Skincare Review

Winter Skincare Shuffle – February Edition

In college, I took a course (and even wrote a long thesis paper) about decision making processes. I focused on a political figure and his particular style of reaching a decision, learning along the way that our minds do get less effective at making decisions the more we are called on to make many decisions. It’s called decision making fatigue. You might wonder why I’m talking about this concept in a post dedicated to a change in my skincare regime, but let me assure you of its relevancy. 

Green Beauty Bloggers Bum Me Out

There. I said it. I don’t know about you, but I read green beauty blogs and follow natural skincare Instagram ladies mainly to see what products someone out there has actually found effective. I always have the deepest hope that someone out there just knows better than me, has the same skin concerns as me, and has finally discovered a product (or a set of products) that are proving to cause real changes. Increasingly, I realize this might be quite a waste of my time. For one thing, some prefer to amass a giant collection that I am not interested in recreating for myself. Others like to use something once or twice before writing glowing reviews. Even more frustrating is when I am looking for information about  a product only to see many bloggers wrote about it only because it was in a beauty subscription box so they’ve yet to use it much if at all or are basically reviewing the beauty box itself.

Alas, it’s been an annoying and baffling process of trying to find evidence of skincare products that do actually work. As with every niche in life, there as highlighted star ingredients and rising brands. Many bloggers will talk up one product or ingredients all of a sudden, but the next post will suggest something better can be found. Looking at online stores who carry such products one can see choices are abundant, but again I find myself constantly looking for data or evidence to suggest I should buy this instead of that. Never mind the familiar refrain that “your mileage may vary”, meaning what works for some isn’t necessarily going to work for you. So, with this in mind I present to you how I’ve come to my current collection of skincare products and what I’ll be attempting next.

Is This Thing On?

When my Maya Chia Super Couple serum bottle ran dry, I knew I needed something to replace it. I read so much hype about this serum before purchasing it, that I was sure this was the right oil to make a difference in just how dry my skin can be during the winter months.  I was initially encouraged when this serum absorbed into my skin much better and faster than my Kypris Elixir I or III did. Shortly after I realized it did nothing much to actually keep my skin hydrated throughout the day, and disappointment set in.

IMG_5391.jpg
Aside from the de Mamiel cleansing balm, I don’t use any of these products any more.

Then I realized that even though I’ve used the Kypris Antioxidant Dew for the last six months, I wasn’t sure it was actually making a difference in my routine. I took it out of my routine, and lo and behold… Nothing happened. Ok, so that’s a product I don’t think I’ll be using anymore either. Finally, I’ve mentioned before that I stopped using the Kypris cleanser concentrate because it seems to be doing… well, nothing much. In this, I think I was actually wrong but more on that later. I also decided not to repurchase it when I ran out of it. What next, then? Bloggers weren’t giving me any concrete ideas of what to try next, and I found myself wondering what to try next.

Realizing a decision was better than no decision, I pondered what were my best skin moments of the last year. I remembered one glorious moment during my summer vacation in which I woke up, looked in the mirror, and actually saw my skin hydrated and decidedly not red. At the time I was using the Antioxidant Dew and Laurel’s Anti-Inflammatory serum, and since I felt like the Dew didn’t actually help hydrate my skin (i.e., meet my most basic request of all my skincare products) I figured it was worth going back to Laurel to see what’s up.

Skincare Lineup Feb 2017.jpg
My current bare bone collection.

And it seems to be working fine. By fine, I mean it doesn’t hydrate my skin enough by itself so that I wake up without flakey skin. It doesn’t cause my skin to be less red around the cheeks like magic would, but I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt as my pores are currently congested as I mistakenly used both de Mamiel’s cleansers at once for a while. That’s why I bought a travel sized version of the Josh Rosebrook Moisture Cleanse and am now alternating between the two cleansers as the mood strikes. What the Laurel oil definitely does do for me after using it for over a month is absorb nicely, smell vaguely nice, and not cause any breakouts or adverse reactions to it. So… I guess it’s fine. Is it better or worse than the oils I’ve tried by Kypris or Maya Chia? No. I see no difference or improvement over the other formulations. I’ve attempted to compliment this serum by using Laurel’s Restore Nightly and Transform Daily balms (got samples!), but again I still wake up with flakey dry skin and that fleeting moment of skincare perfection is nowhere to be found.

What I’ve Learned Over the Last Eight Months

I like using two oils at a time

When I combined the Maya Chia serum with the Laurel serum, then topped it with the Laurel balm my face felt and looked a little less dry in the morning. I call this a moderate success, and I would like to experiment with using two oil serums instead of just one. Determined to still give Laurel a shot to impress me once more, I ventured to order Laurel’s Antioxidant serum. I love things that are called “Antioxidant”, as it would seem.

When Cleansing Works, Don’t Mess With It

Easy conclusion, right? I had to learn this the hard way. My pores were much less congested when I used the Kypris Cleanser with my de Mamiel cleansing balm. Then I went and disrupted the harmony, and nothing I’ve used since have helped keep my pores less congested. When they are congested my cheeks get red and hot all the time, therefore I feel it is key to find that balance again. I’ll be repurchasing that Cleanser Concentrate. I’ll also keep rebuying that magical de Mamiel Restorative Cleansing Balm, by the way. In my opinion it’s ability to clear my pores is incredibly better than de Mamiel’s Atmosphériques Pure Calm Cleansing Dew. I’ve found myself somewhat disappointed with it when I realized water does emulsify it, but not enough to take away the need for a second cleanser. When I used it by itself is truly when my pores took a turn for the worse.

Balms Are All the Same To Me

Sad, isn’t it? I’ve tried SO many samples by now and have seen zero difference. Why not try something completely random, then? While I debated In Fiore’s balm for a while, I finally went with Siam Seas Elements Beauty Balm. In Fiore’s balm had some ingredients I worried would cause a reaction in my sensitive skin, while Siam’s balm had ingredients I’ve never tried before. It’s a total gamble without any empirical evidence to suggest it would work for me, but as I mentioned before… I’ve grown tired of making these decisions.

I Suffer From Skincare Decision Making Fatigue

By the time I added this balm to my cart I was just so impatient and annoyed with my decision making process I decided to just make a decision for the sake of making a decision. The reviews I’ve read recently and the routines I see posted all leave me feeling like I have no clue what would actually work for my skin and I increasingly wonder if any one out there knows what consistently works for them? I know skincare isn’t magic and if my skin is so dry it might just be winter and not drinking enough water, but I can only control two variable (drink more water! Get more effective products!). If I am determined to use verifiable facts to navigate the waters of the ‘skincare sea’ without owning a cabinet filled with products, but I’ve grown tired of making these decisions… What am I to do?

Possibly subscribe to a beauty box to remove the need to decide what to purchase next. Possibly randomly select products and keep an account of what works and how. Possibly buy a whole skincare regime from a brand who’s made something I’ve liked so far. Possibly hope a reader or skincare creator out there has some ideas for me.

In the Meantime…

I’ll write an update in a month or so when I’ve had a chance to use my new routine. I hope that with the end of harsh winter drawing nearer my skin will decide to give me a break, and that the combination of oils proves useful. I also plan on using some masks to unclog my pores in the next few weeks. Later on I will definitely try to find a mask that won’t upset my sensitive skin but does help unclog my poor pores on an ongoing basis. I am eyeing this one.

This post turned out to be much more critical and gloomy than I imagined it would be, so my apologies for that. What are some of the best skincare products you’ve used and would recommend?

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