Healthier skincare habits

During the past months my skin has been exposed daily for first time after 7 years to cold weather, as I have moved from the extreme heat of Gulf countries, to the fresh and crispy European air. Apart from the different weather conditions, I saw my extremely sensitive and combination-oily skin getting red easier, being 10 times more than before unforgiving to comedogenic ingredients such as Cetearyl Alcohol, Coco glycerides, Caprylic Triglyceride, pure Almond oil and more. The message was clear: From now and on, I should use on my skin products that are as pure as possible.

This post will cover my slaloms between faulty products, new skincare habits for face and body, easy tips to create homemade skin care remedies and few products that preserved and improved the condition of my skin.

FACE

Cleanser

Since 2009 I have mainly been using Nuxe’s Reve de Miel cleansing gel. Its base is honey (fourth ingredient), embellished with many rubbish ingredients such as sodium lauroyl sarcosinate (third in list and high in concentration), peg-8 esters and more. Regardless, Nuxe’s cleanser was the most reliable out of an extensive list of tragic products (La Roche Posay Lait Physiologique, Guelrain Blanc de Perle cleansing foam and Secret de Purete foaming cream, Avene Soapless gel cleanser and Extremely Gentle cleanser and many many more).

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Therefore, I decided to start using pure, clean honey. I am pleased with the results as it leaves my skin soft, not dry at all, yet clean. However, I make sure I clean my face twice in a row with it to secure results. During second wash I also use a cleansing brush similar to Clarisonic, by Ayvo.

Demaquillage

Eaux Micellaires is the most fresh and easiest way to remove make up effectively and that is why more and more brands add one micellaire in their range.

Who hasn’t tried or read about Bioderma’s  Sensibio H2O Solution Micellaire?  It is one of the first micellaires and a product I have been used and trusted for years, along with thousands of others among you. Those Capric glycerides however, made my skin not appreciating it as much as I would like. The area around the eye was always left with small red spots and of course I would not dare to swipe that cotton pad soaked in Sensibio all over my face.

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Looking for environmental friendlier demaquillage options, I tried sweet almond oil for eyes and jojoba oil for face. Apart from the twice the effort to remove all make up, I also was also left with blurry eyes from almond and red spots which stayed up to next day on face and they eye area.

Lately I discovered a couple of new Garnier micellar waters products, which are effective and have safe ingredients. Specially the Cleansing water (the one in huge bottle) is perfect for my sensitive skin and leaves it spot free and clean. For me, both Garnier waters and that of Bioderma’s clean the same well. The difference is on skin’s hygiene.

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Toner

As I have replaced many poor performing marketed products with natural, so I did with my toner! To be honest I have not tried that many branded toners (the latest was the uber moisturizing Guerlain’s Super Aqua lotion), but I find it a little stiff and useless for its purpose to pay anything from 10 to 41 Euro for a product full preservatives, and fabricated emollients.

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My homemade remedy is the following: I use a small container made of dark glass (to preserve the ingredients’ beneficial properties) and I fill it with the following proportions according to its size.

2/4 freshly squeezed lemon (astringent and whitening properties)

¼ freshly squeezed mandarine (for radiance)

¼ freshly blended cucumber (immaculate hydrating properties)

Sometimes I might pour a little more cucumber than lemon, to balance it. Shake well before use! I make sure to use the toner only at night due to citric acid, and next day I wear 30+ SPF regardless if it is sunny or not. I also want to note that this remedy and specifically lemon has helped me A LOT to deal with my melasma problem.

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Moisturizing cream

My most recent failure in hydration was Dr. Organic’s Aloe Vera concentrated hydrating cream, which was the worse thing I have ever used in my life without exaggeration. It is full of silicones, coco glycerides, parabens, in other words nothing but organic. It is rubbish as a facial cream but it works well as a cream for feet!

Anyhow, apart from failures we also have successes and one of these is Apivita’s Aqua Vita 24 hour moisturizing cream. The one I use now is for oily/combination skin. I have also used the one for dry skin about 8 months ago (early autumn), which however I found a little drying and not well absorbing. The one for combination skin works great, has a light texture, does not leave a film on skin, it absorbs pretty quickly and leaves skin matt. Its best part? It is made of 98% natural ingredients and none scary one for us who have sensitive skin.

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Serum

I bought Apivita’s Natural Serum with aloe and hyaluronic acid in order to use it as a moisturizer. It carries the name “serum” and as one can think it could be thick and rich, yet it is runny and very light. To be honest I see this working better in oily skins and under heat.

It is absorbed directly and dries mat, making a perfect base for make up. Initially I appreciated all the 98% natural ingredients, but something was irritating my skin each time I applied the serum. I cannot tell yet which ingredient. All in all the serum is somehow moisturizing, but not what I expected.

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Scrub

I have abandoned branded scrubs since many years ago. What was I using? Penicillin!

Penicillin or else aspirin diluted in water, with a tablespoon of honey. I was happy with the results and the salicylic acid was keeping break outs away. The only issue was that aspirin is a little harsh to scrub against a sensitive skin as mine and most importantly it did not work well with the melasma spots on my forehead and cheeks.

A friend of mine introduced me to a life changing product. I would not dare to use the term “life changing” if the scrub he gave me wouldn’t help diminish my melasma spots!

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It is a biological peeling from Meditopics, a Dutch brand and is used by many beauty clinics and dermatologists in the Netherlands. It is 100%biological and safe to use even for people with sensitive skin. Surprisingly it doesn’t dry out the skin and is safe to use as often as every other day. I place about half a spoon (included in box) of powder in my palm. I drop few drops of water and make a thick paste. I then apply it on my face and I lightly scrub allover and the problematic areas. I let it dry and then I rinse it well.

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What is really encouraging is the fact that helped diminishing the dark spots I have, thing that I struggle with since 2008. I am not using any other special treatment for the dark spots for a couple of years now. Just the scrub 2 times per week, the Ayvo brush (similar to Clarisonic) daily and every morning my SPF. DSC03498

Eyes

How hard is to find a decent eye cream? The market is pretty disappointing in this field. Most eye creams are either too sticky, or too thick, or drying, or “poor”. I have done two posts in the past dedicated to eye creams and if the following cream existed or I could find it in Dubai back then, I would have included it.

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This is Apivita’s anti wrinkle eye mask with grape with 99% natural ingredients. It is marketed as a mask, however according to the ingredients list it is 100% identical to anti wrinke’s eye and lip cream from the brand’s wine elixir line. The only difference is in the price as a 15ml pot of the cream costs 37.90 Euro and 16ml of 8 mask-cream packages cost 14 Euro. On to the cream itself, I love how fast absorbing and well hydrating it is. Nothing heavy, nothing smelly, just an extremely comfortable wearing eye cream, which is a good base for concealer as well.

BODY

Scrub

I decided to use from now and on a scrub remedy that I made of my own, when I realized the difference in results! The body scrubs that I used in the past were leaving my skin soft but not as moisturized. What is the key here? Olive oil! Have a look at the remedy:

2 tablespoons olive oil

2,5 tablespoons black sugar

½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange

Mix well all ingredients and use it fresh during shower or bath. You could also leave the mix in the fridge for 10 minutes to “unify”.

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Hydration

This is Apivita’s refreshing body milk with aloe and fig. I picked it initially for its not mainstream scent and the alluring ingredients. It absorbs quickly, the scent stays for hours and its properties as moisturizer suit perfectly combination skins and summer weather! For winter and dried out skin, I would choose a heavier formula.

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Now, I want to point out how annoying are Alcohol and Parfum as body lotion ingredients. Most lotions (including those out of perfume ranges) contain this ingredients high in their list and in high concentration, making the lotion useless and drying. If you really like the body lotions of your favourite perfumes, yet you find them drying I recommend trying the following: Buy a fragrance free body lotion with nice ingredients and before each time you apply it over your skin, spray/drop just a few drops of your perfume. In this way you will not only prolong your perfume’s effect, but you will also ensure your skin is well moisturized.

Hands

Hand creams are important for me, as I used them often throughout the day and before sleep at night. For many years I was alternating between Neutrogena’s original, Nivea’s Hydra IQ and original formula, Dove’s visible effects and few other drugstore hand creams. Sadly and regardless of their effectiveness (for instance Neutrogena cream is pleasant to use) they all have parabens and even some have mineral oil (Nivea range).

I recently choose Apivita’s moisturizing hand cream with aloe and honey, in light texture. Its 98%natural components consistency is far from “dangerous” in harmful ingredients than that of many other hand creams. It is perfect to use during the day, as it doesn’t leave the skin “sweaty”, it absorbs quickly and has a discreet clean scent. In other words, superb!

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At this point I want to underline that I am not affiliated to neither Meditopics, nor Apivita, that the products were purchased by me and that I decided to include them in this honest post because I find them way much better than other so called organic or natural or pharmaceutical products. It also worth pointing out that before I buy them I researched thoroughly their ingredients list and examined each ingredient with the help of Environmental Working Group http://www.ewg.org, as I wanted to use products as natural as they can get.

 

What are your healthy skincare habits?

 

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