Anatomy of a skin crisis

A few months ago I got a reaction on my forehead. Picture very angry skin, super irritated and extremely sensitive. Yes. Was joyful. It came back a month later, and basically now every other week my skin, well on my forehead only (and sometimes around my nose), is majorly freaking out, and I have no idea why.

First, I stopped all the lovely, beautiful, chic and somewhat expensive serums.

My GP suggested it could be seborrheic dermatitis. I’ve been trying out this Ducray cream, that seems to help, but I might actually have to just book an appointment with my dermatologist but it takes ages here in France to get one. 

So in the meantime, I have tried to save my skin. I will however, keep you updated if I make any major discovery related to the issue my skin seems to be having !

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Back to basics

First, I stopped all the lovely, beautiful, chic and somewhat expensive serums. I thought it might be best to go fragrance free in my skincare and come back to basics. We are very lucky us french, to find the brand Avène in every pharmacy. Though if you live in the UK, La Roche Posay is a very similar brand, brilliant as well.

Avène basically covers every skin condition. Just for a little bit of background, it is a cult brand, based on the use of thermal water which Avène itself describes as “a natural soothing source clinically shown by over 150 studies to soothe, soften and calm the skin.”

There’s a range for very sensitive skin with sterile products. I thought it would be best to be ultra safe with my cleanser and moisturizer. It helped a lot, now I can calm my skin down very easily when it’s irritated.

Also, anecdotic but I stopped to put makeup on my forehead. I only wear minimal makeup anyway so I’m pretty sure only I can see it… And I don’t even care if anyone can to be honest, I have to save my forehead people !

So here’s what I do now, not just when there’s a crisis, but every day since I’ve had this major reaction that keeps coming back.

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Morning 

Cleanse : when in crisis Avène Tolérance Extrême Lotion, if not, the Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser which is very gentle as well.

Tone : Avène Thermal Water or Serozinc by La Roche Posay

Moisturize : Avène skin recovery cream

Night

First cleanse : I just bought the cleanser Caroline Hirons recommends for intolerant skins, the very famous Take The Day Off cleansing balm by Clinique. I absolutely love it. It’s not fragranced which surprisingly does not make it less joyful because the consistency is perfect, and it leaves the skin extra clean and soft. I think it is going to be my n°1 cleansing balm now.

Second cleanse : back at it with the Avène Tolérance Extrême Lotion.

If I travel, I’d only bring this Avène Lotion, and cleanse twice with it.

Tone and moisturize steps are also the same as the morning ones.

Voilà ! Hope it’ll help some of you.

What do you do when your skin is angry and you can’t figure out why ?

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Why I never buy lip balm anymore

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I never buy lip balm anymore since I’ve discovered THE one. 

I tried so many. From drugstore vaseline to the organic Weleda one. From tube to pot, old recipe, new ones… But none would actually work.

I’d feel relieved for maybe an hour, and had to reapply. All day long. And had really chapped lips.

After reading quite a few articles about lip balms, I realized that more often than not lip balms have a petroleum base. Which I believe means it protects your lips but does not give it actual moisture. It retains it basically.

When I was little, I’d wear ski lip balms… You know the white chalky ones ? Yeah…

Then, I found the LHF calendula pommade. It does contain vaseline, but its main ingredient is lanolin aka wool wax which is made from raw wool. I used that first around my nose when I had a cold, then thought why not use it on my lips. The texture is very nourishing and quite thick, and lanolin is often used in baby products so I reckon it’s meant to be extremely gentle.

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It really had an amazing effect on my lips, almost right away. I use it every night, and sometimes in the morning before applying lipstick.

When I was little, I’d wear ski lip balms… You know the white chalky ones ? Yeah… In my mind I looked really cool, now when I think about it, I don’t believe I did. But they were the strongest ones to soothe my lips. Oh and did I mention I thought I looked very cool ?

The LHF calendula pommade is quite thick but not too shiny and does not smell of anything. Also, in my local french pharmacy, it costs 2.20 € for 20g of product.

I basically never have chapped lips anymore. Period.

You can find it here.

What lip balm is your fave ? Have you experienced the same issue as I have had ?

First Glossier experience

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I’ve been reading Into The Gloss for years, and really that’s how I discovered my love for beauty. If you haven’t heard about ITG, head over there now, it’s packed with beauty interviews of artists, actresses, designers…

Before that, I was intrigued by beauty but thought it was shallow and not something to be interested in. Which is sad really. Discovering Into The Gloss was sort of like a slap in the face, a new inspiring world, a new definition of my femininity. Then of course Glossier came along, a skincare and makeup brand ITG’s creator, Emily Weiss, founded.

Finally a brand that would talk to me. 

So a few weeks ago, while in Paris, I went to Colette (which is now closed) to get a few products.

It immediately brought me back to my childhood though I can’t seem to remember why exactly.

To be totally transparent here, I was not expecting to love this cleanser so much. The texture did not seem appealing and though most bloggers I follow raved about it, I was, for once, more excited about the makeup. 

First. The. Smell.

Gorgeous roses. Fresh, comforting, soft smell. It immediately brought me back to my childhood though I can’t seem to remember why exactly. It made me nostalgic, and it instantly felt soothing on my (quite irritated and sensitive at the moment) skin. The texture is interesting, a bit gloopy but it melts down on the face, so nothing bad here. On the contrary, it’s refreshing and soothing.

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It’s not stripping the skin at all, leaves a feeling of hydration and is exactly what I want for a morning cleanse. I actually got a second (and a third) bottle thanks to my lovely english friends who brought my Glossier UK order back to me when they visited a few weeks ago. I does work if you wear makeup, but I like to use an oil/balm based cleanser to remove makeup. I love how fresh it is, that’s why I use it in the morning, but, you do you right ?!

It’s gentle indeed, but really does the job. I would actually say, wait for it… that it directly goes into my Top 3 cleansers. Statement right ? I stand by it. And can’t wait for Glossier to launch in France.

The blush I used to hate…

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Blush is the one beauty product I enjoy using the most I think. But more on why in a upcoming article. Today, I’d like to talk to you about how I bought a super hyped up product because of its cult aspect, why I regretted it and why I’d do it again.

I got it and tried it a few times, and hated it.

I bought Nars Orgasm because, when I first discovered the brand, so many people recommended it. Nars is such a cult brand, and they have so many products, blush seemed like the perfect entry point to discover what Nars is all about. After benchmarking like crazy, I decided to go with the one that might be the most talked about : Orgasm.

Potentially the one Sarah Jessica Parker wore when she was playing Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and The City which is a show I still love. Also THE blush that is supposed to make you look like you’ve just had an orgasm hence the name. I mean, who has shimmery cheeks after sex ? Anyways, the hype worked, I decided to buy it.

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I swatched it in a shop and realized it was full of shimmer. But like glittery shimmers. And to be honest I hate that. I don’t want to look like a disco ball, I love the no makeup makeup kind of look. But it was at the beginning of my love of beauty, and I really really wanted to give it a try, to have it on my bathroom shelf.

I got it and tried it a few times, and hated it.

A few weeks ago, as I was clearing out my beauty products, I could not help but wonder why I was not able to get rid of this blush. It somehow had developed a sentimental value. I guess because it’s one of the first expensive, cult, cool makeup item I got.

So I forced myself to try it again. I used the Real Techniques Powder Blue Soft Finishing Brush, which is extremely soft, but also diffuses the powder pigments in the best way.

And I loved it. I mean, LOVED it.

Its lasting power is insane, probably the best out of all the blushers I own. It’s easy to apply, blendable, and it creates the most gorgeous sheen on the cheek bone.

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It’s still really shimmery don’t get me wrong, but it’s basically a highlighter and blusher all in one which is great.

The color is so pretty, it’s a reddish pink with a golden hue which maybe does not sound appealing but with this dull winter light, it gives life to my tired face. I would not wear it in spring or summer because of the shimmers that would probably end up all over my sweaty face, but at this time of year it is exactly what I want.

Mine as you’ll be able to see is shattered – because it fell on the floor numerous times – but it’s now well loved which is all that matters.

A story about cleansing

When I was 17, (not a very good year despite what Sinatra says), I just would not do anything skincare-wise to my face. Then in my twenties, I’d wash it with a Dove Soap, the classic one – which to this day I find is the best smelling soap on earth – and tadam, that was moi done. 

We had body lotions, hair products, and skincare but to me it all looked the same.

For about 2 years, my step dad who’s a journalist, received tones of beauty products from pharmacy french skincare brands, aka the dream.

He’d come home and give it all to my mum and I, and we’d go through everything and share. It was fun, but I was not obsessed. Well, now that I think about it, I was intrigued and lost. It was nice to have free products, but I did not understand the purpose of that many creams. We had body stuff, hair products, and skincare but to me it all looked the same.

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Skincare magic

I did try everything though… because I’d always been fascinated by the fact that, in a pot could be (or so I thought) a special formula that would change something on your face or body. It is kind of magical. But I’d use one product for one day, maybe two, and give up.

One day, my step dad contacted the PR company and told them to stop send all this free stuff. In fact, he first thought it was a one-shot PR delivery, it turned out it wasn’t, and he was not going to review it as it was not his journalism specialty at all, so it actually was useless for the PR company to keep sending all these goodies.

And to be honest, I just forgot about all these lovely products.

I’d never really talked about beauty with my mum or any of my friends. I even thought it was shallow and I was proud not to care about such superficial matter.

fullsizeoutput_1c86Garance Doré, Dove Soap & the rest is history

Then blogging came along. I discovered Garance Doré and with her, brands I’d never heard of like Kiehl’s.

I was completely obsessed with Garance, her clothes, the stories she would tell us… It felt like a new world was opening to me. 

In 2010, I was 21 at the time, had graduated from a Journalism Master, was freelancing a bit, but mainly was bored and scared about my career’s future, when I saw this article on Garance’s website.

“I had this secret that would make my skin feel clean and it was cheap and so freaking cool”, I thought.

She had done an interview with the french ELLE about her beauty routine. And the first product she mentioned was… the dove soap. She’d wash her face with it morning and evening to mattify her combination skin. OK. The Dove Soap. The one I could easily get my hands on at Monoprix or anywhere for that matter.

Needless to say I got it, and started to wash my face with it morning and night, and it just felt amazing you know. I was the closest I would ever be to being the most famous french blogger in NYC. “I had this secret that would make my skin feel clean and it was cheap and so freaking cool”, I thought.

Now when I think about it (I read Caroline Hirons religiously and double cleanse, and exfoliate and use serum and basically spend all my pocket money on beauty products), I’m horrified because I would NEVER use a soap to wash my face.

Still. My skin felt tight. But Beauty started to make me dream…