Bioderma

Encyclopedia of Face Masks

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The western skincare scene has usually been limited to clay, mud, charcoal, cream, gel kind of masks. Move to the east and we have a whole new innovative category of masks. Starting with the more traditional sheet masks for various parts like face, hands, feet with different materials to a rather new age innovative Oxygen bubbling, Splashing or Patting, Rubber modeling, Spot treatment, Lip masks!!!! Below I have a list of masks based on various consistencies and textures:

  • Clay, Mud, Charcoal
  • Powder aka Ubtan
  • Cream
  • Gel
  • Sheet – face and eye – cotton, gel, sea weed/kelp, hydrogel, foil back sheet mask
  • Sleep or Overnight – cream, gel or bouncy textures, water pack
  • Peel off mask – Gels
  • Rubber modeling
  • Oxygen Bubbling
  • Splash or Patting
  • Mousse pack – too cool for school eg mousse pack
  • Nose pack – mainly for white and black heads
  • Spot treatment
  • Hand & feet
  • Lip mask

In terms of why we mask, its simple – immediate crash injection of whatever skin needs. Below are some outcomes expected of masks, and the gobbledygook it’s usually marketed with:

  • Repair, Rescue
  • Detoxifying, Decongesting, Purifying, Deep Cleansing, Mattifying, Clarifying, Pore Correction
  • Exfoliating, Resurfacing, Retexturizing
  • Radiance, Brightening, Glow, Luminous
  • Hydration
  • Moisture
  • Firming, Lifting, Shaping
  • Self Tanning Sleep Mask

I’ll talk about my current masks on rotation based on their purpose in life and intended outcome for my skin. Here I have a decent mix of price points and regional availabilities. Of course if all else fails, diving into your kitchen and whipping up one of your own creations is always an option. I have a post on DIY masks you could refer for some ideas and inspiration.

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Charcoal, Clay and Mud Masks

I hate paying ridiculously priced clay, mud or charcoal masks! They are the cheapest ingredients and formulating a mask with them as a base doesn’t cost an entity as much moolah. Large mark up zone, so beware and ensure you read inci list here. Look for life changing ingredient (as if they exist – eye roll) to justify a price tag.

Generally formulated with some soothing, hydrating and moisturizing ingredients. This category of masks can leave the skin dry and parched. This happens because the mask is left on too long. These masks should be left long enough for it to work but not to the point where they are bone dry. By doing so it is drawing moisture from skin. Once you let it dry completely to the point you cannot move your face, you would need a bloody chisel to break through (exceptions: Aesop, SkinFood NZ, Sanctuary Spa). Therefore I prefer slapping these on when I intend to step in the shower. With the steam and clay/mud/charcoal it draws impurities to surface and truly detoxifies the skin. Plus its easier to remove and goes down the drain instead of messing up the sink.

Great for oily, combination, congestion prone skin. Alternatively also good for skin who need a detox. Drier skins need to be slightly careful with masks, add couple of drops of facial oil to avoid any post-mask tightness or dryness.

Quick blurb on all masks pictured above: Dr. Organic Virgin Olive Oil – too drying, hard to work with; Good Things Manuka Honey – purifying yet leaving skin supple; Nip+Fab Kale Fix – seriously softens the skin; Caudalie Purifying – too strong essential oils, not crazy about this one; Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus – smells amazing but results are mediocre; Moreish – another Kiwi fave mask, almost creamy and leaves skin supple; Cattier – limited availability outside France, good basic clay mask; Mahalo Bean (limited edition) – not available anymore but left skin radiant; Andalou Naturals – great drugstore option; Aesop – long time fave, wonderful detoxifier; SkinFooz NZ – the best mask truly, not drying, applies nicely, very mild exfoliating and nourishing; Derma E – exfoliating particles not for sensitive skins; Sanctuary Spa – warming sensation, easy to remove; Colleen Rothschild Detoxifying – minty freshness, leaves skin refreshed and purified.

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Brightening, Radiance, Firming Mask

Texture wise this category varies between gel, cream and whipped mousse. Ingredient base will usually have some form of AHA, or Enzymes to allow the surface exfoliation which results in brightening and radiance. Occasionally some masks include physical exfoliation aspect as well, in this case its M61 Skincare Vitablast C Scrub & Mask. I tend to slap it on, leave it for a while and then gently massage/exfoliate the skin. Given its formulation with Vitamin C it helps brighten the skin. Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey mask is an unusual one in this category, whilst Antipodes claim it to be purifying as honey draws impurities to surface I prefer this mask for subtle glow and brightening my skin. Easy cream application leaves skin soft, supple and glowy.

Blurbs on others: Andalou Naturals Berry Enzyme – again great drugstore alternative without hefty price tag; Forest Essentials Yogurt Purifying – stings skin slightly, smells yummy, whipped yogurt texture and results are meh; Dr Lewinns Reversaderm – sure shot radiance with runny blue lotion like consistency; Natio 10min Brightening – so good, but limited to Australia; Farmacia Barcelona Gold Mask – slightly gimmicky with gold ‘powder’ but decently hydrating; Nip+Fab Bee Sting – nothing firms skin like this fella, taut skin; Chantecaille Fruit and Flower – smells amazing, feels creamy and leaves skin glowy. love.

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Hydration Boosters

Hyaluronic acids, Glycerin, fermented ingredients or masks formulated with serious humectants are all about major hydration. Absolute treats for skin and sensorial experiences include Mahalo Petal – the smell is heavenly, apply and step in shower and the whole bathroom smells divine. Words are not enough to describe the scent. In terms of hydration its a mild everyday use mask. May Lindstrom The Honey Mud classified as cleanser, but No its too lush to go as cleanser hence a sweet spicy honey mask. An inexpensive treat is Super Facialist Una Brennan Rose Hydrating mask and Andalou Naturals 1000 Roses mask.

The beauty of these masks is you can use everyday (if your skin needs it). Leave it on for as long as your heart desires and skin is left hydrated, nourished and smooth.

Serious hydrating masks are – Bioderma Hydrabio (nothing like this fella), Rodial Dragons Blood Hyaluronic Acid (overnight leave on mask), Natio Ageless Vitamin C hydration and The Body Shop Vitamin E Moisture mask.

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Powder masks

The purpose could vary from mere cleansing, exfoliating, detoxifying to enzyme radiance. Recently I wrote about cleansing powders aka ubtans could also be used as masks. Since the ingredients are in dried powder form this one has greater shelf life but can be messy to use. At the same time it gives you the flexibility and allows creativity on the liquids to use for mixing. May Lindstrom’s The Problem Solver is enriched with spices and oils and tends to self heat (due to spices) when applied to the skin. Love this mask for its ability to decongest and purify skin.

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The new concept of splashing or patting unadulterated concentrated ingredients on skin for crash radiance. The methods of application can be as creative as they can get, but what remains consistent is the result on skin. Bright, radiant skin like someone slapped it to life! This product is truly tailored for clumsy individuals like me. Definitely look into this, now available in Sephora too, so you can try a sample.

Click here for my detailed review

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Sheet Masks

These masks are now becoming all the rage in western markets whereas they have dominated the east Asian market for decades. Made with various materials, ingredients these masks pack a punch and truly feed the skin. The beauty of these masks is you can get it for absolutely any skin concern. Sheet masks are also made specifically for neck, hands, feet, eye, and lips.

Personally I love using these after acid tone stage, as my skin drinks up all the essence in these masks, follow with serum or ampoule and finish off with oil or moisturizer. The fits and sizes of these masks can vary for a lot of non Asian faces. In some instances, the forehead is not big enough or nose is tiny, or mask in general is smaller. They are made with Asian faces in mind however the outreach of these masks is phenomenal.

Whilst Korea dominates the sheet masks domain, Asian countries like Japan (HadaLabo, SKII, Shiseido, Harihada, Biore), Taiwan (My Beauty Diary, Naruko, Neogence, Silk Whitia), Singapore (DrGL, BioEssence, RachelK), Hong Kong (Hiruscar,Wai Yeung Tong) are not too far behind and worth giving a try.

These masks are wildly creative with the ingredient formulation too, from oils to fermented ingredients to animal by products (donkey milk, snail mucin, abalone serum), EGF factors, etc. The price points can also range from a $1 to $40 per sheet mask.

The new trend also includes cleansing gel, peeling gel, aqua or milk peel swab (aka acid tones), essence and sheet masks making it a one stop shop for convenience and travel friendly. Reme G, Ettang, Papa Recipe, Somoon, The Saem are some brands which have got on board with this concept.

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Not a huge deviation from above mentioned Sheet Masks, these Eye patches specifically address puffiness, bagginess and brightening eye area. Common ingredients that are often used are caffeine, retinol, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, bamboo water and other fermented ingredients.

On a disgustingly warm day, keeping any sheet mask in fridge for few minutes before application can seriously feel amazing, slapping on cool sheet mask whilst everything around you is boiling and feel like your insides are melting. Amazing for travel, excellent short cut to an elaborate routine without compromising on results.

How innovative and experimentative are you with masks? I’d love to know in comments below is there any category of mask or brand I absolutely must try.

HHW.com

xx

Long Haul Flight ESSENTIALS

Travel Essentials 1Over in the Instagram world, I’ve been asked time and again, what do I pack for long haul flights. First lets clarify definition of “Long Haul”, it’s flying time in excess of 6-7 hours for me. For flight time less than 6-7 hours, I’d have similar essentials but far more condensed version.

Generally my travel toiletry bags are not touched aka, not introduced to the main stash. It’s a one way road i.e. decanting from main stash to travel bag. Any samples of trusted products will make its way to the travel bag. NO experiments are encouraged in bacteria infested air of the vessel.

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Passport (uhhhh)

Tea – They keep changing all the time.Ginger is recommended for long haul flights.

Headphones – Not inserting or placing those filthy ones they provide….just No.

HYGIENE & HEALTH

Flight Duration Hygiene – Hand Sanitizer, Tissues, Wipes

Dental Hygiene – Wispy Toothbrush and Mints

Bodily Hygiene – Deodorant, Lavanilla or your preferred, Perfume – any travel size of pumped in Travalo. Not too strong just subtle and pleasant.

Health – Pain killer for headaches (airplane pressure), hangovers. Ear buds (I don’t have any because generally airline provides). Tiger Balm or any Muscle relax balm for soothe any muscle soreness.

Travel Essentials 2

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  • Micellar Water (with cotton pads) – Bioderma Micellar Water
  • Decanted cleansing gel or balm – I’ve decanted The Body Shop Nutriganics Cleansing Gel, or Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm and take it off with Micellar water soaked cotton.
  • Acid Peel – Dr Dennis Gross peels always travel with me, Dr DG himself may not know but he accompanies me every travel.
  • Sheet Mask – dont hesitate to walk around plane scarring those lil kids! Seriously, skin will thank you when you land. Just try to avoid eating with mask now, its epic fail.
  • Toner or Essence – Keeps changing, although I do like Kiehls In Flight Anti Bacterial Refresher (has alcohol but not drying since I also follow with moisturizer and balm).
  • Eye Cream – not regular with eye cream but try to include Retinol based eye cream like La Roche Posay Redermic R or an all rounder Indeed Labs Eyesilix.
  • Moisturizer – Clarins HydraQuench. Hands down the best. Also love Origins Drink Up Intensive mask (smells pleasant and skin binges away).
  • Face Oil – Tata Harper Replenishing Nutrient Complex, roller ball oil screams convinience with good skin.
  • Face Balm – Generally decanted, love Mahalo Balm, May Lindstrom The Blue Cocoon. Basically any face balm your skin will feel protected.
  • Lip Oil & Lip Balm – Usually carry sticks, no finger dipping in my usual Nuxe Reve de Miel pot.
  • Hand and/or Body Cream – with constant hand sanitizing action, hands will be dry. Need decent hand or body cream.
  • Spot Treatment – THE MOST IMPORTANT. La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo. Inevitably something would be brewing under surface, need to address before I scare the Immigration officer.

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Basic and Minimal.

One solid trust worthy Concealer – Mac Pro Longwear

Multipurpose product – Lip & Cheek kinda deal – Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge. I prefer cream product because they’re hydrating and easily blendable.

Brow Gel – Essence Make me Brow Gel – prefer to have brow gel and stronger brows rather than mascara. Turbulence in plane may result in eye poke….not allowing that to happen. Although I tend to keep a mascara just in case we are expecting clear skies and smooth landing.

Brushes – small and not too fluffy allowing precision and still multipurpose.

RANDOM THROWS:

The Body Shop Facial Massaging (keep that blood flowing), under eye masks (address major panda eye situation).

Entertainment: I dont carry reading material, hate reading in plane. I’m more of movie marathon kinda girl.

Clothing – Light, loose and breathable. Here’s why? Light because you want to feel comfortable, Loose because inevitably you will feel bloated and breathable because you don’t want to wreak.

Sleep – Always, without fail carry those U shaped travel pillows, the BEST. Ensure you wash and disinfect them after each travel. If you can’t sleep, move around, walk around, stretch, squats, lunge….do what you have to keep the body moving and blood flowing.

Uhhhh if you’re flying Qantas, keep away from Tim Tams and Muesli bars….major addiction.

The products/brands of products themselves keep changing, however the categories remain a constant. What do you carry in your bag? I’d love to peek inside your bags? Am I missing anything?

Feel free to use this as a checklist when you travel. Of course I haven’t covered entertainment needs, pillows, clothes, etc.

HHW.com

xx

The Cleansing Backups

I think we’ve all been there, when we fall in a love with some product and it becomes an indispensable part of our regime. Our innate first world fear sets in, and we purchase multiples of the product like the apocalypse is going to hit tomorrow. So here are my back ups for a rainy day:P1010083

Bioderma Micellar Water – this has been raved and ranted on endlessly in blogsphere and modeling world. No other micellar water has come close to this, or is as gentle as this one.

Rodial Glamtox Cleansing Balm – Bloody love this balm. It’s a thick textured balm which I massage onto dry skin and it effectively removes moi makeup!

Rodial Dragons Blood Cleansing Water – Good but not as good as Bioderma Micellar Water. I use this one as an aromatherapy treat.

The Body Shop Nutriganics Cleansing Gel – my rave, rant and disappointment on it being discontinued can be found here.

xx

HHW.com

My Thoughts: Bioderma White Objective Serum

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Browsing through the aisles of Pharmacia in Madrid, I purchased this serum on a whim. Quickly glanced at the ingredients and thought let’s try it. It sure has some pretty effective ingredients for brightening and exfoliating the skin.

The packaging was interesting, with 30ml bottle accompanied with a vial of Vitamin C powder. You need to empty the powder in 30ml bottle (travel friendly) and give it a good shake ensuring all ingredients have nicely incorporated.

I used this every night after toning and experienced slight tingling sensation (sensitive skins might not enjoy it) that dint last long. I noticed that the glycolic acid helped my skin when I was experiencing breakout. Next morning my skin felt brighter and spots shrinking . It certainly did wonders to my older acne scars, some pigmentation and dull areas. This serum doesn’t have any smell to it but over a period of time I noticed the color of serum changed not impacting its efficacy. I’m assuming it’s due to vitamin c which is not the most stable ingredients.

As with any glycolic acid and vitamin c product, I ensured I had adequate sun protection at all times.  My only gripe with this product would be I wish it had slightly lower alcohol content. Whilst I fully understand that alcohol is needed to stabilize glycolic acid, it’s just tad strong. In saying so, I would definitely buy it again!

Ingredients:

WATER (AQUA), ALCOHOL DENAT., GLYCOLIC ACID (Yay), SODIUM HY- DROXIDE, ASCORBYL GLUCOSIDE (Yay), BUTYLENE GLYCOL, NIACINAMIDE (Yay), LYSINE AZELATE, ANDROGRAPHIS PANICULATA LEAF EXTRACT, GLYCYRRHIZA GLABRA (LICORICE) ROOT EXTRACT (Yay), HEXAPEP-TIDE-2, RHAMNOSE, MANNITOL, XYLITOL, FRUCTOOLIGOSACCHARIDES, AMMONIUM ACRYLOYL DIMETHYLTAURATE/VP COPOLYMER, HYDROXYETHYLCELLULOSE, POLYSORBATE 20, SODIUM METABISULFITE.

$45 – Bioderma White Objective Serum

xx

HHW.com