The Best Kind Of Skincare

Sunday May 18, 2014 | Skin Care

The best kind of skincare is the simplest kind of skincare. I know that.

But somehow, in preparation for THE big day, I’ve allowed my skincare routine to go all topsy turvey.

I fell into the trap of quickly switching from one product to another, hoping to find that one miraculous product that will give me perfect airbrushed glowy skin you find in stock photos. (Hint: never gonna happen.)

And you know what happened? My skin got really mad.

A Skincare Routine In Disarray

An array of skincare products

Two weeks ago, my skin broke out into angry giant cystic pimples and it felt raw and it looked dry and flaky. The exact opposite of what I wanted it to look like!

A retinol serum did that. Obviously the concentration was too much for my skin to handle. So I stopped using that ish right away.

When your skin hates a product, there is only one thing to do. Cold turkey STOP using that product.

Don’t keep going at it with ideas like, “Oh, my skin will get used to it.” or “It’s just making the bad things come up to the surface.”

Listen to your skin. It’s begging you to stop!

It took about two weeks but my skin is finally back to normal again.

Phew…

Two more weeks to go!

My Truest True Love: Rose Floral Water

Sunday May 4, 2014 | Beauty Skin Care

Simplicity In Skincare

Aroma Zone Rose Hydrolate

Nothing embodies simplicity and beauty in skincare like a pure rose floral water.

Floral water, more generally known as hydrosol, is the condensate water left over after extracting the essential oils from flowers and plants through the process of steam distillation.

The water retains the aromatic essences of the plant plus many of the hydrophilic parts of the plant that are not captured in the extraction of the essential oil.

Hydrosols carry the scent of the plant, though the fragrance is much softer and more rounded. As such, it is wonderful for aromatherapy.

It is often the first thing you will find in the ingredients list of many natural cosmetic products, though it may go under the name of essential water or water distillate.

There is a whole universe of floral and herbal waters to discover, each with their own unique properties.

But above all, my favorite is Rose Floral Water.

A Rose Is A Rose

A rose is a rose

It’s almost a cliché how much roses have come to symbolize beauty and romance.

But there is something in all of us that knows beauty when we see it.

What may not be so obvious is the many ways roses can be used.

For example, rose water can be used in cooking. Many North African recipes call for rose water. I’m thinking especially of those small rose-flavored Algerian nougats. Mmm

When it comes to skincare, rose floral water has many beautifying properties.

It has a toning, hydrating and nourishing effect on the skin.

It can soothe inflamed skin and calm allergic reactions. Because of this, rose water can be a real godsend for people with sensitive skin.

Before applying moisturizer, your skin should be slightly damp in order to enhance absorption and seal moisture. And rose water is perfect for this.

For hot days, after exposing your skin to the sun, you can take a chilled bottle of rose water and spritz it on your face. Seriously, you must try this! The sensation is incredibly refreshing and rejuvenating.

In aromatherapy, the soothing scent can help relieve anxiety. In fact, the main reason why I love rose floral water is because it smells so divine.

Of course, not all floral waters are created equal. So when looking for rose water, I recommend you look for ones that are labeled as “pure hydrosol” or “pure hydrolate.”

Many products labeled as “floral waters” may be nothing but regular water mixed with essential oils. But true hydrolates are obtained through the process of steam distillation which I described above. 

A True Hydrolate

Aroma Zone Rose Hydrolate
One of the purest rose floral waters I’ve ever come across is the Damascus Rose Pure Hydrolate by Aroma Zone.

The scent is amazingly natural. You can’t mistake it for anything else. It’s rose! In all its glorious watery essence.

The brand, Aroma Zone, is not really a brand but a specialty shop in Paris. They sell the most basic natural ingredients & equipment with which you can make your own beauty products.

Normally, it doesn’t take long for a hydrolate to lose its aromatic properties. But the quality of the roses used in this bottle (grown and picked by organic, fair trade farmers in Morocco) and the technique involved in the distilling process must have been rather superior, because it has managed to maintain its aromatic essences for months.

Also, keeping hydrolates in the fridge helps to preserve them for much longer.

Nowadays, with the proliferation of so many super complex skincare products that boast of the most cutting edge technology and the rarest plant from the remotest corners of the world…

Sometimes it’s just nice to go back to basics…

Rose floral water. Ingredient: Rose.

3 Different Micellar Water Products & A Blind Test

Tuesday February 4, 2014 | Beauty Skin Care

Many people still have no clue as to what makes micellar waters so special. But I am obsessed.

In a previous blog post, I detailed the science behind micelle molecules. It’s actually quite fascinating, so go forth and read up on The Magic Of Micellar Water.

Today, I thought it would be fun to show you 3 different micellar products that I’ve been using. And then do a comparison of them with a blind test.

These products are of the French Pharmaceutical variety. Literally, I had someone visit my favorite pharmacies in Paris and bring them back in a suitcase.

Two of them are almost impossible to find outside of France, making them très précieux to my little quivering heart.

Jonzac, Bioderma, Uriage: 3 Different Micellar Waters

From Left To Right:

1) JONZAC Rehydrate Micellar Water For Sensitive Skin
2) BIODERMA Sensibio H20 Micelle Solution For Sensitive Skin
3) URIAGE Make-Up Remover Water For Normal To Combination Sensitive Skin

Take note of how different brands have different names for them. From micellar water, to micelle solution, to make-up remover. But whatever name you call it, all micellar products essentially do the same thing: remove impurities from the skin without irritating it.

Though they are targeted for sensitive skin, they prove useful no matter your skin type.

I mainly like to use micellars as my makeup-remover. My nightly routine begins with wiping off makeup and impurities from the day with a micellar soaked cotton pad.

Yah, I know what you’re wondering… “Why not just use regular ol’ makeup-remover?”

Well, my leery friend, micellar waters are formulated to cleanse without disturbing the skin’s natural pH balance. 

Some of the best micellars that I’ve tried are made with thermal waters, which boast of soothing, anti-inflammatory properties. 

These claims are hard to substantiate, but my positive experiences with micellars makes me a staunch believer that they have special, albeit subtle, magical  properties.

Not all micellars are created equal though. And here, I will attempt to describe and show the main difference between these 3 micellar products.

JONZAC Rehydrate Micellar Water 

Jonzac Rehydrate Micellar Water

This one contains the thermal spring waters from the Jonzac region of France. It can be used daily to cleanse sensitive, dehydrated skin.

It was developed and tested with a view to minimizing allergic reactions. It’s suitable even for babies and children.

My experience: This cleanses without drying out the skin. I like to use this one in the morning. Normally, when I just wash my face with regular tap water, my skin tends to feel dry and taut several minutes later. But when I follow up with this, my skin feels comfortably balanced.

The smell is very light and fresh. It does not irritate the eyes whatsoever. In terms of quantity, you get a lot more for around the same price as the others.

Ingredients: Water*, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Water, Glycerin, Polyglyceryl-4 Caprate, Betaine, Sodium Levulinate, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Hydroxide, Glyceryl Unde ylenate, Fragrance, Lactic Acid.
* Jonzac Thermal Spring Water
** ingredients sourced from plants
** ingredients sourced from organic farming
Natural and organic cosmetic certified by ECOCERT. 

BIODERMA Sensibio H20

Bioderma Micellar Water

Bioderma’s Crealine Micellar Water is THE cult beauty staple among top makeup artists around the world.

The Sensibio is an even gentler version of the Crealine (though I never even thought that was necessary). Obviously this is for people with SUPER sensitive and reactive skin.

My Experience: The scent, which can be best described as “clinical,” is very light and subtle. It’s non-irritating to my rather sensitive eyes.

After cleansing, my skin feels comfortable, retains its natural balance and does not feel dry or tight.

Ingredients: Water, PED-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Cucumis Satifus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Mannitol, Xylitol, Rhamnose, Fructooligosaccharides, Propylene Glycol, Disodium EDTA, Cetrimonium Bromide

URIAGE Makeup Remover Water

Uriage Micellar Water

Uriage micellar water is made with the thermal water from the Uriage Springs near the foot of the French Alps.

Thermal waters are naturally rich in minerals and trace elements, which enhance the skin’s ability to repair itself.

My Experience: I love the light, floral scent. For whatever reason, this one feels slightly cooler (and therefore quite soothing) on the skin.

As with the other micellars, my skin feels comfortable and retains its natural balance. It also effectively removes stubborn eye-makeup without causing irritation.

This was the first micellar water I’d ever tried.  I actually got it for a beauty swap, but ended up keeping it and using it. The beginning of a beautiful love story!

Ingrdients: Water, Uriage Thermal Spring Water, Polysorbate 20, Butylene Glycol, PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Cetrimoniom Bromide, PED-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Polyaminopropyl Biguanide, Fragrance, Citric Acid, Glycerin, Punica Granatum Fruit Extract

THE MAKEUP “LIFT” FACTOR: A BLIND TEST

Ok. You could say that these 3 micellar products are hardly different from each other. They all work pretty much the same way.

They do, however, differ in one significant aspect: their ability to “lift” or remove makeup.

To show you what I mean, let’s do a blind test!

I will show you three images.

In each image, a different micellar product was used to remove make up.

I used four cotton pads, starting with the one on the left and ending with the one on the right.

Product A, Micellar Water Blind Test

Product B, Micellar Water Blind Test

Product C, Micellar Water Blind Test

For the above images, I tried my best to apply the same types and amount of makeup. But since these photos were taken weeks apart, it may have happened that I put on a little more mascara during one trial (ahem, as was obviously the case with Product B).

The most important thing is to look at how much makeup was removed with the first cotton pad and compare that to how much makeup was left on the last (4th) cotton pad.

Based on this criteria, I think we can all agree that Product C comes out the worst.

But when it comes to telling which product comes out on top, Product A or Product B, things are a little less clear.

The trickiness comes from the amount of black mascara on Product B’s first cotton pad, which makes the difference between the 1st and the 4th cotton look more dramatic than it actually is.

So to level the playing field, let’s make the 1st cotton pads disappear…

Micellar Water Blind Test

Micellar Water Blind Test

Now let’s compare Product A’s cotton pad 2 with its cotton pad 4. Then compare Product B’s cotton pad 2 with its cotton pad 4.

What do you think?

I think the difference is much more evident, making Product A officially the best at removing makeup!

Actually, from experience, I know Product A is the winner.

But if you think I’m being biased, there is another blogger I know who actually participated in a real blind trial. Her conclusion and that of 99 other bloggers matches mine.

And just for fun, I’m not going to reveal to you which one is Product A. Bwahaha!

If you are burning with curiosity, then go read The Micellar Blind Trial via Jo’s blog Patent Purple Life.

You’ll see, the winner is none other than Product A.

In Conclusion

Micellar waters are great for:

- Removing makeup
- Washing your face without having to wash your face (great for cleaning your face in the middle of the day)
- Keeping your skin’s natural balance
- Cleansing eye-makeup without any irritation

On very rare occasions, when I am just too tired at night,  I sometimes very quickly cleanse my face with micellar soaked cotton pads.

It’s the only way I would ever, EVER allow myself to go to sleep without first washing my face.

 

p.s. To help you narrow down which one is which, Product C is the Jonzac Rehydrate Micellar Water (womp, womp…)