The most gentle cleanser I’ve ever tried

Ok, so I’m assuming you’ve read the title of this article. Now, this product is not new in the beauty game, and I’ve heard plenty of people talking about how amazing it is. But wow, it seriously is.

I’ve told you all about my new favorite balm cleanser the other day, today I want to share with you the second step of my double cleansing routine. I’ve been looking for something extremely gentle, though the Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser is great for my sensitive skin, the gel-like texture made my skin feel a little bit tight, especially with the crazy weather we’ve had over the past couple of weeks.

REN is a brand I’ve loved for quite some time. They were possibly the first brand I got really into when I first discovered my passion for beauty. It was hard to get hold of at the time but I remember telling all my friends about this super cool and not too expensive brand that you could trust because of how transparent it was, and still is ! Furthermore, I really appreciate the fact that it’s a clean skincare brand. Meaning, no sulfates, mineral oils or petroleum, no synthetic colors or fragrances. Which to me is the equivalent of “No Bullshit”. I’m all for that !

So when looking out for a new cleanser, I thought I’d give the Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk a try.

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It is lush. The scent which I could not really describe (I’d say fresh and calming) is out of this world. The texture is a dense milk, almost like a cream, and one pump is enough for my entire face. I massage it on dry face, and really take my time. Then I use a hot cloth, and remove it gently. My face feels clean yet protected which is not a sensation I see that often after cleansing because of how sensitive my skin is.

I LOVE it. It’s 22€, and is aimed at, quoting REN here, “Sensitive and/or delicate skin. Skin affected by pollution (city life, smoke).” I mean, it has my name on it. And potentially yours !

Double Cleansing : The Balmy Discovery

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As I told you before, I used to clean my face with a Dove soap many moons ago. Then I discovered beauty blogs (Caroline Hirons more specifically who’s a trained professional, and whom opinion I trust immensely) and realized it’d be nice to actually cleanse my face with a product designed for that purpose. Later on, I read online that some people would recommend to double cleanse and I was a bit sceptical. Though now, when I think about it, it sure makes so much sense to double cleanse ! You remove makeup, and then you clean your face. Quite logical right ?

At first I thought it might be a bit too much for my skin, and in France nobody I knew or read was talking about double cleansing at the time (around 4-5 years ago). Being quite low key I just was not sure it would be necessary for my skin. Yet it completely changed the texture and the quality of my skin. Et voilà, I would not ever not double cleanse (is that a correct sentence ? Pardon my English) !

2 steps is all it takes and the first one is a new discovery

Years went by, I tried my fair amount of cleansers, and today I thought I’d share my latest discovery with you. I have just found the perfect first step cleansing balm : if like me, you have sensitive, combination and dehydrated skin, this could be perfect !

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The cleansing balm is by the french company, Oh My Cream. I’d say it’s the equivalent of Space NK but in France. They have a very cool website, with great brands like RMS, Joelle Ciocco, Kjaeir Weiss, Oskia, Susanne Kaufmann,, Tata Harper, Paï, Antipodes, etc. They started in 2013 online, and have now opened a few stores all over the country. The most exciting part is that they have recently launched their own range, with gorgeous packaging, affordable prices, lovely ingredients and a very simple yet effective routine. They have released four cleansers, two oils and an exfoliating powder amongst with travel sized minis of the range. They do recommend double cleanse, which I find very interesting, because it means it’s probably something more and more people do which makes me really happy !

I got the balm, because I love how it does not go everywhere, and it travels really well. It partly contains coconut and jojoba oils, oat and salicylic acid and OMC recommends it for sensitive, prone to imperfections skins. It smells a lot like sweet oats (I’m not the best at describing smells, am I ?), which at first I did not like at all but it’s fair to say I really enjoy it now, so I guess I just needed to get used to it. It’s not too strong either, so it helped.

Its thick, gorgeous consistency removes all makeup, and leaves the skin soft and clean. I think it is going to last me a long time, you truly don’t need to use a lot which I appreciate and it’s so efficient and gentle, I simply don’t see myself use something else at the moment.

Next time, I’ll tell you all about my favorite cleanser used in the second step of this double cleansing routine. Basically, I always try to find a routine that involves an oily based product for the first step, and a milk or cream cleanser for the second step, so stay tuned for the next review !

You can get the Oh My Cream Cleansing Balm here by the way, it costs 29 euros for 150ml.

What do you guys use to cleanse your face ? Do you double cleanse ?

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 ?

“Stick to a routine” they say. “Try everything under the sun” I thought.

You may know I’ve had skin issues for the past few months and I seem to have found products which do not make my skin angry. I now understand that my skin is very sensitive, which means that fragranced, rich or acids based exfoliating products make it react.

I think I may have had too much fun trying out many different products at the same time. “Stick to a routine” they say. “Try everything under the sun” I thought.

Now, my skincare “routine” is not the most exciting, but who cares ? I suppose I liked to have fancy serums or cheap-ish amazing moisturizers, but my skin was telling me it was not happy, I just would not listen for the sake of staying in the loop I guess. My skin’s a bit snob…

I was always shit at science in school, but suddenly my bathroom became my lab, and I could not have been happier to play the scientist.

Skincare is a magical perspective to me. It can change how you face feels, fights the outside, repairs itself at night and not like makeup, you have to wait days, months to see a difference. It’s like watching a seed grow into a flower, takes time. I have to admit that I felt great joy experimenting with products. I was always shit at science in school, but suddenly my bathroom became my lab, and I could not have been happier to play the scientist.

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But hey, guess what ? I was a shitty scientist. My skin was good, and I wanted it to look even better. I had no spots, but dark circles, what tackles that ? I had a good skin texture, but lines on my forehead, was there an acid that would make a difference ? My skin was not dehydrated but a bit grey, was there a serum that could help ?

Also, in my defense, there is a product for pretty much anything. My curiosity had no limits, because the beauty industry seemed almost limitless. Consequently, my skin reacted. More redness, some areas were a bit itchy, I thought I had allergies. I then realized seborrheic dermatitis was the main issue and so I had to give my skin a rest. More importantly, I had to be consistent with the products I was using. Same serum morning and night ? Had no other choice. If I’d change one (trust me, I did), it would completely freak out again.

So here am I, telling you all about how I stick to a strict skincare regime… Now, let me tell you about this new serum I tried.

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I KNOW.

After finishing my Avène Serum, I came across this one on Asos. I like the brand Hylamide, it’s part of the Deciem company, which also owns the Ordinary.

The name “sensitive fix” appealed to me, and I simply trusted the brand. Verdict is in : I love this serum. I use it morning and night after toning, it has massively helped the sensitivity of my skin. Paired with the Ducray moisturizer it is the skincare routine made of dreams. The serum is light, non fragranced, is absorbed really quickly by the skin, and leaves it feeling calm, protected. Also, it’s around 22 euros which is a very decent price to me, though I think I might run out soon and only got it a few weeks ago. Will update you on that !

I do have learned my lesson though. I now understand and take in consideration that I have sensitive skin, and that if I want to include a new product, I need to be very cautious, read the ingredients list, incorporate one new product at a time, and little by little…  Won’t be playing scientist in the bathroom for a while, my skin’s never been so relieved, and so much so it has stopped being snob !

 

 

Klorane does the best…

There are so many dry shampoos on the market nowadays, I thought I’d let you know what my favorite is. Because I have tried the ones making your hair smell like a margarita, the ones making your hair like cardboard, the ones doing absolutely nothing, so I would love to simplify your life and make it easier for you to get a dry shampoo that simply does the job.

DSC_0094I touch my hair all the time. I also use my straighteners to revamp my curl every other dayUpdate : I’ve actually stopped using styling tools a few weeks ago. I will write a dedicated blog post about my journey with curly hair ! Back to the article…

What I’m trying to say is : it gets dirty after two-ish days. And I hate to wash my hair, which is not the perfect combination.

It does make your hair white, and a bit chalky if you put too much which I’m often guilty of, it’s not actual magic.

I’ve tried many dry shampoos like I said, but I do love my french pharmacy products and I have to say, the Klorane classic dry shampoo is the best one I’ve tried. Not the one for brunettes, or the one for greasy hair with nettle, no no. The classic oat milk version.

DSC_0092 2It does make your hair white, and a bit chalky if you put too much which I’m often guilty of, it’s not actual magic. 

But spray it in your hair, give it two minutes to absorb the excess “oil” sorry, hate this word too. Then brush or just run your fingers through your hair if like me you have curly-ish hair and voilà ! It adds volume, makes the hair lighter and fresher, and allows me to add a day without washing my hair. Also sometimes when my hair is too clean and soft, I add a touch at the roots just to give it a bit more texture.

The smell is light, and it does not linger. It costs around 8 €.

Parfait !

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 ?

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.

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…