09 April 2018

What to do when a Skincare Product Causes a Breakout?

Recently I tested a drugstore serum which broke me out in such a bad way that it necessitated the writing of an entire blog post. I'm not going to slam the product (it's the Nivea Q10 Plus Anti-wrinkle Replenishing Serum Pearls if you're wondering), but I will tell you what to do when you're in a similar situation. Different skin types respond differently to products and ingredients, so what worked for me might not work for you, and vice versa, but I do believe the approach will still be the same.

The Backstory

My first impression of the serum was that I really liked the packaging, but that the product itself was a bit weird. When you press down on the pump, the yellow pearls are squished together and dispensed as a bright yellow cream (it looks a bit like mushy peas), and it smells exactly like men's shower gel, which should probably have given me my first clue. I used it morning and night for about two or three days and everything seemed fine (I didn't change anything else in my skincare routine). On the evening of the second or third day I saw that my skin looked a bit lackluster and bumpy so I decided to use a clay mask that I have used many times before (the green L'Oreal clay mask). I rinsed it off and everything was fine. The next morning when I woke up the skin on my cheeks was a bit red, but nothing out of the ordinary. I applied the serum and my usual skincare products and put on makeup. When I arrived home about two hours later (we had a doctor's appointment the morning) my skin was an absolute disaster. I immediately washed my face and saw that my skin had the texture of the moon landscape: my cheeks were red and inflamed and I had white bumps (that looked like pimples) dotted all over my cheeks. There were a few white bumps on my chin and even down my neck (I always take the excess serum down my neck). I was shocked and upset that my skin had taken a turn for the worst so quickly! After some TLC my skin recovered after about four days and today's post will explain how I did it.

Tips on How to Recover

The first thing to do is: stop using the aggravating product. As a beauty blogger I've learned (the hard way) to not just jump in and try lots of new products at once: you will mess up your skin in a bad way. If you're using new products, introduce them one at a time to give your skin a chance to acclimatise to the new product(s). This way you will also know which one is the offending product if anything goes wrong. 

The next thing to remember is do NOT exfoliate your skin! It can be very tempting to just go to town with the exfoliation in the hopes of removing every last bump and "starting over". Exfoliation will definitely make things worse, so don't do it!

Return to the basics: your skin is in a very fragile position and you need to be very, very gentle with it. Stick to your old routine and try to pare it back if you're a bit on the heavy side with the skincare steps. For me this meant using a gentle face wash morning and night (and not washing my face in the shower in the mornings) - I recently repurchased the Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel which is a fail-safe to me. My skin always looks good when I use it and I know it won't break me out. After that I applied The Body Shop's British Rose Petal-Soft Gel Toner on a cotton pad (very gently) to my entire face, and I spritzed on some La Roche Posay thermal water, and when I ran out, the Avene thermal water. After letting that sink in I applied a few drops of the Dermalogica UltraCalming Barrier Oil (only from the second day onwards), and then lastly some of the Dermalogica UltraCalming Water Moisturiser. The reason I applied these products is because that's what I've been using in the weeks before messing up my skin with a drugstore serum. You can use anything that's been working for you before the mishap. Luckily for me that meant two products from the Dermalogica UltraCalming range! You don't need to spend thousands on products claiming to solve your skincare problems: the main thing is just to not upset your skin any further.

Go for gentle products. I'm a firm believer in using thermal water (Uriage, Vichy, Avene, La Roche Posay) to calm down irritated skin. I've used it on sunburnt skin, shaving rashes (on the husband), insect bites, you name it. It cools down the area and gently calms the skin.

I've been lucky in that I could stay home those few days while my skin was recovering, so I didn't wear any makeup. When I did go out I just applied a BB cream, concealer, and powder and tried not to faff too much with my skin. Now would also be a good time to tell you to not touch your face! By touching your face you can spread bacteria from your hands to your face, and goodness knows, this is the last thing you need now!

At night I would gently double cleanse if I've worn makeup, or else do a gentle single cleanse. Hot cloth cleansing proved to be the most effective way at cleaning my skin while soothing it. 

Patience. I know, I know. I do not have patience but trust me when I say, you can't rush this process. You just have to be gentle with your skin and give it time to heal. It took me four days but my skin is back to normal.

Do you have any tips or tricks for getting your skin to get back to looking its best? Let me know in the comment section.

Until next time!


* Image with thanks from Pixabay

06 April 2018

Dipping My Toe Into the K-Beauty Pool: K-Beauty Shopping List

I've always been very intrigued by other people's skincare routines, but even more so by K-Beauty routines. A skincare routine consisting of 10 steps that lead to the most perfect skin ever? Uhm, sign me up, please! Although I don't always even follow all the steps in my own skincare routine, there is a lot we can learn from K-Beauty routines.

When we went to Italy in November I bought a few K-Beauty things from Sephora (you can see my haul here), but I didn't do any research beforehand so I ended up only getting a few sheet masks and not any skincare except for a face wash and an eye cooling stick. 

I saw someone on Twitter posting about a new South African online shop (Glow Theory) who only sell K-Beauty products and I immediately investigated. Glow Theory was born out of necessity: it's not like we can easily get K-Beauty products here in South Africa! I have a few Tony Moly "I'm real" sheet masks and I can tell you, it's a fraction of the price at Glow Theory (R40!)... The rest of the products also seem reasonably priced, although I didn't compare the entire store's pricing to the likes of Sephora (my frame of reference).

I signed up and received a R100 voucher to spend on anything in the store, which I think is a big bonus. That R100 will cover the shipping (shipping is quite expensive, but it is next day courier) and a bit more. My only problem is: what to buy? "Everything" is unfortunately not an option. I then obviously took the next logical step and started googling what to buy. I came across this article entitled "The K-Beauty Products and Hacks a Flight Attendant Swears By". As I started searching for the products mentioned in the article on Glow Theory,  I saw that quite a few of the products were there! This is both a good and a very, very bad thing! Last week Julia from All Dolled Up uploaded a video where she unboxed her K-Beauty haul from Glow Theory and that gave me the kick in the butt to work on my wishlist some more... Below is my current wishlist.

The Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask has fascinated me for a long time and I'm super stoked that I now have the opportunity to purchase it locally. It comes in two flavours (vanilla and berry) and is a cross between a lip balm and a mask that you apply to your lips before you go to bed. You apparently wake up with super soft and hydrated lips. Sign me up! This costs R365 for a small jar (I'm sure it'll last a while) and I have my eye on the berry flavour.

Neogen Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Wine sounds like something straight out of a "plastic surgery gone bad" TV show, but in actual fact it is chemical exfoliating pads that contain a wine extract. Apparently each pad has a textured and a smooth side: you use the textured side to exfoliate your skin and then flip the pad around and use the smooth side to wipe away any dead skin cells. This costs R385.

Son & Park Beauty Water is an interesting product. It sounds like it might be a micellar water, but it's touted as a "cleansing water" that can also be used as an exfoliating toner. It contains all sorts of goodies like willow bark and papaya extract (to gently remove dead skin cells), and rose water, lavender water and orange extract for hydration. It's apparently very gentle on the skin. The 60 ml bottle costs R155 and the 340 ml bottle costs R455.

The Tony Moly I'm Real sheet masks are amazing and each one is for a different skin goal, whether it be hydration or radiance. I don't know how many different masks you get, but Glow Theory has avocado (nutrition), lemon (brightening), pomegranate (elasticity), red wine (pore care), tea tree (soothing), tomato (radiance), broccoli (vitality), and aloe (moisturising). At R40 a sheet mask these masks are on par with the masks we can get at Clicks and Dischem. I've only used the avocado sheet mask that I bought from Sephora and I absolutely loved it - I will definitely be stocking up on a couple of these masks.

After reading the descriptions I want pretty much all the J.One products stocked on Glow theory! The J.One Jelly Pack Vita Mask sounds very intriguing: it's a two-step treatment sheet mask to hydrate, firm, and soften fine lines. The first step is a sheet mask and the second step is a sample of the cult Jelly Pack which is a miracle combination of a moisturiser and a primer. You can purchase this as a single-serving pack or as a box of five (it works out R53 per mask for a box and R60 for a single-serving).

The Banila Co Clean It Zero Classic is a balm cleanser and is apparently a cult classic among K-Beauty devotees. I love balm cleansers so I'm sure I'll enjoy using this! You can buy this one or a big tub, and there's also a version for super sensitive skin. The normal sized tub costs R345 (100 ml) and the big tub (180 ml) costs R395.

On the makeup front I have two eyeshadow products on my wishlist, both from The Saem. First up is the Eco Soul Water Eye Tint (R145) and the Eco Soul Glam Eyes (R145). Tati from Glam Life Guru raved about these two products, and after seeing Julia from All Dolled Up swatch the ones she purchased, I am now sold. The water eye tint is basically a cream eyeshadow in a tube with a doe foot applicator, and the glam eyes is a pressed pigment eyeshadow. Stunning!

Until next time!


02 April 2018

Monthly Favourites: March

I've been trying out a lot of new things lately and many of them have made the cut for my monthly favourites. This month's roundup includes a lot of new items.

Revlon Ultra HD Gel Lipcolor in "700 HD Sand"

I have been eyeing this for months, but when Luzanne from Pink Peonies Blog raved about it in her Instagram stories one day, I knew that I needed to get it. I can kick myself for not picking it up sooner, because it's pretty perfect. It's a cross between a lipstick and a lip balm and it reminds me a lot of Revlon's ColorBurst Lip Butters in terms of consistency. The gel lip colours are colour coded according to their shades and come in a long, slim twist-up pen. It's incredibly creamy and applies beautifully. It's quite opaque and leaves the lips looking and feeling juicy. It doesn't dry down (it's a gel, not a matte) so it will definitely come off when you eat or drink, but reapplication is easy and doesn't look gross. The shade itself is a stunning nude: the perfect mix of peach, pink, and brown. I can honestly go on and on about this, but instead I'm rather going to look online which shade I'll be getting next...

This retails for R185 but I've found that Dischem is a little bit cheaper (around R170 when I bought mine earlier in March).

Physicians Formula Butter Blush in "Natural Glow"

I spoke about the Butter range here, and out of all three products the blush in Nude Glow is definitely my favourite. It's a cross between a blush and a highlighter, so if you're pressed for time you can just use this instead of using both a blush and a highlighter. It's a rosy pink and makes the cheeks look nice and healthy and glowy. What's not to like about that?

Wet N Wild PhotoFocus Foundation in "Soft beige"

I reviewed the PhotoFocus range here and currently the foundation is my favourite from the bunch. It doesn't make my skin look like a mask, but it does give good coverage. I apply it with a damp beauty sponge and I'm really liking the finish it gives. I'm honestly not sure you can do better for R100...

Dermalogica UltraCalming Duo*

I spoke about the new UltraCalming Duo here and I've been loving both products this month. I tend to use the Barrier Oil only at night: I dot a drop on each cheek, one on my chin, and one on my forehead before massaging it in. I then go in with a drop of the Calm Water Gel moisturiser and my skin is loving the combination.

The Body Shop British Rose Petal-Soft Gel Toner 

This is a bit of a strange product as it's supposed to be a toner but it has a gel consistency. It smells of roses and the scent is just incredible! I apply a bit on a cotton pad and sweep it across my skin after washing off my cleanser (morning and evening). I can feel it adds a nice boost of hydration to my skin and I find the scent to be very comforting. If it does anything more than just feel nice, I don't know, but I haven't had any breakouts because of this and I find that my skin feels soft and hydrated after using it.

Lux Soft Caress Softening Body Wash

This favourite is a cheap as chips option that I bought at Dischem's Beauty Fair. I think the special was that you can buy two of these gigantic bottles for R75. I love the fact that it has a pump - perfect to use in the shower. It also smells incredible and the shower cream is very creamy and rich, without making my skin feel greasy. That being said, my skin also doesn't feel stripped and dry when I step out of the shower as so many other cheap shower gels tend to do.

Garnier Mineral Action Control Thermic 72h Non Stop Anti-Perspirant

This is a bit of a weird favourite to add as it's very boring, but I've really enjoyed using this anti-perspirant this past month. Due to pregnancy hormones and the fact that I've been hot hot hot since end of January means that I've been sweating a lot more than usual. My normal anti-perspirant doesn't do the job anymore but I've found that this one keeps me cool and fresh for much longer. It also doesn't irritate my underarm area and so far I haven't ruined any clothing items from stains or powdery residue. The scent is also very nice and strangely enough goes well with my J.Lo Glow perfume. The J.Lo perfume is very soft and feminine with an almost powdery scent, and I find that these two products compliment each other well.

Mavala Colorfix Strong, Flexible Top Coat

I have had this top coat sitting in a drawer for quite some time, but after two botched manicures with a crappy Sally Hansen top coat, I decided to rather use the Mavala top coat. Boy was I pleasantly surprised! The brush is a bit scraggly for my liking, but the top coat is nice and thick. It's not as thick as, say, the Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat, but it's not as thin as some other top coats I've used in the past. I can't really say which is better, but personally I like a thick top coat. This top coat is said to dry down to basically an acrylic, and I definitely agree with the hardness claim. My manicures now last five to six days where they usually only lasted about two to three days.

What were your favourites for the month of March? Let me know in the comment section!

Until next time!


*PR sample