Skin Care Update, Fall/Winter 2019

I have another beauty review in the works, so I thought I should write a current skin care update with my baseline favorite products right now. Of course, my skin had gone through some serious changes over the last two years, with my pregnancy and postpartum, and I’ve also made some choices in my personal consumption habits that have affected my skin care. The last time I wrote about my regular skin care routine, it was in the context of how I’ve had to change my habits as I balance parenting responsibilities and self-care. Before that, I wrote about my pregnancy skin care over a year ago.

Of course, nothing is constant in parenting, and I eventually had to change up my routine again because Elliot’s sleeping patterns changed. I could no longer count on any longer chunks of sleep at night, so I decided that getting to bed as soon as I could was more important than facial massage. I still have roughly the same routine of cleanse, hydrate, and nourish, but I’ve discovered some new favorite products.

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Last time I wrote, I had discovered the Voltaire and Chatelet oils from The Library Apothecary. Well, since then, I’ve fully become a Library girl (it’s like a Glossier girl, but with less pink and more amber glass). I’ve started using Mara’s Rose Oil at night after cleansing and hydrating, and following it with her Elder Balm, which is a wonderfully fragrant experience that also happens to both nourish and calm my skin. I even add a little dab in the mornings under my mineral sunscreen to prevent it from becoming too matte. If she came out with a cleanser and a hydrating serum, pretty much all of my routine would come from her, minus actives and sunscreen. And I promise this isn’t sponsored — The Library Apothecary is a one-person operation and I’m pretty sure she doesn’t exactly have an advertising budget.

The other major development is that I am no longer using Glossier Milky Jelly. In my efforts to create a more sustainable skin care routine, I decided to try the Trilogy Cream Cleanser, as it is packaged in a glass pump bottle, rather than plastic. It has a skin-friendly pH and doesn’t foam, and I’ve found it a reasonable swap for my skin. It is scented with essential oils, but I find the aroma strangely appealing now that I’ve been using it for a while, and it doesn’t irritate my eyes, which is why I had previous had to stop using every other cleanser I tried besides the Glossier. Do I wish it were unscented? Yes. Am I willing to try the unscented version that uses an oil that my skin has disliked in the past and is more expensive and hasn’t been explicitly pH tested by a blogger I trust? No.

I’ve also switched to a very bare-bones hydrating serum from Timeless Skin Care, as well as using their pure squalane oil for my first cleanse (I’m using it up after buying a giant pump bottle for Elliot’s cradle cap, which went away after one treatment). I apply three pumps of squalane to dry skin and massage to break up sunscreen and lipstick. Then I remove it with a flannel soaked in warm water and follow with the Trilogy cleanser. Three times a week, I use my Bell-Evolve Lac-Luronic serum (I’ve also been using it as a deodorant — thanks, Tracy!), and then apply hyaluronic acid and Rose Oil, followed with a pea-sized amount of the Elder Balm. I use a tiny silver vintage spoon that my mother gave me as part of a set to use with my vintage Brambly Hedge teaset, but since Elliot is still a few years away from enjoying tea time with the good china, I don’t think he’ll mind if I borrow this little choking hazard to scoop my fancy skin balm. I’ve been told that it’s a “dupe” for the May Lindstrom Blue Cocoon, despite clearly being superior because it’s purple and also doesn’t contain the one ingredient that always causes me to break out.

In the morning, I cleanse with a half a pump of the Trilogy cleanser, and then apply some vitamin C serum. I’m currently using Mad Hippie‘s because I can buy it locally. After that, I hydrate and apply one pump of Chatelet oil, followed with a lentil-sized amount of Elder Balm if it’s a dry day. Then I apply my sunscreen, which is currently the Marie Veronique Everyday Coverage in Extra Light Tint, which isn’t my favorite, but it ticks the boxes I need for now, but it’s oddly gritty, so I’m still looking. Unfortunately, every time I try to return to an organic sun filter, my skin freaks out, so I’m sticking with inorganic right now. I have a new one on the way, though.

I’ve actually stopped wearing pretty much any other makeup other than tinted sunscreen and lipstick, unless I’m doing photos or a video, so my routine is quite minimal indeed. And my biggest sustainability habit has been to stop buying sheet masks. I still have a few left in my mask drawer, but for the most part, the only mask I do is a weekly clay mask that I mix myself from bulk purchased green clay mixed with matcha. And my regular daily routines seem to provide enough hydration so that I don’t need anything else.

So it is from this baseline that I will be testing some new products. Right now my skin is the calmest and clearest it’s been in my adult memory, so I’m hesitant to shake things up, but I do have a few review products that I’ve been sent, so stay tuned for that.

NB: All products were purchased with my own money and I was not given any incentive to feature them here. All thoughts are my own. None of the links are affiliate.

Beauty Review: Moonlit Skincare Midnight Shift Facial Oil

So I have a bit of a backlog of beauty products that I’ve tested and thought I’d make this week a bit of a Beauty Week on the blog. Come back later this week for more beauty reviews!

NB: I purchased this product with my own money and have been provided no incentive to affect my review. All opinions are my own. All links are non-affiliate links.

I mentioned this oil in my recent round-up of skincare things I’ve been loving, but I thought it merited a deeper review. I first saw Moonlit Skincare on Instagram and loved their peaceful photo aesthetic, but was a bit concerned about the ingredients in their star product, the Midnight Shift Facial Oil. I’m very wary about olive oil in products because it’s caused breakouts for me in the past. But I was in the market for a new facial oil after realizing that I prefer facial oil to watery serums after my hydrating toner, and wanting to find something a bit less dear to use when my Herbivore Phoenix Oil runs out. So I went conservative and bought the 14-day trial kit.

This kit comes with two 5-ml vials of the facial oil. Each one is supposed to last a week, but I got two full weeks’ worth of use out of one vial, and was so hooked that I decided to save my second vial for an upcoming trip and go ahead and buy a full-sized bottle. I used the oil as directed, dispensing about a dime-sized amount into the palm of my hand, spreading it quickly over my palms, and pressing it into my skin after using my watery hydrating products at night. I sometimes tent my hands over my nose and just inhale the beautiful, relaxing scent. It smells a bit like lavender Earl Grey tea, which you know I love. The oil absorbs fairly quickly, but still provides enough slip for a little jade rolling after application.

Since it’s been so humid, I find that this oil is all I need for a last step to seal in hydration and moisturize my skin at night, but if I need a bit more oomph, I will follow it with a cream. I find the scent fades quickly once I’ve put it on my skin, so I don’t know how much the aromatherapy helps me fall asleep, but the ritual of applying it is relaxing and helps me unwind.

All in all, this is a beautiful facial oil, at a fantastic price for a blended oil, with a lovely scent. I’ve already repurchased it since my first purchase, and will continue doing so in the future!

Beauty Review: Herbivore Phoenix Regenerating Facial Oil

…or “Several Hundred Words about a Completely Frivolous and yet Marvelous Skin Care Purchase.”

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Hello, lovelies! It’s Monday and I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to talk about this beautiful facial oil, which I love. But I would like to start out this review by admitting that this was a completely frivolous purchase and even though I love it, I will probably not be repurchasing it, as I have a new skin care love (which will get its own review possibly next week). Also, as this isn’t a beauty blog, per se, this will not be a terribly useful review of the product as an anti-aging product.

So. This oil. Look at it. It’s just so beautiful, from the color to the simple-yet-elegant packaging, to the whole experience. I have to say, my favorite thing about it is the scent. It smells absolutely gorgeous. Like a garden boudoir full of flowers, which is absurd because a garden boudoir would not be very private, now would it? Perhaps if you had very tall fences…

But I digress. I bought this facial oil while in the market for something a bit fancier than my standard rose hip seed oil. Something with a bit of scent to it, but without artificial fragrance. Something with a blend of oils. And, because I am a bit silly, something in a beautiful bottle that would grace the top of my vanity with its loveliness.

I had a Sephora account and an embarrassing level of spending in 2016 already, so this was one of the things I bought to push me over the edge once more into premium membership territory. My spending will have to calm down eventually, but last December was not that time. And I did buy my mother Estee Lauder for Christmas, so I’m not entirely selfish.

Anyway, the label appeal of this oil is the blend of exotic oils, including my beloved rose hip oil, with very, very little in the way of filler (the closest to a “filler oil” would be the jojoba that is second on the ingredient list), plus CoQ10 (a rather expensive antioxidant) and some floral essential oils. The scent is a blend of rose and neroli oils, which lends it that sexy floral experience. And because the oils are mostly high-linoleic oils, they absorb quickly and are less likely to exacerbate any breakouts I might be dealing with.

I have to say, I find the experience of this oil lovely. My preferred way of using it was to apply 6-8 drops in the palm of my hand, warm it briefly, and then press and massage it into my skin before applying my night cream. It doesn’t lend itself much to massage, as it does absorb very, very quickly, but it is just a lovely texture. And I did notice that I had a much more pronounced “glow” the next morning after using this than from rose hip oil alone.

My other favorite use for this (and likely the continuing use, as I’ve replaced it in my evening routine) is to apply it before taking the train downtown for my early-morning barre class. Before barre, I like to wash my face, apply vitamin C serum, but then I don’t use sunscreen, as it is still dark outside until after I’ve left the gym. So I apply 3-5 drops to steel my face against the cold. Plus, I tend to tent my hands over my nose before applying it to inhale the beautiful fragrance.

And I suppose that is all that can reasonably be said about this oil. It is lovely, but if you’re not in the market for a splurge, there are other ways to get your oily glow on. But if you are in the market, it is a lovely floral experience.

NB: I purchased this with my own funds and was not provided any incentive to review it, favorably or otherwise.

A Beautiful Floral Facial Oil

One of my favorite DIY blogs is Marie Rayma’s blog Humblebee & Me. She has a beautiful approach to DIY, creating products for herself and her friends for the joy of it, and never selling. Because she does not sell, she can also go into discussions of the healing benefits of certain products, and she tends to provide recipes that make a reasonable amount of product (for example, five tubes of lip balm instead of fifty).

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She recently posted a recipe for a facial oil serum based on mixing her favorite, argan oil, with evening primrose oil to help heal and prevent hormonal acne. Now, I’d looked at evening primrose oil for that same reason, although I don’t use argan oil. I decided to try blending it with my preferred oil: rose hip. I finally got my order of fresh rose hip oil and a bottle of evening primrose from Mountain Rose Herbs and have been using my oil blend of fifty-fifty rose hip to evening primrose for a few weeks now. It is a heavier oil than rose hip alone and took some getting used to. It also has a bit of a deep-fryer scent to it.

To remedy that, I decided to add some skin-regenerating essential oils, inspired by True Nature Botanicals Face Oil. Now, I love the scent of their oil, but the particular blend skews higher in oleic acid than I like. The oil itself is quite dear, but the ingredients are not a whole lot cheaper than the finished oil itself. That said, the formula is not what I would consider ideal. So I found an Etsy seller who would sell me small amounts of precious floral oils.

I blended 1/16th of an ounce each of jasmine, rose, vetiver, and neroli essential oils, along with ten drops of frankincense essential oil into my bottle of rose hip oil, which had about 3.5 oz. left in it. This I mixed well, and then blended half and half with evening primrose oil. It works out to about a 3% dilution of the essential oils. It has a light fragrance and just covers the oily scent of the oils itself, plus the essential oils are known for being good for healing skin and helping it retain moisture.

I’ve been using the oil for the last several days in the evening, and it is a lovely experience for all my senses, I think having a lovely-smelling facial oil prompts me to take a bit more time massaging my face in the evenings. And I don’t smell quite so much like a fast food restaurant when I go to bed!