Spot on! | Top 5 Best Acne Spot Treatments

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Hello lovelies!

Today is all about spot treatments!

a picture of Spot Treatments ; Clinique, Grease Lightning, Kiehl's, Benzgel, Neutrogena

There are 4 main ingredients in over the counter spot treatments :

-Salicylic Acid: A beta hydroxy acid which helps to exfoliate the skin, opening clogged pores and neutralizing the bacteria within.

-Benzoyl Peroxide : Which is bactericidal, meaning it kills bacteria, rather than simply slowing down the zits' growth. It increases skin turnover, clearing pores and reducing the bacterial count.

-Tea Tree Oil : An all natural antibacterial agent, it has disinfecting and soothing properties.

-Sulfur It is a mild antimicrobial. It also exfoliates thе superficial layer оf tһе skin аnd sloughs оff dead skin cells. It is less drying than benzoyl peroxide.

The key is finding which fighting ingredient agrees with your skin the most. 

In the past, 10 years or so, I have had luck (in phases) with all of these except sulfur (plus I could not get over the smell, so I guess that worked out!).

In high school, my skin swore by benzoyl peroxide, any of them worked, then in my 20's it stopped. That's when I discovered tea tree oil, worked beautifully, until it didn't anymore. Then my skin settled on salicylic acid. AND NOW it seems to like a combination of it all.

Let's start off with salicylic acid :
a picture of Kiehl's blemish control skin clearing cream, neutrogena rapid clear, clinique acne solutions clearing gel
1. Kiehl's Blemish Control Daily Skin-Clearing Cream Treatment : "Formulated with a powerful blend of blemish-fighting Dioic, Salicylic and Lipo Hydroxy Acids, known to minimize the appearance of acne and blemishes". This has 1.5% salicylic acid and is AMAZING. However it is a bit pricey (though the tube lasts quite a while) and I haven't been able to repurchase this, hence the drugstore mentions, it doesn't dry out the skin, quickly diminishes blemishes and helps with scarring as well. 5/5 

2. Neutrogena's Rapid Clear Spot Gel : "A clear gel that is clinically proven to reduce pimple size, redness and height fast - in 4 hours". This has 2% salicylic acid, I believe. Eum it really doesn't change anything in 4h, barely anything overnight...It stings, but is non-drying, and it DOES help, but really hasn't been a big hit with my skin. Perhaps on the occasional zits, this would be effective. 3/5

3. Clinique's Acne Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel : "This ultrapowerful daily treatment gel is powered by Clinique’s four-in-one Clearing Complex with salicylic acid to start clearing blemishes instantly and help prevent new ones from forming". Ultrapowerful? Yes, surprisingly so considering the 1% salicylic acid. This would make my zits disappear over night, but then it just wasn't effective (literally after a week of using it, huge bummer). So again for the occasional zits, would strongly recommend. 4/5

Now let's move on to tea tree oil :

a picture of Lush Grease Lightning (review)

Lush's Grease Lightening "A gentle infusion of thyme, tea tree and rosemary cleans up problematic dirt and soothing aloe vera gel calms and hydrates irritated skin".Yes, this was THE spot treatment, until, yup you guessed it, it stopped working. I came back to it a few times, and it seems I just need to stop for a while every now and then. BUT, now I've found that I like it better as a "serum", I'll apply a thin layer all over my face at night and THEN follow with my spot treatment, AMAZING. You can even use this under BB cream and you're good for the day! 5/5

And finally, benzoyl peroxide :
a picture of Benzagel 5 spot treatment (review)

Benzagel 5 Acne Gel : "An effective topical treatment for both uncomplicated facial acne, and acne vulgaris. It contains 5% Benzoyl Peroxide, in a unique formulation that is micronized (reduced to tiny particles) to effectively penetrate the skin and kill the bacteria that cause acne inflammation." Yes! Though I still think I preferred Kiehl's a tad more, this controlled the damage, and it's super affordable. Truly a life saver. Now that I combine it with my Grease Lightening (and let's not forget the Magic Potion), I feel like I'm finally getting control of my breakouts (slowly but surely), I would strongly recommend this product. 5/5

The thing with skin is that it's super personal. There's not ONE "one size fits all" product. I've tried products people have swore by with nothing but disappointment and irritation. 

Once you know what your skin likes (active ingredient), or if you've tried all of them BUT one, try it. Also remember your skin changes, what worked once might not work forever. Yes it's a bitch, but we're all trying to figure it out together! :)

Have you tried any of these products? What are some of your favorite spot treatments? I'm always looking for the next best thing, so let's keep each other posted ;)

Talk to you soon!

- Val

FOTD : "No makeup" Makeup

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Hello lovelies!

I'm just about to run some errands and stuff so I decided I could show you my simple Face Of The Day. 

Clearly nothing special, but just how to fake looking human when you're actually a zombie (we wouldn't want any other shoppers to fear for their lives right?)

PLUS, I'm trying new products, so that's SORTA exciting right? No? Just me then? Ok! 

Also, it's mainly drugstore so yay!

Well anyways...Here it is! :

Make Me Blush

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Hello lovelies!

Now my blush collection is pretty substantial, a little excessive, and quite frankly crazy BUT I narrowed it down (as much as possible) to share with you my top 10. Hang on tight! :)

I guess we should jump right in with the deets and the swatches! (They are in no particular order)

Maybelline : Color Tattoos

Monday, July 28, 2014

Hello lovelies!

In attempt to give Maybelline redemption and much deserve credit for good products, I thought we could move on from The Nudes and talk about the awesomeness that are the Color Tattoos.

Basically the Color Tattoos are cream shadows that claim to last 24h. Honestly, no one wears makeup for that long right? Point is, the staying power is outstanding, and I'd even say primer is optional with these. Honestly, the quality of these shadows is beyond impressive and they remain some of my favorites (all category, all price range).

They come in a variety of color and offer a few different finishes. They are sold individually and can usually be found from anywhere between 7-10$CA (depending where and when) a pop.

NOTD - Fresh & Summery

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Hello lovelies!

Hope the weekend is treating you well! Thought I would share my Nails Of The Day since I am OBSESSED with this color. My first Essie nail polish was Lapiz of Luxury, and has been an all time favorite since then. I hesitated for a while to get Bikini So Teeny, because they are so similar, but I was wrong! (Any good nail polish addict will justify this subtle difference)

a picture of Essie Lapiz of Luxury and Bikini So Teeny
Lapiz of Luxury (left), Bikini So Teeny (right)

This is my favorite color of the moment. It's just so fresh and summery, and the perfect light blue color!

a picture of Essie Bikini So Teeny

a picture of Essie Bikini So Teeny

a picture of Essie Bikini So Teeny (swatch)

What's YOUR go to summer mani?


Maybelline : The Nudes

Friday, July 25, 2014

Hello lovelies!

Now we all know "nude" palettes have been a craze for some time. Just think of the Naked palettes by Urban Decay.

nude palettes

Well now, there's finally a nude palette in the drugstore. Maybelline just came out with "The Nudes", an array of 12 nude shades, for around 15$CA.

When we think the Urban Decay ones are 64$CA, makes you wonder about the value of a good nude palette.

For comparison here are the Naked palettes 1 to 3 :

Naked 1
Naked 2
Naked 3

It seems The Nudes is most comparable to the Naked 2. But, I'm not really here to give a thorough comparison, just throwing this in for reference. 

Now let's focus on Maybelline :

Maybelline The Nudes
Maybelline The Nudes
Maybelline The Nudes
Maybelline The Nudes
Maybelline The Nudes

The idea is to have, all in one palette, strategically placed colors that you can use as quads, trios or duos.

As you see, once swatched (which was really hard to do because the pigmentation is like eehh) the array of colors seems more limited (maybe just on my fair skin?), also the lighter shades offer barely any pay off when swatched on my arm. The shadows themselves are a bit chalky compared to the creamy smooth texture I look for. Basically what you would expect from any other Maybelline shadows (except the Color Tattoos, love those!). 

But let's see what it looks like on the eyes shall we? :) Here you have two looks, a natural smokey eye, and on my lovely model, Sophie, a really soft natural look.

Look 1 : 
Shade 9 all over the lid
Shade 5 in the crease
Shade 6 starting at the outer corner and into the crease for more definition
Shade 4 on the lower lash line
Shade 12 on the upper lash line (smudged)
Shade 3 on the brow bone

Maybelline The Nudes - Smokey eye
Maybelline The Nudes - Smokey eye
Maybelline The Nudes - Smokey eye

Look 2 :
Shade 3 all over the lid
Shade 2 in the crease
Shade 8 starting at the outer corner and into the crease for more definition
Shade 6 only on the outer part of the lower lash line
Shade 1 on the brow bone

Maybelline The Nudes - Natural eye

Overall, I think this a good idea, in the sense it's nice to have easy to use colors in a drugstore palette. However, I feel this might be better for beginners, to give them a chance to play with nude looks. They're just not as pigmented and easy to blend as I like my shadows. And this is not a "you get what you pay for" situation, You want good, cheap eyeshadows? Wet N Wild baby!

Again, this was fun to play with, it's definitely usable, but in my honest opinion, I would skip this. It's not bad, there's just better things out there. 

If you don't like to invest in eyeshadows it's also a good option cause it's great for any look and a great package to travel with. And if I were to lose my Naked palettes, I WOULD MAKE THIS WORK. It's just harder. You know?

Again makeup is personal, and I know many people like this palette. These are just my thoughts on it.

Hope you enjoyed this!


Product Review | Rimmel BB Cream Matte

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Hello lovelies! 

So I know I have mentioned the BB Cream Matte by Rimmel here and there in previous posts, but girlfriends! Can we just take a minute to REALLY talk about this amazing product.

Let's start with the promise :

"This specially formulated BB Cream is packed with matte perfecting benefits, resulting in gorgeous and shine free skin! Minimizing the appearance of pores and evening skin tone while controlling shine, the lightweight formula makes it perfect for combination to oily skin, with ideal benefits: soothes, conceals dark circles and even helps prevent blemishes."

Most of this is pretty true. However, I do not use it under my eyes as it can be a bit drying, and I can't vouch for it preventing blemishes. This offers really great coverage, a bit of hydration, definitely keeps me matte and hasn't CAUSED any breakouts, so that's what really matters.
You can find this product at any drugstore, Walmart or Target type places for around 7-9$, all depending.

a picture of Rimmel BB Cream Matte, blog

Obviously, I am in the shade "Light". It seems to only be available in one other shade, "Medium", which is pretty standard, but understandably not ideal for everyone. However a BB cream isn't meant to match your skin tone, it should somewhat adapt, but it's rarely perfect. As long as you blend it should look fairly natural, you can always top it off with whatever products you like to get the ideal color match :)

The formula is pretty runny so be careful not to spill it or squeeze out too much from the tube, a little goes a LONG way! Keep in mind runny means thin, which always looks better on the skin ;) 
This may look like a lot, but it's a small amount that spread out quickly!
I just like to apply it with my hands. A BB Cream, in my head, is an all-in-one, quick and easy way to look polished in the morning. When I'm feeling extra patient, I'll take 2 seconds to go over it with a kabuki brush to really get that airbrushed look, but rarely. 

Most of the time I use it as is, as my moisturizer/foundation, though since it is matte, it can sometimes be a little too dry. I'll do either 2 things : apply a light moisturizer before or mix in a few drops of my Dr. Dennis Gross Clinical Concentrate Hydration Booster (I also sometimes add some of the purifying concentrate for an extra boost).

Here's a little application demo for you. As always, beware! I am just recovering from a pretty bad breakout, but you'll get to see how nicely this covers up everything! (I also have a major case of the "stank" face it seems, but oh well!) :
a picture of Rimmel BB Cream Matte Before & After
Top left : No Makeup Top Right : One thin layer  Bottom Left : With concealer  Bottom Right: With powder/blush
This BB doesn't have an SPF which is the only thing I feel it lacks, but you can always add one under or over!

Otherwise, let's break it down:
Packaging : 4/5 I always prefer a pump, but it is still easy and hygienic to use.
Coverage : 5/5 By far the best coverage I've gotten from a BB cream ; medium to full, God bless!
Finish : 4/5 It definitely has a matte finish, be careful if you powder cause it can look a little cakey
Color match : 3/5 It's a TAD orange for my fair skin...In the summer I can make it work, but in the winter it's a bit harder to look natural (I still use it though)
Longevity : 4/5 The staying power is great especially that I don't evenuse primer, I'll get a LITTLE shiny after a few hours but nothing a blotting paper can't fix
Price : 5/5 Considering this is one of my favorite BBs altogether? And it's from the drugstore? SCORE!
Final score : 4.2/5

This is literally the PERFECT product for every day, and my favorite BB cream so far (I've tried an embarrassing amount). It makes getting ready so fast and easy, and it lasts all day (if you blot away the shine throughout the day, it doesn't break down or anything!). If you have very dry skin, skip it, as it will cling to dry patches but combination to oily (even normal, honestly), say hello to your new best friend :)

What do you guys think, you gonna give it a try? Let me know! :)


Beauty 911 : Eyebrows

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Once upon time, a little girl named Val used to have one big fluffy caterpillar across her forehead. That's right, I had a unibrow, big and bushy.

Then, I made the mistake many of us do, I over plucked. THIN CHOLA EYEBROWS. Ok not really, but think Mila Kunis in That 70's Show (Ironically, she now has my dream eyebrows):

The fact that my eyebrows are so dense and grow so fast is a blessing and a curse. I have unlimited tries to get the perfect shape (which I am still far from), but I do have to groom them basically everyday.

I would recommend getting them threaded or waxed the first time, and then just maintain that shape. If not, well you can still work it out.

Getting the right shape:
The easiest way to get the perfect shape, is to take a pencil, tip of a brush whatever you have on hand, to figure out the 3 major points. 

8 Surprising Things That Are Messing with Your Skin | OCD To Clear Acne

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

So here's the deal, you do every obvious thing to help clear up your skin, or keep it clear but somehow those little buggers still come back and if you're clueless as to why this is happening, maybe some of these tips can help demystify and fix the problem. Keep in mind that my acne is hormonal, but my skin is also sensitive, therefore a million other things than just "my body" make me break out.

Dealing with acne has left me a tad OCD about a few things but bear with me!

Here are 8 things I do when my skincare just doesn't seem to cut it :

1. Pillowcases:  Change them. Change them often. Usually every 3 days or so should be fine, however if you have a little snuggle bug who likes to play in the dirt and lick his balls and then rub himself on your pillow and lick it, change it everyday. Oh, and I meant my dog, not my boyfriend, just so we're clear ;)
Credit: ICS Jail Supplies (I sure know how to pick them! lol)

2. Phone: Kind of a no brainer, but clean it. That thing is NASTY.
3. Hands: Keep them to yourself, stop touching your face. In the eventuality that you will touch your face (to wash it or apply makeup) make sure your hands are EXTRA clean (as well as your hand towel, drying clean hands on a dirty towel? No thank you!)
4. Nails: Ever wonder : I'm not doing anything different, it's not that time of the month, why am I breaking out? And then looked at your long ass nails? Cut them. The longer they are the more bacteria they harbor, even if you clean your hands. Keep them short-ish and make sure you scrub them in the palms of your hands when washing.
5. Face mapping: If you don't know about face mapping (but seriously where have you been?), well this one might actually change your life. Be aware of it, use it as a guide. You're welcome. (Click here for details)
Credit: The Beauty Gypsy
6. Dairy: In the same perspective as face mapping, the best thing I ever did for my hormonal acne is to cut out dairy (Cut down on it...I WILL NEVER QUIT CHEESE!!). However, I made the mistake of switching to soy milk for a while ; it was worse. SOY IS NOT YOUR FRIEND! (Well, it wasn't mine.). I now use almond or coconut milk. The next step is to cut out sugar and all other terrible things, but as a foodie, I win some, I lose some ;)
Credit :
7. Conditioner: BACNE. URGH! If you find yourself breaking out on your back, make sure you are rinsing out your conditioner BEFORE you wash your back. Any of that residue left on your skin can easily cause break outs. I usually get in the shower, wash my hair, rinse it, apply conditioner and let work in my hair while I wash my front. Then I rinse out my hair thoroughly and then wash my back.
8. Toothpaste: First of all, if you use toothpaste as a spot treatment, STOP THAT. NOW. Second of all, if you find yourself breaking out near your mouth, it could very well be your toothpaste. Either you're not rinsing well enough, or you can maybe try switching toothpaste. True story. Look for one with no propylene glycol or SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate). Also try washing your face after you brush your teeth!
What kind of crazy things do you guys do? Let me know in the comments below!


Special Skincare

Monday, July 21, 2014

Happy Monday lovelies!

At the end of last week we talked about the skincare I used morning and night, but there's quite a few things that need to be mentioned, that are some series regulars, just not leading roles. 

Night time Skincare Routine

Friday, July 18, 2014

My night time routine is also pretty simple, it only gets a bit more intense on the "special care" nights, which the next post will be all about. 

So for this routine the formula essentially stays the same : cleanse, tone, treat, moisturize.

Makeup remover: 
The most important part of my routine is to make sure ALL my makeup is off. As mentioned, I like to use a cleansing oil. Right now, I am still working on using up the L'Oréal Sublime Radiance Sensational Cleansing Oil (9-11$CA). 
I also quite like the Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micelle Solution (26$CA), which is basically a cleansing water. I especially like it on days where I am wearing lighter makeup. It's also good to refresh your skin throughout the day or if, for example, you did your morning skincare and you need to start fresh before going out at night, it's gentler than re-washing your face. 

I like to use it with an exfoliating cotton pad :
I used to always go for acne medicated cleansers, or products that are meant for oily troubled skin. I found, as of lately, the best way to treat my skin is to treat like it was sensitive, period. I just use the Simple Foaming Cleanser (9$CA). It's gentle and effective and leaves my skin feeling clean and comfortable. 

Cleanser is the product in your routine you can kind of skimp on, find something cheap, that works for you and effectively cleanses your face. It spends the least amount of time on your skin, and you go in and treat afterwards anyways...Just some friendly advice ;) But yes I know, we have all fallen in love with a ridiculously expensive cleanser at some point...IT'S OK!

Again, I just use my magic potion!
I like to apply a spot treatment as there's always some little buggers to fight off. Usually my skin responds better to salicylic acid but for some reason this Benzagel (6$CA), 5% Benzoyl Peroxide, is really working better than other drugstore spot treatments.

Eye cream:
Because of my eczema on my left eye, I like to just use the Aveeno Eczema Care Moisturizing Cream as my actual eye cream, it's a bit too thick to wear as more than a "spot treatment" during the day.
This is just a little sample size*
To top it all off, you need to moisturize. I say it, but even I don't always do it. I know, I know! 

When I'm a good girl, I'll usually just use my Kiehl's Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream (32$CA) , but I also like to use Ole Henriksen's Invigorating Night Gel, and I sometimes top it off with the Sheer Transformation (they come in the same kit and you can purchase the sample size for 28$CA). They really help with the overall texture of my skin, though when I use them too often, it can be a bit harsh and make me breakout, so somewhat counterproductive... When used wisely, they truly are little wonders.

Again I just use the mother of all lip balms : Nuxe's Rêve de Miel (17$CA)

And voila! I'm ready for bed!

Hope you enjoyed this! Stay tuned on Monday for the special care routine (things that I do use every other day)

I'll catch you guys on the flip side ;)