Sunblock Collection Overview

Just in time for summer I want to briefly review my current sunblock collection- likes and dislikes. I never go outside without sunblock and I am very picky when it comes to sun protection for the face. My sunblock needs to have good ingredients, be non-irritating to my skin, not look oily, and last but not least, it needs to be non-stinky (most sunblock smells make me dizzy).

  1. Innisfree Triple Care, SPF 50+ (around $11 for 50ml on eBay)

One of the newer members of my sunblock family, and one that is here to stay. The texture is not too thick, it is easy to apply. It does have a noticeable white cast, which fades a little, but I don’t think this would be a good option for people with darker skin color. This sunscreen doesn’t have that yucky physical sunblock smell, not much of it anyway, but it has added fragrance. I don’t find it unpleasant, but it may be a problem for some. The sunscreen has a nice semi-matte finish, definitely not oily. I find it works well under makeup and can also be applied on top if needed. I’d also suggest a good moisturizing serum underneath for those with dry skin.

Ingredients:

Water, cyclopentasiloxane, zinc oxide, propylene glycol, butylene glycol, PEG-10 dimethicone, dicaprylyl carbonate, titanium dioxide, isodecyl neopentanoate, niacinamide, disteardimonium hectorite, green tea extract, mica, dimethicone, magnesium sulfate, methyl methacrylate crosspolymer, methicone, phenoxyethanol, aluminum hydroxide, glyceryl caprylate, fragrance, dimethicone/vinyl dimethicone crosspolymer, stearic acid, polyglyceryl-6 polyricinoleate, tocopheryl acetate, caprylyl glycol, adenosine, yellow iron oxide, triethoxycaprylylsilane, biosaccharide gum-1, sunflower seed oil, camellia sinensis leaf extract, orchid extract, orange peel extract, Opuntia coccinellifera fruit extract, Saccharomyces ferment filtrate.

2. SkinCeuticals Physical Matte UV Defense SPF 50 ($34 for 30 ml)

This is the most expensive sunblock I currently own. This is a tinted product suitable for light skin and it doesn’t smell like anything, which is a bonus. It has a nice matte/natural finish and slight blurring effect. However, I found the texture kind of weird, very silicon-y and slippery to the extent when it literally slides and rolls off the skin, so sometimes I end up with little “peels” on my face. I always feel like due to this texture, I end up with not enough sun protection on my face, and it is important to apply enough product for it to work.

No matter how hard I tried, I wasn’t able to make it work with any of my makeup. Reapplying is out of question too. Thankfully my skin is good enough to not wear foundation most of the days, so I manage to make this sunscreen work, but will not repurchase once I finish the tube, which won’t take long, as the tube is only 30 ml.

Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide 9%, Zinc Oxide 4%, Dimethicone, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Talc, Dicaprylyl Ether, Triethylhexanoin, Isohexadecane, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer,Hydrogenated Jojoba Oil, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Aluminum Stearate, Peg-8 Laurate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Silica Silylate, 2-Oleamido-1,3-Octadecanediol,Alumina, Aluminum Hydroxide, Iron Oxides, Disodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Polyhydroxystearic Acid

3. Babyganics Mineral-based sunscreen spray SPF 50 (around $11 for 177ml)

Pretty nice sunscreen, I don’t like it much for my face, feels a bit too heavy, but it is good for the body. It smells like sunblock, but it is not too overwhelming. It is a liquid product that comes in a spray bottle, which is a horrible way to apply sunscreen in my opinion, so I just spray it on my palms and apply to my skin. It spreads easily and has a nice semi-matte finish. It contains no PABA, phthalates, parabens, fragrances or nano-particles.

Active ingredients: Zinc oxide (11.2%), Octinoxate (7.5%), Octisalate (5.0%)

Inactive Ingredients: Water, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, VP/hexadecene copolymer, Glyceryl Stearate, Hexaglyceryl Polyricinoleate, Polysorbate 80, Phenethyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Caprylate, Sodium Magnesium Silicate, Xanthan Gum, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, Citric Acid, Squalane, Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Seed Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Lecithin*, Polysorbate 60, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil, Rubus Idaeus (Red Raspberry) Seed Oil, Nigella Sativa (Black Cumin) Seed Oil*, Sorbitan Isostearate *Certified Organic Ingredient

4. Kiss My Face Face Factor SPF 30 (around $9 for 60ml)

My all-time favorite. Comfortable, non-irritating, moisturizing, doesn’t create too much of a white-cast on the face compared to similar products. Works great under makeup, doesn’t cause any breakouts or clogged pores. Not stinky! It has a bit of a “moist” finish at first, but everything fully absorbs into my skin, or can be powdered lightly. I went through several tubes of this sunblock already, it is my skin saver. The only minus- it is SPF 30, which is just not always enough for New York spring and summer. Great ingredients too.

Active Ingredients – Purpose:Octinoxate 7.5%, Octisalate 3%, Zinc Oxide 3% – Sunscreen.Inactive Ingredients: Aqua, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Glycerin, Acrylates Copolymer, Polysorbate-20, Stearyl Alcohol, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower Oil) Seed Oil, Dimethicone, Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Oleosomes, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Cetyl Alcohol, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, a-Lipoic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate (Hyaluronic Acid), Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Glycrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Extract, Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin-C), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin-E), Sodium Hydroxide, Linoleic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin

5. PreVentin-AT Intensive Retinol Day Treatment SPF 30 (CVS’s StriVectin “dupe”) 50ml

Picked this up on some huge sale at CVS as it had a pretty interesting ingredient list. Sadly, this didn’t work out for me, mainly because it stings a bit upon application and I can’t tolerate the smell, which is that dreadful physical sunblock smell mixed with very strong perfume. It is a thick yellow-toned cream, which I found a bit difficult to spread, and had similar issues as with SkinCeuticals, where sometimes it kind of rolls off the skin, perhaps with my skincare products. Would not repurchase this.

Ingredients:

ACRYLAMIDE/SODIUM ACRYLOYLDIMETHYLTAURATE COPOLYMER, ACRYLATES/C10-30 ALKYL ACRYLATE CROSSPOLYMER, Water, Avobenzone 3.00%, Bakuchiol, behenyl alcohol, bisabolol, butylene glycol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride,CAPRYLYL GLYCOL, carbomer, cetearyl alcohol, CHLORPHENESIN, citric acid, Dimethicone, DIMETHICONE CROSSPOLYMER, DIMETHYL ISOSORBIDE, disodium edta, ethyhexyl methocycrylene, Ethylhexlyglycerin, Fragrance, Glycerin, glyceryl stearate, hydroxypinacolone retinoate, isohexadecane, isostearyl neopentanoate, myristoyl nanapeptide-3, NEOPENTYL GLYCOL, DIHEPTANOATE, Octinoxate 7.50%, Octisalate 5.00%, octocrylene 2.70%, Oxybenzone 4.00%, PALMITOYL OLIGOPEPTIDE, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, PENTYLENE GLYCOL, Phenoxyethanol, POLYMETHYL METHACRYLATE, polysorbate 20, Polysorbate 80, POTASSIUM SORBATE, PPG-2 ISOCETETH-20 ACETATE, RETINOL, Retinyl Palmitate, SODIUM ASCORBATE, sodium hyaluronate, SODIUM HYDROXIDE, SODIUM LACTATE, SORBITAN OLEATE, tocopherol, tocopheryl acetate, xanthan gum

 

 

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Vitamin C in Skincare Routine

There has already been a lot said about vitamin C and it’s anti-aging skin benefits, so I won’t go into detail here, and will just add a couple of informative links at the end of this post. Briefly, vitamin C can make skin more firm, even, and glowy, especially at higher concentrations. There might be quite a few challenges with finding a product that works- formulated right and is stable, using it at the right time and with the right products, as it needs certain PH to work; and with using it right so that it doesn’t cause irritation.

As someone with sensitive skin, I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with vitamin C because it causes a lot of irritation. Sadly, there hasn’t been much information online on how to prevent the irritation. Perhaps, most people don’t have that issues, so this post will be for those who do. Currently I’m using The Ordinary’s Vitamin C Suspension 23%+ HA Spheres 2% , and finally figured out a way to use it in my routine to get the benefits and avoid burning and redness.

IMG_7353

(no foundation, just concealer under eyes)

First of all, I suggest adding vitamin C to skincare routing gradually and paying attention to how your skin feels. Actually, always pay attention to how your skin feels on a given day and adjust what you put on it accordingly. I’ll be talking about L-ascorbic acid here- LAA, since it is one of the most effective and affordable forms. LAA is very unstable, it needs Ph of 3.5 or lower to work, oxidizes when exposed to light or heat (can send one to Oompa Loompa land very fast), so don’t just go applying it whenever wherever.

I’m using LAA every other night- the nights that I’m not using tretinoin. I start off with cleansing my face thoroughly. Face wash of choice is usually something very mild and simple like Purpose- gets the makeup off, and doesn’t dry me out. Then I follow with spraying my face with a gentle toner like MAC Fix + or Lumene and letting it absorb, which is a few minutes. After that I apply a little bit of my LAA avoiding the eye area and find something else to do for the next 20-30 minutes. And then I follow with my BHA (either Paula’s Choice 2% gel or my new COSRX Blackhead Liquid Power). If my skin if feeling extra dry or a bit too sensitive I like to use snail mucus serum. On some nights I use Alpha-Lipoic acid instead of BHA. I’ll write more on that product in another post.

Ever since I switched to this more thoughtful routine the burning and irritation from LAA has stopped, and I am finally seeing skin that is firmer, more supple, glowy, and even.

A little warning. If you are just starting to use The Ordinary’s LAA, or any other LAA are afraid that the product is too harsh for you, you could dilute it with another product, but if you do so, make sure to check PH and ingredients. For example, LAA will not work with niacinamide.

Some useful sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11207686

Fantastic blogpost on LAA, BHA and AHA http://www.snowwhiteandtheasianpear.com/2015/01/skincare-discovery-putting-your.html

http://www.paulaschoice.com/expert-advice/anti-aging/_/how-does-vitamin-c-help-skin

Current Skincare Routine

skincarefeb2017

I’m always struggling between the desire to simplify my routines and wanting to try new things, which leads me to adjusting how and when I apply various products.

  1. Tretinoin Cream 0.05% has quickly become my favorite and can’t live without product. It deserves a separate post with actual skin photos. But there is no other skincare product that managed to change my skin as noticeably as tretinoin.
  2. Kiss My Face Face Factor SPF 30 is the only sunscreen I ever repurchased. Multiple times. Non-stinky, non-oily, moisturizing, soothing and comfortable to wear even for very sensitive skin. The price is also great, so you can actually apply the necessary amount as often as needed without any heartbreak.
  3. Lumene Refreshing Toner Bright Touch I’ve started using toners very recently, as I used to think they are an unnecessary extra step, but I have enjoyed this toner greatly. It is very moisturizing and non-irritating. No bad ingredients like alcohol, and nothing irritating. Unfortunately this exact toner has been discontinued as part of Lumene’s redesign, now they have face mists, which are probably great too.
  4. Mizon Snail 80 Intensive Repairing Serum is a wonderful moisturizing serum. Unscented plumping and brightening serum. Must have for those days when skin is sensitive and cranky.
  5. The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Speres 2% is the most controversial item in my routine, as vitamin C is supposed to be a great anti-aging tool, but I find that I have to be very careful when using it on my sensitive skin. Took quite a bit of time to get used to this product. I currently use it on the nights I skip tretinoin.
  6. The Ordinary “Buffet” is the newest addition to my skincare routine, so at this point I can’t say how effective it is at fighting the signs of aging. I use it every morning after my toner. The serum has a thicker slippery consistence, easy to apply. It is unscented, which I love, doesn’t sting or burn, absorbs quickly without leaving any film or residue. It is packed with peptides and all the good stuff, so i’m looking forward to updating you on how it works.