Review: Medusa’s Makeup Afterglow Facial Serum

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I’ve been a fan of Medusa’s Makeup for awhile, because not only are their products edgy looking and all around awesome, but they’re vegan which is always a plus in my book. They recently debuted a Facial Serum, and being heavily into skincare I was happy to find it in my September Beauty Box.

Packaging: A cute glass bottle with a dropper dispenser.

What It Does: Keeps skin hydrated, use morning or night.

Active Ingredients: Grapeseed Oil and Grapefruit Oil

Benefits: Grape seed oil is non-comedogenic, treats acne, tightens skin, helps diminish dark circles around the eyes, moisturizers, and reduces scars. Grapefruit oil can help curb hangovers, headaches, mental fatigue, and depression. It is also known to treat acne, prevent oily skin, and help reduce the appearance of cellulite.

Verdict: This serum is amazing! Especially if you have oily or acne prone skin as myself. It is lightweight enough that if can be worn under makeup in the mornings, although I prefer to use it at night before going to bed. It’s never sticky and smells fresh, so if used in the mornings, it feels very refreshing. I find that this serum helps curb my oily skin, leaving glowing but NOT oily skin, looking youthful and fresh-faced. I absolutely recommend this especially if you have problem skin and wish to keep your skin hydrated without clogging up your pores even more so.

Price: $16

Where To Buy It: Medusa’s Makeup Site

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Review: Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil

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If you’ve been following my blog, then you know that I have a soft spot for skin oils. I know that it may seem counterproductive to use oils if you have oily skin (like I do), but in reality, in some weird way, drying out oily skin actually creates more oil than applying oils. So when I received this product in my latest Allure Beauty Box, I was thrilled to try it out.

Packaging: A gorgeous glass bottle with a dropper dispenser.

What It Does: Moisturizes, eliminates redness, fights wrinkles, makes pores smaller, and improves damaged skin.

Active Ingredients: Retinol and chamomile.

Verdict: Now, I know that some people may not be into this oil because it does have some fragrance to it (and maybe it can be irritating to sensitive skin). But the fragrance that it does have is due to natural essential oils from neroli, blood orange, ylang ylang, and vetiver. But if you don’t have sensitive skin, then this oil may be perfect for you. I really loved how it made my skin feel so velvety soft in the mornings (after applying it at night) and also making it plumper. It truly gave me the dewy skin that is oh so coveted by the beauty world. What I love is that the oil is very lightweight, and it’s perfect even for acne-prone skin as myself. I highly suggest to check it out if you need an oil, but if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to skin oils, then check out my favourite Vitamin C oils here.

Price: $105

Where To Buy It: Sephora.com

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Skincare: Is Foundation Ruining Your Skin?

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When asked what foundation I use, many people are surprised when I admit that I don’t use any and haven’t really worn much of it (save for the few times I’ve had to for photoshoots) in years. I attribute my good skin days to various things, but NOT wearing foundation is at the very top of the list. If the thought of leaving the house without makeup is enough to make you cringe, then you may be damaging your skin. This is the age of Instagram, Beat Face, and Full-coverage foundation. But what damage are all of these cosmetics, namely foundation, really doing to your skin day after day? The terrible truth is that if you have problematic skin (dryness, oiliness, or acne-prone) then you aren’t doing your skin any favors by adding layers and layers of products on top of it.

Oily Skin

If you have oily skin you’ll soon found out the hard way, that foundation and oily skin DO NOT mingle. Using liquid foundation may actually create a thicker coat of oil on your skin, meaning your skin will look slick with oils, rather than dewy. If the thought of going foundation-less is unfathomable, then opt for mineral foundation or lightweight pressed powder.

Dryness

Although liquid foundation may increase the oil in oily skin, it does NOT act as a moisturizer for dry skin. It actually creates more flakes and dryness! So you’re better off using a tinted moisturizer, or adding a smidgen of foundation or concealer to your favorite moisturizer and using that instead.

Acne

Though makeup hasn’t been proven to cause acne per se in people who aren’t acne-prone, it does, however cause acne to flare up in people who have acne-prone skin. And I know that many people who have acne, turn to foundation as a way to create the appearance of flawless skin, but it’s a Catch 22, where the more foundation they use the more new blemishes it creates, in turn, making someone continue to use foundation. If you suffer from acne, try to discover the root of your problem (meaning is it due to diet, hormones, or stress?) with the help of a dermatologist. Don’t just try to conceal the problem with foundation, it’ll only wreak havoc on your skin.

Unrealistic Expectations

Learn to love your natural skin! Wearing foundation every day not only does it damage it, but it will give you unrealistic expectations of how your skin should look at all times. You can have amazing skin without it having to look airbrushed or Instagram worthy. Instead, try to take care of your skin by keeping hydrated, sleeping at least 6-8 hours a night, turn to a more plant-based diet, and keep up with a skincare routine that best suits your skin type.

Amazing skin isn’t easy to have, but with some work and dedication (and less makeup!) it’s easier to achieve than thought possible.
So give your skin a break and go foundation-free, and keep foundation ready for those moments when you really need it (school photos, weddings, etc.).

By: Azzurra Nox

Want to kiss your acne goodbye forever, then READ HOW VITAMIN A CAN CURE YOUR ACNE!

Skincare: DIY Cucumber Mask!

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Anyone who knows me knows that I love a good face mask! Not only are they luxurious in feel, but they always make me feel as though they are truly combating my skin concerns (oiliness/acne) whenever I’m using skin masks that target those concerns. But with so many companies coming out with face masks, not all face masks are created equal, and many of them are loaded with chemicals or unnecessary colouring agents and added scents.

So what does one do when you’re aiming for an all-natural face mask? Simple, do it yourself!

This face mask is aimed at soaking up oil and calming inflammation, and better suited for those with oily or combination skin type. Those of you with dry skin might find this mask a bit more drying and thus not as helpful to your skin type.

There’s a load of DIY face masks on the internet, but this one is truly easy peasy! I’m not one to try to get too fancy with crazy ingredients, so this is one you can whip up in less than three minutes tops!

Ingredients:
Half a cucumber (blended to make one tablespoon juice)
One teaspoon lemon juice
One teaspoon turmeric

Directions:
Blend all the ingredients in a blender till they’re all mixed together, or you can place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix the ingredients together manually.
Then once you have the mixture, spread it all over your face (keep away from the eye area and eyebrows and lips) using a cotton ball or foundation brush.

Time: Keep this on for 15-30 mins. Don’t exceed 30-mins. though otherwise the lemon can be too drying to your skin!

Final step: Once the time has elapsed, rinse the mask off using lukewarm water and pat dry with a towel.

Bonus: Use this mask 2-3 times a week (to save time you can apply this before taking a bath! I love being able to multitask since I hate waiting!).

Benefits of the mask: Cucumber promotes healthy skin, while the lemon juice targets the oiliness and acts like a natural astringent, while the turmeric penetrates into the pores and soothes any inflammation there may be (and oily and acne-prone skin is ALWAYS harboring some kind of inflammation).

By: Azzurra Nox

Skincare: How Vitamin A Can Make You Have Gorgeous Skin!

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*Foundation-free skin in the photo.

Vitamin A can easily be described as the holy grail of vitamins for skin. If you’re an acne sufferer, this vitamin is your cure. Many dermatologists prescribe Accutane (which is pretty much a medication that makes you overdose on Vitamin A), and while that could temporarily solve your problem, I don’t think that it’s the best approach. Instead, I recommend finding the perfect supplement dose for you (you can have your doctor decide what amounts if safe for you since everyone is different). Although, typically speaking, 25,000 IU taken about 4 times a week shouldn’t cause any harm AND keep the acne or any other skin ailment at bay.

Why 4 times a week and not every day?

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning that it stays stored in your body for awhile, and unlike water-soluble vitamins, it won’t flush out of your system if you have high amounts. Meaning, that it’s easy (and could be potentially hazardous) to overdose on Vitamin A or any other fat-soluble vitamin.

So why choose Vitamin A?

It encourages healthy skin cell production, and it also stimulates fibroblasts (the cells responsible for developing tissue that keeps skin firm and healthy). What this means is that it can help prevent wrinkles, whilst also getting rid of any acne, or acne scars you may have.

When choosing a Vitamin A supplement, I suggest going for the cod liver oil, as that has the best sort of Vitamin A (meaning the most potent and non-chemical).

If supplements aren’t your thing, then try to include more of these foods in your diet:

Chicken Liver, Beef Liver, Butter, or Eggs. For a less aggressive Vitamin A you can choose to eat foods that have beta-carotene (a Vitamin A precursor) which can be food in colorful vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and spinach.

Most importantly: In order for the skin to benefit from Vitamin A, the body converts it to retinoic acid, which can also be found in topical serums (my favorite is from Isabis Formulae).

How has it changed my skin?

Ever since I’ve been using Vitamin A supplements for the past year, I’ve seen a vast improvement in my skin. Not only do I rarely get blemishes, but when I do, they last for a less amount of time and leave fewer scars behind. Of course, the supplements or topical serums won’t be as effective if not followed by a healthy diet with low doses of sugar (as much as I love it, anything with sugar is basically poison for your skin).

So it’s a no-brainer that if you’re suffering from acne or wish to have a better complexion, then Vitamin A will be your new best friend.

By: Azzurra Nox

 

Peels: Why does your skin need them?

 

IMG_0882With so many skincare products floating around nowadays (masks, serums, moisturizers, etc.) it’s no wonder that a gal (or even guy!) may feel stumped as to where to begin and why they even need a certain product in the first place. But have no fear! My aim is to make this journey easier for you, and today the focus is on one of my favourite skincare products: PEELS.

What are Peels?

It’s another form of mask (usually one you can leave for up to 30-minutes to overnight) that allows for deep exfoliation of the skin. Facial peels will remove the top layer of skin, meaning that it’ll get rid of any dullness or imperfections by exposing the newer skin to the surface.

Chemical peels are the most potent, and depending on the strength of the acid is how deep your skin will be exfoliated. The higher dose of acid, the greater chances of getting fantastic results.

What are Peels best for?

If your skin concerns are: aging, acne scars, melasma, and hyperpigmentation, then chemical peels are the best thing that could happen to your skin. The only downside? Do NOT sunbathe up to a week before or after a peel, and don’t forget your sunscreen!

Which Chemical Peels are best for you?

Oily skin – Salicylic acid based peel

Aging skin – Glycolic acid based peel

Dry skin – Mandelic acid based peel

Recommended Peel: Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel Original Formula

This peel visibly transforms your skin in just THREE days!

Benefits of this peel are:

  • firmer, smoother skin
  • smaller, tighter pores
  • a radiant, more even complexion

Key Ingredients: Glyconic Acid, Lactic Acid, Malic Acid, Salicylic Acid, Retinol, Resveratrol, Genistein, Chamomile, Green Tea, Phospholipids, Ubiquinone, and Vitamins A, C, E

Verdict: Dr. Dennis Gross’ peels come in two steps. The first step is a surface refiner, meaning that you apply this one to prepare your skin. You leave the product on for two minutes before applying step two, which is the deeper treatment. The deeper treatment is targeted to penetrate deeper into the pores, exfoliating and removing the top layer of skin. I usually use peels at night, so I can keep them on overnight, and wake up the following morning to brighter, smoother, and supple skin. If you’re in search of having the softest skin ever without blemishes, then I truly recommend a peel! And this one, in particular, is one of my favourites because it targets the majority of skin concerns: aging, dullness, and acne! So do your skin a favour, and treat yourself to a peel!

Price: $27.98 (5-count on amazon.com)

Frequency of Use: It’s usually recommended to do a peel at least once a week if you have problematic skin, but if you don’t, then even twice a month or once a month is enough to reveal brighter softer skin.

By: Azzurra Nox

Review: Origins Clear Improvement

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Masks have always been my so-called beauty crack (meaning that I could never have too many stashed away!). Although face masks are all the rage lately, I still prefer clay masks overall (mostly because apparently I am extremely impatient and can’t seem to wait 10-15 minutes without doing nothing at all). At least with clay masks I can still do other beauty regimens (like painting my nails!). I’m all about multi-tasking. I may also love clay masks more because I have naturally oily skin, and always feel like this sort of mask truly combats in soaking up some of my natural oils without drying out my skin.

What It Is: Active charcoal mask to clear pores.

What It Does: Unclogs and clears pores.

Active Ingredient: China clay and Charcoal

Verdict: As I mentioned above, I simply love clay masks because they always leave my skin ultra-clean and refreshed. I’ve always been a fan of Origins products, so was very psyched to receive this product in my Sephora Play monthly subscription for November. This mask is simply A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! It will make your skin feel brighter and smoother in less than ten minutes! This mask is especially effective for those who like me have oily to combination skin, but it’s gentle enough for even sensitive or dry skins to use as well as this mask (unlike some other clay masks) doesn’t leave my skin ultra-dried out but rather it leaves it feeling supple, hydrated, but not oily. In other words, it’s the equivalent of drinking a tall glass of crisp cucumber-lime water. A more effective way of using this product is to first use a warm, wet towel pressed against your skin to help open up the pores and then to apply a thin layer of the mask all over your face, concentrating mostly on your T-zone. This mask is gentle enough to use twice a week or you can use it on trouble spots more times throughout the week.

Price: $27

Where To Buy It: https://www.origins.com

By: Azzurra Nox

Review: Skinfix Facial Cleansing Cloths

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What It Is: Individually wrapped cleansing cloths

What It Does: Remove makeup or can be used as toner

Verdict: I’m usually skeptic when it comes to pre-soaked cleansing cloths because I use a lot of liquid liner and mascara, and those never seem to work for me at all in getting rid of makeup. Not to mention that by the time you finish up the packet, the cloths are almost dry! This isn’t the case with these at all, as each cleansing cloth is individually wrapped, meaning that not only will they remain soaked and won’t dry out, but you can also pop some of these in your handbag for any makeup emergencies, or if you need to freshen up. I’m absolutely in LOVE with the scent (it’s a fresh cucumber scent, ie. very clean-feeling). Now, if you’re looking to use this to take off some serious eye-makeup, I suggest you use about three cloths. But I do prefer these over any other pre-soaked cloths I’ve used in the past.

Price: $9.99 for 20.

Where To Buy It: Shop-us.skinfix.com

Discount Code: Up until October 31st, you can use the following CODE: SKINALLURE at the checkout and will receive 30% Off on your purchase of $15 or more.

By: Azzurra Nox

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Review: Pixi Beauty Sleep Cream

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What It Is: A nourishing night cream to soothe skin

What It Does: Helps hydrate and nourish skin as well as even out skintone while you sleep.

Active Ingredients: 100% Mango Butter, Lavender, Lemon, & Bergamot Oils

Verdict: This cream is cruelty-free so if you’re looking for a night cream that falls in that category, this is a good choice. This cream is semi-thick. I have oily skin and was a little hesitant to use this cream seeing that I’m always afraid that any thick face cream will cause breakouts. If you’re looking for a cream that truly does hydrate and nourish, then this does the job. I can’t really speak about how well it is for anti-aging purposes as I didn’t see any major differences in that regard. Although this cream works best when combined with the Pixi Glow Tonic and the Pixi Glow Overnight Serum. Would I re-purchase this product? Probably yes. I do like the consistency and that it’s made from natural products. Plus, although the cream is extremely hydrating, it hasn’t affected my oily skin any adverse way. And that’s always a bonus.

Price: $24

Where To Buy It: Target or https://www.pixibeauty.com

By: Azzurra Nox

Review: Milk Makeup Cooling Water

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What It Is: A hydrating gel stick

What It Does: Refreshes and soothes skin for a quick boost of moisture on the go!

Active Ingredients: Caffeine and seawater

Verdict: Advertised as “sleep in a stick” I decided to give it a go since I’m always sleep deprived and could benefit from looking more refreshed and ready to conquer the world in the early a.m. Since it’s been on the humid/hot side lately, I decided to pop this beauty in the fridge overnight before using it the following morning. Usually I tend to avoid anything that claims to be uber hydrating because my skin is hydrated and oily enough that extra moisture usually means we’re getting close to acne territory, but the seawater convinced me that it would keep the pimples away since salt tends to absorb oil. I don’t have puffy eyes in the mornings, so I can’t say how well this stick works for that, but I can say that this stick does give you that extra boost that you may need to kickstart your morning. Using this is like drinking a double-shot espresso whilst getting a blast of cold water splashed on your face. If that doesn’t wake you up, I don’t know what will.

Bonus: Vegan and Cruelty-free

Price: $24

Where To Buy It: https://milkmakeup.com/products/cooling-water/

By: Azzurra Nox