I’ve never really blogged about what I use, though thanks for the lemmings enablers: Makeupalley, BlogdorfGoodman and Beauty Addict and many more, I have in the last year tripled my makeup and beauty arsenal to all the space under the sink, around the sink and countertops, around the tub, in 4 pro makeup cases and a chest of drawers. Also much thanks to Shoppers Drug Mart’s Beauty Boutique and 20x the points days.

Like I mentioned before, I’ve never blogged or spoke about beauty regimens. That’s because mine has been inconsistent for the last few years. For skincare, I was taught to follow a line religiously, as products in a program are designed to work together, and as for makeup to just experiment. I have strayed from the line and back, from high end to drugstore, and as I tend to get older, I’ve become more conscious of what I’m using and what’s good for me. The basic routine stays the same: makeoff, wash, tone, moisturize, eye, sunscreen and the occasional serum. I never leave the house without sunscreen these days, and if I do then I am paranoid about sun exposure the rest of the day. As I get older, it goes the same for eye creams. I’ve also started to use more plant based/ natural lines, but am sometimes conflicted as the older I get, the stronger the product and more drastic the measures should be?

Anyway, what inspired me to blog about skincare today was how I haven’t experienced any major breakouts in the last few months (knock on wood). Even when I spent time in hot, humid and very polluted Taipei did I break out even once!!!!! That deserves a blog and much more.

I strongly believe that the ONLY thing that prevented me from breaking out horribly, even with makeup was the Boots No7 4 in 1 Quick Thinking Wipes. These are a GODSEND!!! Taipei is so hot, humid and dirty that you step out from the air conditioned indoors, out into the streets and step in, and you’re already sweaty and grimy. When I first got there I was so afraid to wash my face with the water, that I used this in the morning and at night – and NOT ONE PIMPLE. Extremely gentle as well, and very economical compared to the higher end brands. Around $9.99 for package of 30. Get them at Target and selected Shoppers Drug Marts.

I have heard about an Australian nature based skincare brand called Aesop before. It’s not available in Canada, and only at selected retailers in the US (at Barneys). Fairly expensive compared to what’s out there. I believe that as Australia has a higher percentage of the population at risk of skin cancer, the standard and quality of their products are definitely higher, and regulations more stringent. Aesop is widely available at select boutiques as well as freestanding stores in Asia, but outside of Australia, Taiwan has the most stores. That must say something about the skincare being right for the climate. I went to the boutique at the bookstore Eslite, which I will blog about at a later date. Everything’s in darkened glass jars (not travel friendly), but they were very generous with samples. I used Aesop for a while, and back in Vancouver switched to a detergent based cleaner – and my skin was left dry and tight. Such an experiment proved that Aesop is definitely more gentle on the skin. Aesop also is very well known for it’s masques and they have a section on their website dedicated to the art of masquing. I am starting to believe.

Note to self: During Christmas they have special boxed sets that let you try and costs less than buying the full sized products. A good deal if you come across it!

Everything that I have, use and currently in the beauty rotation:

Fabulous Face Cleanser – Very gentle non-foaming cleaner. Removes enough makeup by itself, but always use the Boots No7 4 in 1 Quick Thinking Wipes beforehand. No residue. For combo/oily.
Purifying Facial Cream Cleanser – For those with drier or dehydrated skin. I didn’t use this in Taipei but used it when I got back to Vancouver (it was winter). Left some residue that was taken care of by the parsley seed toner. I would so with the Fabulous Face Cleanser if I had to choose one.
Tea-Tree Leaf Facial Exfoliant – A must have. Hands down the best exfoliant I have ever tried. On days when you feel like it, you mix it with either cleanser above. Left my skin baby smooth, and because you can control how much to use, it’s customizable to your skin that day.
Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Toner – Compared to the Christian Dior Mattifying Toner I brought to Taipei (which, in its pump form does not survive pressurized environments well and leaked all over everything) this is extremely gentle and most importantly DOES NOT LEAVE RESIDUE! CD left me sticky, this did not. However, I would use this when I cleanse on days that I don’t use make up or in the morning. CD for those days when I am wearing a ton of makeup and need to strip everything off. This also has the added anti-oxidant benefits.
Primrose Facial Cleansing Masque – My intro to Aesop’s art of masquing had me leaving the boutique with 3 masques. Out of all 3 this is the most deep cleansing (kinda stings sometimes). Can’t say much, but using all 3 masques left me with no breakouts. Doesn’t hurt to use it, right? I use it when I’m soaking in the bath or overnight.
Chamomile Concentrate Anti-Blemish Mask – This masque is also a MUST HAVE! When i had the occasional pimple this took care of it right away! Without the dryness.
Parsley Seed Cleansing Masque – An everyday or every other day masque. For the last 3 weeks I have not been using these masques and a few days ago I looked in the mirror and my pores were HUGE! Also I went greasy one day and I haven’t been greasy in months! It’s back to religious masquing for me!
Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Serum – Sometimes on days when I’m not using makeup and my face isn’t dry, I apply a thin layer of this serum. It doesn’t deeply moisturize, but then it doesn’t leave my skin exposed to the elements. Mix this with the Damascus Rose facial Treatment on those harsh and dry days.
Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Eye Serum
– does it work? Dunno. But it can’t hurt to use it right? The older we get, not only should we moisturize our undereye area, but also treat. That’s where this comes in, layered with the eye cream below.
Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Eye Cream – Another MUST HAVE. The richest eye cream that has not given me milla. Good enough for me. It’s fairly expensive, and I’ve read in reviews that another option is Jo Malone’s Green Tea and Honey eye cream. We’ll see.
Mandarin Facial Hydrating Cream – This one is a SHOULD HAVE. Very hydrating, but light and non greasy for oily skin. Smells delicious.
Damascan Rose Facial Treatment – This one is fairly expensive as well, but I only use it occasionally. It may have come close to breaking me out at times, but I think this is more beneficial for dry or mature skin.
Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm – So I bought it on a whim. It’s not as heavy as shea butter lotions, so great for summer. Sinks in quickly, but I object to the scent – makes me think this belongs in the kitchen. The SA suggested that this be used for the body. Uh… no.

Like I mentioned before, I’m leaning to more plant and nature based skincare lines. Aside from Aesop and Nuxe (later on) I’m also starting to use Clarins. I’ve always been wary of this brand, as it’s not really marketed towards my age group and is also fairly expensive, but it’s really starting to grow on me.

Beauty Flash Balm – a HG in beauty circles, though I haven’t quite seen the effects yet. But then I haven’t outright partied or have done any binge drinking lately, so I can’t really use this. I think best for dry skins, or when you’re having a dull day. You pat it on, don’t rub.
One-Step Facial Cleanser (with Orange extract) – my new product. I use this in the mornings when I want something with a pick-me-up smell (that’s where the orange comes in) and when I need a gentle scrub. Does the trick.
Clarins Moisture Quenching Hydra-Balance Lotion – A long time ago I had the most oxymoronic skin problem: dehydrated oily skin. This was recommended from the SA. Fairly pricey (like all Clarins products) but sure did the trick. Lasted me over a year, never turns oily, never heavy and always keeps me hydrated.
Sun Wrinkle Control Eye Contour Care SPF 30 – Another new purchase. Sure I wear sunscreen year round, but what about for my eyes?

Suncare is obviously a must for me – I am petrified of aging, and the sun is the worst enemy of all. I custom my suncare to the seasons and the conditions, whether on eyes, face or body. For face, mostly because of my skin type, I prefer lotions or ‘milks’ as they refer to in Asia over creams. Better for a makeup base, but also hasn’t broke me out yet.

Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion – I have used spf 19, 33, and 55. All for indoors/outdoors, sunny/cloudy days, spring/summer/fall/winter…. Never broke me out, huge bottle for what you’re paying for (it’s what, $48cdn now?) and you can practically get this anywhere.

Sofina UV Rise Milk SPF 50 – on the makeup boards this is also a HG… also only found in Asia. What’s good about this is that this is a moisturizing lotion with a high spf, unlike those other moisturizers with spfs out there with 9, 12 or 15spf. Don’t they know you use at least 15 these days? And only for indoor fluorescent lighting? Great makeup base too.

Clarins Sunscreen Cream High Protection SPF 30 – so I found this at TJ Maxx, and I use it on my neck and decolletege. Maybe when I’m done I’ll just extend down whatever I use on my face, or use Shiseido.

ROC Minesol Express Spray SPF 45 – Another new purchase. $25cdn? I always had a hard time applying sunscreen to area of my body that I can’t reach and therefore end up uneven all over. This will solve the problem. The aerosol spray delivers even application to wherever, and the high spf and Mexoryl is a plus.

Maybe you’ve noticed this already, but like my hair, my skin has its own personality and constantly gives me attitude. If I try to control it, it retaliates by breaking out. So I have to see what it needs for that day – and that is why the beauty arsenal in rotation is so huge. That’s why I never reletate my self to one cleanser, moisturizer, sunscreen etc. Here is where the multiples and complimentary products come in.

Another botanical line I’m starting to use is Nuxe…. to be continued.