The Skincare Trials

I swear skincare is a never ending job. Yes, a job! As much as I love putting on a mask and pampering myself, it's really difficult to find the right things for your skin that work. It's a constant trial and error. Especially because our skin changes as we grow and even with the weather. What makes it even more difficult is that for the most part, skincare items are not instant gratification. It's not like putting on foundation and seeing your skin look amazing. It's about taking time to correct, maintain and prevent. This is precisely why I haven't really posted much regarding skincare. It takes time to test things out and really know that a product is good and worth the price tag. I'm warning you now that this is going to be a long post! And I still won't be able to get to it all!

So, I'm still in the testing process. The common rule is to wait at least 3 months before casting off a product. Some of these I've had for longer, some not as long so I'm still waiting before I rave or not about each of them. But, it feels like forever and I've been wanting to talk about some of these things so much! So, this is a preview. Consider it the teaser trailer to the film, if you will. I thought this would be a good time to talk about how and why I chose to try out each of these products. I will then do a follow up in the next month when my trial period is over letting you know how they each performed. Sound good? I'll take that as a yes!

First things first when it comes to choosing skincare. Know your skin type! Really work on evaluating what kind of skin you have. Dry, Oily, Normal, Combination, Acne prone, Sensitive, Dehydrated? Remember that you can possibly be one or more of those things. And just because you have one blemish on your face doesn't automatically categorize you as acne prone which I think a lot of girls do. If you get the odd blemish, just buy a spot treatment you can use when you need it. Don't start buying acne oil free products and stripping your skin for no reason. Really assess your main issue and address it from it's cause. I for instance have always had oily skin, but I also get dry at times and I get the odd blemish on occasion. I used to just buy products geared towards oily skin. Oil Free? Yes yes yes! Goodness was I wrong! After much trial and error, I have come to the conclusion that I have sensitive skin that is slightly dehydrated. Using harsh products for oily skin was just stripping my skin of its essential oils and drying it out and it would then overproduce oils to compensate. A viscious cycle that is. If you're having trouble figuring it out on your own, I do think your skin is worth going to visit a dermatologist or some skincare expert to help you out. You only get one skin, one body, etc in life. Take care of it! This isn't about being vain. It's about being healthy and well cared for.

Second thing I think is most important is to figure out what you want to accomplish with your skin. Do you need extreme hydration? Something to help clear up scars? Something to remove dead skin cells? Assess what you want/need and find the products geared towards your skin type to help you accomplish those goals. Don't just try a product because it sounds cool. Try a product because you feel it's right for you.

And of course, you should always try to pay attention to ingredients. Maybe your skin reacts well to some things and not others. If you get accustomed to reading the ingredients, you might be able to find a pattern if this happens to you. Also, know what ingredients are good and which are bad. Products containing parabens, for example, might be on your 'dont't buy' list. Or on your list of 'buy this' might be hyaluronic acid which helps your skin retain moisture and therefore is excellent for hydrating and plumping the skin. Or glycolic acids which help renew the skin. Knowing what is what will help you buy smarter and be more effective in your routine.And always remember to give things a good test run. Obviously if you have a bad reaction to something, you should consider not using it anymore. But every skincare product takes time. Give it at least three months, if not longer, before you toss it to the bin.

Before I get into each product, I just want to say a few things. I'm not an expert. What I tell you is from information I've gathered through research as well as trial and error. This is what I'm using for my skin type and issues, but everyone is different. These are just my philosophies and what I base my own skincare on and what I would tell a friend.

OK, here we go... this is what I'm testing.

1. Cleansing Milk: Dior Gentle Cleansing Milk with Peony Extract - To keep me sensitive oily prone skin in check, I was looking for a cleansing milk to remove my makeup. This is gentle on the skin and will not strip any moisture out of your skin which ideally will help maintain the balance of your skin. This is great for normal, dry, sensitive or dehydrated skin.
2. Cleansing Balm: Clinique Take the Day off Cleansing Balm - I've been really interested in cleansing balms for the past six months probably. I had always used foamy cleansers because I felt like it would clean my face better. Wrong! There is more than one way to clean your face! This is the first cleansing balm I've tried. I thought it looked unoffensive and would be a good place to start. Clinique is usually pretty good with skincare and it's not too expensive so I figured it'd be a good trial for my first balm. Although I do plan on testing out Emma Hardings Amazing Face and Eve Lom once this is finished up. Cleansing balms are balms that you massage onto your face. Once you start massaging, it will turn into an oil and break down makeup, dirt and impurities. Then, you use a clean damp washcloth to remove it all. I have really been enjoying this. I hate that tight feeling skin gets after washing your face with a cleanser. This never does that and it really does leave my face looking and feeling clean. Definitely the way to go for me.
3. Sensitive Toner: Dior Gentle Toning Lotion with Velvet Peony Extract - Step three to your routine should be toner. Toner will help balance the pH in your skin. It will also remove any extra dirt left behind anywhere (although with my first two steps, this aspect isn't necessary). I was looking for one that didn't contain alcohol and was gentle. So far so good with this.
4. Morning Serum: Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum - A serum is going to go deeper into your skin and give you stronger effects than a moisturizer. In the mornings, I find just using a serum alone is enough for my skin. I picked this one up because it was gentle and geared towards giving the skin radiance as well as diminishing the look of dark spots which is good for me because my skin tends to scar easily.
5. Night Moisturizer: Tarte Maracuja Oil - Evenings are the time where I infuse my skin with hydration and moisture. I've been using an oil for moisturizer lately. I did a complete review on this here if you're interested as I've been using this for quite some time now. I like to add one or two drops of this into my night time serum.
6. Night Serum: Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair - This product is geared towards helping give your skin radiance, repair the damage of the daytime and boost cell turnover. I've been using the original for quite some time and now have to trial the newly formulated version that was released this month. Semi afraid and semi excited for possible improvements to the original formulation.

These next few items are special treatments that are used sparingly as opposed to every single day as the items above.

7. Glycolic Acid Treatment: Alpha H Liquid Gold - Itching to rave about this because so far I've been really enjoying this, but I will contain myself. This product is intended to be used as a night treatment applied every other day at most. I generally use it only two to three times a week without any added serum or moisturizer on top so that it can give it's full effects. It doesn't sting or feel drying. Just gives a slight tingle (I notice the tingling more if I use my jade roller beforehand). It basically breaks down your cells getting rid of older ones and encouraging the new ones to turn over. To be honest, all I know is that it has help firm my skin, tighten my pores, has diminished the appearance of spots and scars as well as helped keep my skin clear. It's important not to overuse treatments like this or masks so that you don't irritate your skin. I also am very careful to be sure I'm using SPF the day following this treatment as your skin is getting fresh new baby cells and you don't want to harm them. I want to go on and on, but I'm going to wait until I finish the entire bottle. It's only been two and a half months, but I'm already in love.
8. Healing Gel: Heal Gel - This is a gel that was formulated by a group of doctors to literally help heal skin after harsh medical surgeries like face lifts, etc. It's been mass produced though to help us ladies at home with a slew of different things. It has hyaluronic acid to help hydrate, salicylic acid to help clear blemishes, arnica to help bruising and so much more. It also helps reduce the appearance of scars and will help heal cuts and burns. It's an all around beauty emergency gel for anything that could go wrong. Very handy to have around.
9. Deep Cleansing Mask: Omorovicza Deep Cleansing Mask - Clay masks are really great at drawing out impurities. Maybe once a week or every other week, I'll pull out a clay mask to clear out my skin and remove toxins or anything that is deep rooted in my skin. GlamGlow in the white jar is actually quite a brilliant mask as well.
10. Resurfacing Mask: Oskia Resurfacing Mask - I received a sample of this and was hooked. It smooths out the surface of your skin and I wake up with my face looking more radiant and renewed. Hooked.

Speaking of samples, never refuse a sample. In fact, ask for them. It's a great way to get a taste of a product. I would have never bought Tarte Maracuja Oil had it not been given to me as a point perk sample at Sephora. I'm still in the process of looking for an eye cream that actually does something. I feel like whether I use one or not, the results are the same. Nothing happens! So, I'm on the hunt. I've been shopping at Feel unique, Sephora, Cult Beauty, Bloomingdales (Space NK section as well) and others. I feel that skincare is really the place to invest in. If you have to allocate your money wisely, buy your makeup at the drugstore and splurge on your skincare. 50 years from now, you'll be thankful. Speak soon!

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