Review: Vichy Mineral 89

Review: Vichy Mineral 89

Disclosure: Some or all of the links in this post contain Amazon affiliate links. By clicking on these links, I will earn a small commission if you make a purchase. This is at no additional cost to you.

Hiya! In my quest to save my dehydrated skin, I’ve turned to a few different mega-moisturizing products. One of my first choices was Vichy Mineral 89 Hyaluronic Acid Face Moisturizer (or Skin Fortifying Daily Booster as it says on the bottle). This is one of the most expensive moisturizing products I’ve ever tried. It currently retails for $29.50 for 50 ml ($0.59/ml).

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According to the Vichy website, this product will “fight daily aggressors like pollution and stress.” It also “provides 24 hours of hydration, strengthens the skin barrier function and provides plumped, toned and healthy looking skin.” I generally feel like all of this marketing language about fighting pollution and stress is hocus pocus. I’m really in it for repairing and plumping my skin. And apparently Oprah likes it.

Let’s take a look at the ingredients (emphasis mine):

AQUA / WATER / EAU • PEG/PPG/POLYBUTYLENE GLYCOL-8/5/3 GLYCERINGLYCERINBUTYLENE GLYCOLMETHYL GLUCETH-20 • CARBOMER • SODIUM HYALURONATE • PHENOXYETHANOL • CAPRYLYL GLYCOL • CITRIC ACID • BIOSACCHARIDE GUM-1

I bolded the ingredients that are classified as moisturizers according to CosDNA. Out of the 11 ingredients in this product, 7 are classified as moisturizers. Not bad! I was a little surprised to see the hyaluronic acid further down on the list, but I’m not sure if that’s common in similar products. The glycerin and butylene glycol are pretty common moisturizing ingredients so there’s nothing special there.

After purchasing the Vichy Mineral 89, I learned about the popular Hada Labo Goku-jyun Clear Lotion. My main goal in this step in my routine is to rehydrate with hyaluronic acid. The prices for products shipped from Asia to the US can fluctuate so it’s a little harder to nail down. If I were to order this Hada Labo product right now, I would choose this listing on Amazon which is currently $13.20 for 170 ml (roughly $0.08/ml). That’s a significant savings over the Vichy serum. So how do Hada Labo’s ingredients compare?

Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Disodium Succinate, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Hydroxyethycellulose, Methylparaben, PPG-10 Methyl Glucose Ether, Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Succinic Acid

You’ll notice instantly that both products mainly contain water, butylene glycol, and glycerin. The Hada Labo product actually has hyaluronic acid higher up on the ingredients list and in several variations. I’m not suggesting the Hada Labo product is better, but it certainly looks comparable to the Vichy serum. Consider me convinced that I should switch to Hada Labo when I run out of Vichy.

After the jump, I’ll show you how Vichy 89 applies to the face.

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Acne Through the Ages: X-Ray Your Face! (1920)

Acne Through the Ages: X-Ray Your Face! (1920)

Hiya guys! Welcome to the first post in a series I’m calling Acne Through the Ages (ATTA). In this series, I’ll dive into the weird and wonderful history of acne treatment. Previous generations had some really bizarre ideas of how to treat acne, but it’s also fun to see how some things never really change. My ATTA series will span the last 150 years in academic research.

In today’s post, we meet Dr. Semon who tries to convince us to x-ray our faces. How would this work? What were the risks of an x-ray to the face? And why does he hate women so much?

Find out after the jump!

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Review: My Beauty Diary Black Pearl Brightening Sheet Mask

Review: My Beauty Diary Black Pearl Brightening Sheet Mask

Disclosure: Some or all of the links in this post contain Amazon affiliate links. By clicking on these links, I will earn a small commission if you make a purchase. This is at no additional cost to you.

I’m always plagued by the Sunday blues so I’ve designated Sunday night as sheet mask night. For my second sheet mask trial, I selected the much-raved-about My Beauty Diary Black Pearl Brightening Sheet Mask. It came in the variety pack I ordered on Amazon.

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Find out what I thought after the jump!

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Know Your Ingredients: Using CosDNA

Know Your Ingredients: Using CosDNA

Ingredient lists can be intimidating.

You’re in Target to pick up laundry detergent and a birthday card, but then you wander into the beauty aisles. You pick up that latest product on the shelf promising to zap your zits or iron out your wrinkles. Since you fancy yourself a sophisticated shopper, you turn over the bottle to read the ingredients. First you see “water/aqua.” “I know what that is!” you think, and now you’re cocky. But then… Propylene Glycol? Isohexadecane? Polymethylsilsesquioxane? What the heck is this stuff? You panic and turn the bottle back over. Maybe it doesn’t matter what these words mean. It advertises 37 different antioxidants and the packaging will look so chic on Instagram. Sold! Look at you, sophisticated shopper.

You can do better.

Unless you’re a chemist, you probably won’t know what these ingredients are off the top of your head and nobody expects that you will. But if you’re concerned about your products delivering on their claims, being safe for the skin, and not causing breakouts, then you need to do your homework. The good news is you have a cosmetic ingredient fairy godmother at your fingertips.

Enter CosDNA.

Meet my favorite website, CosDNA. This site will analyze the ingredients in your beauty products and rate each ingredient on its safety, its likelihood to irritate the skin, and its likelihood to cause acne. It also reports on the function of each ingredient so you can learn that the Sodium cocoyl glutamate in your cleanser is a surfactant and the Xanthan Gum is only there to control viscosity. CosDNA allows you to search for products that already exist in the database or enter your own ingredient list for analysis. Almost every product I’ve searched for has already been entered by another user.

Here’s an example report for the Sebamed Clear Face Care Gel I use:

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Acne is my main concern, so the first thing I do when considering new skincare or makeup is look up the product’s acne ratings in CosDNA. You’ll notice this moisturizer has no acne-causing ingredients, which is reassuring for a product with a name like Clear Face! There’s also little chance for irritation with this product. I’ll admit I don’t read into many of the safety ratings unless they’re high (6-9). In the CosDNA rating system, the lower number the better. Acne and irritation is based on a scale of 0-5 and safety is on a scale of 1-9. Sometimes I will do further research for each ingredient on EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. I like that each claim cites the report it came from and it also acknowledges data gaps. Once you get in the habit of looking up ingredients, you’ll start to memorize which ones you should avoid.

Ideally I would only use products with all acne ratings of 0, but that’s not always feasible. In general, I try to use products with only one or two ingredients with potential for causing acne and even then I try to keep the ratings around 1 or 2. This is much harder with makeup, so I’m not as strict there. I just try to make sure I remove my makeup as thoroughly as possible.

Do you use CosDNA? How important are the acne, irritation, and safety ratings in your routine?

State of the Skin & Current Routine: December 2017

State of the Skin & Current Routine: December 2017

Disclosure: Some or all of the links in this post contain Amazon affiliate links. By clicking on these links, I will earn a small commission if you make a purchase. This is at no additional cost to you.

Hi guys! This is my first monthly “State of the Skin” where I’ll post my current routine and photos of how my skin is doing. My current routine is fairly new, so I don’t think the condition of my skin right now necessarily reflects the products in this routine. Next month will be a better time to check in. I’m definitely prone to adding too many new products at once so I’ll *try* not to.

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Click to read more about my current routine and see how my skin is doing.

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My Journey

My Journey

When I turned 26 a few months ago, my first thought was a lament that I was now officially in my late 20s. My second thought was that I could now say I’ve struggled with acne consistently for 15 years.

I still remember getting my first pimples. My first weapon of choice was a blue spot treatment gel in a tube (maybe Neutrogena?) that my mom purchased for me. And I haven’t stopped experimenting with treatments since. Middle school brought trials with Proactiv, painful blackhead strips, Sea Breeze, and every single product ever made by Clean & Clear. My parents still use the Morning Burst facial cleanser which haunts me every time I visit their house. By the time I was in high school, I was already seeing my first dermatologist. At his suggestion, I slathered my face with topicals like Differin, Benzaclin, Tazorac, and Duac. When none of those worked, we moved on to oral antibiotics including Doxycycline and Minocycline. Not only did these medications not cure my acne, but they left me with brand new skin problems. I developed a horrible sunburn and inflamed rash on my head and neck after sitting close to a window for too long while on Doxycycline. Minocycline turned some of the pores on my face permanently blue. Yeah, more on that later. On top of all that, I decided I could scrub my acne right off if I pushed hard enough with St. Ives Apricot Scrub *cringe*.

Makeup was my best friend in high school but she didn’t always treat me well. It didn’t help that I had no idea what I was doing. I tried to cover up my acne as much as possible with cakey foundations and concealers that were a) probably making my acne worse and b) not really fooling anybody. I was coming of age in the era of Myspace which emphasized the importance of looking good in your selfies and trying to get the attention of guys in weird indie bands. Any blemishes that were still visible in photos got the Paint treatment. Did I mean to say Photoshop? No, I couldn’t afford that. Instead, I perfect my method of zooming in really close on my photos in Microsoft Paint to swatch my skin tone then paint over the pixels with blemishes. It looked horrible up close, but when zoomed out it wasn’t too bad. Kids these days with their filters don’t know how good they have it! Luckily this was also the era of “scene” fashion so I could distract from my skin with eyeliner, bangs, and neon jewelry.

There wasn’t much time to visit the dermatologist as a busy college student. I honestly can’t remember much about my skincare regimen at the time except for the Neutrogena Pink Grapefruit Acne Wash and OTC Benzoyl Peroxide creams. After a brief flirtation with oral contraceptives for my acne and ridiculously heavy periods in high school, I went back on birth control in college. I’ve been on some form of oral contraceptive pretty steadily since then but even when I’ve had to take a break, my skin didn’t get any better or worse. I had my fair share of nights in college when I didn’t wash off my makeup which I’m sure wasn’t helping matters. Sometimes I came home from a party too tired to care, but I also slept in my makeup around my boyfriend at the time because god forbid he saw the horror of my real skin.

My first job after college was in New York City. This afforded me the opportunity to visit a “swanky” dermatologist downtown whose office looked more like an Urban Outfitters. Unlike my previous derm, he thought my acne was hormonal and prescribed Spironolactone. I took it diligently, got my blood tested diligently, washed my face diligently… and nothing happened. He did introduce me to Neutrogena Ultra-Gentle Daily Cleanser which was my first foray into gentle skincare so I can thank him for that. I also don’t think a moisturizer ever touched my face before this point when I started using an Aveeno lotion. A new job in New Jersey (and this derm’s insistence that I get expensive facials at his office) led to our breakup

The local derm I saw twice in NJ was shocked I had never used Retin-A and swiftly sent me on my way with a Retin-A Micro prescription and the instruction to not use any products that contained coconut oil. I was never one to try oil cleansing or particularly coconutty products, but I did find out that my shampoo, my moisturizer, and several of my cosmetics contained coconut oil. My research into tretinoin told me to cover my face in Cerave moisturizer, use tons of sunscreen, and prepare for my breakouts to get worse for up to a few months before they got better. Well, I hated the Cerave, my face was so painful it brought me to tears, and my skin got worse and worse for eight (!!) months. I still look at the pictures I took of my bare face during this period to remind myself just how awful it was.

Scarred (literally and figuratively) from this intense experience, I dropped all actives for a short while. This was probably a good idea but I didn’t wait it out long enough. It’s so difficult to sit on your hands and do nothing about your skin when you are so unhappy with it. I turned to the internet for help. I’m sitting here shuddering thinking about how I trusted Pinterest wisdom for a hot minute. My experiments with DIY honey washes, apple cider vinegar toners, and turmeric masks did nothing except stain my skin the color of a Simpsons character. I deleted all photographic evidence of this experience but trust me, it was bad. Luckily I soon stumbled upon a little subreddit called r/skincareaddiction. I spent the next year devouring as much information as I could and tring a whole new slew of products. SCA (as it is known) recommended things I’d never tried like “Stridex in the red box”, “slugging” with Vaseline, hydrocolloid bandages, AHAs, and Mario Badescu Buffering and Drying Lotions. Looking back, it seems I will never learn my lesson to stop using so many new products at once. My skin had had enough.

As I write this in December 2017, I’m embarking on a new plan for gentle skincare. My face has rarely been moisturized over the last 15 years. Rather, I’ve been pummeling it with every irritating product under the sun. My skin is very pale and sensitive. It’s been permanently red and peeling for years. It’s about time I treat my skin with kindness and work on repairing my moisture barrier rather than obliterating the blemishes. My plan is twofold: 1) to work on hydrating and gently exfoliating my skin to improve my overall skin health and 2) to improve my makeup techniques to find the right look for me. If I can’t beat the acne, I might as well find a natural-looking way to cover it up and boost my confidence. Despite using makeup since my middle school days, I’ve never learned much about which products to use or how to apply them properly. I’m still in the very early days of my makeup experimentation so constructive criticism is always welcome.

Here’s another quick reminder that this blog is NOT to be taken as advice. I’m not a medical professional nor do I have any formal training in skincare or cosmetics. My intention is simply to document my journey, share my honest thoughts, and meet other people who are struggling with the same skin concerns. If you want to try something I mention, that’s great! I’m constantly trying new products I see mentioned on other blogs and subreddits. But please remember “your mileage may vary” (YMMV) so what works for me may not work for you, and vice versa.

Many of my posts will focus on skincare for acne-prone and oily skin since that is my current struggle, but I’ll talk about other beauty topics as well. I plan to post first impressions and product reviews, updates on how my skin is doing with current routines, weird beauty news, and some research on acne through the ages.

This is just a short overview of my long and complicated skincare journey. I’m excited to hear your story, too! What were your experiences with these products? Have you had any skincare mishaps along the way?