estee lauder

Winter Skincare Wardrobe

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As the colours change, and temperatures drop, the state of skin is temperamental, agitated and protesting the change. Over the years, I’ve come to a solid conclusion my skin has a mind of its own and I need to adapt it’s care needs accordingly.

With fluctuating environments of strong wind chills, to artificially heated offices, cars and homes my skin is almost in an eternally dehydrated and confused state. Whilst it’s predominantly combination skin, with an oily T-zone and drier cheeks, during winter the ‘combination situation’ is exasperated. In addition, let’s not forget to complicate matters worse with a bout of dehydration and breakouts. Now that the problem is sufficiently moaned about, here’s how I adapt my skincare regime.

Aim of the game is similar to Asian beauty routines, where a number of thin layers of hydration and nourishment products are slapped on. With this method, the skin remains hydrated and nourished for longer.

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Cleansers typically I use oils or balms to remove makeup and second cleanse. Well that wouldn’t change for the evenings. However my morning cleanses, will include a lot more nourishing cream cleansers. Some of my faves in this category are, MV Organic Gentle Cream Cleanser, Trilogy Cream Cleanser and, and Good Things Manuka Cleanser.

Some mornings where I could get away without cream cleanser, I resort to milk cleansers and a strong fave has always been Institut Esthederm Osmoclean or Bioderma cleansing milks. New on the block is Forest Essentials Deeply Nourishing Cleansing Paste with ground paste of almonds, pistachios, and other lush Ayurvedic ingredients which provide skin gentle exfoliation and nourishment in one step. Smells Delish too!

Acid or other forms of exfoliation is driven strictly by my skin need, of how strong of an acid I use and which specific type of acid I use.  

Combination of various Acids: Dr Dennis Gross peels (of varying strengths), Biologique Recherché P50 range, MD Sun Skin Exfoliation Pads, Peter Thomas Roth Unwrinkle Peel Pads, M61 Power Peel, Neogen Wine Peeling Gauze

Glycolic Acid: Alpha H Liquid Gold, Bravura London Calendula Toner, Pixi Glow Tonic, Cane & Austin Miracle+ Pads, Avon Anew Clinical Advanced Retexurising Peel

Lactic Acid: Kate Somerville Clinic to go,  Skyn Iceland Nordic Skin Peel

Milk Peels (the new thing!) – Primary Raw or Dr Jart+ milk peels are gentler on skin OR Pre Lab Toning Peeling tap which is essentially exfoliating with enzymes.

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“Toning Mist & Amp up with Essences” A regular toning spritz post acid to stabilize the pH level in skin. Some examples could be basic floral hydrosols such as Rose Water by MV Organic, Alteya Organic, Santa Maria Novella, Whamisa Damask Rose, Andalou Naturals, Forest Essentials, Kama Ayurveda, Just Herbs etc. Or Zinc based like La Roche Posay Serozinc. Other toners with a combination of ingredients to hydrate and provide other benefits to skin could include Farmacy Skindew, Patyka Revitalizing Toner, Sjal Mineral Kalla toner, Antipodes, Aesop or Trilogy toners.

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These toning mists are then followed by serious hydrating or fermented essences to inject and plump the skin. My absolute fave is Whamisa Organic Flowers Deep Rich Toner, and from same brand Refresh and Original are just as wonderful. To name a few others: Decleor HydraFloral Essence Lotion, Blithe Vital Treatment Essences, Earth’s Recipe Energy Boosting Toner, Missha Time Revolution The First Essence Mist, Bio Essence 24 Gold Water, Shiseido Ibuki essence, Rohto Hadalabo Shirojyun or Gokujun.

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Masks including Sheet Masks Lots of hydration and moisturizing masks, good ol’ sheet masks are fabulous in this category. In saying so, I also throw in one detoxifying or purifying mask, least once a week. I tend to incorporate this everyday if not every second day. Masks are the best way to turbo boost and treat the skin.

Serums or Ampoules are used as usual to specifically target the problem of the day/week/month/season. I have a whole separate post on Guide to Serums for all conditions and skins.

Moisturisers and Oils are the cornerstone of protecting skin’s barrier and thoroughly nurturing it with lovely oils and ingredients. Some wonders which have stood the test of time with me are; Decleor HydraFloral, Mahogany Naturals Manuka Honey Cream, Whamisa Fermented Water Cream and Nourishing Cream, Bravura London Azulene Cream, Pistache Skincare Hydrating Moisturiser, Missha Misa Geum Sul Emulsion, Yuri Pibu Asiatica, Trilogy Rosapene Night Cream.

Here’s a tip if you don’t want to invest in a separate night cream however are quite content with your  regular moisturiser, just add few drops of oil to your day cream and use in your night routine.

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Balms have a special place in my heart and stash! I view them as amplified  version of oils, and of course more lush experience as well. Strong fave continues to be Mahalo Rare Indigo Balm, followed by Mahogany Naturals Blue Lover, May Lindstrom The Blue Cocoon, Mahalo Balm, Darphin Purifying balm, Decleor Rose d’Orient balm. In terms of lip balm, there was one and always be the one, Nuxe Reve de Miel. The rich beeswax coats the lips and leaves it matte. In saying so, I have a separate post on Lip Balms which explores other lip products too.

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Since I complete my evening skincare routine by 5pm, I Re-balm or Re-Oil my skin one more time before bed. Or mist SKII Overnight Essence, which is moisturizing to skin but also leaves a tingly refreshed feel on the skin. Other categories to nourish much drier skins also includes Overnight Masks which can be argued is a richer version of a night cream.

How do you plan to amp up your skincare routine for the winter?

HHW.com

xx

Night Repair Serums

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Today I have lined up a comparison of three very popular “Night Repair Serums”

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair II (ANR), Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Ampoule, and Manyo Factory Bifida Ferment Complex. 

All three at various price points and thankfully the alternatives are inexpensive. This post will compare the products on basis of their claims, ingredients, texture, consistency, scent, packaging, price, and overall results and opinion.

In terms of Claims, the underlying commonality in their purpose is exactly the same, possibly with couple of other additional claims, anti aging addressing wrinkles, fine lines, elasticity. In addition, restore and rebuild skin’s elasticity and inject deep moisture.

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair claims “reveal a smoother, more radiant, younger look. Wake up to more beautiful skin every day. Tested and proven: Advanced Night Repair dramatically reduces the look of all key signs of aging. It maximizes the power of skin’s natural nighttime renewal with our exclusive ChronoluxCB™ Technology“.

Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Science Activator Ampoule claims “the complete science behind beautiful skin. Use the essential Activator Ampoule daily in your nighttime routine to get smooth and firm, beautiful skin. It provides your skin with extra nutrients and moisture lacking from your basic skincare. The Ampoule energizes, repairs, and restores elasticity. It also provides wrinkle repairing and whitening benefits“.

Manyo Factory Bifida Ferment Complex claims “this is a multifunctional and highly concentrated ampoule that delivers intensive care to the skin with its special ingredients. Bifida Ferment Complex, its key component, helps rebuild and restore damaged skin cells to make the skin stronger and less prone to damage. It also provides deep moisture to keep the skin moist and radiant. This is also a great solution for aging skin as it is also formulated to improve skin elasticity, therefore gradually eliminating sagging skin, wrinkles and fine lines”.

Next up analyzing the ingredients, possibly the boring section for some but this is where you can see if you’re getting bang for your buck. Couple of notes on inci lists below, ingredients highlighted in bold indicates good stuff, red font indicates ingredient similarity between Estee Lauder ANR and Missha Time Revolution serums and finally blue font indicates similarity between Estee Lauder ANR and Manyo Factory serum.

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Ingredients: Water, Bifida Ferment Lysate, Methyl Gluceth-20, PEG-75, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Butylene Glycol, Propanediol, Cola Acuminata (Kola) Seed Extract, Hydrolyzed Algin, Pantethine, Caffeine, Lectithin, Tripeptide-32, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium RNA, Bisabolol, Glycereth-26, Squalane, Sodium Hyaluronate, Oleth-3 Phosphate, Caprylyl Glycol, Lactobacillus Ferment, Oleth-3, Oleth-5, Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile), Yeast Extract, Choleth-24, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Ceteth-24, Tocopheryl Acetate, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Hexylene Glycol, Carbonmer, Triethanolamine, Trisodium EDTA, BHT, Xanthan Gum, Phenoxyethanol, Red 4, Yellow 5.

Time Revolution Night Repair Science Activator AmpouleMissha Time Revolution Night Repair Science Activator Ampoule Ingredients: Water, Bifida Ferment Lysate, Glycereth-26, Juniperus Chinensis Xylem Extract, Sorbus Commixta Extract, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Butylene Glycol, Niacinamide, Glycerin, Betaine, Chamomilla Recutita (German Chamomile) Flower Extract, Disodium EDTA, Silica, Tripeptide-1, Tripeptide-10 Citrulline, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Ceteth-3, Ceteth-5, PEG-5 Rapeseed Sterol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Sea Water, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Chamomile Flower Extract, Ethyl Hexanediol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Glyceryl Polyacrylate, PEG-11 Methyl Ether Dimethicone, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, PPG-26-Buteth-26, Polysorbate 20. Cyclomethicone, Grifola Frondosa (Maitake) Mycelium Ferment Filtrate Extract, Ophioglossum Vulgatum Extract, Carbomer, Glyceryl Caprylate, Triethanolamine, Sodium Hyaluronate, Lactobacillus/Rice Ferment Filtrate, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Lactobacillus/Soybean Ferment Extract, Saccharomyces/Viscum Album (Mistletoe) Ferment Extract, Yeast Ferment Extract, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Acacia Arabica Stem Bark Extract, Adenosine, Dimethiconol, Xanthan Gum, Cardiospermum Halicacabum Flower/Leaf/Vine Extract, Echium Plantagineum Seed Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil Unsaponifiables, Octyldodecanol, Cyclomethicone, Dipropylene Glycol, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Tocopheryl Acetate, Alpha-Glucan Oligosaccharide, Cassia Alata Leaf Extract, Dextrin, Lactococcus Ferment Lysate, Laminaria Digitata Extract, Manilkara Multinervis Leaf Extract, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Extract, Lactobacillus Ferment, Lauryl Methacrylate/Glycol Dimethacrylate Crosspolymer, Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate, Pogostemon Cablin Oil, Pseudoalteromonas Ferment Extract, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Maltodextrin Crosspolymer, Macadamia Seed Oil, Propylene Glycol, Retinol, Cholesterol, Beta-Sitosterol, Lecithin, Panthenol, Cucumis Melo (Melon) Fruit Extract, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, Ceteth-24, Choleth-24, Glyceryl Arachidonate, Glyceryl Linoleate, Glyceryl Linolenate, Ubiquinone, Cetyl Phosphate, Brassica Campestris (Rapeseed) Sterol, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Copper, Amaranthus Caudatus Seed Extract, Biotin

 

Manyo Factory Bifida Ferment Complex Ingredients: Bifida Ferment Lysate, Lactobacillus/Pumpkin Fruit Ferment Filtrate, Niacinamide, Butylene Glycol, Copper Tripeptide-1, Aureobasidium Pullulans Ferment, Panax Ginseng Callus Culture Extract, Zanthoxylum Piperitum Fruit Extract, Pulsatilla Koreana Extract, Usnea Barbata (Lichen) Extract, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Glycerin, Physalis Alkekengi Fruit Extract, Caffeine, Hydrolyzed Algin, Red Ginseng Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Adenosine, Methyl Gluceth-20, Epigallocatechin Gallate.

Round up on ingredients: yes yes yes Missha list is incredibly long with a dash of vitamin c, peptides, retinol, fermented ingredients, silicones, and number of preservatives. Come along to Estee Lauder ANR contains 40 ingredients with an extra addition of colours too (although its colorless serum). Finally Manyo Factory appears too good to be true, and here I will bring up an interesting point. The ingredient disclosure requirement between Korea and USA are very different. I would highly highly highly recommend reading Fabserviced-B post on Korean vs. US Cosmetic ingredient list order differences. Please go ahead and read Tracy’s blog, especially if you’re a keen Korean beauty addict.

Next up Texture, Consistency and Scent of these serums:

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair is a viscous consistency and absorbs seamlessly in skin. Easy to dispense with the dropper provided. Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Science Activator Ampoule is light peachy brown colour runny gel which absorbs just as beautifully as ANR. In terms of smell, ANR and Missha smell similar however Missha is slightly milder. It is difficult to describe their scent without making it sound gross when in reality it’s quite pleasant. If I tried, I’d say, fermented citrus smell but not pungent at all.

And lastly, Manyo Factory Bifida Ferment Complex is extremely runny, border line like water but slightly denser than water liquid which feels marginally silicony (but don’t see it on inci lists). It is colorless and completely odorless.

Packaging, Pricing & Availability 

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair II (50ml – $92) packaged in a dark brown (see through) plastic bottle with dropper, available in three sizes. Easily available at Sephora, and department stores in USA. For rest of world, it is easily available online. The Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Ampoule (50ml – $49) packaged in an opaque bottle where the 40ml bottle comes with a pump whilst 50ml is packaged with a dropper. In USA it is available directly from Missha US website, Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, Urban Outfitters. Finally the Manyo Factory Bifida Ferment Complex (50ml – $16 – $32)  packaged in a dark brown glass bottle with dropper, identical shape, structure and sizing to Estee Lauder ANR bottle. This serum is available in USA through Memebox website.

Overall Results and Opinions

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair II, I’ve always referred to this as ‘good skin in a bottle’. Next morning my skin is guaranteed to look calm, smooth, and basically ‘normal’ (such a relative term). Skin is surely plump, hydrated and bouncy. As for lines and wrinkles like I’ve said before, I’m not the right candidate to assess that. Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Ampoule is very similar to ANR in results and experience BUT….and yes there is a BUT, it particularly helps inflamed skin. All in all, I think Missha is wonderful inexpensive dupe for ANR. It doesn’t compromise on ingredients, packaging, efficacy and bang for your buck! 

On the other hand Manyo Factory Bifida Ferment Complex is serious hydration and plumpness. Lets say its a notch higher than ANR. Although with respect to its texture and feel, I’m not crazy about it. I tend to use it after an acid tone and then follow by denser consistency serum. Results are undeniably lovely, but the confused oily/silicony texture throws me a little. Sometimes mixing it with ANR or Missha also delivers wonderful results but no one needs to buy it separately solely for that purpose. ANR and Missha stand alone are quite capable of pulling their weight.

Have you tried either of these serums, what are your thoughts?

HHW.com

xx

Fermented Skincare by @Gothamista

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renee-chowToday I bring to you, the most exciting collaboration and post by my personal favorite Renee, the gorgeous person behind @Gothamista! Renee is the beaming ray of positivity, light and sunshine with a wealth of Korean beauty knowledge that I rely on and refer to time and again. Surely you want me to stop my gushing over Renee and how incredibly thankful I’m for her to agree to do this for HHW blog. Hope you all enjoy the read, and enjoy the shopping after the read ;).

Just like so many of my favourite skincare innovations, the fermented skincare movement started in Japan. You may be familiar with the clever ‘story’ of how a chance encounter of cosmetic scientists and elderly sake brewers with extraordinarily youthful hands were the origins of what would eventually take the world of skincare by storm. SKII scientists, made a connection between the child-hands and the yeast they were in constant contact with during the fermentation process, then focused their powers on finding that special strain. Years later, they introduced the world to ‘Pitera’, the fermented yeast essence and that extra step that’s been missing in our skincare routines. 

Fermented ingredients have since spread beyond essences, and into other product categories as well as all other markets. If there was any doubt, there is clearly a growing demand for more of this anti-aging wonder. The Korean skincare market has been the most dynamic in developing products incorporating this process, and the response is huge. Infact, there are entire brands devoted to fermented ingredients such as Su:m37, Sulwhasoo, Goodal, Primary Raw, to mention just a few. Not only are they using fermented yeast, which is a very rich source of vitamin B, this process has been used on other plant ingredients to boost their potency. Since Korean skincare has already mainly been using food-based ingredients in their products, which easily lends itself to fermentation, this was an organic transition. Some Western brands (Estee Lauder, Fresh, Origins) have also been using probiotics and fermented ingredients in their formulas and more are being introduced to capture a piece of this rapidly developing market. This is still a relatively new thing and research into it’s effects are still developing though there are definitive studies that the potency and efficacy of ingredients are increased through fermentation as well as antioxidant activity.  But regardless of what anyone says, the proof is in that elusive natural glow!

Personally, I’ve been using products with fermented ingredients for a while now, which I strongly believe have made a difference in the quality of my skin and seriously, I rarely find products to be transformative. Particularly for my skin which (for now) isn’t in need of drastic repair. But a couple of months ago, in preparation for a Youtube video I was doing on the subject, I went really hardcore for over a month. Meaning, almost every product of every step of my routine was about these ferments. I first noticed my skin changing from being dry and sensitive to actually, normal. Then it happened, the stuff you see on infomercials. I’m at risk of sounding like a paid testimonial, but people started commenting on the ‘glowiness’ of my skin, strangers even. Infact, it apparently showed in my subsequent videos as people commented there too. Science be damned, you can’t argue with glow, man. The kind that comes before radiant primers, foundation and highlighters.

This is beneficial for all skin types particularly dehydrated, sensitive or skin needing repair. But certain ingredients, which happen to be my favourites, are particularly effective for anti-aging, hydration and brightening. These include, yeast extracts, ginseng, rice, soy or natto, green/black tea and certain flowers and herbs. These ingredients go through a natural fermentation process that occurs in an oxygen-free environment, which over a long period of time will cause the yeast and carbohydrates to produce enzymes and eventually form amino acids, anti-oxidants and vitamins. So, what exactly are the claims and why do we need fermentation in our skincare?

  • The process increases potency, creating supercharged ingredients that are loaded with anti oxidants, vitamins and anti-inflammatories. 
  • Causes the breakdown larger molecules into smaller ones which makes for deeper absorption providing more effective nourishment. This is also gentler and less irritating on sensitive skin. Essences potent with fermented yeast have been known to help reduce redness.
  • Creates natural acidity in ingredients which, helps our skin’s acid mantle. This is important for a strong and healthy moisture barrier.
  • Natural preservative so synthetic preservatives are not as required.
  • The actives in fermented yeast are rich in vitamin B and peptides as well as boost our skin’s ability to naturally produce hyaluron, which helps prevent transepidermal water loss.

So, enough of my babble. Here are some of my most loved products with my favourite fermented superstars, for each step of the routine:

Source: Gothamista Fermented Skincare Video

CLEANSER

Botanic Farm Grain Ferment Cleansing Sherbert

This is one of the most powerful oil-based cleansing balms I’ve ever used. This is a natural brand that uses no parabens or mineral oils and has a coconut oil derivative base. Formulated with one of my favourite ingredients, Saccharomyces Rice Bran Ferment from Sake as well as Soybean ferment extract. This will melt down all your toughest waterproof makeup and stains upon contact. 

Su:m37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick

My ride or die. The concept of this brand is built entirely on natural fermented skincare. “Su:m” is the Korean word for breathe, while “37” is the optimal fermentation temperature. Their products are also free of synthetic preservatives. Their lab and facilities are located in the middle of nowhere, where the water and air is completely unpolluted by neighboring commercial facilities. They have a whole seasonal process of gathering plants and the technology and science they use to get the best out of every ingredient is other level stellar-ness. This contains Saccharomyces and fermented Damask Rose as well as luxurious plant oils such as Camellia, Green tea seed, Apricot and Olive. This is a foaming, second step cleanser that has a low pH of 5.5 so will not strip your skin or harm your precious, little acid mantle.

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TONER

Whamisa Organic Flowers Deep Rich Essence Toner

Not to seem dramatic, but this toner affects me on an emotional as well as cellular level. I get slightly euphoric. Not bad considering skincare routines are often a chore. Whamisa is another brand that focuses on natural fermentation to augment and preserve the potency of certain star ingredients. I find fermented toners particularly effective because right after subjecting our skin to cleansing, the smaller particles and potent ingredients are so good at calming inflammation and delivering lost nutrition to our skin quickly and without irritation. The better absorption also makes way for oncoming products to work their magic. This toner is viscous and richly hydrating, replenishing anything that might have been lost and gives the skin some instant volume. This is a waterless toner which purely uses aloe as a base and contains fermented Chrysanthemum flower, Galactomyces ferment filtrate, fermented Dandelion Root and Oat Kernal extracts to soothe, deeply hydrate and nourish the skin. 97% of the ingredients are certified organic, free of parabens, synthetic dyes or fragrances.

ESSENCE

Missha First Treatment Essence

This was a surprise. Though I started out using the SKII Facial Treatment Essence, I ended up preferring this formula. Truthfully, I did not want to. I refused to try this for a long time because I did not appreciate how boldly this product was ‘duping’ the SKII essence down to the name. Curiosity and a big sale finally got the better of me and, what can I say, my skin wants what it wants. The difference in ingredients leaves my skin feeling more hydrated and the glow, the fabulous glow! While SKII uses 90% Galactomyces ferment filtrate (Pitera), Missha’s essence uses 80% Saccharomyces ferment filtrate (Zyosis). This also has Sodium Hyaluronate, Niacinamide and Root extracts. I’ve even come to love the slightly sour scent. But as far as all the other high percentage, fermented SKII copycat yeast essences go, I have yet to try one that my skin prefers to this. 

Su:m37 Secret Essence

My favourite essence, my…my preciousss. This is a very special potion made up of Lactobacillus, Saccharomyces and 80 very carefully selected plant extracts which are fermented for 365 days. All these plants have various antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and nourishing properties. I feel like I’m spoiling myself every time I pat this into my skin as it’s refined, luxurious, and the price reflects it. But the skin will never feel better. This is watery thin, hydrating, sinks into the skin super quickly leaving no residue but really soft, smooth, hydrated skin that looks bright and vibrant.

Innisfree Fermented Soybean Energy Essence

The second essence I ever purchased and countless essences later, I still love this.  This has 91% fermented Jeju soybean. In a world of cosmetics where everything is diluted with water, these products with such graciously high percentages of key ingredients are bottled blessings. Few products leave my skin feeling as soft and plump as this. This original formula is amazing for dry/dehydrated skin people or during the winter months, otherwise there is a ‘light’ version available for those with oilier skin or prefer a lighter formula. 

Manyo Factory Galactomyces

A more budget-friendly, but no less effective brand devoted to this process. Manyo Factory is an organic brand that uses botanicals and natural preservatives. I would venture to say that during my staunch, “Fermented or bust,” phase, this might have made the difference. Fast absorbing, with a nice slip to the watery texture, this formulation that doesn’t have the typical sour scent, has a simple, 7 ingredient list. 97% Galactomyces ferment filtrate, 2% Niacinamide and droplets a few other plant extracts including Sodium Hyaluronate.

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SERUM/AMPOULE

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum

A serum that has over the years, become the quintessential elixir for anti-aging. The key actives here are the same probiotics found in yogurt, Bifida Ferment Lysate and Lactobacillus Ferment. The latter is particularly effective as a skin softener. This overnight serum has left my skin feeling hydrated, less red and volumized with fewer fine lines visible and a youthful bounciness to it. Their Concentrated Recovery PowerFoil Mask, which holds half an entire bottle of the serum’s active ingredients, is probably the most powerful sheet masks I’ve used. Overnight, this transformed my skin, revitalized it and the hydration was off the charts.

Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Science Activator Ampoule

An ampoule can either be used before serum or in the case of this product, in lieu of. This ampoule will outshine any serum out there so there’s no point in bothering. In addition to being less than half the price of the Estee Lauder ANR serum, this one has a far more impressive ingredients list.  This formula also contains probiotics Bifida Ferment Lysate and Lactobacillus Ferment, but additionally has Lactococcus Ferment to soothe and strengthen sensitive skin. There is also a good amount of Niacinamide, Retinol and a very long list of skin loving plant extracts and oils many of them fermented. This ampoule is a powerhouse and anyone concerned with anti-aging should consider using this.

FACIAL OIL

Goodal Waterest Lasting Water Oil 

The Goodal, ‘Waterest’ line of products is focused not just on fermentation, but double fermentation of their ingredients and they’ve managed to create a new concept oil in their uber popular ‘Water Oil’ products. This is the ultimate non oily, fermented oil blend for anyone like myself who love the idea of oils on our skin but really dislike the greasy and invasive way it feels. This has all the benefits of oil products, but is fast absorbing, skin softening, deeply hydrating and an all around pleasant skincare experience. This is categorized as a ‘booster serum’ (Korean products and their confusing categories and names), which probably means one should use this before serum. Since the consistency is very light and quite watery, I’ve often used this right after toner before essence. Honestly, one could use this at any step between toner and moisturizer, it’s such a versatile product that absorbs so beautifully and LASTS!

This contains a blend of 7 fermented moisturizing seed oils that are packed with antioxidants: Sunflower seed oil, Jojoba, Camellia, Green Tea Seed, Argan, Olive and Macadamia nut. These oils are micronized to absorb fast into the skin and sink deeper to nourish from deeper within and then sealed in with a bio gum complex for lasting results. I can personally attest that my chronically dehydrated skin stays moisturized throughout the day with this when usually it gets drier. But there’s more, this formula contains Bifida Ferment Lysate, Niacinamide and Licorice Extract for brightening, Aloe and Sodium hyaluronate for hydration and a wonderful trio of Ceramide, Cholesterol and Lecithin similar to our skin’s own natural composition which penetrates better into our skin and strengthens the barrier. This is for all skin-types, particularly if you have dull, dehydrated skin. You are welcome.

Goodal Water Oil Firming Camellia

This is the latest addition to the growing Water Oil family of products and I must mention it. This is more targeted towards anti-aging concerns which, I have. The first 2 ingredients listed are Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate and micro fermented Camellia Flower extract which has shown to be great for boosting collagen production in the skin. This also contains Camellia oil which is rich in antioxidants and has one of the highest percentages of Omega 9 oleic fatty acids than any other natural oil. This is great for keeping the skin moisturized and youthful as it’s heavier and richer in composition making it so luxurious. What sends this over the top for me is the intoxicating, light floral scent. I don’t usually like added fragrances but this is sensory bliss. I wonder if this is what Camellia flowers smell like, if so, I want to be surrounded by them. Just like the original, this delivers deep and lasting moisturization without the grease.

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Source: @gothamista

EYE CREAM/SERUM

Benton Fermentation Eye Cream

I was waiting patiently for an eye cream like this to come out. One that is formulated with similar high concentrations of fermented ingredients that I apply on the rest of my face. This is a wonderful, light, silky eye cream that glides over delicate skin and absorbs quickly. I really love the unique texture. There is the same sort of silky slip that the essences have that doesn’t come from oil or silicones. This formulation contains all safe, non-irritating ingredients, the first 2 of which combine the yeasts Galactomyces ferment filtrate and Bifida ferment lysate. There are also ceramides, EGF (Epidermal Growth Factor), plant oils and wonderful humectants. Perfect for crow’s feet control!

Drunk Elephant Shaba Complex Eye Serum

For those who want or need some extra help with that fragile eye area, this serum is is a powerful anti-aging fighter. The “Shaba Complex” is a concentrated dose of Saccharomyces Black Tea Ferment and copper peptides combined to effectively fight signs of aging before they begin, or stop things before they get out of hand. Black Tea Ferment is meant to be effective at preventing glycation which is supposedly where the sugar in your bloodstream can affect the proteins in our skin, like collagen and elastin. Copper peptides are great for promoting those proteins. Other notable key ingredients include antioxidants Edelweiss Stem Cells, Ubiquinone, Niacinamide, Sodium Hyaluronate and my favourite, Sea Buckthorn Oil. The texture is light, fast absorbing, and disappears almost completely, this creates no interference with other products you might be layering over including eye cream and makeup. I use this over my entire mobile lid.

MOISTURIZER

Primary Raw DoYou Soy Milk Cream

The star of this brand is the Fermented Soy Bean which has become one of my favourite ingredients as it’s particularly effective at hydrating the skin and fighting the signs of aging. Everything about this product is delightful, from the packaging to formula. This is a waterless formula which is always a huge benefit since I know there is no dilution of ingredients and I’m getting the most for what I’m paying. As well as the Soybean Ferment Filtrate, there is also Soybean extract, Aloe, Rice bran water, Niacinamide, Snail secretion, Green Tea leaf extract, Beta-glucan, Copper peptides, so, so many other fabulous fermented extracts. This cream is refreshingly lightweight and milky while being deeply moisturizing without greasiness or stickiness. Mildly scented, this will leave your skin feeling silky and hydrated. Great for all skin types.

SK-II R.N.A Power Radical New Age Cream

There are very few moisturizers I’ve come across that can create a glow comparable to this luxury cream from SK-II. Their R.N.A Power Radical New Age Cream is one of their best-sellers for a reason. Once you experience the radiance, you will cling on with a death-grip. The RNA line is formulated to target the 10 visible signs of aging and is good for any skin type experiencing or wishing to prevent further signs of aging. This is a silky cream that is creamy but not heavy. The texture is velvet-smooth and great for layering. Good for any skin type that has anti-aging concerns and want to address fine lines, firmness, dullness and dryness. This also contains Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate as a third ingredient as well as Niacinamide. This pretty much made a noticeable difference on me after a few days of use. My travel-depleted, dull, tired skin brightened right up and there is never a need for luminous primers with this.

MASKS

Fresh Black Tea Firming Overnight Mask

“Overnight” would accurately describe the success of this mask when it first launched. Their proprietary “Black Tea Complex” uses Black Tea Ferment and Black Tea Extract to super boost the antioxidant power along with Blackberry leaf and Lychee seed extracts to firm and smooth the skin. As an overnight mask, this is the final layer and step of an evening skincare routine. One that I leave until right before I go to bed. This is not invasively heavy or occlusive whereby most of the mask ends up absorbed by the cotton fibers of your pillow, or to the extent that all your hair is stuck to your face. By morning, the entire mask would have absorbed into your skin leaving it noticeably smooth, soft and for some people, firmer. This is a weekly treatment which after regular use will leave skin looking more refreshed and plump.

Goodal Waterest Vital Sleeping Pack

One of my favourite sleeping packs at a mere fraction of the price. Like the rest of the products in the Waterest Line, the main ingredient here is double-fermented lotus flower. The formula uses every part of the plant including the flower, seeds, leaves and roots to deliver and lock moisture into the skin. Which is what it does very, very well. After using this for the first time, I have never touched my Laneige Water Sleeping pack since. This also contains Sage Leaf extract, Hyaluronic acid and fermented Pumpkin extract which is a naturally derived AHA.  The texture of this is perfect for all skin types as it is a soothing gel texture that is refreshing but deeply hydrating. This is neither oily, heavy or occlusive. This absorbs, works on your skin overnight and leaves you with soft, volumized, hydrated skin after rinsing the next morning.

Whamisa Organic Fruits and Tomato Fermented Hydrogel Sheet Mask

Favourite sheet mask. This hydro gel mask is itself made of skin benefitting ingredients such as Aloe vera and Kiwi extract. This is soaked in a bottle of serum, one of the purest formulas I’ve ever seen so I don’t want to waste even a gooey drop. I tend to smear the excess serum in the package on my face first before applying the mask. The formula is 95% organic ingredients and mostly fermentented fruit extracts such as Tomato, Apple, Kiwi, Banana and Licorice root extract. There are no parabens, silicones, fillers, mineral oils, synthetic dyes or fragrances. There is an intoxicating scent that comes from the small amounts of Lavender and citrus oil that will relax and comfort the soul. This will nourish and rehydrate depleted skin as well as brighten the complexion. I can keep one of these on my face for about 45 mins sometimes even an hour without it drying out. The mask is cooling and soothing on the skin the entire time and when you peel this off, brighter, smoother, plumper, hydrated and refreshed skin is revealed. The results are wondrous and lasting.

PEELING/EXFOLIATION

Manyo Factory Active Refresh Herb Peeling Gel

Having had sensitive skin most of my life that stung and would turn red from a breeze blowing on my face, I still cringe at the thought of abrasive, physical exfoliators. I love my gommage peeling gels and if you also prefer something gentler, you might love this one. The exfoliation you get from this comes from natural enzymes mainly Papain (Papaya extract) and is insanely satisfying. You basically massage this on your skin and very quickly, fibers from the ingredients mix with your own dead surface skin cells, dirt, sebum and ball up creating a peeling effect. After rinsing off, my skin has never felt more soft and smooth. The presence of rice bran powder helps with that super smooth, skin surface texture. To nourish the skin, this contains fermented Pea Root Extract along with many other botanicals such as Buckwheat, Broccoli and Green tea extracts. There is also Hyaluronic acid to keep the skin hydrated as you exfoliate. This was clinically tested and is hypoallergenic for those with sensitive skin. 

Ofcourse, everyone’s skin is different. The same miracle ingredients for me could cause someone else to break out into a pox. I don’t see this ‘trend’ dying down anytime soon. I certainly won’t be quitting my beloved ferments, if anything, I am trying to fit more into my routine as I’m a firm believer of how too much of a good thing…can be wonderful.

by @Gothamista aka Renee

xx

Repurchases & Back Ups

As a part of blogging and micro blogging, I’m fortunate to try new products, however there are some products I’ve continually repurchased and restored the “stash” for an apocalypse. This post may come as no surprise to regulars as they would have seen the products time and again.

The post intends to round up most of the repurchases, backups, trusted products in compromised dire situations (dramatic much!).

THE JOY OF MY LIFE: CLEANSERS

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Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm – Simple, effective and now synonymous with Must-Have. Gorgeous smelling buttery balm, that melts in an oil and dissolves all war paint. Take it off with steaming cloth and you’re officially at gateway Heaven.

The Body Shop Nutriganics Softening Cleansing Gel – annoyingly discontinued by The Body Shop, so I’ve stocked well considering TBS website is clearing at $7.25! Just as fabulous as Emma Hardie balm at a fraction of a price.

Darphin Aromatic Cleansing Balm – perfect second cleanse or morning cleanse or aromatherapy-esque massage. Slightly waxier in texture but on contact with skin its Lush.

Rodial Glamtox Cleansing Balm – my beloved travel companion. Only brand (until Sarah Chapman) who did cleansing balm in a pump bottle and ticks all the  requisites of good cleansing balm. Detailed review on Rodial balms….click here.

MY REASON TO LIVE – ACIDS

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Alpha H Liquid Gold – my first ever Acid product, loaded with Glycolic acid, operates at pH level of 2.5 and super effective.

Peter Thomas Roth Unwrinkle Peel Pads – claims to be at 20% but operates at higher pH of 5, very gentle on skin and all round worker (not limited to exfoliation) for days when skin needs a pick me up.

Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel – Two words. Travel BFF. I’m willing to leave the Man at home on a holiday, but not these acid pads. Conveniently packaged with a punch of acids and genuinely gives you holiday glow!.

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Bravura London Lactic Acid 10% & Salicylic Acid 2% Peel – peel, serum, spot treatment, acid tone, or part of Triple Mask routine (explained here). This is as Versatile as you’d like it to be. Solid, basic, effective acid – must have in an acid arsenal.

My detailed review on these peels….click here.

ESSENCE OF LIFE – TONERS

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La Roche Posay Serozinc – so simple yet so effective. My review on Serozinc can be found here.

Kama Ayurveda Toning Mists (Rose and Mogra) – I wish I had come across this brand sooner.

The steam distilled face toning mists, not only smell divine but also soothe irritated skin. Always keep least one as a back up and one specifically for travel.

SOUL SEARCHERS – SERUMS

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Sunday Riley Good Genes – Unneutralized Lactic Acid at 40% that gives major light bulb glow the following morning. The key with this product is Use Wisely, not abuse it. This will always remain in my stash when I need glow before an event or need to slap my skin to some form of radiance.

Dr Dennis Gross Ferulic+Retinol Brightening Solution – may it be ‘breakout’ville, or post breakout ‘scar’ville, this serum is plain fabulous for addressing scaring, uneven skintone, irritated or inflamed skin. Also used as a spot treatment on that bastard that left a scar.

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair – all round, good skin in a bottle. Hydrates, plumps, calms, soothes…..literally Good Skin in a Bottle.

Indeed Labs Hydraluron – essential dose of hydration, my skin just binges on this stuff. Instantly see the difference in skin.

A guide to All Serums….Click Here.

FACIAL OILS THAT GIVE ME BLISSFUL FEELS

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The Body Shop Vitamin E Overnight Serum in Oil – Must Have. Calms my angry spotty skin, hydrates, fakes my sleeping pattern. Light texture, immediately absorbs. My detailed review here.

Aesop Fabulous Face Oil – Smells amazing, absorbs instantly, excellent for combo skin. My detailed review here.

Goodness Chia Seed Oil – Cold Pressed Chia Seed Oil (excellent source of fatty acids and omegas), fabulous on its own or mixed with any other oil, mask or cleanser (read, majorly versatile here). Does a fab job with just 2 ingredients : Chia Seed & Meadowfoam Oil.

Kama Ayurveda Kumkumadi Facial Elixir – Decadent oil with incredible ingredients where I only need  a drop or two, can be mixed with Chia Seed Oil and massage in the skin to glory. My detailed review here.

For a snapshot on ALL facial oils used….Click Here.

CANNOT FUNCTION WITHOUT A LIP BALM

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Nuxe-Rêve de Miel this should come as no surprise, I’m almost married to this balm.

Lucas Papaw Ointment – this is my childhood in a tub and tube and it aint going anywhere at all.

Follow my Lip Balm Trail …..Click Here.

DISASTER RECOVERY PRODUCTS – BREAKOUT HELPERS

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Effaclar Duo, K and AI – with the slightest indication that my skin is going to rise in a battle, I will bring the ‘A’ team out to settle matters.

Duo on spots – always with me (travel, purse, home, side table….every where).

K is for overall calmness and Salicylic acid helps sort the situation.

AI is again for spots specifically when I know that bastard will leave me a scar.

LUSH TREATS – MASK

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Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask – honey is such a fabulous ingredient, although I feel its very underrated for what it offers. This mask is such a stellar product, calms, purifies, hydrates, plumps….this time I will call it Good Skin in a Tube.

Aesop Parsley Seed Cleansing Mask – in my opinion, the stand out product of Aesop. Used as spot treatment or an overall cleanse, fabulous. The only clay mask where I don’t need a chisel to break through.

I’d love to know what are your backups and repurchased products? What do you rely on in a major situation or an emergency? Who are your fall backs and trusted souls?

HHW.com

xx

 

 

 

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Micro Cleansing Balm

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About time Estée Lauder expanded the Advanced Night Repair range and gave us something new to be excited about. New launches include Advanced Night Repair Concentrated Recovery PowerFoil Mask (yet to try) and Advanced Night Micro Cleansing Balm. It’s an established fact, I have a weakness for cleansers. Plus I’ve used and loved the serum (repurchased multiple times) for years now, so based on the experience of the serum I didn’t hesitate on giving this balm a try.

Claims: Micro-Purifying, Micro-revitalizing. This lightweight balm melts into a silky cleansing oil as you massage over skin, then transforms with water into a milky emulsion that rinses easily for a clean, conditioned feel. Removes makeup and impurities, including pollution, as it purifies deep within skin’s surface to improve your overall healthy look.

When to use: Estée Lauder specifically say Use at night, then follow with Advanced Night Repair skincare to create a revitalizing nightime ritual for healthier, younger-looking skin. 

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Ingredient Listing: Ethylhexyl Palmitate (derivative of palm oil, provides dry slip factor), Carthamus Tinctorus (Safflower) Seed Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Sorbeth 30 Tetraoleate (fatty acid), Polyethylene, PEG-5 Glyceryl Triisostearate (emollient, emulsifier), Water\Aqua\Eau, Silybum Marianum (Lady’s Thistle) Extract, Polygonum Cuspidatum Root Extract (Japanese Knotweed), Algae Extract, Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile), Lavendula Angustifolia (Lavender), Methyldihydrojasmonate, Tocopherol, BHT, Linalool, Phenoxyethanol (preservative)

One ingredient may stand out for wrong reasons, Polyethylene – which may cause skin irritation. Green/Natural/Organic Beauty People, this formulation is “Toxic” for you!

Similar ingredient listing and formulation (consistency and feel) to Clinique Take the Day off Cleansing balm. After all, Clinique falls under the Estée Lauder umbrella! However with the addition of some lovely extracts Lady’s Thistle, Algae, Chamomile, Lavender it brings it in line with the Advanced Night Repair range.

This may not be considered a typical cleansing balm ingredient listing with typical carrier oils and essential oils. However this is very typical of an East Asian cleansing balm like RMK Cleansing Balm, Su:m 37 Skin Saver Melting Cleansing Balm or Banilla Co. which have similar ingredients, texture and consistency in their cleansing balms.

Packaging: Housed in a plain plastic tub with classic gold lining twist open lid. Light enough to carry for travel (70ml – $40).P1020891

Texture & Consistency: The balm needs a little bit work of digging in unlike our beloved Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm. It’s a proper solidified balm (think Clinique Take the Day off). It would have been nice touch, if Estée Lauder actually provided a spatula to dig in (like the Asian brands do with the solidified cleansing balms).

Scent: Faint scent of Advanced Night Repair serum. Actually let me add, very very faint almost to nothing if you don’t have a nose of sniffer dog.

Performance: Once on the finger and face, immediately melts to an oil, melting makeup and providing good grip for an extended massage. Whilst this removes makeup just fine, it stung my eye like a MOFO! My fault I got carried away and lets be honest I should have known better. So next time I removed makeup little bit cautiously around eye, continued cleansing and everything came off just fine. It can be used as makeup remover, second cleanse or morning cleanse. Although I would prefer something more lush with oils for second or morning cleanse. It provides a really good grip to massage, no slip slop business.

 

The balm emulsifies beautifully with water to milky goodness, however my preference still lies with a proper warm steaming wash cloth over my face. My skin doesn’t feel dry, stripped or stretched. No magical skin improvements from using this balm. Does the job!!!

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So in conclusion, is this a ‘must have’ balm? Nope, there are other options available with similar formulation which perform just as well and at a fraction of price. However like me, there is slight possibility to get sucked in the hole “extension of Advanced Night Repair range” and fall for the balm.

HHW.com

xx