Saturday, January 30, 2010

Tips for acne-prone and oily skin

Acne-prone/oily is precisely the type of skin I have and have struggled with since my teenage years. It's one of the most demanding skin types and so I thought I could share some tips how to take care of it so that it doesn't ruin your self-esteem and make-up.

I'm not claiming this is something revolutionary nor that it will work for everyone, but I've found these quite helpful in dealing with my skin and worth trying.

Skincare: 3 steps
Cleansing, exfoliating and moisturizing are as crucial in catering to oily skin's needs as to any other skin type. In my experience, it's important not to use too many products containing salicylic acid or other drying ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide, another common acne medication. For example, right now I'm using La Roche-Posay Effaclar K for oily skin which contains salicylic acid as a night and topical treatment, but I'm keeping the rest of my skincare acid-free and gentle. In the past, I found that using many drying products caused my skin to become flaky and dehydrated, which in turn led to my organism trying to counteract the dryness by producing even more sebum; it's simply a vicious cycle.

My product recommendations:
I'm currently using up my Johnson&Johnson Head-to-Toe baby wash which I blogged about here and I still think it's a great quality product worth checking out. Next I'm going to try The Body Shop Seaweed Deep Cleansing Facial Wash for Combination/Oily skin, which many bloggers recommended as a great everyday cleanser.

After I wash my face I follow with Garnier toner for sensitive skin. In the past I also tried some micellar waters and would definitely recommend Bioderma Sensibio which removes even the toughest black mascara or eyeliner that the wash didn't manage to break down.

Acne-prone and oily skin requires exfoliating a little bit more often than other skintypes. I usually exfoliate every 3 days using my trusted muslin clothes I got from The Body Shop. They're gentle enough to be used more often but still very effective. Sometimes, if I feel I need a deeper scrub, I use my St. Ives Apricot Scrub.

As for the treatment, I'd say just go for something that has the active ingredient that works for you (in my case, I prefer salicylic acid over benzoyl peroxide), they all work very similar in my experience regardless of the price tag.

Don't forget to moisturize, most oily skin types are also dehydrated at the same time. The key here is to get an oil-free moisturizer that quickly absorbs into the skin or even better has a mattyfing effect. Right now, I'm testing one mystery product that works wonders so far, but I'll let you know once I finish the trial period.

I guess you're sick of hearing about it, but drinking water really is crucial to a healthy skin. In fact, it doesn't have to be only water, as long as your drink doesn't have dehydrating properties, as any caffeinated drink has (tea, green tea, coffee) or any alcoholic beverage. It also doesn't mean you can't drink the above mentioned, just make sure to compensate by drinking something more hydrating. My favorite beverage for winter has to be raspberry herbal tea for its warming properties and wonderful smell.

Another thing worth mentioning is a healthy balanced diet. Eating too much simple carbohydrates as in white bread or chocolate can have a devastating effect on your skin by enhancing bacterial activity. Also, acne-prone and oily skins can benefit from taking diet supplements containing zinc, which is responsible for regulating hormones in your body. I'd recommend trying natural sources of zinc such as yeast supplements; the one I'm taking right now is additionaly enriched with vitamin E for glowing complexion as well as pansy extract which is known for its puryfing properties.

I honestly believe acne is a psychosomatic condition, meaning that it affects both body and mind. Self-esteem usually suffers a lot in those who cope with skin blemishes. After many years of trying to get my skin under control, I found that what helps me the most is realizing that it's ok not to be perfect all the time. Everybody has better and worse skin days; the other day I was watching Gossip Girl and noticed that even Leighton Meester (Blair) suffers from an occasional spot or two, which in no way makes her less glamorous. Moreover, only us, suffering from acne, pay such an obsessive attention to flawless skin! I'm sure most people don't even notice the blemish that drives us crazy; they focus on eyes or lips or beautiful hair instead. Never let your skin make you think less of yourself; in Polish, when we want to say something is totally insignificant, we say it's a blemish. Well, because in a bigger perspective, it is insignificant after all!

Hope that helped some of you and let me know your best tips in the comments. Have an amazing Sunday evening everyone! xxx

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Etsy finds

As you may remember, I really got into Etsy some time ago because of all the amazing objects and crafty ideas one can discover there. After browsing through hundreds of listings, I decided to purchase some jewellery.

The first thing that really caught my attention was this silver tree necklace from Melissa at lakeshorecreations4u. I think she called it 'Snow Covered Branches' but I feel it would be appropriate for both winter and summertime, because it also reminds me of the Scandinavian 'Tree of Life' myth. I love it, the only thing that could be improved is the chain, as its shade of silver doesn't exactly match the color of the pendant.

Then I started browsing the 'Beads' category and was thrilled to see that many stores had the lapis lazuli strands I'd wanted forever but never got because of the price. I found this seller's prices very reasonable and also got a full strand of coffee volcanic rock beads. Of course they're not complete necklaces yet, but I just need to buy some clasps and voila!

Isn't this color simply gorgeous?

I love the texture of those beads! My dad said they remind him of dried fruit and I can certainly see why :)

Have you ever bought anything from Etsy stores or do you have an eye on something special? I'm planning more purchases there in the future, so please share your recommendations! xxx

Monday, January 25, 2010

Canada Haul and Project 5 Pan

I think it might have slipped somewhere in the last post that I hauled some goodies from Canada; well, of course, apart from MAC and Lush stuff I've already blogged about, I guess nobody would've expected me to stop only at that... Anyhow, I thought I'd share, because it was all 'responsible' make-up shopping this time and so far I'm really liking everything I got.

Enough babbling, on to the good stuff!

I caved in and got myself Revlon Colorstay liquid foundation for Oily/Combination skin in the shade Ivory. I had a lot of trouble choosing a shade as there were no testers in the drugstore, but eventually went for the lightest, Ivory, which is spot on! I'll be testing it some more in the following weeks and let you know my final verdict then, but so far we're getting on pretty well.

Then I bought Benefit Hoola bronzer and MAC Viva Glam IV Frost lipstick as treats to myself: the bronzer for not going over my budget and the lipstick at the airport in Toronto on my way back to Poland, when my connection turned out to be delayed for 4 hours on top of 2 hours that I already had to wait. Pfff! Anyhow, they fulfill their role as perk-me-ups brilliantly, both great products that I reach for almost every day now.

Then we have Annabelle eyeshadow in Divine Diva, a shimmery purple with good pay-off and consistency, Annabelle Smudgeliner in Rich Chocolate, a creamy, long lasting, dark brown eyeliner pencil which received a lot of praise from Michelle at Lipstick Rules and believe me, this lady knows her Canadian make-up brands, and last but not least, Gosh Velvet Touch waterproof eyeliner in the shade Black Ink, also highly ranked by the beauty blogging world and I can honestly attest that it deserves all the attention. I also got Covergirl Lashblast waterproof mascara for obvious reasons, but forgot to include it in the photo.

As you can see, these products are all great staples and I'm really glad I got them as they're unavailable here in Poland. I'd been thinking about buying some of them as backups to the products I'm running low on, but since those new ones are so much better than the ones I'm using, I decided I need some extra motivation to wait until I use up the old ones up. So... I'm joining Project 5 Pan! I know 10 pan is absolutely unrealistic in my situation, I wanted something I could actually achieve :) Thanks to Tali at The Gloss Goss for inspiration to jump in!

I already have a couple products nearing their make-up drawer life, like this Coastal Scents Eye Poxy eyeshadow primer which I very passionately despise of right now for its rubbish texture and little staying power, and this Miss Sporty Mini Me eyeliner in Grizzly (that's ridiculous name for a shade), which is a medium brown. The latter is actually not a bad product, I especially like it as a base or for a very smudgy look, however it's not very long lasting. I have fantastic backups for both, so wish me luck in sticking to these products!

Have you ever joined Project 10/5 Pan or are you planning to in the future? Let me know about your experience! xxx

Friday, January 22, 2010

Products I'm Using Right Now!

A little late on the bandwagon, but you'll have to bear with silly ol' me...

Shampoo: Syoss Volume for fine hair. For the price, I really can't complain; it doesn't exactly add a whole lot of volume to my hair, but at least it doesn't weight it down.

Conditioner: L'Oreal Professionnel Volume. I blogged about the range here, the conditioner is still going strong after these 5 months - quite amazing, isn't it?

Styling products: Nivea Volume Boost root spray and L'Oreal Elnett hairspray.

Shower gel: The Body Shop Wild Cherry shower gel or Lush A Ring of Roses buttercream. I didn't like this Wild Cherry smell when I first had a whiff in the bottle, but I persevered since it was given to me in a set for Christmas by the in-laws, and actually it's a very nice scent on the skin, not at all fake cherry lollipop, but more like sweet cherry fruit, which reminds me of summer.

Body moisturizer: Lush Mange Tout massage bar or The Body Shop Wild Cherry body butter. Can you see a pattern forming here? Both great products for seriously dehydrated, winter skin.

Deodorant: Soraya roll-on.

Fake tan: Not even a smidge.

Foundation: Coastal Scents mineral make-up or Revlon Colorstay liquid foundation in Ivory. I'm seriously fed up with that Coastal Scents foundation, but promised myself to use it all up; and as for Colorstay, I promise a proper review after I have tried it some more!

Powder: MAC Blot Powder in Medium Dark.

Concealer: MAC Studio Finish concealer in NW20.

Blush: NYX Angel blusher. Very subtle color with satin finish, looks super natural on my pinkish skin.

Bronzer: Benefit Hoola. I hauled this little beauty in Canada; wait, I haven't posted my haul yet, have I?

Highlighter: I usually skip this step in my make-up routine due to my natural oiliness, but if I do use some, it's NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Cottage Cheese (gross name, great product).

Eyeshadows: Covergirl Tapestry Taupe on the lid, MAC Satin Taupe along the lashline and a matte black from Sleek Storm palette to accentuate the lashline and outer corner even more.

Mascara: Max Factor 2000 Calories with a curved brush. Not my favorite.

Lipstick: MAC Viva Glam IV.

Lipgloss: I don't use any at the moment, but if I want to go for a glossier lip, I dab some Sleek Pout Polish in Plum on.

Nail Color: Barry M Vivid Purple.

Please share the products you're using in the comments and have a cozy weekend, gorgeous; it'll be up to -30 Celsius at night in Poland! xxx

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Voyages canadiennes

Wondering what I was up to when I wasn't posting?

Me and hubs went for a goodbye trip to the east of Canada. I'm saying 'goodbye' here because in fact we are no longer Vancouverites; as some of you know, I've had to go back to Warsaw to study, and hubs, after a day of frantic packing, has just moved to the Seattle area. We will miss Canada a lot and make sure to visit often - fortunately, Seattle is only some 3 hours drive away from Van City!

Anyway, about the trip... Our first stop was Toronto and Niagara Falls, and then we headed to Quebec City to see Le Vieux Quebec and Hotel de Glace (Ice Hotel) nearby. It was freezing cold the whole week, but it was worth it! See for yourselves.

Look at the steam! It looks like factory fumes to me...

Surprisingly, ice cream vending machines were not in great demand...

Not sure what I was thinking here...

Ice Hotel! Somehow an idea of sleeping on a bed of ice didn't seem very appealing?

But the bar was cool!

In Quebec, a high collar is definitely a must.

Not so happy about the temperature (-17 Celsius, to be precise).

I think the Christmas decorations in the Old Town were the most beautiful I've ever seen!

Where's Rocaille?

It was a great way to say farewell to Canada! xxx

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My weekend has mainly been spent...

(stolen from the oh-so-fabulous Loveaudrey)

Photo source:

- crying my eyes out at the airport saying goodbye to hubs and Vancouver
- crying some more watching "Love Happens" on the plane
- perousing the MAC counter in a duty-free when having to wait 6 hours for my delayed connection in Toronto
- treating myself to mum-made food
- memorizing economy-related English glossary and different French glossaries for tests this week
- trying to be good to my skin in an attempt to clear it a bit
- fighting jet lag and, as a result, always falling asleep in my suburban bus
- testing Revlon Colorstay foundation
- trying to be optimistic despite all the winter slush
- feeling sorry for not posting as often as I'd like

Have a fantastic and sunshiney week, lovelies! xxx

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Robson Street haulage

For those of you who have never visited Vancouver, Robson Street is a main shopping destination for both Vancouverites and tourists. Apart from lots of different stores, you can also find little cafes, sushi bars, restaurants, ice cream parlors and what not; it'd be my favorite shopping spot if not for the crowds!

Alors, when I planned a little shopping trip, this is where my instinct of a beauty addict led me...

First stop: MAC Pro store at Robson & Howe. I've been meaning to get a couple more of neutral eyeshadows for my palette for months now, and initially my little list included Patina and Trax, but when I saw Trax in person and swatched it on my hand, there was little color but lots of gold shimmers, so I decided to skip, but Patina was definitely a keeper! My husband, who went with me, made faces at those 'boring neutrals', so together we chose Deep Truth, which is the most gorgeous navy blue with a Frost finish. I'm planning on wearing it either smudged along the lashline or for more dramatic smokey or cat eye look.

(L-R: Embark, Deep Truth, Patina)

Then, on a MUA's advice, I got Romp, though when I came back home it looked very similar to a coppery Inglot eyeshadow I had, so I exchanged it for Embark, a very dark chocolate brown with a Matte finish. I'm wearing it today with Patina on the lid and I'm so glad I got it, it's a great crease shade, warm but not too reddish.

Second stop: Lush. After reading about Lush Boxing Week sales on some blogs I definitely wanted to check out what they had on offer in the Robson store. I really wanted to get Honey I Washed the Kids solid perfume, and then I took advantage of the 3 for 1 Holiday products sale and got Let Them Eat Cake vegan lip balm, Snow Fairy solid perfume (I grabbed the last one!) and Candy Cane bubble bar.

I have to say I was a bit hesitant about the smell of this lip balm - to me and hubs it smells kinda like toffee, but the girl at Lush told me it was a Christmas cake scent (well, how would I know, to me a Christmas cake would be either a poppy seed roll or gingerbread) with a strong dose of butterscotch. Either way, it really grew on me and I love putting it on, plus the smell really lingers on your lips, I can still feel it after 1 hour from application! The consistency is of a grainy cream which melts under your fingers and feels very soft and moisturizing on the lips. Definitely thumbs up for this product!

Solid perfumes are both amazing, yummy scents, I already have the soaps from the respective lines. Plus, I like the idea of applying them together with your favorite perfume to create more unique, individual scents. I love keeping one in my purse to reapply during the day; dabbing a little at the wrists has become another of my personal pleasures.

My total at Lush came to something like 17 CAD, so that was definitely a good deal. I'm very happy with everything I got and I think for now I have satisfied my MAC and Lush cravings :)
Have you got anything at Boxing Week sales? xxx

Sunday, January 3, 2010

2009 Best Beauty Buys

Hello lovelies! Excuses for being a bit late with it, but I hope you all had amazing time on your New Year's Eve parties (we hosted a tiny house party, which is apparently what most Canadians are up to on Dec 31), and let me wish you a very Happy New Year!

Now that I managed to gather my thoughts a bit after the holidays, I thought of posting sort of a make-up and skincare summary of 2009, just because I love reading other bloggers' lists of favorites. Last year was when I really got into make-up and got to try different products, so I'd like to share with you the things that have been rocking my world ever since I discovered them.

1. MAC Studio Finish Concealer with SPF 35

Great concealer for covering any skin blemishes. I use it on the under eye area as well and it requires quite a good deal of blending in with warm fingers for it to look natural. I got color-matched at MAC for NW20, and while under my eyes it is a perfect, peachy shade, I think for concealing redness I should try one shade down.

2. Lush Massage Bars

These amazingly scented bars of organic goodness keep my skin soft and moisturized. I use my current one, Mange Tout, which smells of honey and white chocolate, every couple of days after bath, and the smell helps me to unwind and lingers on the skin until the next morning. However, if you like moisturizers that sink into the skin right away, these might not be the best product for you, as they leave a bit of an oily residue - which also gives your limb a lovely glow, but it's just a matter of personal preference.

3. Covergirl Lash Blast mascara

Well, not much to say here, it's a classic. Also, one tube should last you a pretty decent amount of time, this mascara doesn't clump even after 3 months of everyday use.

4. Benefit Creaseless Cream Eyeshadow/Liner in Skinny Jeans

I think this is a single eyeshadow shade that my mom noticed and complimented, which, believe me, definitely says something about the product. It's a beautiful shimmery greyish taupe color that can be used both for daytime and more dramatic looks. On my extremely oily eyelids, without any additional base, it does crease a bit in the socket, but I think on most people it must be a very long lasting eyeshadow.

5. Prestige Total Intensity Eyeliners

(Depicted shades: Navy Blue and Powerful Purple)

I know, I know, I'm not being very innovative here, but what can I say? These are great, unexpensive liners with a wide color range to suit anyone's needs. Well, would it be too much to ask for those in a non-shimmery version as well?

6. Sleek Storm Palette

Since I got mine in a swap a couple of months back, I must have used it every other day for neutral, glowy eye looks. A staple.

7. Barry M Nail Paints

(Depicted shades: Vivid Purple and Raspberry, both sent to me in a swap by the lovely Loveaudrey!)

Again, amazing, cheap polishes in many different colors and finishes. If only Barry M was available outside UK...

8. Mac Blot Powder

If your face starts looking like a mirror in no time, it's a great product to throw in your purse and use throughout the day. It adds no color to your face, just keeps shine at bay without looking unnatural or cakey. It comes with a powder sponge, but I just use a small face brush to sweep it on my T area, and a little goes a long way! I just bought one for my cousin the other day and I'm sure she'll like it.

9. Softlips lip balm

Great lip balm with SPF 20 to use as a base under your lipstick - not too dry and not too slippery. It comes in a sleek, long tube and many different flavours, like Vanilla, Raspberry or Melon, and gives a bit of a tingly sensation when applied, which I quite like actually.

10. NYX Round Lipsticks

(Depicted shade: Tea Rose)

Cheap as borsch, as would a Pole say, these lipsticks have beautiful colors and different finishes. Of course, they don't last as long on your lips as a MAC lipstick would nor do they have a similarly nice smell, but if you'd like to experiment a bit with some more unique shades, they're a perfect choice. Just remember to do some swatch research before you buy online, as the swatches available on the websites of the most popular retailers can be very misleading.

I hope you enjoyed my little list and have a great evening everyone! Let me know in the comments which products made it to the top of your beauty lists in 2009. xxx