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.

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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!

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Miracle Makeup Products For Oily Skin and Seborrheic Dermatitis

There are a couple of makeup products that have revolutionized my makeup bag. One is a primer. Now, I’ve tried many different primers (Make Up For Ever, Benefit, other expensive brands), but the result is always the same: it doesn’t adhere to my skin and my makeup slides off my face with the slightest touch. It’s almost like my skin rejects the primer, and my skin actually ends up oilier with the primers I’ve tried. I had given up on primers until I recently saw some makeup videos using Korean cosmetic products (not the kind sold at Sephora, but the kind that you can only order online and get directly from Asia.

It seems like Asian cosmetic companies do something different from Western cosmetic companies (which seem to just do variations of the same thing). So, I want to introduce a couple of products that are absolutely amazing if you have oily skin or seborrheic dermatitis, starting with a primer.

・゚:*Etude House: Face Blur*:・゚
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I tried Etude House’s Face Blur primer out of curiosity without much expectation. It was so worth the wait. I ordered it from YesStyle (~$18 for 1.23oz, but usually on sale), but you can order it from Korean shops through Amazon, too (~$13 for 1.23oz, but longer wait time).
This product is great for smoothing the skin, which is important for applying foundation to the uneven textured skin that is the signature of seborrheic dermatitis. I rub a very small amount in well before applying my foundation, but my foundation doesn’t just slide off my face the way it does with other primers. It also gives my makeup better staying power, and my skin doesn’t freak out and get overly oily like it does with other primers. It smells really nice, too. 🙂
There are a couple of things I want to mention about this product, though. It isn’t very good as an eye primer. It gets into creases and creates creases both under the eyes and over the eyes. I apply a lot of concealer under my eyes (mixture of dark eye circles and puffiness from my eyelids swelling), and I was hoping it would keep my concealer in place better. It doesn’t work as great under the eyes, but if you’re careful with the application, you can make it work.
Overall, this is an amazing primer for a great price. If other primers haven’t worked for you, or if you have oily skin or seborrheic dermatitis, you should definitely try this one.

・゚:*Innisfree: No-Sebum Mineral Powder*:・゚51eb4j7e0ll-_sx522_

Instead of making my makeup super heavy by using a powder foundation to help keep my T-zone under control, I decided to try this product. I heard about this product through makeup tutorials that used mostly Asian cosmetic products and was intrigued by the ingredient list (Jeju mineral powder, corn starch, mint). Most oil-control powders I’ve tried have had the reverse effect, or they shrivel my skin and make the texture look awful. Just a small amount of this keeps my skin oil-free for most of the day. I do need a touch up in the evening, but it does a very good job. It also has a very nice and delicate scent to it. It’s available as a loose powder or a compact. I bought this on YesStyle for ~$15 for 5g (usually on sale for less), or you can buy it on Amazon for ~$7 from a Korean shop. I noticed you can also order two of the 5g loose powders through Amazon Prime for ~$17.

I hope these products work as well for you as they have for me!

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).

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    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.

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: mypure.co.uk. 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!

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: http://www.lisaeldridge.com/video/22873/foundation-solutions-for-very-pale-skin/#.VY16pkZwu70

Brightening Up Your Eyes When You’re Very Pale

When I was younger, people used to make fun of me for my almost ghostly pale skin. I always kind of liked it, though. In a way, enjoying my pale skin, not using bronzer, tan-in-a-bottle, or intentionally spending hours in the sun just to darken my skin was my way of rebelling against the tanned-look fad. Besides, shouldn’t you love what you already have? It makes for a much happier you.

There are challenges to being porcelain-skinned, though, especially when it comes to finding the right shade of makeup. My whole life has been bouncing from one makeup brand to another, looking for a shade light enough for my skin. Once I would find one, the line or brand would always inevitably disappear!! It was always so frustrating. Right now what I use for liquid foundation now that works flawlessly is Laura Mercier’s Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide in Crème (this is the neutral undertone shade) and for powder Korres Wild Rose Mineral Foundation in Porcelaine (which is actually a bit too dark, but I still have a full container, so I make it work). For concealing, I’ve found nothing that works better than Cover FX Total Cover Cream (which is actually what has now replaced what I have–go figure) in N0. Granted that the new line is the same as the old one, it’s a bit pricey, but it’s worth the splurge and will last you ages.

Now the tricky part: for covering up those dark under eye circles and brightening up around the eyes, when you’re just short of being ghost white and need a lighter shade, what do you use? Use white!

I found on Amazon UK a white mineral concealer from JTshop. JTshop also has its own website with free shipping. I love this concealer, because it’s very creamy and very pigmented. A little goes a very long way. So I like to use this first under my eyes and cheek bones to blend it out a bit (like in this video). Then I put the Cover FX concealer over it to give it a skin color rather than white. I also like using the white concealer above my eyes just under my eyebrows to brighten my eyes up. It works fabulously.