Peptides- Overblown hype or a worthy skincare addition?

The research on peptides has exploded in the last few years and while some peptides are falsely marketed as the next coming of Jesus in the skincare community, there are a lot of remarkable peptides that are worth adding to your routine.

So, what the heck are peptides? Basically, they are fragments of protein found in your skin and are made up of amino acids (water-binding agents). Proteins are the building blocks of skin. So, think of peptides as the bricks that help your skin stay intact. No peptides = loss of firmness, appearance of wrinkles, texture changes, and skin that doesn’t bounce back the way it used to when you were younger. Peptides are the teachers of skin and you definitely want those bricks in the wall!!

I recently found out not to buy peptides that come in a water-based formula because the peptides become unstable. Another surprise is that peptides are vulnerable to attack by enzymes present in our skin and they can break the peptides down to the point where they become ineffective. The horror! But science is a wonder and chemists have been able to produce synthetic peptides in a lab, which are engineered to be more stable on and within skin. Therefore, lab engineered peptides are able to survive and thrive on the skin and help target aging skin concerns. Hooray!!

There are a plethora of amazing peptides on the market right now, and more and more are being made in labs. While they are definitely something that will help your skin keep its bounce long-term, they are not miracle workers; your skin still needs other ingredients to operate at optimal levels and it’s never going to replace cosmetic procedures (Debbie Downer over here) no matter how much we wish they could.

So, are peptides worth the hype? In short, yes. There are lots of peptides that are definitely worth incorporating into our skincare routine but there are some peptides, like copper peptides that are over-hyped and over-priced. So keep that in mind when you’re on the hunt for a peptide product. Great peptide serums are out there, like The Ordinary Buffet serum, their Matrixyl 10% serum, and Paula’s Choice Peptide Booster. The Ordinary Buffet + Copper 1% Serum won’t be one I purchase because from everything I’ve read, it’s a good skin-restoring peptide but not worth all the buzz it receives.

Peptides are worth the skincare investment and I’m loving the effects they’re having on my skin. Want to discuss more with me? Head on over to my instagram, talk to me and the rest of the mod squad in The Ordinary and Deciem chatroom, or leave a comment on this post. Love hearing from you.

Much love XX

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The Battle of The Primers (feat. Hylamide HA Blur & Paula’s Choice Resist Smoothing Primer Spf 30)

I love applying a good primer before I slap on makeup on my face.  I’ve tried tons.  Most of the Smashbox range, Dior, Urban Decay.  Most I’ve enjoyed but I wanted to start using a makeup primer that would not only blur my pores and help my makeup go on smoothly, but provide real skin care benefits as well.  Lucky me, my two favourite skin care brands have great primers with skin care benefits.  Score! So, let’s take a look at each of their claims, how well they held their ground with my makeup, and whether I saw any visible improvements from using them.

Hylamide HA Blur (Hyluronic-Based Prismatic Blurring Surface Finisher)

Whew! Long-ass name for a hyluronic based primer! The HA Blur is part of Hylamide’s Finisher Series.  After one uses their Core Series products and any of their Booster Series’ products,  Deciem recommends using one of their Finishers.  So, I chose the Ha Blur because of my skin’s affinity for hyluronic acid.

The Claims

Hylamide HA Blur promises to blur and minimize pores while hydrating and plumping the skin.   It uses a new form of powder based hyluronic acid which is supposed to provide blurring properties to your skin.  It also claims to be compatible with all makeup and all skin types.  In fact, Deciem states that “…it’s so compatible with makeup that you can apply under or over foundation, or mix it with any liquid foundation for an ultra-high-definition skin finish.” (Hylamide, 2018)

Ingredients

caprylyl methicone, aqua (water), peg-12 dimethicone/ppg-20 crosspolymer, hexamethyldisiloxane, polysilicone-11, cyclopentasiloxane, isodecyl neopentanoate, vinyl dimethicone/methicone silsesquioxane crosspolymer, cyclomethicone, peg-10 dimethicone, sodium hyaluronate, pseudoalteromonas exopolysaccharides, sodium salicylate, adipic acid/neopentyl glycol crosspolymer, methyl methacrylate/peg/ppg-4/3 methacrylate crosspolymer, tocopherol, acrylamide/sodium acryloyldimethyl taurate copolymer, silica dimethyl silylate, laureth-12, polyacrylate crosspolymer-6, isohexadecane, polysorbate-80, dimethicone, cyclohexasiloxane, cetearyl dimethicone crosspolymer, vp/va copolymer, cyclotetrasiloxane, amodimethicone, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, citric acid, butylene glycol, hexylene glycol, caprylyl glycol¸ ethylhexylglycerin, phenoxyethanol, chlorphenesin.

Looking at the ingredients, HA Blur uses a heck of a lot of crosspolymers to formulate their primer.  Crosspolymers basically do the same job as silicones in skin care; they work as film-formers (hence the blurring claims) and work as aesthetic enhancers, helping your makeup glide on smoothly and stay put longer. It also contains sodium hyluronate, which is a salt form of the skin-replenishing ingredient hyaluronic acid, and it’s supposed to be more effective for skin than pure hyaluronic acid due to its greater compatibility with your skin.

My Results

I’ve used HA Blur since last October.  I first tried using a pea-sized amount alone and as a layer before my foundation.  No bueno. My experience using the primer this way goes against Deciem’s promise that this will work under foundation.  It pilled and made my foundation patchy.  I had to rub the foundation around my face for quite a while before the patchiness went away along with most of my foundation.  The next time, I tried mixing it with my foundation and this worked beautifully.  No pilling and no patchiness.  Definitely blurs and minimizes pores.  Did it hydrated my skin? My skin is well-hydrated since I use a healthy amount of hyluronic acid already, so I didn’t feel any significant difference in the hydration level of my skin.  Did it plump my skin? Nope. Again, I use a shit ton of hyluronic acid already.  Would I repurchase? Yes.  It looks great in pictures and it definitely blurs my pores.

With Hylamide HA Blur

Paula’s Choice Resist Smoothing Primer Serum SPF 30

This primer serum is part of PC’s RESIST line of skin care, which is specifically targeting anti-aging (I really don’t like this term.  We need to come up with a better alternative) concerns. It’s both a primer and a serum in one.  Let’s get straight to the claims.

The Claims

Paula’s Choice primer serum promises to target fine lines and wrinkles, protect against sun damage, protect skin from environmental damage, and prevent early signs of aging.  It preps the skin for a perfect makeup application and has a lightweight silky texture.  All claims are right up my alley.

Ingredients

Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 2%, Homosalate 4.0%, Octinoxate 6.0%, Octisalate 4.0%

Other Ingredients: Isododecane (texture enhancer), Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer (texture enhancer/skin-softening), Butyloctyl Salicylate (skin-softening),Polysilicone-11 (texture enhancer), Bisabolol (skin soothing), Coffea Arabica (Coffee) Seed Extract (antioxidant), Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract (antioxidant/skin soothing), Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract (antioxidant/skin soothing), Retinyl Palmitate (antioxidant), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract (hydration), Calluna Vulgaris Flower Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract (antioxidants), Chlorella Vulgaris Extract (antioxidant), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (skin-replenishing), Physalis Angulata Extract (skin soothing), Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract (skin-restoring), Diethylhexyl Syringylidenemalonate (antioxidant).

The ingredient list makes the skin care nerd in me drool.  Ya know I love me some antioxidants and this primer serum has a very decent selection.  Licorice root extract helps fight discoloration, fades age spots, fights free radical damage, and helps reduce oil production. Coffee seed extract helps skin retain moisture and smooth the skin’s texture. Matricaria Flower Extract calms sensitive skin and fights inflammation. Retinyl Palmate is the ester of retinol and is a gentle form of vitamin A.  It’s gentle enough for sensitive skin and a great antioxidant for us acne prone skin types. Chlorella Vulagaris Extract is derived from seaweed and prevents the breakdown of collagen and elasticity. Apple fruit extract is rich in antioxidants and helps reduce the look of pores.  Pretty Impressive!

The PC primer serum contains a blend of chemical sunscreens and as always, layering sunscreen is a great idea and helps keep your skin protect from the sun’s rays longer. Definitely a plus.

My Results

I’ve been using this primer for over a year.  It definitely has a silky texture and goes on smoothly and leaves a velvety feel to my skin.  Yes, it does blur my pores and also works great as an eyelid primer.  My foundation lasts all day and I don’t end up looking like an oil slick by mid-afternoon.  Looks good in pictures but not as much of a blurring effect as the Hylamide HA Blur.  You only need a pea-size amount to cover your face. Would I repurchase? I already have a backup stashed in my vanity.

With PC primer

Extra Tip

I’ve used both of these primers together. I layer the PC primer first and then mix the HA blur with my foundation.  Do you have a special night coming up and you want your skin to look flawless? Try this method.  Works like a charm.

I would recommend both of these primers.  Both are great to use with makeup.  Both have skin care benefits.  I’ll continue to use them both.  What are your favourite primers?  Have you used either or both of the above? Leave a comment below or come by the Deciem and The Ordinary Chatroom and discuss your favs with other skin care addicts like yours truly.

Much love XX

Are Thermal Water Sprays a Necessity?

Thermal Water Sprays seem to be a staple in a French woman’s skin care routine, and I will hop and skip to the skincare aisle to try out any product a French woman touts as being an essential in her chic skincare routine.  Enter my foray into thermal water sprays.  I’ve heard the claims of using thermal water sprays an eon ago but I never thought I’d pay twenty-five bucks for water in a can.  Well, I did and here are my conclusions.

Avène Thermal Water Spray

Avène Thermal Water Spray was formulated in the 18th century and it’s at the centre of all of the company’s products. The Avène thermal water spray is one of the most popular sprays you can purchase and it contains the least amount of minerals compared to other thermal water sprays, which is supposed to decrease any skin dryness.  It contains a fairly high mixture of calcium and magnesium and has an impressive amount of bicarbonates.  

Avène Thermal Water Spray and Its Claims:

  • Clinically shown to soothe, soften and calm skin
  • Reduces skin sensitivity and helps restore skin balance
  • Soothes redness
  • Calms itching sensations
  • Safe for infants, children and adults

My Results (after two weeks)

I’ve been using it in the morning after I use my trusty wash cloth and lukewarm water to clean my face.  It absorbs quickly and yes, my skin does not feel dry afterwards compared to using regular tap water. So, I do think the claim of restoring skin balance after washing your face with regular tap water is true in my case.  I don’t suffer from any redness or itching, so I can’t verify whether or not it’s effective against skin irritation.  I also like to use this spray after my makeup application to set my makeup and I love it!! It softens the look of my makeup if I went a little overboard with powder and it feels lovely.  It does not disturb my makeup at all.  The mascara doesn’t start running down my face.  Great way to set your makeup.  Highly recommend.

La Roche Posay Thermal Spring Water Spray

Also has an impressive array of minerals and antioxidants, much more compared to the Avène Thermal Water Spray.  It is high in calcium and bicarbonates, but lower in magnesium compared to Avène.  It also contains zinc (soothes skin, antioxidant), copper (a component of the powerful antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase. Remember euk-134?), and selenium (neutralizes free radicals before they can lead to wrinkles).

La Roche Posay Thermal Spring Water and its Claims

  • Protects against UV damage
  • Decreases inflammation
  • Decreases skin irritation
  • Helps prevent skin aging

All of the antioxidants listed in the ingredients are good at fighting free radical damage caused by UV light, so I’m happy to spray away.

My Results (after two weeks)

I use this spray at night, after double-cleansing my face with Hylamide’s High Efficency Cleaner and Niod’s Sanskrit Saponins.  The La Roche Posay Thermal Spring Water Spray does take longer to dry on my skin than the Avène spray but I just take a little bit of time to press it into my skin.  My skin does feel a bit tight but not necessarily dry after using this spray and there does seem to be a bit of flushing of the skin, but it goes away after a few seconds.  I follow up with the rest of my skin care routine and no adverse effects.  I have not tried to set my makeup with it because it does leave my skin feeling a bit dry and I ain’t taking any chances.  Would I repurchase? Maybe.  I do like the added antioxidants.

Any Drawbacks?

I use Beautypedia religiously for links to research and skin care and makeup reviews.  Paula Begoun definitely does not rate thermal water sprays.  In fact, Beautypedia states the nitrogen used in these spray bottles can cause cell death. Ouch! A did a little online digging and found Lab Muffin’s breakdown of thermal water sprays. She counteracts this conclusion by stating, “…nitrogen gas (N2) make up 78% of the air we breathe! It’s actually very unreactive, so unreactive that it’s commonly used in laboratories to flush out more reactive things like oxygen and water. (The papers cited in the Beautypedia article actually involve chemicals that just contain nitrogen atoms, not nitrogen gas itself.)” (Lab Muffin, 2016). Now, I’m no scientist but this seems pretty darn conclusive (I’m sorry Paula).

Do you need a Thermal Water Spray?

I think if you suffer from skin irritations from time to time, eczema, redness, or dryness from regular tap water then give it a go.  The ingredients are relatively safe and it’s not going to harm your skin.  It’s definitely great for setting makeup and generally a good way to prep your skin before introducing other products.  Is it a necessity? Not, really.  Do I want to feel like a French woman, even for a few seconds? Yes. Yes, I do.

What are your thoughts on thermal water sprays? Are they a staple in your skin care routine? Can you live without them? Are you a french woman? Can I hang out with you?

Much love XX

My Acne and Ageing Journey- The Hydration Edition (Part 2)

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My quest to find the right type of hydration for my cray, cray skin began two years ago.  I had finally found the perfect combination of actives that worked great for my skin but it still felt slightly dehydrated. Oftentimes, my skin felt tight but was still oily in the centre of my face;  I had flaky patches from using retinol (normal by the way) and my moisturizer wasn’t cutting it. If your skin is anything like mine, you know how frustrating it can be to find products that hydrate your skin without clogging pores or exacerbating acne.  I’ve got awesome news: they are out there and they work!

Hyaluronic Acid

I was blind to your powers but now I see the light! Hyaluronic acid is my hydrating superhero because it deeply nourishes my skin without all the drawbacks that I sometimes find from using certain moisturizers. So why do I bow at the altar of hyaluronic acid (did I go too far there?)? Because it’s THE ideal way to deeply nourish and hydrate oily and dehydrated skin.  One gram of hyluronic acid can hold up to six liters of water! Hydration heaven! Our bodies are filled with this moisture-binding goodness but as we get older, we begin to lose it and as a result, our skin begins to lose its firmness and that lovely plumpness we had when we were young and naive. Another amazing benefit of this light and fluid ingredient is its ability to guard against environmental stressors, like using harsh ingredients, abrasive skincare tools, or too much sun exposure.  Adding hyaluronic acid to your routine can help protect and replenish your compromised skin barrier.

Hyaluronic Acid Products I’m Loving 

Hylamide Sub Q Anti-Age is part of Deciem’s Hylamide core range.  It’s a multi-functional anti-age serum containing advanced hyaluronic complexes, which target both surface and below the surface hydration.  It targets loss of firmness, dynamic and fine lines, sagging skin, and textural irregularities.  I was very lucky to be gifted this product by my lovely friend Joanne, founder of The Ordinary and Deciem Chat room, and now I’m hooked! Sub Q Anti-Age serum leaves my skin feeling plump, hydrated, and bouncy.  I’m already on my second bottle and I certainly see an improvement to my skin.  It’s definitely pricier than The Ordinary’s Buffet Serum, which I’m also a fan of but I do think it’s worth the price because it targets below the surface hydration, unlike Buffet, and has more anti-aging properties as well.

Hylamide Booster Low-Molecular HA is described by Deciem as a “hyper-strength rehydration serum with 5 forms of hyaluronic compounds with varying molecular weights.”  Fancy talk for packing a lot of hydration.  Does it deliver on its claims? Yes siree it does!  I add three drops of this viscous serum to the Sub Q Anti-Age and woah Nelly! My skin is in hydration nirvana.  I began to add this serum in place of my beloved The Ordinary Hyluronic Acid +B5 serum in the wintertime because my face was still feeling a bit tight. TO Hyluronic Acid is great but it wasn’t enough for my skin during the wintertime and it does tend to pill on me, so I’m happy to spend a bit more for the added hydration and more elegant Hylamide version.  If you’re not willing to spend more and you live in a more humid climate than I do (slightly jealous of you), definitely try The Ordinary version.

Other Hydrators for Oily and Dehytrated Skin I’m crushing on

Squalene- The only oil-like skin hydrator my skin craves is squalene, which is naturally found in our skin, like hyaluronic acid.  It’s not an oil and thank the skin gods because my skin hates them oils!  Squalene is non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores) and helps prevent loss of hydration.  The Ordinary has an amazing 100% plant-derived squalene in its long skincare line-up.   I add 3-4 drops of it into my moisturizer at night and my skin still feels lovely and hydrated (not greasy) the next morning.

The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors +HA is my favourite nighttime moisturizer.  It is so nourishing and delivers a combination of amino acids, fatty acids, triglycerides, urea, ceramides, phospholipids, glycerin, saccharides, sodium PCA, hyaluronic acid.  All of the ingredients used in this moisturizer are essential skin nourishing ingredients that help our skin retain water and help our skin stay healthy, replenished and restored.  Acne-prone skin is actually very sensitive, so using a moisturizer like this one will help calm the skin and keep it balanced.  I only use about a dime-size amount mixed in with my squalene but play around to find the right amount for your skin.

Skin is finicky and needs a combination of skin loving ingredients to perform at an all-star level.  We’ve covered active ingredients like niacinamide and retinol, and hydrators.  Next up, antioxidants! See you soon 🙂

Much love Xx

My Acne And Aging Journey (Part 1)

Acne at any age sucks but having acne-prone skin in your thirties is the pits.  Plus, you’re having to deal with the early signs of aging at the same time.  So, do you target the acne or do you use products whose main objective is to fight aging skin?  Thankfully, science-based skincare companies like Paula’s Choice and Deciem have many products that target both acne and anti-ageing skin.  Hallelujah! I’ll cover the four main active ingredients you need in order to achieve lovely acne-free skin.

My skin was an absolute mess before I created a skincare regime that worked to balance my skin and keep it happy.  I tried everything. Prescription oral antibiotics and creams, Proactive, natural skincare, the oil method; you name it and I’ve tried it.  I wrecked my skin (and my self-confidence) in the process and I was desperate to find a skincare line that actually worked and wasn’t based on BS marketing and new age gobbledygook.  It wasn’t until I started doing some serious research on the internet that I finally found a bevy of skin ingredients that were proven to work for my skin concerns.  I had nothing to lose. I was at my wit’s end but I now felt like I could make knowledgable decisions about what to put on my skin.

So, what the heck do you need to balance out that acne-prone skin and keep it healthy and happy, while targeting the signs of aging?  A good BHA, niacinamide, a retinol product, and azelaic acid are great multitasking products that help balance our moody skin and fight the signs of ageing.

BHA And Its Wonders

BHA or beta hydroxy/salicylic acid is a leave-on, oil soluble exfoliant that gets rid of surface dead skin cells AND unglues all the gunk inside your pores.  It’s perfect for acne-prone skin that is also prone to clogged pores and blackheads.  BHA is also anti-inflammatory, so it’s great for sensitive skin. Does it have anti-aging properties? I’m glad you asked!  BHA also helps diminish the look of fine lines and wrinkles, evens out skin texture, and can keep your skin from looking dull.  My all time favourite BHA is Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Gel because it soothes and lightly hydrates my skin, while getting rid of clogged pores and bumps.  I use it twice a day but if you’re new to BHA, go slow. Start using it every other night for a few weeks, then every night, and slowly incorporate it twice a day when your skin has adjusted.

Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) 

My skin can’t get enough of this life-changing ingredient.  It’s in my toner, in my serum, and eye treatment.  It’s a glorious multi-tasker!  It helps minimize my pores, evens out my skin texture, fights fine lines and wrinkles, and lightly hydrates my skin. Yay! You can use niacinamide in multiple products without worrying if it will sensitize your skin, and it works well with AHA/BHA, vitamin C and retinol.  It makes friends with everyone.  I am currently using The Ordinary’s Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% serum and loving it.  I also use Paula’s Choice Resist Weightless Advanced Toner, which contains niacinamide among its cocktail of skin-loving ingredients, and Paula’s Choice Resist Skin Firming Line Minimizer on my smile lines and around my eyes.  Obsessed with both products.

Retinol (Vitamin A)

Retinols are skin whisperers.  Incorporating a retinol to your routine will result in a dramatic improvement to the skin’s texture and firmness.  They also help minimize the look of pores and pesky bumps.  Moreover, retinol products work in tandem with other active ingredients like BHA and niacinamide, helping them perform even better than just by their lonesome.  Remember, start slow and always wear spf 30 or higher when incorporating active ingredients into your routine.  My two favourite retinol serums are The Ordinary’s 1% Retinol in Squalene and Paula’s Choice Retinol 1% Booster.  Both are great for acne-prone skin.

Azelaic Acid (dicarboxylic acid)

My 2017 holy grail has got to be The Ordinary’s Azelaic Acid 10% Suspension.  I will never be without it! Azelaic Acid is both an antioxidant and a very gentle acid.  It’s great for both rosacea and acne prone skin as it helps to clear bumps and reduce swelling for both skin concerns.  It’s also great at decreasing follicular plugging, which is just a fancy way of saying that it keeps your pores clear.  Finally, azelaic acid works on pesky hyper-pigmentation and brightens the skin.  Winning!

So, start implementing these phenomenal ingredients in your skincare basket and enjoy the results! Your skin will thank you. If you have any mores questions or want to learn more about these fab skincare brands, check out The Ordinary And Deciem Chat Room. Fabulous information and awesome people sharing their favourite product recommendations. I’m a moderator there, so drop by and say hi 👋🏼

PS: Stay tuned for part 2 of the series where I tackle hydration.

Much love Xx