Polyhydroxy acids? Aminofil? Neostrata Skin Active Tri-Therapy Lifting Serum

Neostrata Tri-Therapy Lifting Serum

This post is sponsored by Neostrata. Neostrata is a cult brand amongst skincare nerds, and for good reason – it’s the brand that doctors Eugene Van Scott and Ruey Yu started after they discovered the skin-rejuvenating properties of alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) like glycolic acid and lactic acid in the 1970s. Thanks to their pioneering work, AHAs are now the most …

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Debunking Exfoliation Myths (with video)

Exfoliants are one of the first products you start using when you get into REAL skincare. They’re a really great gateway product, but they can be a bit confusing and there are loads of myths about them. So today I’m doing the debunking! (More info on exfoliants in my Essential guide, in case you haven’t downloaded it yet!) The YouTube …

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2019 vs 2020 Skincare Routine: Approach and Products (Video)

My Current Evening Skincare Routine

I was looking at some old blog posts and realised that it’s been over a year since I last posted my evening skincare routine. So I thought it would be interesting to go through it and see which products changed, which ones stayed the same, and whether I still agree with the skincare principles that the younger, less wise Michelle …

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Chemical Exfoliants as Deodorant? The Science of Smelly Armpits


As a dedicated skincare addict, I own quite a few never-ending bottles of exfoliating acid toners that I can’t really use up fast enough. They’ve been sitting around going dusty, and I was prepared to gift them to my grandchildren one day. Enter Tracy Robey, of fanserviced-b. Tracy, a longstanding member of the online skincare community, has kindly performed some …

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Do peeling gels really peel off my skin? (with video)

“Is all the stuff that rolls off with a peeling gel really my skin?“ This is a question I come across a lot! In case you’ve forgotten, a peeling gel is a popular type of cleanser in Asia. You start off with a watery gel like this, which you spread over your face (the one picture here is Laneige Strawberry …

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My Current Evening Skincare Routine

I don’t really like sharing my skincare routine too often, for a few reasons. Firstly, I’m usually testing products as part of my routine, so I don’t want to look like I’m endorsing a product I haven’t fully tested yet. Secondly, I think it’s tempting for people to see my routine and try to replicate it exactly. I am a …

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Skincare Favourites 2018 (Empties Video)

Skincare Favourites Video

Videos are coming thick and fast as I try to get rid of all the old ones with my old background! This time I review my favourite skincare products from 2018 that I liked enough to finish using, along with one foundation. Click here to watch the video. If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to my YouTube channel here. …

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Amperna Skincare Review: Actives for Sensitive Skin

Amperna Skincare Review

Amperna is an Australian skincare line developed for sensitive and problematic skin that’s still packed with actives that treat acne. A lot of anti-acne product lines are harsh, and even if they’re effective for a lot of people, they can make sensitive skin can freak out. You don’t really want to switch acne-prone skin for stinging, irritated skin.

Amperna’s founder Kiri Yanchenko was inspired by her own experience with sensitive acne-prone skin, and the lack of gentle but active skincare products designed for sensitive skin. Amperna’s products are suitable for any skin type, and have been tested on skin that’s prone to eczema, dermatitis, perioral dermatitis, rosacea and acne. It’s also Australian made and cruelty free, and all of the products come in convenient pump bottles.

The Amperna line currently has 5 products: cleanser, exfoliant, moisturiser, vitamin C serum and soothing serum. I tried them out over a period of 3 weeks – here’s what I thought of them!

Amperna Ultra Gentle Soothing Cleanser

Amperna Ultra Gentle Soothing Cleanser ($40 AUD for 125 mL) is a foaming gel cleanser. It has gentle surfactants (betaine, sodium lauroamphoacetate, disodium cocoamphodiacetate, cocamidopropyl betaine) and foams very lightly with water. It has a low, skin-friendly pH of around 5, which is important for avoiding long-term cleanser-induced irritation.

There are a few interesting actives in the cleanser:

  • Canadian willowherb extract, which has been found to kill acne bacteria (Propionibacterium acnes) in vitro in manufacturer studies, and reduce redness from irritation and sunburn in manufacturer clinical studies. It’s also an antioxidant that soaks up free radical damage. The active compound is called oenothein B.
  • White willow bark extract, which contains salicylic acid, a chemical exfoliant (aka beta hydroxy acid or BHA), salicin which has some anti-inflammatory properties, and tannins, which are astringent.

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