Saturday, June 16, 2012

Facial Skincare Products Loved, Liked and Hated

Alhamdulillah I'm 29 now and I've been trying to take care of my skin properly since I was about 25.  I have a lot of freckles and my skin can start to look quite dull if I don't take care of it properly.
I'm blessed in that I've never really suffered from big bags under my eyes though I do have small tiny one, but sometimes I do look a little puffy.

I've noticed that if I leave my skin alone for a few weeks and get into a bad routine where I don't take care of it, I get a lot of fine lines around the corners of my eyes and sides of my mouth, and end up  looking seriously tired, drained and dull, and older than my years.  Also my skin can get very dry  around my forehead and on my cheeks,  to the point where my make up starts to look clogged and/or flaky. In contrast to that I have an oily chin and there's usually where I get spots, if any. Alhamdulillah I've never been bothered too much by spots, generally getting one or two max a month in this area.

If I'm being a good girl and doing my absolute best then generally I will use as part of my skincare routine:
  • An Exfoliator
  • A Face SPF cream
  • An Eye Cream
  • A Day Moisturizer
  • A Cleanser
  • A Night Cream

Sometimes I'm naughty and get lazy and don't use all or any of them as regularly as I should so from time to time, so if my skin gets into a very bad state and I feel I can't turn it around fast enough, I'll go get a facial treatment at a beauty salon. (yes I love spoiling myself with these, at least 2-3 times a year!)

So here is my review of some products I've tried in the past, and what I'm using in the present.


St. Ives Apricot Scrub: LIKE
Feel:A very thick grainy exfoliator, with very large particles. My skin comes out looking sheeny shiny squeaky clean after using this so originally I was very happy,  but using it more than twice a month I felt was too abrasive and made my skin dry, so I stopped using this because I felt it was a waste of money (though in fairness it is cheap about 7 euros).
Smell: The smell is nice and fruity so it is quite enjoyable to use from that perspective.
Overall: Probably better for oily skins that need regular exfoliation.

Dermalogica Microfoliant: LOVE!

Feel: Weirdly when I first used this, I felt very disappointed. That's because I like creamy, lathery products that foam up. This is a powder based product, so you shake out just a little bit of white powder onto wet palms. The ingredients react with water so rub your palms together and the result is a watery, powdery, barely there lather.  On your face it feels watery, not creamy and the powder particles are tiny so it's not abrasive at all, which is why it is a daily exfoliant. However, after you've washed it off, your skin is beautifully soft.

Smell: It's a got a very natural, almost starchy smell, as it's main ingredient is rice enzymes.

Overall: I discovered this in a salon, and while it is pricey, it is definitely worth it. I feel because my skin is dry, it removes dead skin easily, and the therapist advised me to use more water and less powder to help reduce visible pores. This definitely worked. After a week of using this, you will understand how often you need to use it: for me 3-4 times a week is perfect. This bottle is very big so it lasts upwards of a year, I think that's great value for the 50 euros I spent on it anyway -I'm sure you can get it cheaper online.

Face SPF cream:

For a long time I've read beauty editors saying that they would always use an SPF cream. Living in Ireland is a rain-fest; we hardly ever see the sun here. Apart from that, I work full time in an office so I don't spend much time outdoors except on the weekends. So for years I've felt that an SPF cream would be a waste of time and needless expense. Also, many moisturizers have an SPF of about 15 in them, so I thought what the heck, that should be enough. However a therapist told me, the SPF in moisturizers don't really work, because it's too low an SPF. If they make it higher, like SPF 50, the chemicals interfere with the moisturizing properties.  Because I have freckles that always darken in the summer, I started to wonder this year if I should start using a specific cream to help with pigmentation issues.

So this is the SPF cream I have started to use (although mine is SPF 30), and I love it!!

Lancome Genifique Soleil: Love!
Feel: I had reservations that this might be sticky, and sticky is a big no-no for me. While it is creamy it is extremely light and feels gorgeous. It absorbs in really quickly which I love because I put on my eye cream and moisturizer after and I have this weird thing about mixing them all together on my skin, so I wait for each one to absorb before the next and in the morning rush before work, I need that to be fast.

Smell: It's lightly fragranced and does smell a small bit like the sun cream you use on your body.

Overall: I haven't yet used this product long enough to see how it really affects the pigmentation in my skin, but there is another very good reason why it deserves my love: It leaves my skin feeling beautifully soft and has seriously reduced the visibility of my pores. This is a huge plus for me, as I've spent a long time looking for something to achieve this! It also leaves my skin very bright and fresh looking. It cost me 26 euros which is a little pricey I think, but I'm happy with the investment. Also we have had a couple of days of sun here recently, (surprisingly) and I didn't go pink in the face which can only be good!

Aveeno Continuous Protection Sunscreen for Face: HATE

I tried this product a few years ago and I really didn't like it, I used it a couple of times and then I dumped it! I bought it specifically for protecting my face under my make up while on holiday. Freckles and sunburn is NOT a good look.

Feel: Seemed like a nice cream, but was extremely sticky and almost did not absorb.  Putting makeup on over it felt very uncomfortable. I had that feeling like I immediately wanted to wash it off - it felt very greasy.

Smell: An aaty, natural smell, I wasn't too keen on it.

Overall: Sticky, greasy, non-absorbent. There has to be better than this for around the same price range (I think it was about 11 euros when I bought it). Not nice, I wouldn't recommend it all.

Eye Cream: 

As I get older, I notice that I have heavy eyelids - you know when the skin over your lids is starting to droop down a bit. Well it's either that or the extra pounds I'm carrying. Anyways, as I said before my eyes immediately start to suffer if I neglect my skin. Lines, tiredness, bags, dark shadows, the whole nasty lot.  In the past I was happy to just use face moisturizer over my eyes, but now my eye area definitely needs more dedicated attention. I have tried some cheap supermarket brands, but always felt that they did no more for me than water, so now I've invested in a dedicated eye cream.

Elemis Pro Collagen Eye RenewalLike

I bought this product as part of a set, and have to say I was a bit dubious about how good it might be. I never really understood what to expect from an eye cream versus a face moisturizer. Well now I'm getting a good idea.

Feel:  This pumps out a thin gel which feel quite cool when you put it on although not uncomfortably so. Generally you should use it twice a day but I use it just in the morning, and find that it's quite refreshing on my eyes after my shower. I massage it in above and below my eyes; it's not sticky but takes a bit longer to absorb. The skin around my eyes is quite sensitive to creams but this does not sting in the slightest.

Smell: There's no real discernible fragrance from this product.

Overall: I think this is a wonderful product but I'm waiting a bit longer before I say I love it, as it's only been a few weeks and I'm hoping to have even more positivity about it after that. In the 2 weeks I've been using it, the skin above my eyes no longer droops onto my eyelid, which I never expected from an eye cream. Fine lines are reduced as are the dark shadows,  even though I'm pregnant, tired and stressed. I also feel it took away puffiness around my eyes, so I'm very surprised and satisfied with this, although I'd want to buy it in a set again because individually it is too expensive for me to purchase on it's own (about 65 euros).

Day Moisturizer:

I once saw my friend's mother, a good looking woman in her mid fifties with peachy skin and almost no wrinkles. I exclaimed to my friend how her mother's skin looked amazing, and she told me that her mother had used E45 cream as a face moisturizer every day since she was 18. Which goes to prove you don't have to spend a lot but you do need to moisturize every day!

Here are some of the moisturizers I like the most at different price points:

Elemis Pro Collagen Marine Cream: LIKE

Feel: I had heard rave reviews about this product, and then I got a facial treatment at a salon using Elemis products. The therapist used other products from their range that I wasn't too keen on (because of a stinging sensation) but this one was lovely. It's a very light thin creamy moisturizer, and it takes about 10 minutes for my skin to absorb it. I apply this after the Elemis eye cream but not over my eyes. My foundation glides on easily after and my skin feels soft and smooth underneath it and looks bright and fresh. If I don't apply makeup I do look a little shiny faced, so would use translucent powder at least to take away the shine. However it doesn't cause spots, and I don't have to worry about putting this on my oily chin area. I definitely feel it promotes elasticity and hydration in my skin.

Smell: I had heard mixed reviews about the fragrance, some believing it to be cheap and tacky; others thought it was a refreshing feminine scent. I like it, it's summery but very similar to Oil of Olay scent.

Overall: I like this product a lot, there are 2 reasons I don't love it. Personally I like thick rich creams and this is a little too light for my taste, as well as the fact it leaves me a little shiny. Also it is too expensive for me to purchase on its own (at about 70 euros), I got it as part of a set with the Elemis eye cream, and the whole set cost 80 euros including a face serum, so total value was nearly 200 euros. In saying that, my skin feels lovely and soft and well taken care of, so I'm happy with that.

Clarins Multi Active Jour Day Cream: LIKE

This is a product I was first recommended by my sister a few years back, and since then I have returned to it again and again.
Feel: Just the texture of this cream as you lift it out of the jar is gorgeous, it's rich and creamy, not a 'light, thin' cream that spreads out to nothing. It feels gorgeous on your skin, but it does take a while to absorb, I'd have to leave my skin for 10-15 minutes before applying makeup after applying this or else the two are mixing together on the surface of my skin.  It does leave your skin wonderfully soft though, so the patience is worth it. 

Smell: The smell on this is more like a 'perfume' than a 'face cream' smell if you know what I mean. I'd happily wear this scent as a perfume if I could. 

Overall: Leaves me feeling a million dollars. It's so rich, I use it more when I'm not planning to wear makeup as I do feel it doesn't mix well and I notice my skin shinier during the day. It's not anti-ageing so there are none of those benefits either, but it just feels and smells wonderful! It's a bit pricey here at about 50 euros for 50mls.


I have to admit that up to recently I haven't been very good at 'cleansing' specifically and used to use my Dermalogica daily exfoliator to clean my face at night or worse, the skincare sin that is MakeUp Wipes !!! (I got a good telling off from a therapist for admitting to this). Personally I don't see much of a difference between a Cleansing Facial Wash and a Cleanser, so I've lumped them both in here together.

Clarins Cleansing Milk: LIKE
At the moment I'm using this product, it was a birthday gift from my sister, as I felt I should try one out.
Feel: Very lightly creamy and less milky, it has a nice non sticky texture and goes on easy over a face full of makeup. Did sting my eyes a little when it got in, although in fairness that could have been my mascara running into my eyes. I take it off with cotton wool balls and I have to say, it leaves my skin nice and soft (Not like after a moisturizer but soft nonetheless) but very slightly sticky despite the non sticky texture which is bizarre.

Smell: The smell is light and gentle and leaves me feeling calm when I'm about to go to sleep.

Overall: Lovely product, not sure what the price is, but would love it if it didn't leave me feeling a little sticky.

Clinique Cleansing Facial Wash: HATE

I was stupid enough to feel pressured by a sales assistant into buying this, which I lived to regret anyway.

Well it's a get wash, and the first time I washed, it stung my whole face. It was really sore and uncomfortable after a few seconds. My skin was burning and went red, then I got some beautiful red welt looking things on my face. I told this to a therapist later who told me they use Clinique wash to clean the glass thats how harsh it is. I probably had a reaction to some of the plant based ingredients, but I've never had a reaction like that to ANY other product.It didn't smell great, I ended up throwing it out as I was afraid to give it to someone else in case they got the same result. 26 euros down the drain. Now avoiding Clinique products at all cost.

Night Cream:

 Clarins Multi Active Nuit : LOVED!!!

Feel: Very rich and creamy, just like the day cream. I have to be honest I wondered if they had the same ingredients but different packaging, but indeed they do have different ingredients. And the result of this cream is far superior to the day cream. Leaves my skin feeling awesome and after 3 days using it my husband commented on how beautiful my skin was looking (ignorant of the cream). He says I look very bright and currently I have 4 containers of this haha! Love love love it, I often use it during the day also but makeup doesn't sit too well on it.

Smell: Just as gorgeous as the day cream, makes you smell a million dollars.

Overall: Can't rave enough about this, I absolutely love it, it's my all time favourite ever product. You do need to take a break after each tub is finished though, so that your skin can feel the full effect the next time round. But I doubt I will ever stop using this, as long as I can afford it, at 50 euros or so for 50mls.

Nivea Q10 Night Cream: So-So

Feel: This is a very light cream, and I prefer rich ones, so if you prefer light ones, you might like this. It left my skin feel soft but not to the extent of Clarin's products. I was disappointed with the lack of result regarding 'anti-ageing' as it's marked for this. I didn't notice any difference at all on fine lines. 

Smell: I like the smell, not very potent.

Overall: I wouldn't buy it again, because I felt it was good as a basic moisturizer and not much more, so if that's all I wanted I could buy something cheaper. In saying that I don't dislike it. 

Well I have a love for skincare products, so I'll post up more as I try them out :)

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