Toners for Seborrheic Dermatitis, Oily Skin, and Acne

For a long time I went without using any toners. My initial experience with toners was quite bad: as a teenager with atypically severe acne I was recommended Clinique, the ever-worshipped place to go for everything a girl struggling with acne could need from makeup to skincare. I tried the Clinique routine, including their horrific toners, which are mostly denatured alcohol. Note here that denatured alcohol is the worst possible thing you could put on your skin: it dehydrates (not good for oil control) and damages by thinning the skin out. I started with the level 2 toner and within a year had graduated to level 5. My skin’s oiliness just kept getting worse!!

Eventually, I took toners out of my routine all together, though I continued to struggle with severe oiliness and acne. I won’t go on a rant about how I came to manage my oiliness (you can read those posts here and here). What I will tell you is how I returned to toners and what toners I have found to be absolutely amazing for all of my skin issues!

For a while I was using an Innisfree green tea toner, but it wasn’t really doing much for me. I applied it twice daily for several months, and it just never seemed to really do anything… at all. After a while, before I even finished the bottle, I simply stopped using it. It seemed like just an extra expense and step to my morning and evening routine, which might I add I try to keep as simple as possible. I am a big believer that you don’t need to use a mountain of products day and night to maintain healthy skin, and the longer I have been doing this the more I find that this is true: you just need to choose the right products.

I was however having issues with skin texture from the seborrheic dermatitis. Every morning and evening before cleansing my skin would be gritty. I had tried microdermabrasion with good results as long as I had it done every 6-8 weeks, but it got expensive and I decided not to continue. My skin needed to be exfoliated 3-4 times a week to control the grittiness and roughness, which was also causing my pores to clog, get deeper, and often led to painful, deep pimples. Physical exfoliation just didn’t seem to be quite doing the trick for maintaining my skin. I had avoided chemical exfoliation up to this point, because chemical exfoliation can be quite harsh and is certainly a step over physical exfoliation. If you exfoliate more than what your skin needs, it will backfire on you. So I took a step-wise approach to increasing the degree of exfoliation that I was doing, but with physical exfoliation alone, I was not getting any improvements.

After reading about the glass skin K-trend and an article about different toners for different skin types and what ingredients to look for, I decided to entertain the idea again. I stumbled across a Korean toner on YesStyle (where I get about half of my skincare products and most of my Korean and Japanese skincare items) that amazingly met several criteria: it contains small amounts of both AHA and BHA for daily exfoliation as well as witch hazel, which is an important ingredient managing oily skin and refining pores. I thought it was a long shot, a totally random find, but the item was on sale for $13 instead of the usual price of $32, so what the heck? I like trying new things.



Best discovery ever!! This toner has seriously changed my life. My skin has never felt smoother or more supple. My lotions and creams absorb so quickly. I can also tell that my pores are slowly but surely being refined and are in the process of shrinking. In addition, this toner with my other products has pretty much eliminated my oily skin. I can wash my face at 7AM, apply my makeup, go about my day, and not remove my makeup and wash my face until 8:30PM and my skin remains almost completely oil-free all day! That’s 12 hours of practically being oil-free! I started by using this twice a day for the first couple of weeks, and after that I only use it in the evenings so my heaviest skincare products that I use at night can be absorbed really well thanks to the exfoliating properties of the toner. This brand, COSRX, is a Korean brand that I had never heard of, but this toner and other COSRX products have gotten great reviews on YesStyle. If you have seborrheic dermatitis on your face, oily 81x8xkncsjl-_sx522_.jpgskin, acne, or skin that seems to need excessive physical exfoliation throughout the week, I highly recommend trying this toner! I still exfoliate once a week using Natural Aqua Gel Cure (you can also find this on Amazon in the US), a very gentle exfoliating gel, as well as a SkinFood black sugar and strawberry mask.

41p1fyzjiol-_sy679_In the mornings, I use a gel matcha toner from Milk Makeup that contains witch hazel to continue getting the pore refining and oil control benefits. Between those two toners, my skin has never felt better. For the first time in my life, my skin looks and feels healthy, the oiliness is completely under control. I used to be the girl who saw others with flawless, healthy, smooth, clear skin and wondered what they do and what they use to get their skin so lovely. Now I feel like I am the girl that other girls look at wondering what my secret is to such nice skin! It has a radiant glow, it’s smooth, youthful, and healthy.

Next time, I will write a post on my upgraded skincare routine! I finally feel like I have mastered a routine that is making my skin amazing. I want to share all the amazing products I have found that have changed my life and my skin for the better! If you want faster updates on my skincare routine and short versions of skincare product reviews, follow me on Instagram!


Review: Organic Liquid Foundation by Zuii Organic

So I’ve been looking for an organic liquid foundation for a while now. I’m currently using Kat Von D Lock-It Liquid Foundation, and I really like it. The tone matches my skin beautifully (I wear Light 42 Neutral), which finding a foundation to match my skin tone is incredibly difficult as most brands don’t go light enough. However, I wanted to find something with more natural ingredients, so I came across an Australian brand called Zuii Organic. They have a liquid foundation that is flower-based, using rose, chamomile, and jasmine extracts.

I wanted to love this foundation, because I like everything about it: natural, jojoba oil-based, and smells lovely. But it doesn’t go on my skin very evenly. Even worse, it made my skin mildly itchy. It seemed to come off very easily as well. It also carries a relatively high price tag when comparing to other foundations: around $45 for 1oz, whereas the Kat Von D foundation is $35 for 1oz. The Zuii Organic foundation coverage is medium. The Kat Von D foundation is definitely one of the heaviest foundations I’ve used, probably second only to Cover FX Total Cover Cream Foundation ($42). Kat Von D foundation lasts me easily a year, as I apply so little to get good coverage, and I wouldn’t expect the Zuii Organic foundation to last nearly as long.

On the positive side, the shades they offer for the Zuii Organic foundations go very light. If you’ve ever tried Illamasqua’s Skin Base Foundation in 02 (this was actually too light for me, but I think they’ve reformulated since I tried it), then you’ll have a good idea how light the Zuii Organic’s Light Rose is (again, turned out to be too light for me).


    I took a picture in natural lighting of Zuii Organic’s Light Rose next to my Kat Von D Light 42 Neutral for reference.

I tried the Zuii Organic again without putting any moisturizer on to see if this would resolve the application problems I was having. It didn’t. I also found the Zuii Organic didn’t build very well. When trying to add an additional layer of foundation, I found it just left many bare spots on my face.

Sadly, this foundation didn’t work for my skin. Maybe you’ll have better luck. Zuii Organic does offer little sample pouches for their foundations, so you can try it out for relatively inexpensive. However, I will be sticking with Kat Von D’s foundation for now.

Tallow For Oily Skin and Seborrheic Dermatitis

I’m really excited to get to do this review, because I feel like I’ve really hit the jackpot with this find. To warn you upfront, it isn’t glamorous, and it’s a little bit strange, but it really works. If you’re struggling with oily skin or seborrheic dermatitis, you will want to read on.

Let’s start with what tallow actually is. As I said, it isn’t glamorous, but I’m going to tell it to you straight: it’s beef fat, usually blended with olive oil and essential oils for ease of application and scent. What are the benefits of beef fat for your skin?

Fatty acids! Tallow is full of naturally occurring fatty acids that your skin needs to repair itself and stay plump and moist. Fatty acids are also natural antioxidants, which helps fight aging and acne and seborrheic dermatitis (both of which are caused by inflammation). Most beauty products rely on adding fatty acids to them, usually by either by extracting them from natural sources or by making them synthetically. The nice thing about tallow is that all of the fatty acids are naturally occurring and are readily available for your skin to absorb and use them.

Vitamins! Tallow also is full of naturally occurring vitamins. I don’t think I need to explain the importance of vitamins to you, but I’ll point out a couple of important ones for your skin. Vitamin A (retinol) is essential for helping with acne. Accutane, a prescription drug used for severe acne, is really just highly concentrated and very readily absorbed vitamin A. Vitamin E (you’ll see this often listed as tocopherols) is an antioxidant and moisturizing agent. This vitamin is great for helping skin stay moisturized, as well as fighting aging and any inflammation-based problems.

Collagen! I know collagen has in the past been a bit of a negative word, but collagen is essential for the skin to rebuild itself. It’s a building block for cells, which means you’ll want readily available collagen for your skin to help keep it youthful and healthy.

What about the cost? Tallow is actually very inexpensive. A 2oz jar of organic tallow from grass-fed cows will cost about $25, but you use an extremely small amount of tallow on your skin. I estimate even used generously, a 2oz jar should last about six months or longer.

Why is organic tallow from grass-fed cows so important? For cows to be healthy, they need to be fed grass. Cows cannot digest corn or grains (this is what they’re fed on industrial farms) and become malnourished when they do, because they cannot absorb any nutrients from this. If the cow cannot absorb nutrients from its food, the fat in the cow will have no vitamins or fatty acids in it. This malnutrition will also cause stress on the cow’s body, leading to the production of all kinds of things in the fat that your skin will not thank you for. Speaking of stress, it’s very important for cows to be able to graze freely. Being locked in pens for 24 hours a day is also very stressful and not good for a cows health. An unhealthy cow will not produce good milk, good meat, or good fat.

A little bit about my person experience with tallow: I was very skeptical at first, but I’m always exciting to try something new for my poor, desperate skin. I read some reviews online where people who had problems with oily skin said it did wonders for them, and even some people claimed it erased blackheads. Intrigued, I jumped online to see what different places sell good quality tallow. I ended up going with Vintage Tradition and purchased their Almost Unscented balm. The reason for this was it sounded like with the essential oils it had in it, it should have a warm, woody scent. That ended up not being the case, and the scent is too light to really cover the smell of the tallow up well, but it still is amazing for my skin. My next tallow will be the Pretty Girl with a floral scent.The consistency of Vintage Tradition’s tallow is a lot like unrefined shea butter, and it needs to be rubbed with your finger to be able to get a little bit out to apply to the skin.

After using it for a couple of weeks, I noticed my skin is so smooth and soft. My makeup goes on smoother, and I even apply tallow lightly under my makeup because it helps it go on so much better.  I used to get rough patches when applying my foundation, because of the seborrheic dermatitis. Now the only rough patches I get are under my eyebrows. My foundation seems to stay on a little better, too. My skin also is a little less oily, and I’m hoping after several months of use to see my pores get smaller and my skin get less oily throughout the day. At night, I apply the tallow a little heavier over the Topix Replenix CF Cream, and after showering I apply it on the most dry-prone areas over my favorite Madara body lotion.

All in all, I would highly recommend this to anyone. Whether you have skin problems or not, you can’t go wrong with tallow from a high quality source. My mom and sister even started using it after I had been the guinea pig for the first week. So check it out and tell me what you think!

Lotions Suitable for Seboherreic Dermatitis

I’ve experimented a lot over the past few years trying to find skincare items that work for me. No thanks to this pesky condition, things have been quite tricky. That’s why I want to share some of the lotions I’ve found work really well for me. Maybe you’ll find them helpful, too!

・゚:*Face Lotion*:・゚

The first and probably most important. It took a while and a lot of experimenting to find something that worked, but I actually found an amazing lotion that has high concentrations of antioxidants in it, which actually helps to treat the condition. After I found it on Amazon, I noticed a lot of Amazon reviewers with this condition were saying the same thing, so I hope you’ll try Topix Pharm Replenix CF Cream. It’s a little expensive ($37-50, depending on what deals are available at the time), but it really is worth it. I save a little money by only using it in the evenings, but I would be better off using it twice a day. Also, be careful to get the cream and not the serum. I found the serum doesn’t work as well.

・゚:*Body Lotion*:・゚

While I was living in England, I discovered an amazing website: I still order a lot of my skincare products from them (and all my lipsticks, Lavera is the best!), and they’re great! Great customer service, fast shipping, and their shipping costs are very reasonable. They carry a brand called Madara, which has saved my skin in a way I didn’t think was possible. I started using Madara’s body washes, and my skin doesn’t get anywhere near as oily as it used to. They’re very gentle and light and not at all drying. Additionally, I also started using their Moisturising Lotion (£13 or about $16) for normal/dry skin. This lotion absorbs quickly and moisturizes well without leaving any heavy residue on your skin. Even for my skin, which tends to be oily, this lotion is heaven! I will never spend another dime on any other lotion again.

Makeup Application When You Have Seborrhea Dermatitis

It’s been a few years since I noticed those annoying little scales appear that develop in oily areas, and it took a couple more years for me to find out what that actually was. Putting a name to it doesn’t really change anything, but now at least I can share my struggles with seborrhea dermatitis with other people. Makeup application has since this development in my skin also been an issue, because no matter what I do the night before or the morning of, I always have some amount of scaling on my face that isn’t obvious until I put my makeup on. Once the makeup is on and the scales on my face (usually around my eyes or nose) are obvious, getting them to disappear is a lot harder. I’ve tried using brushes, sponges, and different makeup application techniques just using my fingers, switching to powder, trying different primers, different moisturizers, different exfoliation techniques, but they all had essentially the same result: the makeup always ended up accentuating any scaling on my face.

I recently bought a Beauty Blender to see if it’s any good. I wasn’t thinking so much about trying to solve this issue with scaling, because I thought it was a lost cause. However, much to my delight, using the Beauty Blender made a world of difference! Stippling my liquid foundation on with the Beauty Blender not only applied my makeup really nicely, but there was no scaling to be seen on my face, and I’m pretty sure the scales haven’t just suddenly disappeared in fear of my new makeup sponge. The Beauty Blender is a bit pricey by anybody’s standards, but there must be something different about the texture compared to other makeup sponges that makes it ideal for applying makeup to skin that may have some scaling. The amount of scaling on my face is probably very low since overhauling my skincare routine (sulfate-free facial cleanser, nightly exfoliation with a coarse washcloth, and starflower seed oil in the evenings) when comparing to others, so I can’t speak for people who may have a more severe case of this skin condition. Nonetheless, it is worth a try for anyone who is facing similar challenges.

I hope this was helpful for you!

How I Went from Very Oily Skin to Almost Normal Skin

It’s been a long journey to get my skin to calm down. Since hitting puberty, I’ve had the oiliest skin I’ve ever known anyone to have. I went through a round of Acutane, which helped for a while, and then after a couple of years, I was back to square one (though the acne was dramatically improved). It didn’t help that I was living in the humid Ohio River Valley. I reached a point where I was okay with very oily skin and just learned to cope with it. Somehow, I never quite gave up, though, and kept looking for ways to get it under better control.

I finally have, and I want to share with you what I did to do that. It was only recently that I got it completely under control, which is why this post isn’t making it out there until just now. I used to do everything the dermatologist suggested: wash with a special acne wash, blot your skin, make sure you use makeup remover, etc. etc. I went through the Clinique line and their four (I think it’s four) step program. I did everything the dermatologists and cosmeticians were telling me to do. Things didn’t improve until I decided maybe bombarding my skin with chemicals wasn’t going to fix anything, and even if it didn’t fix anything, it would still be taking better care of my skin if I removed chemicals from my routine. As such, I tried things like oil cleansing (rather messy and leaves a lot of greasy laundry to do). Oil cleansing was fine, but it wasn’t so good for removing makeup, so in the evening I went back to my good old Neutrogena. Eventually, I heard about cleansing with lemon juice. Lemon juice easily removes excess oil without dehydrating the skin. Perfect! Except it doesn’t remove makeup. Okay, so lemon juice in the morning. This was one of the best discoveries of my skin journey, because lemon juice is simple to use, a natural astringent if you have oily skin or large pores, and it really does do a great job of cleaning the skin without drying it out.

So what about removing makeup? That was my last challenge. I had been using Neutrogena for my evening routine to remove my makeup, because it was the only thing I knew that would really get my face clean. I had been using it for my body wash as well, because my back, chest, and shoulders were especially prone to oiliness as well. Then I heard about sulfate-free cleansers, and I thought I should try a sulfate-free cleanser on my body to see if it would get the oiliness under control. Well, I saw a difference immediately. Then I decided to try it on my face. If it works on my body, it should work on my face. And it did! It removed the makeup and didn’t cause my face to get horrifically oily overnight. I was already using sulfate-free shampoo to help control the seborrhea on my scalp. I don’t know why I didn’t think to use it on my face and body sooner to control the seborrhea everywhere else.

And that’s it. I use lemon juice in the morning. It’s so inexpensive! I get a lemon and squeeze as much juice out as possible into a small brown cosmetic bottle and keep it in the fridge. You can also water it down if it’s a little too potent for your skin. I use a cotton pad by putting it over the mouth of the bottle and shaking up twice, and then simply wipe over my face once, and I’m done! Now in the evening, I use a sulfate-free cleanser (I also want to try a cleansing milk) and washcloth to remove makeup and buff my skin smooth. I then apply a small amount of borage (or starflower) seed oil, and that’s all I need! I’ve even started applying a small amount of starflower oil in the morning before I put my makeup on to keep my skin supple for application. It works beautifully! My chest and back don’t get oily at all anymore. It’s saved a lot of my clothes, because as you may know, oil can be rather destructive on clothes and difficult to wash out. My skin has never been so healthy!

I hope this revelation I’ve shared helps you in your skin journey!

For my body wash, I use Madara Refreshing Soap. Once I find a sulfate-free facial cleanser or cleansing milk, I’ll share that with you as well!

Foundations for Very Pale Skin

I just came across this fantastic video reviewing foundations for very pale skin. Whenever I have to switch foundations, usually because the one I was using is no longer being made, I struggle to find the right shade. It’s always such a challenge! It is never easy. This video is great, though I found several of the lines she mentions are no longer sold. Having moved from the US to England recently, I’m having to find a new foundation that is available in England, so once again, I will get to face the challenge.

Here’s the article with the video where the products are also listed: