Thursday, April 25, 2013

Good, Bad and Dreadful-Smelling

The troubles my skin goes through are attributed to the same factors as everybody else but I can never seem to get a skincare routine right. I've been trying a few different products and shall share my hits and misses with you. Brace yourselves for a massive round-up of skincare.

Sukin Rosehip Oil
I bought this partially for my mum to help with her hyperpigmented sun spots (she didn't like it and promptly purchased the Garnier Dark Spot Corrector instead), partially because I heard so many people raving about its properties. I don't like it. For my combination skin, it was too rich to use on the normal parts of my face and caused some localised breakouts, and I think Bio-Oil did an equally good job to help the dehydrated areas on my face. I'll give it another chance but the cooking oil smell is pretty bad.

Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque
A cheap and cheerful option for those who can get hold of it. It's available almost exclusively in North America and looks and smells like green toothpaste, but applied with a flat 'Filbert-style' foundation brush to any congested areas of the face and the clay mask gives a little boost to the skin. I used it regularly for a few months and noticed a difference in my skin, but the Aesop masque does a better job.

Aesop Parsley Seed Cleansing Masque
Another kaolin-based mask, it's like the Mint Julep masque on steroids. It costs a lot more, but the experience is different. The ingredients are more refined (as they should be) and it's supposed to be injected with all sorts of antioxidants to fight free radicals (from my understanding those come from pollutants in the air, I'm not entirely sure as I wasn't paying close attention to the Aesop salesgirl). I apply it slightly thicker than the Mint Julep because the Aesop girl demonstrated it to be used that way, and leave it on for about half an hour before removing it with a warm flannel and a splash of water. I love it for when my skin's going through a particularly gunky time as it clears it right up, used once or twice a week.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo
This bad boy has been raved about so much. Ruth, Tanya, Michelle and Tiffany are avid fans and I was glad to join the club. I didn't get on well with it at first- after a week I started breaking out and stopped using it, but revisited it a few weeks later and it's done nothing but good. Not only does this help to clear up breakouts, it refines and softens the skin to a noticeable extent. La Roche-Posay is definitely a brand I'm keen to get more of, though the Effaclar M, which is next on my to-try list isn't available at Terry White, where I found this one. At $26, it's reasonably affordable for a skincare product that lasts months and actually works.

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair
Boy did this pinch the bank balance, but I don't regret getting it as it's a great all-rounder serum. Repair, hydration and congestion: ANR does a lot (it doesn't do it all, I'd appreciate some brightening action too). I've only got a third of the 30mL bottle left and I'm trying to make it last. Where I'd once use a generous dose I'm limiting myself to three or four drops as the cost of ANR alone could buy me two or three other skincare products (I'm looking at you, Antipodes Apostle Brightening and Tone-Correcting serum and Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil). For the price, hype and glory it gets you'd think it would be a miracle worker but in all honesty it's a good serum, just too expensive for what it is.

Origins Drink Up Intensive Mask to Quench Skin's Thirst
I like this. I got a sample, tried it out and saw immediate results. Results so immediate that I purchased the full-size in a very enabled Mecca Maxima spree (don't you hate it when friends egg you on to buy things you might not otherwise). It smells good and the thick lotion consistency is rich and hydrating. My cheeks had a patchy redness that I couldn't get rid of for months but a combination of Bio-Oil and this mask helped eliminate that completely. I'm bringing a pot of it back with me to Singapore, inspired by Lisa Eldridge and her hydrating mask ways.

Origins Out Of Trouble 10 Minute Mask To Rescue Problem Skin
I received a very generous sample of this from a girl at Kit Cosmetics and it's meant to calm down breakouts. I can't say it did much, which was disappointing. Suzie from Hello-October loves this and I hoped it would be as good to my skin as it is to hers, but it didn't calm inflammation like she says it does for her. The smell reminds me of Clearasil. Good ol' Clearasil. Brings me right back to high school.

Kate Somerville Anti Bac Clearing Lotion
This has 5% benzoyl peroxide to clear up breakouts and smells like sulphur. It works- I had a sample of it and used it up in a little over a week and it cleared my skin right up, but I'm not sure the Kate Somerville brand label is worth $45 for 50mL. I hoped it would help shrink hormonal, more cystic-type breakouts but all it did was speed the process up. I wonder if there are indeed products to melt away deep cystic acne before they erupt.

I'm getting into a routine using the Effaclar Duo and Anti Bac Clearing Lotion (though I haven't decided if I want to buy the full size as there are so many things I want to try) and I'm trying out the Witch Hazel toner and Biore Combination Skin Balancing Cleanser. Ah, skincare. Can't seem to get it right.


  1. Great post! So many things I want to try now! The Aesop mask sounds awesome. I have tried the ANR serum (its a holy grail for my mum) but it gives me a weird rash! Ever since I first tried it a few years ago, it helped heaps the first time I used it but the next day I had a huge reaction. I tried using it recently with less product, but I still end up with itchiness :(

    1. That's unfortunate that you're allergic or sensitive to ANR! It's such a cult product- I had it on my dresser and my dad came in and saw it and said my grandmother had asked him to buy it from the US for her over 20 years ago! The Aesop mask is great- I highly recommend the Effaclar Duo too.

  2. okay after reading this I am so going to get a Effaclar Duo soon! thanks for sharing ^_~

  3. Nice post! The aesop mask sounds good, I always battle with the constant break out here and there.

    I was interested in trying rose hip oil because I've heard it fades acne scars but don't think I'll be trying the sukin one!

    1. Rosehip oil smells so bad- I was not expecting that! I'm using the Garnier Dark Spot Corrector and Bio-oil, as well as exfoliating every couple of days, and they're working great for me!

  4. I'm kind of on the fence with the Effaclar Duo - I don't really think it does anything for me. In the beginning, it really dried out my skin. I've been using it as a spot treatment but haven't really seen amazing results. Maybe it's because I don't have the appropriate skin type for it, or haven't been using it with any regularity to give it a fair go. I decided that I really do like ANR though. Kind of wondering whether I should've bought a massive bottle at LAX duty free.

    1. ANR is ridiculously expensive here- I'm glad I tried it but I think of all the other products I could have bought with the $100+ I spent on that. Effaclar Duo wouldn't do much for you unless you had acne-prone skin and yours always seems pretty normal! Lucky youu.