the plunge and putting down the big bucks for a full sized bottle. I love buying deluxe samples and try me kits for skin care and find it’s the best way to introduce yourself to a brand. Purchasing deluxe samples is how I decided that I liked the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair and Even Skin Tone Illuminator enough to buy full sized bottles of each.  I’d highly recommend this pack if you’ve been eyeing off some of these serums like I had and don’t know whether they’re worth the price. You can purchase it online at adorebeauty.com for $29. You also get 10% off when you purchase any of the full sized serums included in the pack.

Have you tried any of these serums? What are your thoughts?

Disclosure: Product sent by company for consideration only

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser

I’ve been using the Cetaphil cleanser and moisturiser exclusively for the last year or so and, combined with my Clarisonic once a day, I’ve seen a marked improvement in my skin tone and texture. Now that my skin has settled down and I finally understand it, I decided it was about time I ventured out with my skin care. First up was finding a new cleanser and I’d seen so many recommendations and rave reviews for Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot cloth cleanser that it was the clear choice for me.

 Liz Earle products aren’t stocked in Australia but luckily the Liz Earle website delivers to Australia so I happily searched for things to try. I ended up picking up a few bits and pieces and I have to say first up that I was so impressed with the site. I live in Australia but I received this order from the UK within a week of ordering which was a pleasant surprise! When it came it was all nicely packaged and there was even a free travel sized product which I thought was a lovely touch. I just love when you can see that a brand has gone the extra mile to make your online shopping experience special and that’s what I got from this brand.

I purchased the 100ml pump starter kit which was £14.25 (about $22 AU) and includes the cleanser, 2 pure muslin cloths and a cute little green bag to hold them in for travel purposes. I was expecting the product to be pricier than it is so I can definitely see myself repurchasing this. The bottle that I picked up comes with a pump which I always love in a product as it makes things so much more convenient. The packaging is really sturdy and I love the green colour scheme which is simple and clean looking.

If you don’t know about this product, it is a 2 step process where you cleanse the skin by massaging the product in and then polish it off using the muslin cloths. You use the cloths when they’re warm so that they keep your pores open and then finish up with cold water to close your pores. The massaging action also helps aid circulation and the polishing acts as an exfoliating step.

It’s really easy to use and is really effective thought I’d do a step by step to show you how I use it and how well it cleans. Now I know that some people use a lot of this product but I haven’t found that you need a lot to get this product to work. For my morning cleanse I use the following amount:

For my night time cleanse/makeup removal, I use double that amount. I don’t use it all at once though and use a bit over half this amount for my face and the remainder for my eye makeup.

First I massage the cleanser on to all of my face and neck excluding my eye area. The cleanser is quite dense but it spreads really well and has a good amount of slip to it. I rub the product between the tips of my fingers to warm it a bit and then start massaging it onto my dry skin in small circular motions with my finger tips using gentle pressure and no tugging and pulling. The amount that I use is enough to loosen up my every day foundation and concealer but I would use a bit more on nights out where I tend to wear heavier coverage products.

Once I’m done with the skin, I take the remainder of the cleanser, rub it with my finger tips and then start gently massaging it on to my eyes concentrating on my lashes and liner. I leave the eye makeup for last to prevent my eye makeup from spreading all the way around my face. The picture below looks crazy but you can see how the eye makeup has already started to lift.

Now we get to the polish stage! First I grab my muslin cloth and run it under hot water and then rinse it off so it’s damp but not wet. It should retain the heat from the hot water and be warm to the touch.

I grab the cloth and, using gentle pressure, I start polishing off the cleanser in small circular motions.

You can see all the product that is getting cleansed off on the muslin cloth. I just keep rinsing off the cloth once it loses its warmth and keep polishing until I’ve gotten all the foundation off from my face.

As the eye area is so delicate, I don’t use any rubbing motions to cleanse it and instead fold the cloth over and then just gently press it to my eyes for a while like below.

With little effort, this method removes the majority of my eye makeup as you can see below. I repeat the step about 2 or three times until I get all of the remnants of my eye makeup off.

I finish up by doing one last polish of my whole face with the warm cloth and then I rinse the cloth under cold water and press it on to my skin to close up the pores. The end result is perfectly cleansed skin as you can see on the right below.

Apart from how well this cleans my skin and removes my makeup, what I love about this product is how gentle it is. This doesn’t irritate my eyes at all and my skin doesn’t feel dry or tight after I cleanse with it. I also really love the scent which predominantly smells of eucalyptus. The ingredients really work with my skin (ingredient list below) and Liz Earle recommends this cleanser for every skin type so much that it’s the only one they sell.

I highly recommend this cleanser and think it’s really lived up to the hype. I actually look forward to cleansing every morning and night because of this product!

Have you tried the Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish? Would you recommend it or did it fail to work for you?