Winter Essentials – A Noob’s Guide to Survival in the North

Well, honestly, I feel like a bit of a fraud writing this. What the hell do I know about winter? Even my first winter in Vermont had the training wheels firmly in place. Only one or two days below 0F, hardly any snow accumulation ever, wind mostly behaving. But still – it’s more winter than I’ve ever experienced so far, and as such, my skincare and wardrobe needed some adjusting. So I thought I’d share with you guys a few things that saved my bacon over the last few months.

First, let’s talk wardrobe.

Right up until late November, my light North Face mid-layer jacket mostly did the job. But by the time December came along, it was time for the big guns.

The North Face Women’s Arctic Down Parka – $299

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I got this in navy. I tossed up between navy and teal, and the strangest thing happened while this was in the cupboard unseen between August and December – I forgot completely that I bought navy, and pictured it in teal in my head. Imagine my surprise when I pulled it out. I shhould have bought teal, but navy is one of My Colors and so I guess I just went with what I always buy. Big mistake! Anyway, it’s an absolutely excellent parka. It’s exactly what I wanted – waterproof, windproof, a big (faux)furry hood, deep pockets and long enough to hit me at about knee level. Worth every penny.

Uniqlo HEATTECH thermal underlayers – approx $20 a piece

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I LOVE this range. Honestly, next year I’ll buy even more of it, because there were weeks when I needed a pair for every day of the week. These are so soft and warm and not bulky at all, really thin and just perfect under any items of clothing including skinny jeans. Most importantly, they were absolutely perfect under scrubs, which is what I wear 5 days out of 7. Absolute winners in my book!

Uniqlo Women’s Extra-Fine Merino Sweaters – $30

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I actually got these in Australia, on the day of my ill-fated visa interview. It was a defiance purchase. “TELL ME I CAN’T GO TO AMERICA, WILL YOU?! JUST WATCH ME BUY THE MOST INAPPROPRIATE-FOR-AUSTRALIA THING I CAN FIND!” I bought three of them – one in black, one in red and one in teal. I have worn these ALL WINTER. They’re perfect as under-layers on especially cold days, and as mid-layers as well. On more spring/fall temp days they’re fine as outer layers. They’re soft, not cashmere soft (I wouldn’t wear this straight over a bra, for example) but soft enough for comfortable wear over a tank top, and thin enough fabric to wear, you guessed it: under scrubs.

Hunter Side Adjustable “Norris Field” Tall Rain Boots – $160

I was lucky enough to receive this as a gift for Christmas from my mother, who lives in the UK and knows a Hunter rep! As such, I’m not 100% sure that the ones in the link are the ones I have. But anyway – I. Love. Them. They’re so easy to wear – which sounds silly, but my other tall winter boots are fiddly and hard work to put on. These ones are just step-in, adjust the strap then go. I got some boot socks too which are really helpful when it’s very cold. I love that these boots are wide enough to not be tight on my large calves, and classy enough to be worn with nice jeans to a decent restaurant, for example. Huge fan!

As for skincare, well, I didn’t change too much. Maybe I should’ve – I’d love to hear if you guys have any must-haves for winter skin.

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The biggest problem for me in cold, dry weather is my lips. They are kinda wrinkly and weird anyway and they seem to chap and flake so fast. The only thing I’ve ever found to both effectively treat and prevent this is the Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask. It’s pricey but it’s worth it, 100%. It’s honestly amazing. I sometimes switch to other things and the change is immediately noticeable. The only complaint I have about this product is that the product is extremely thick, so if it gets cold, it’s basically impossible to squeeze it out of the tube. But you only need a tiny bit, so the tube goes a long way.

I don’t like to put moisturizer or serum onto a completely dry face so I’ve been using the La Roche Posay Serozinc facial mist / toner to moisten my skin after the shower. It contains zinc sulfate so it’s great for combating spots as well as being a hydrating agent that’s perfect for prepping skin for treatments. The mist is super fine so it doesn’t feel like a jet of water in your face – bonus! The bottle is pretty big and I’m nowhere near finishing the one I got in early December – pretty longlasting for a mist!

I had a terrible cold for the last few weeks, it’s finally kicking the bucket now (thanks at least in part to a z-pack I was prescribed after finally going to the doctor) but while I was blowing my nose every 8 seconds, the skin around my nostrils and upper lip area was cracked and red. It was horrible. It was so tender and painful, my life was hell! At least until I grabbed a little travel size tube of Gold Bond Ultimate Healing Skin Therapy “Aloe” cream. It really seemed to heal and treat the skin so fast! I applied it a couple of times a day and used a balm at night to lock it in (I just used the Bite Beauty balm), and my tender, cracked skin cleared up really quickly. So this is a very specific thing to talk about but it was such a relief that it immediately jumped to mind when I decided to do this post! It’s readily available at all drugstores in both travel size and full size.

You all know I adore my oil cleansers and my latest favorite is no exception. The Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel Illuminating Vitamin Facial Cleanser (phew!) has a pretty big following in the UK and since some of my favorite bloggers are British, it had been on my wishlist for awhile. Americans (and Australians) can pick it up from BeautyBay. It’s kinda pricey, but the container is large and the pump is fantastic. Its name is misleading – it’s really more of a balm/oil hybrid than a gel. It’s absolutely fabulous for getting rid of all traces of makeup and sunscreen at the end of the day, and it smells nice too.

Dr Jart+ Ceramidin Liquid is one I think I’ve talked about before. It’s basically a liquid hydration booster that I like to add to my skincare at night. Specifically, I like to mix it in with my CeraVe PM Moisturizing Lotion. The latter is one of my absolute favorite skincare items of late. It’s super affordable and packed full of hard-working ingredients – namely niacinamide and ceramides – to keep your skin looking and feeling hydrated. I actually use this in the morning too (minus the Ceramidin Liquid).

Finally, lemme admit something: my trend of being SO BAD at putting body lotion on has not gotten better but when I have remembered to use it, I’ve been reaching for the Nivea Cocoa Butter Body Lotion. I love the convenient pump pack, and I love the cheap-as-chips price. Lately my husband has had really dry skin too so I’ve been smearing this all over his arms and legs and it’s been working a treat to make him feel more comfortable. It’s a winner. It smells delicious too!

Thanks for reading, and like I said, feel free to share your winter products or purchases! Looking outside today you’d be hard pressed to believe that winter is over – it’s below freezing, windy as hell and this morning it snowed. What the heck, Vermont?!

Now that I’m working full time I don’t expect to be posting more than once a week. The days are longggg. But I’m gonna do my best to post regularly! I promise!

Love+++
F&V

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40% Off Skincare Sale at Priceline Australia: OK CALM DOWN PEOPLE, CALM DOWN

There’s enough Bioderma for everyone!

Priceline can be a really great resource for skincare when you’re on a budget. I should start with a disclaimer as I so often do, but this one is pretty relevant: I don’t use a lot of drugstore skincare myself. Not because I think there’s anything wrong with it, but because the stuff that I find works best for me is normally found at high street places. In saying that, Priceline is getting better and better with what it is stocking in terms of skincare and I’m happy to point out a few of my favorite things, and a few things that I know are cult buys or things I’ve heard great things about. Does that make sense? OK COOL! I probably won’t really talk about prices because a) me calculating 40% off for everyone is silly, you know how much 40% is and b) the prices aren’t up on the website yet because the sale doesn’t start til Tuesday (and goes only until Wednesday). I’m just gonna talk about what I would buy!

First of all, we can’t have this blog post without mentioning my precious Bioderma Micellar Water.

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I’ve talked about it before so I won’t go on about it but it’s great and I use it every single day to remove my eye makeup and sometimes lip makeup too. It’s a cleansing water basically; you put it on a cotton pad then use it to remove makeup and it doesn’t leave any residue or any film, it’s just a fantastic product and I love it. If you don’t want to buy the Bioderma one, La Roche-Posay do a fabulous one too and for even cheaper, Garnier has one that has been getting decent reviews but I’ve never tried that one. So I would definitely pick up the largest size of this that you can afford, because I think it’s a product that works for everyone regardless of skin type. It used to come with a pump-top where you just pressed it down using the pad thing but it doesn’t have that anymore by the looks of it. What a shame, that thing is great! I bought a massive thing of this when I left Australia and it is still 3/4 full so it lasts a good long while.

Another brand that is sold at Priceline that I have a lot of time for is La Roche-Posay. They do excellent sunscreens and high quality skincare. Their Effaclar Duo serum is really well regarded and they have a product to suit most skin types – the Effaclar range is for oily/combo skin types. The Toleriane range is great for sensitive skin havers, and their retinol product is meant to be one of the best drugstore/commercially available retinol products around – I believe it’s called Redermic. One of the best LRP products I’ve personally owned was the Thermal Spring Water, I know it’s so stupid it’s just thermal water in a can but the mist is so fine and it feels SO GOOD on your skin when it’s dry, or just when the weather is hot, or before application of a product that needs help spreading. For 6 bucks, chuck it in your bag and keep it on you for Those Days, I reckon. It can even refresh tired-looking makeup if used sparingly.

Cetaphil products are already cheap, and really highly recommended as a kind of “skin reset” or ongoing skincare range by dermatologists. They are really simple products that do exactly what they say on the containers, so if you’ve been on struggle street with your skin and don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on new skincare then picking up a couple of these could be a good idea for you. There are products for all different skin types and I’ve used the oily products in the past with decent results.

A range that I am always hearing great things about is Indeed Laboratories. It’s pricey which is why it’s going in this post – if you can grab this for 40% off you should, if any of the products appeal to you that is. The Retinol Reface is moisturizing and delivers a decent, though obviously not pharmaceutical strength dose of retinol which is a very effective anti-ageing ingredient. There are hyaluronic acid products for those of us who have dry skin and are looking for ways to lock in moisture. Snoxin is a peptide treatment that I know people in the beauty blogging world swear by so that could be something you look into as well, and the eye cream is meant to be amazing too. I’ve never used any of these products because they’re expensive so have a read of the product descriptions and see if any of them suit you and if so, maybe think about picking some up.

The Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse is a very interesting product. It’s actually lovely but I find the smell… challenging. It’s a bit old-lady-ish. But a few of my very good friends who know their stuff about skincare absolutely swear by it. If you’re someone who suffers from dry skin in the winter, face or body, you could think about grabbing some of this to mix into your moisturiser or even your foundation, or just to rub into your lizard legs (no? just me? ok) when the weather is super dry. It is extremely nourishing. This stuff absorbs so fast you’ll barely know you had it on. It’s multi use; you can use it on your face, body or even your hair to give your locks a bit of a boost but I’d go very very easy on this especially if your hair is fine. This product also comes in a bronzing formula which is cool, it adds a golden shimmer to your skin but nothing sparkly or vampire-like. This is a good product, a great one if you like the smell which a lot of people do. I got a couple of samples of this in various beauty boxes and despite my aversion to the scent I still used them all up so what does that tell you?

Sukin is a vegan, cruelty free, Australian owned brand free of lots of nasties that people often react to (parabens, sulfates etc). Their rosehip oil is meant to be an excellent buy, and rosehip oil is very good for the skin (keep an eye out for my friend from allthatfroufrou.com‘s review on skin oils coming up soon!) so you could consider picking some of that up to pop a few drops into your night time moisturiser. I’ve never used any Sukin products but I’ve heard good things so if you like your skincare with a good social conscience then take a gander at their stuff.

Vita Liberata is actually a self-tan brand sold in Sephora in the USA, so I was surprised to see it pop up on the Priceline site. If you are looking for a nice summery natural self-tan, grab the mousse from this range and give it a go, I think you’ll be impressed. I’ve used it, I had a mini from Sephora, and it is actually very good (though I’m still a convert to the St Tropez In-Shower Gradual Tan – it’s just so easy for those of us who only care a little bit!). Use a mitt for easy application. I don’t know if this range will be included but it’s in the Skincare section of the Priceline website so let’s hope so!

The final brand I want to talk about is the Yes To brand. The premise is that each “yes to x” vegetable/fruit is good for a particular thing. For example, Yes to Grapefruit is brightening (agreed, have used the wipes, they are brightening but a bit too harsh like all wipes and I would still avoid them in the future heh), Yes to Cucumbers is calming/sensitive, Yes to Blueberries is hydrating and nourishing etc etc all that stuff. I LOVE the packaging on this brand, you know how I feel about packaging. I just love it and a lot of my beauty blogger peeps actually love this brand, particularly the blueberries range.

Other good things to pick up at this sale are things like a huge vat of your favourite body cream. I’ve been very much enjoying the Nivea Rich Nourishing Lotion (well I think actually what I have is the US version) but we all have our favourites right?

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Priceline has all kinds of brands including the old classics like Palmers, Avene etc. You could also think about grabbing some sunscreen for summer; the Neutrogena ones are well regarded. Ultra Sheer is a great one for those of us who are a little oily.

Here’s something weird: one of my favourite beauty bloggers, NikkieTutorials, absolutely swears by the Nivea Men Post Shave Balm in sensitive as a primer. Like, she has tossed all her other primers out the window.

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I have picked some up, because I’m curious, but I’m a little scared that it might break me out so I’m going to use it sparingly. The basics of it is that it is very high in glycerin which will help makeup stick to your skin. So if that’s included, which it may not be, you could pick some of that up and see if there’s anything to this crazy claim!

I’m sorry this post is so rushed – I really wanted to get it out before the sale starts. I’m hoping that by getting it up Monday morning (Australia time), it will give you guys time to ask questions if you have any or ask for more specific product recommendations. I’ll help where I can!

Go forth and save/spend!

Love+++
F&V

Skincare Overhaul: Being an Adult is Hard.

Specifically, being an acne-having adult is hard!

Lately, I’ve been going through a real upheaval with my skin. When I moved to the USA, it was really cold (for me, anyway) and my skin dried out and broke out. For some reason that happens. I don’t know. Anyway, I got that under control with some Tarte Maracuja oil and the Hada Labo skin plumping gel creme and things settled for awhile, at least to the “normal” level which for me is 1-2 active pimples at all times, and during hormonal times I get some huge, cystic, painful ones. That’s kind of my “norm”. Every night I’d get a little dab of my trusty Malin + Goetz or Kate Somerville acne treatment out and hope by the morning they’d be gone. Sometimes they were (or reduced anyway), sometimes they weren’t.

Here’s the thing though. I had a relatively complex routine, full of products that were probably doing too much to my skin. I wasn’t scrubbing at it but I was probably still overexfoliating, meaning that my skin wasn’t getting a chance to repair its own barrier. Here’s what I was doing:

Morning:
Yes to Grapefruit “brightening” face wipes (what was I THINKING?!)
REN ClariMatte Clarifying Toner
Sunday Riley Good Genes treatment
REN ClariMatte gel-cream moisturiser
[primer, makeup if wearing]

Night:
Nude Skincare Perfect Skin Cleansing Jelly (to remove makeup, removed with a washcloth)
Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip cleanser to remove remnants of above
Paula’s Choice BHA liquid
Sunday Riley Artemis Oil
REN Bio-retinoid Anti-Ageing cream
Kate Somerville Acne Treatment (dotted onto active blemishes)

I’ve definitely seen more complex routines of course, but the problem here was that I was doing all these things every day. Something had to change.

The turning point (albeit a slow turn, I mean this was like a frickin’ aircraft carrier trying to do a 180 I’m telling you guys) came when I started taking Biotin a few weeks ago. I heard it could do amazing things for my hair, skin and nails so I gave it a go, at a fairly low dose. I broke out basically immediately, which I knew was a risk. The breakout was awful! Painful cystic pimples and quite a lot of them – at the worst point I had 5. They wouldn’t go away, even after I stopped taking it (though they did stop appearing in such a bad form at that point).

I redoubled my efforts to get rid of the pimples. Of course, that just made them worse. My face was sore and everything was terrible. It lasted for quite a long time.

I had a huge whinge online to some of my like-minded (makeup/beauty obsessed friends) and they made some excellent suggestions. The first was about a service called PocketDerm which is available in the USA. Basically it’s an online dermatologist for acne sufferers (and anti-ageing needs), you pay $20 a month, upload some photographs and information about your skin needs and a dermatologist creates a special cream with active prescription ingredients based on your needs. You also get an online “consult” with the derm (like emails) and the $20 includes shipping the product every 90 days.

To be honest, it seemed a little too good to be true. All the testimonials on the site were, of course, glowing, so I did my own research. I was at first put off by how many people seemed to have referral codes (and therefore perhaps had less than trustworthy opinions) but I then realised that if you sign up, no matter who you are, you get a code to refer people. They get a free month, and you get $10 off. Sweet! There were pros and cons, the reviews seemed objective and fair but still mostly very positive. I also discovered that there appears to be a very low number of people who DON’T continue the service after their one free month. This was encouraging! I signed up after discussing it with my husband (turns out we can use his HSA towards it!) and within about 14 hours (ie, early the next morning) the doctor had made up my prescription and sent me a very personalized, informative email about my prescription and my skin. It was AWESOME. It was shipped out a few hours later. Unbelievably fast turnaround. My doctor also called in a prescription for spironolactone, which is an anti-androgen hormone drug that is used to lower blood pressure (it’s a mild diuretic) but is also wonderful for acne treatment – he described it as ‘turning off the tap’ of oil production. I picked it up from CVS that day and started taking it immediately.

In the meantime as I waited for my prescription cream, I overhauled my skincare collection, again on the advice of my dollies. I started going through my collection and checking products on CosDNA for irritants and comedogenics (pore blockers basically) and I was absolutely astounded at what I found. Lots of products from “trusted” brands (turns out that more $ doesn’t necessarily mean better for my skin! Who knew!) had ingredients in them that, while helpful for others, were not a good idea for me. So I put those aside in a box marked “irritants”. I am not going to tell you that my skin sorted itself out overnight. But things did start to calm themselves down. A little.

I got rid of the towel-material cloths I’d been using to remove my makeup and had my lovely mother-in-law make me up some muslin cloth wipes. Muslin cloth here isn’t so much cheesecloth as it is a very soft, unbleached loose-weave brushed cotton. They’re so nice. My MIL sewed them into a double layer and stitched diagonal lines to keep the sides together. They’re perfect. I also had her make me up some super luxe 4-thickness ones!

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I stopped using Good Genes every day. The good news about this is that it’ll make this exorbitantly priced product last a little longer. I don’t feel that my skin is worse off without it – in fact it’s probably better off, every day was too much I feel. I am now just using it when I feel like I need it.

I switched the BHA out for an AHA – just to see what would happen. AHAs are meant to be better for dry skin, BHAs for oily/combo skin but wouldn’t you know it, the AHA felt really nice on my skin and definitely calmed down some redness.

About this time, my prescription arrived.

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By this time, the spironolactone was really doing its job and I felt MUCH less oily by the end of each day. It was kind of miraculous. The cream came in a really nice pump package and it smells very “normal” – no strong scent at all, and it spreads easily. 2 pumps is plenty for my whole face. It’s very comfortable, though when it sinks in it does need a little bit more moisturizing. I got a sample of the Sunday Riley Luna Oil so I’ve been using that, but I really dislike the smell and didn’t find it to be anything phenomenal in terms of changes in my skin so I won’t be purchasing that at this exact point in time.

I’m going to try adding the Artemis back in in its place, and see if I react to that. Even though it’s meant to be good for oily/combo skin, it’s possible that it was one of the things I was reacting to. I hope not, it was expensive!

As for the results? My skin looks and feels astonishingly better. I have NO, I repeat, NO, ZERO, ZILCH active pimples currently. The ones that I had are still red marks but the cream is helping with that I feel.

Who knows how much each change I made has contributed to the current state of my skin? Alls I know is, my skin is better right now, after 2 weeks of change, than it has been in a long time.

I don’t want to post progress pictures at the moment. It’s only been a couple of weeks. I’ve taken them, don’t get me wrong, but I just don’t want to post them right now.

That time will come. I promise!

So my current routine at the moment is thus:

Morning:
SR Ceramic Slip cleanser
Moisturizer (trialling a couple at the moment – a Peter Thomas Roth one and a First Aid Beauty one)

Night:
Nude Skincare Perfect Skin Cleansing Jelly (removed with a warm, soft muslin cloth)
Origins Checks & Balances Frothy Face Wash (trialling, low-irritant ingredients, seems nice!)
Paula’s Choice AHA 8% Gel
PocketDerm Prescription Cream
SR Luna Oil

Stick with me here. I’m gonna keep you guys up to date don’t you worry. Whether you like it or not!Thanks for reading.

Love+++
F&V

Clean That Stuff Off: The Makeup Removal Post

This was requested AGES ago by my friend Sophie of “I Am Very Busy and Important”. Sorry it’s taken me so long, Soph!

Makeup removal is a fairly personal thing, I think. I have a few different techniques that I use, I don’t think any of them are particularly out there, they’re pretty standard. But they work great for me so I’ll post about them, shall I? Ok then.

Eye makeup removal is one of the things that people seem to struggle with the most. It’s that eternal battle between coveting something that’s as long-lasting as possible (because fuck touching up all the time, am I right? You know I’m right) and not wanting to need battery acid to remove it. The best combination I’ve found is to use a cleansing micellar water for a bit of a soak, followed up with an oil cleanser. Let me explain.

The Bioderma Sensibio Micellar Cleansing Water (previously called Crealine H2O) does not look like it should work. It literally looks like water. It doesn’t have that dual-phase thing where you shake it up to activate it, it just looks like water.

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But it’s not. It is magical and special. Now, I’m not a scientist, and others are better at explaining why it actually works. But it does. So this is always my first step for removing makeup. I put a decent amount of it on 2 cotton pads, like I don’t SOAK them until they’re dripping but I put quite a bit on each pad so that when you press the pads onto your eyes, you get a lot of product contact onto the eyelid. You want to press them on for awhile, I usually try to count to thirty, slowly. I gently move my fingertips around on the other side of the pad to make sure the product comes into full contact, but I try not to rub it on my eyelid skin. When I take the pads from my eyes, I wipe gently outwards to make sure I lift as much as I can off my eyelids. I then turn the pads over and repeat, making sure I press into all the crannies. I have deep sunk eyes so… there are crannies. You can get this product from lots of different places in Australia – interestingly, it’s very hard to find in the USA apparently?! But in good old Australia it’s available at Priceline, Terry White Chemists, Adore Beauty and plenty of other places. It comes in 3 different sizes – 100mL (dinky and cute for travelling / small spaces), 250mL and 500mL. There are cheaper dupes available which I have not tried myself, but I have heard good things about both the Garnier one, and the L’Oreal one as well as a brand-favourite of mine, the LaRoche Posay one. Would love to know if anyone has tried these!

So that’s my first step. Following this is always an oil cleanser, without exception. Most makeup will contain a bit of oil, or oil-mimicking ingredients. It is, in my opinion, very difficult or impossible to remove makeup without an oil cleanser. It is for me anyway. I absolutely love oil cleansing. The one I’ve been using for the last year or so is the Aesop Parsley Seed Facial Cleansing Oil.

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I really love this product. It’s fabulous. It’s a nice light oil, it’s not too dense or thick or greasy. You can get it from Aesop Australia for $57 (200mL) or from Adore Beauty for the same price but with free shipping (not sure if Aesop does free shipping). One thing I’d definitely recommend with this is grabbing a pump for $1.95 – it’s a bastard to get out of the bottle without one. I put a couple of pumps of this into my dry hands, then rub my hands together briefly and massage it into my face (again dry, don’t add water to anything yet!) for quite a long time, as long as I have time for really. A minute is great. Take this opportunity to give yourself a lovely facial massage. I find this really soothing and therapeutic. Use your fingertips, be gentle but firm, go in small circles. Rub into your eyebrows and as close to your eyes as you like, this is TOTALLY personal. I know some people hate having oil cleansers near their eyes but I don’t mind it, and find that it always gets rid of any excess that has been left behind after the micellar water. After you’ve given it a good massage and you feel like you’ve really lifted up all the makeup on your face, wet your hands thoroughly and go back in with the rubbing. This will turn the oil into a kind of milky consistency. I then use a muslin cloth or any cloth that’s soft and not overly scratchy to remove the oil and water and makeup mixture from the skin, thoroughly. My absolute all time favourite cloths for this are the Mecca Clean Slate Cleansing Cloths. One side is a muslin-style loose weave cotton and the other is a suede type material which is brilliant for the delicate eye area.

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They’re extremely durable and machine washable unlike your usual bought-from-Spotlight-and-cut-into-pieces muslin cloth – this is a great thing for value, it’s about $2.50 a metre, but they go a bit funny in the wash if you don’t wash them in a delicates bag. I often give my face cloths a good soak in some napisan etc before they go into the wash, just to make sure all the crud gets out. Whichever cloth type you use, don’t re-use them before washing them. Straight in the laundry hamper ladies! And blokes.

Okay so, I know I said I loved the Aesop cleansing oil and I do. But I have been cheating on it lately with one of my latest loves. I did talk about this in a previous blog post, the February Favourites, but I’m going to mention it again because it’s in this lot of products. It’s the Nude Skincare Perfect Cleanse Omega Cleansing Jelly, $54 from Mecca.

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It is wonderful stuff. It’s not quite an oil, but kind of a balm/gel/oil hybrid. It’s very dense and thick, and requires a bit more working in than the Aesop oil, but it probably works just a smidge better. It’s faster and more effective at removing makeup. However, it’s not amazing value. For your money you get not much – about 100mL, half of the Aesop amount. But it is great stuff, and I’ll be repurchasing it. For an amazing, clever and full review of this product check out my beautiful friend’s blog post about it on AllThatFrouFrou.com.

The final step is just using your usual cleanser to get rid of any makeup / oil remnants. To be honest, I do this step maybe 50% of the time. Sometimes I feel very thoroughly cleansed already and just don’t want to add more stuff to my face. But I know that people say it’s quite an important step so I try to remember to do it! My current cleanser is the Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip cleanser ($54 from Mecca), recommended for oily to normal skin. I definitely would NOT use this if I had dry skin. But for combo skin it’s lovely!

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I wasn’t sold at first but now that I’ve been using it consistently I do find it mostly does what it promises which is – ‘This cleanser purifies the skin, tightens pores, and supports natural collagen and circulation with natural essential oils to tone and balance the skin. It detoxifies, minimizes pore size, and helps you achieve a flawless, “ceramic-smooth” complexion.’ I say “mostly” because I’m not sure about ceramic-smooth – perhaps if your skin is pretty smooth already? And I have crater-pores so I’m not sure about that either but still, the rest is about right. Is it worth the money? Well you get a decent amount and only need a little bit, so I would say probably. If you have a cleanser that’s working for you though, I suggest you stick with it.

As with all cleansing routines, following up with a moisturiser is essential. I also love a toner but that’s just me, I know people are sometimes pro toners and sometimes not. I’m pro. My current love is the Ren Clarimatte toner. But at least moisturise, and do it well. Night time moisturising is essential!

Thanks for reading. Please, as always, I welcome all feedback!

Off to Sydney on Monday for my visa interview. I am hoping to be given a visa! Cross your fingers for me, dear readers.

Love+++