The three masks you need

A few years go, masks were something that I would underestimate. Let me tell you, they’re a game changer. I use masks every week, usually on sundays, and they do make a noticeable difference. Here are the three types of masks I believe you should have on your beauty shelf.

I own, and I think it’s the perfect combination, a cleansing mask, an exfoliating mask, and a hydrating mask. And I use them in that order.

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So first thing first, I cleanse my face with a balm cleanser, or a cream cleanser to prep the skin. Then, masking time.

  1. Cleansing mask. I like to use something that’s clay based, because I have combination skin, and I feel like it acts almost as a deep cleanse. This Green Clay Cattier one is so good, and so cheap. I buy it in french pharmacie, it costs around 4 euros for a huge tub ! It’s a basic mask in the sense that it claims what it does, and clay is the focus in the composition. If you can’t find it, REN does a really good cleanser, that I just leave on the skin for 10 minutes, or, they have the mask version of this cleanser, that I’ve never tried, but sounds good as well.
  2. Exfoliating mask. I owned and finished the REN Glycol Lactic Acid Renewal mask, which is lovely and gentle, but maybe a tad too gentle, because the results were not as good as I hoped. Instead, I once splurged on the Tata Harper Resurfacing mask, and I do not regret it. I don’t leave it on for more than 10 minutes though because of how sensitive my skin is. But It definitely made a big difference on my skin’s texture and radiance.
  3. Hydrating Mask. I, sometimes, depending on what I feel my skin needs, use a hydrating mask after all of these steps. If I don’t, I apply Aesop Parsley Seed Oil. Anyways, the hydrating masks I really love are, the Avène Soothing Moisture mask. Great if your skin is reacting to something, or just as a simple, effective, cheap hydrating mask. What annoys me though, is that the second ingredient is mineral oil. I don’t like this ingredient, because it basically is a cheap ingredient that does nothing for your skin, more on that on Caroline Hirons’s blog. But, this mask really calms my face, and the skin seems to drink it up. It’s cheap, so if you’re on a budget, why not. The other one I use is the Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight mask. Rich and very hydrating, I leave it on for hours. You could sleep in it even, which I do from time to time. It smells good and leaves the skin feeling balanced, nourrished and plumped. Gorgeous !

Do you even use masks ? Or is it something you never understood the utility of ?

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Tips everyone should know about : Thermal Water’s other purpose

Sometimes, my little sisters of a friend ask me something beauty-related, and I often think, “I need to share that with more people, because it’s so easy/cheap/useful/life changing”, you name it ! Simple stuff that I know of because I’m mad about skincare and makeup, but that if no ones tells you about, how the hell would you know ? Well, here’s the first edition of the “Tips everyone should know about” !

Thermal water might be underrated. To be honest, I did not think much of it a few years ago, even though it’s something we always had in the house I believe. My mum would hand it over to us during summer to refresh our faces, but that was about it. It helps that Avène is a French brand, that pretty much every French people knows about. It’s in every pharmacy, and a fair amount of French households might own at least one item from the brand. Yet it’s not the sexiest of item, and for some people, it’s just water in a can which I completely understand. I use it to tone after cleansing and before serum, it calms down the face, and prepares it to receive skincare. But that’s not why I’m telling you about it today.

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Here’s the tip you should know about. You know how, if you enjoy putting makeup on, you sometimes end up with way too much product on your face ? I do ! Too much concealer, then maybe too much powder, a subtle makeup can sometimes not be subtle at all… Especially if you use products you don’t usually tend to use, or if like I said you just ended up playing with makeup for far too long, things can get a bit cakey, or simply look too powdery.

Well, simply spray some thermal water on your face. Don’t spray in the air and jump in it face first. Actually, spray a mist of Avène or the one you use, ON your face. Let it set, or if you want, pat it down a little. And voilà ! Your makeup suddenly looks lived in, fresher, more natural, more glowy even. Now, you know !

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 ?

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…