I used to be a “signature fragrance” sort of person (a.k.a. too lazy to think so I’ll just wear the same perfume every day), but lately I’ve been switching up the fragrance I wear every day, and I can’t quite seem to settle on one. Recently, I’ve tried Zadig & Voltaire This is Her!, Donna Trussardi, Elizabeth Arden Always Red and Ne’emah Laya. Here’s what I thought:
Zadig & Voltaire This Is Her!
Zadig & Voltaire This Is Her! lives in a translucent white rectangular bottle with a “cracked” side that’s meant to fit nicely with the black bottle for the matching male fragrance, This Is Him! This Is Her! is described as woody, floral and gourmand – I’d say it’s mostly woody and gourmand, with a creamy and sweet scent that has a bit of flowery jasmine added in to stop it from smelling too much like dessert.
The most striking notes are sandalwood and vanilla. You can also pick up some of the pink pepper and chestnut around the edges, and a hint of jasmine too. It reminds me of a smoother version of L’Artisan Parfumeur Bois Farine. The scent is quite long-lasting, but it doesn’t project too much. It’s more of a soft, comforting, close-to-the-skin scent. I really didn’t expect to find this sort of scent in a mainstream store, but lo and behold, it’s in Priceline! I’ll be wearing this a lot.
Donna Trussardi comes in an elegant white and gold bottle that looks a bit like a fancy liquor flask.
In short, Donna is jasmine on full blast. It isn’t too cloying or headache inducing though, thankfully, since the jasmine leans more towards a jasmine tea scent, and there’s some citrus in there to keep it light. The base is oriental (white patchouli, cedar, sandalwood and vanilla), but it doesn’t come through very strongly. This is a very straightforward, clean, friendly floral that smells like summer breezes, and is difficult to dislike unless you hate jasmine. I can see myself still wearing this in 10 years – it’s refined and elegant, without being dowdy.
Are you confused about how to choose the right exfoliation method for your skincare routine? This three-part series rounds up all the types of exfoliants for your face, with examples of products and their pros and cons!
This post covers all the physical exfoliation options. Part 2 will be on chemical exfoliation, and Part 3 will be a guide on how to choose the one(s) that will work for you. For a more barebones overview, check out this exfoliation basics post.
What is exfoliation?
Your skin consists of living skin (the epidermis), covered in a 15-20 layers of dead cells (the stratum corneum). The dead cells in the stratum corneum have an important role in protecting your living tissue from the outside environment. They’re completely replaced around every 2 weeks – the cells at the surface are constantly shedding. However, the shedding isn’t always regular, and sometimes it happens slower than it should. This leads to your skin being covered by too thick a layer of dead cells, which looks dull, uneven, scaly and flaky. Exfoliation helps the shedding along, ideally without compromising the ability of the stratum corneum to act as a barrier.
There are 2 main categories of exfoliation: physical and chemical. I’m including exfoliation tools under the banner of physical exfoliation, and enzymes in the chemical group.
What Is Physical Exfoliation?
Dead cells are buffed away mechanically using grainy products or tools. It’s a lot like sandpapering a block of wood or scrubbing tiles – the friction from rubbing an object back and forth over the skin lifts stuck cells.
Much like sandpapering wood, the harshness of physical exfoliation depends on a few factors:
what the exfoliating objects are like (how large, how hard, how smooth)
how you move them over your skin (how hard you press, what direction you go in, how long you rub it in for)
I personally find that rubbing lightly in small circles for a minute or two is more effective and less irritating than rubbing hard for a short period, with any physical exfoliation method.
Physical exfoliation has a reputation for being harsh, but I think it’s unfair – it can be very gentle, but most people use physical exfoliants way too frequently, and feel like it’s not working if they don’t feel raw and tingly afterwards. Don’t fall into this trap! It’ll make your skin worse in the long run, reducing the ability of the stratum corneum to act as a barrier against the outside world and prevent moisture from leaving (its barrier function).
These round beads are made of plastic and come in every imaginable colour. They used to be in tons of products because they’re really cheap and smoothly shaped, so they were budget-friendly and gentle on the skin.
However, it turned out that microbeads were an environmental pollutant – they made their way through the sewage system and into waterways, where environmental toxins (actual toxins) like pesticides latched onto them. When aquatic animals ate them, they would release the toxins. Nasty! (You can read more on microbead pollution on this post.)
Plastic microbeads were banned in a handful of US states after research showed that the beads were turning up everywhere. The Netherlands are in the process of phasing them out. Other Western countries are moving in this direction, so plastic microbeads are found in less products these days.
You’ll see them listed on the ingredients list as:
You can find lists of microbead-containing and microbead-free products in your country on Beat the Microbead.
How to use
These are the standard scrub products – squeeze some into your hand, slap it on your clean face and rub around, then rinse.
It’s actually been quite difficult to locate plastic microbeads in my skincare collection – I only managed to find an old tube of Nivea Pure Effect All-in-1 Multi Action Cleanser, and a couple of Asian products (Muji Scrub Face Soap and Missha Cacao &Cream Facial Scrub).
There are lots of replacements for plastic microbeads available now, so you can still get your scrub on without as much guilt.
One of the most popular replacements for plastic microbeads are jojoba beads. They’re made of chemicallyprocessed jojoba oil (the same process used to make solid margarine from liquid vegetable oil), and are usually listed as “hydrogenated jojoba oil” or “jojoba esters” in the ingredients list. These beads are translucent white, and they’re usually found in products as very fine grains.
How to use
Just like microbeads, these are straightforward scrubs. Rub them onto clean damp skin, rinse away afterwards.
These are particularly popular in products marketed as natural – they show up in Jurlique, Moreishand Neutrogena Naturals scrubs, as well as a Guinot Gentle Face Exfoliating Cream, a scrub/peeling gel hybrid. They’re popular but I’m personally not that fond of how they feel on my skin, so I don’t reach for these that often.
My skin’s undergone a bit of a change this year compared to last year. It’s always been on the oily side and a bit dehydration-prone, but the dehydration’s gotten worse this year – I’ve stopped taking the oral contraceptive pill for the time being, which means my skin is a bit oilier than usual. At the same time, I’ve also upped my usage of retinol and tretinoin, and AHA and BHA exfoliants and peels, so my skin has dried out from that. All in all, it’s a pretty good recipe for getting combination dehydrated skin, where my nose ends up pretty oily during the day but my cheeks get dry – I’ve even had dry peeling which I’ve never had before, thanks to retinol! It’s taken me a while to get used to these new developments, so I’m going to be blogging about some of the ways I’ve been keeping my skin happy.
The first thing I’ve changed is adding an overnight mask. This is an extra product layered on top of all my other goo. As well as sealing in the goo, it seals in water so it doesn’t evaporate as much overnight. I’ve been looking specifically for oil-based masks for winter, as I’ve found that the water- and humectant-based masks (most of the Asian sleeping masks, like Laneige Water Bank Sleeping Pack) aren’t quite enough to save me from dehydrated skin at the moment.
My favourite at the moment is Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant Nighttime Miracle Moisturizer. This is a thick, sticky balm with the texture of honey that gets a little runnier once you heat it up in your hands.
The stickiness makes it a little fiddly to apply, but it stays on much better than the more slippery masks. I’m not a huge fan of the scent although I’m usually a lavender fan – this is a slightly berryish lavender that smells like my hands after pole. Despite the scent, I love how smooth and plump this leaves my skin in the morning! It does contain a little salicylic acid, which might explain the extra smoothness. For a more budget-friendly version, Vaselineworks pretty damn well too, though it doesn’t quite have the same skin-smoothing kick for me.
Foundation is always a bit of a struggle for me – as someone with combination skin, sometimes it’s just easier not to try. I’ve recently had the chance to road-test two foundations tailored for oily skin, and I was pleasantly surprised! Here’s what I thought of them.
Elizabeth Arden Flawless Finish Perfectly Satin 24HR Makeup SPF 15 PA++ ($50 for 30 mL) is my new favourite high-coverage foundation. I’ve been wary of high-coverage foundations since wearing MAC Studio Tech clogged my skin, but Perfectly Satin has given me new hope.
Perfectly Satin is a liquid foundation slated to be good for oily/combination skin. The finish is satin – it’s matte, with a little bit of dimension to keep it looking natural, and surprisingly I didn’t really need a powder on top to keep it from oiling up. There are 7 shades available in Australia, and my NC25 skin matched well with Neutral Bisque.
I’ve found this foundation to be very forgiving – it applies smoothly with brushes, fingers and sponges, and works fine on my bare skin, sunscreen and over a water-based primer. By default it’s medium-to-heavy coverage, but it works well mixed with some moisturiser for lighter coverage, and it’s buildable to concealer-level coverage on blemishes. In fact, I found that I didn’t need concealer while wearing this, and I’ve used it as concealer on “bare skin” days. It’s very blendable. For the heaviness of the coverage, it feels quite light, and stays on for hours (through exercise!) without settling into lines or shifting.
The only drawbacks I can think of are the heaviness of the bottle, and the fact it might not work well for people with dry skin. I also wouldn’t mind higher SPF and PA values, but I never really expect to use foundation as my sole source of sun protection anyway. Otherwise, this foundation is fantastic! It’s Holy Grail status for me.
excellent coverage (can be built to concealer level)
easy to apply and blend
great oil control for oily skin (don’t need powder)
I’m in a bit of a crazy lipstick discovery phase at the moment, and I’ve just discovered FUCHSIA. When I try bright colours, it takes me a while to get comfortable, but the lipstick that started this love affair – Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Color Moisturizing Matte Lipstick in Raspberry(argh long product names) – is a really beginner-friendly bright. It’s dark enough that it feels familiar if you’re already comfortable with bright red, but it’s bright enough that you feel perked up. And it looks stunning with my current favourite clothing colour, blue. (On a side note, I am so into blue right now it’s ridiculous. I was so certain it was going to be Pantone’s Colour of the Year, then they went with meh Marsala, which I’m still feeling super meh about. I’m all about the blue, baby. My hair in this photo is unfortunately not blue – it’s the reflection from the building across the road.)
The formula is amazing too – moisturising and comfortable, super pigmented and glides on smoothly (it contains mango, shea and murumuru butters which I’m guessing is why it’s so lush). It’s not as all-out matte as a MAC lipstick, and it’s possibly a tad shinier than a Rimmel one though, but with the matte-ness comes dry flaky zombie-mouth hell). I’d put this in the satin category. It has a pleasant desserty vanilla scent. I’m really liking the trend towards creamier lip product scents – I’ve never been a big fan of florals near my mouth. It makes me feel a bit like I’ve eaten soap.
The only complaint I have with the formula is that the colour comes off unappealingly all over my food when I eat, but that’s pretty standard with any moisturising lipstick. I’ve recently picked up a fantastic lippie tip – take off your lipstick before you eat, and reapply afterwards, which I hope will help.