I really didn’t get through as many products as I’d hoped to this year – I’m hoping 2016 will be better! Here are my final empties for the year:
Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar – I used this for my Aztec Secret clay masks, but I’ve switched to citric acid instead to avoid the vinegar stink. I don’t think I’ll be rebuying this for a while.
Biore Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50+ PA+++ Sunscreen – This is the old version, I’ve repurchased the newer, reformulated PA++++ version already. I love how light and non-greasy this is!
Nivea Repair and Protection Lip Balm – My trusty favourite lip balm. I have so many open tubes lying around my room.
Crop Gentle Cleansing Gel – I really like this foaming cleanser. It doesn’t strip your skin of oil, and I haven’t found the essential oils irritating on my skin either. I’ll be repurchasing this!
Banila Co Clean It Zero – I love this mineral oil-based cleansing balm for taking off heavy make-up. I have a bunch of little samples to go through, and I’d love to try the other varieties before going for a full-size tub.
Enbacci Vitis Vinifera Rejuvenating Gel Cleanser – This is a really nice, non-drying cleanser sample I received at the Bloggers United Australia event in Sydney earlier this year. I have a whole heap of other Enbacci samples I’m working through too!
Marc Jacobs Daisy Perfume – This has been my emergency handbag perfume, and I’m sad to see the end of it… lucky I have a few more sample sprays from various subscription boxes! Perfume samples are definitely one of my most used items from subscriptions.
Models Prefer Multi-Purpose Sponge – This is a nice sponge that’s a similar texture to the Beauty Blenders that are really popular now (I have a bunch of those too!). I find the sponge shape a little harder to work with, but it’s handier and a lot cheaper, and easier to wash.
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.
Australis brought out their AC on Tour (get it?) contouring and highlighting palette a bit earlier than Models Prefer, who brought out their Contour/Collectionhighlighting and contour palette recently with very very similar shades. Here’s the inevitable comparison, including side-by-side swatches!
Both palettes are $16.95, for 6 x 3.5 g pans.
Australis’s AC on Tour palette is housed in a matte black plastic case. Models Prefer’s Contour/Collection palette has a glossy black plastic case, with a full sized mirror which puts it in front, but Australis are repackaging theirs to also include a mirror. The glossy Models Prefer case collects fingerprints, but I actually like it more than the matte black. It’s really a matter of preference – there’s no real winner here.
Australis palettes can be found in Priceline, as well as Big W, Kmart and some pharmacies. Models Prefer are a Priceline brand, so you can only get them at Priceline…which isn’t really a problem for most people, because Pricelines are everywhere. Australis’ palette is currently available online, but the Models Prefer kit isn’t on there.
The shades look almost identical in the pan. In both palettes, there’s a nude highlight, a banana highlight and a shimmery illuminating highlight, along with a neutral, cool and warm contouring shade. On the skin is where you really start to see a difference:
Woohoo! I finally finished my Project 100 Pan…about 2 years after I first started. I think I’m just going to do monthly empty posts from now on! 91. Paul Mitchell Shampoo Two Clarifying – This is one of my favourite shampoos of all time. I’m a bit of a hairy oily freak and this shampoo cleans my scalp so well …
A few people have asked me about my regular skincare routine, which I described briefly in my interview with Beautiful With Brains – here it is in more detail. I generally use the same steps, but I often substitute in different products. It gets pretty complex, but I hope it makes sense! I’ve included a summary chart at the bottom, …
I’ve been travelling around Europe a bit lately, and before heading to each country I’ve been looking up lists of beauty brands and products to look out for. To return the favour for all of those awesome recs, I’ve decided to compile a list of my favourite Aussie buys for skincare, make-up and nails… Skincare In the realm of skincare, …
I’m guessing this is the case for most beauty junkies, but I tend to think of my skincare routine as simple, but when I actually have to tell someone what’s involved, it turns out to be much more complex than I anticipated! Summer has recently hit Sydney (Sydney doesn’t really have in-between seasons – it was a high of 18 …
I’m in love with Revlon Lip Butters, but in Australia they’re really pricey (RRP is… $21.95!!). Luckily, there are a few dupes and near-dupes that have popped up recently, including the Maybelline Color Whisper lippies I reviewed last week. Here’s another, the Models Prefer Moisture Lust line, which comes in at a tad over half the price of the Lip …