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retinol

    BEAUTY

    ARE YOU LAYERING YOUR SKIN CARE PRODUCTS CORRECTLY? (NIGHT ROUTINE)

    We get asked ALL the time, ” Is there a correct order to applying skin care? ” 

    Yep, there is!

    We cannot emphasis enough how super important it is to layer your skin care products correctly,  especially if your routine is as extensive as ours !

    Here’s why:

    1. Products won’t penetrate properly if the order is out of whack. If you’re putting water based or thin products on top of thick or oil based products, you’ve basically created a barrier and the thin products won’t be able to reach the essential layer of the skin to treat it!
    2. You may be causing harm to your skin or creating new skin ” issues”. Applying serums on top of oils could leave your skin dry and dehydrated, since not enough water is reaching your skin. If you’re applying oils or serums on top of your sunscreen, you’ve basically voided the sunscreens ability to protect you and you may be causing premature aging.

    Here’s the layering process we use for our night time routine, to ensure our skin is always radiant, healthy and free from pesky zits and blemishes ! Just remember, since everyones skin is vastly different you may not need to use all the products we’ve listed so adjust to meet your needs.

    OK? 🙂 

     

    picture on how to layer skin care products for night time

     1+ 2 Double Cleansing

    First cleanse is always a cleansing balm  to remove surface grime such as sunscreen, sweat, makeup, and other impurities that may have accumulated on the skin throughout the day. A  cleansing balm should have a good mix of anti-aging ingredients such as rose hip and açai fruit oils and should be free of parabens and formaldehydes. A cleansing balm comes in a solid form but when rubbed onto the skin transforms into a soft luxurious oil.

    Second cleanse ( hence why it’s called double cleansing) is always a water based cleanser that penetrates deeper into the pores to remove any dirt or bacteria caught in the pores. When using a water based cleanser, it’s best to cleanse for at least 60 seconds to ensure you are benefiting from the array of ingredients in the product. Don’t rush this step! 

    3 Exfoliating

    You should be exfoliating your skin at least 1-2 times per week to get rid of dead skin build up, oil and other impurities you may not be seeing in the mirror. Exfoliating also unclogs pores, smooths skin texture and enhances absorption of skin care products.

    Exfoliating really is the key to glow-y, luminous skin!

    There are two types of exfoliating products on the market: Chemical and Physical.

    Chemical exfoliating works from within pores to help loosen and remove dead skin cells, bacteria and other really gross stuff!

    Physical exfoliation uses grainy ingredients that slough off skin ( think back to early 2000 when EVERYONE was using St.Ives Apricot Scrub) . 

    We prefer to use chemical exfoliation every other day and only at night as the sun can irritate the skin. At times physical exfoliation is necessary when we notice our skin needs just a bit of extra T.L.C. that day !

    4 Toner

    We love toners over at Makeup By Maha Matar!  They really are a necessary addition to any routine and come with so many benefits;  restores your skin’s pH balance, is a great way to add active ingredients like retinoids, antioxidants and exfoliants to your existing products , and minimizes the look of pores! You do not need to wash off the toner, however,  you should let it dry before applying the next product. 

    5 Essence

    An essence is a cross between a toner + serum. Toners balance the skin, serums treat the skin and an essence product will hydrate/treat the skin. Essence products are super popular in Korean skincare and now have a massive following in the US and Canada. Korean essences usually contain an active ingredient that optimizes your skin’s natural cell turnover rate. A good trick we learned from our fave Korean website “SOKO GLAM” ; never apply the essence to a cotton pad as it’s fairly watery, instead, transfer the product to a spritz bottle and spray directly onto your face. Like toner, essences do not need to be rinsed off, however, should dry before applying the next product. 

    6 Serum

    Face serums are lightweight moisturizers that penetrate deeper to deliver active ingredients into your skin. Serums can boost the effects of other products you are using and tend to be pricier than other products because they can target specific concern and are full of powerful ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, and ceramides that deliver results. According to my fave online beauty site ” Into The Gloss” there are two types of serums:

    “You have the water-based serums and oil-based serums. Water-based serums go under the cream and they are so important. They nourish the inner layer of the skin because the molecule is very small so it penetrates. The oil-based serums (aka Face Oils)  go on top of the moisturizer because they have a bigger molecule. They’re supposed to keep the cream and whatever you put underneath moist during the entire day/night.”

    7 Eye Cream

    An eye cream is not really a necessity, however, can be beneficial if you use a product with a good mix of ingredients. We use eye creams that contain retinol or hyaluronic acid to combat the signs of aging .

    8 Treatment

    This is the step where you can treat specific concerns such as enlarged pores, wrinkles , and dark spots. You can use a product that contains, niacinamide, which is also an antioxidant, and treats pigmentation, wrinkles, acne, redness and dryness. Vitamin C for brightening, fading dark spots and even building collagen. Approach this step with caution as some ingredients do not mix well together so please ensure you research carefully.

    9 Retinol

    Retinol has been dubbed as a “miracle product in achieving youthful, radiant skin”. It’s a vitamin A derivative and works by increasing collagen production as well as increasing the rate of skin cell turnover.

    We wanted to highlight retinol as an individual step as there are so many questions surrounding this potent, active ingredient. We wanted to emphasize that you can use retinol after a moisturizer if your skin is extremely dry or even before a moisturizer as we have it listed. Retinol has been known to dry out the skin, so if you’re prone to dryness it’s a good idea to use after a moisturizer to prep your skin for reitonol.

    As well, many brands recommend you use a pea sized amount and only use it once to twice a week to start. Many skincare experts and doctors recommend you use Retinol at night as your skin can become uber sensitive to the sun. As well, it’s recommended that if you are using Vitamin C, then it’s best to use it in the morning and Retinol at night.

    Remember, these are active ingredients and if not used accordingly to manufactures instructions you can cause sever damage to your skin.

    10. Moisturizer

    A good rich moisturizer is an absolute necessity in a morning and night skin care regime! The well formulated moisturizer will boost hydration, prevent flaky skin from occurring, and creates a protective layer of moisture that hopefully lasts all day!

    11. Face Oil

    Oils are packed with essential fatty acids and antioxidants. They penetrate the skin to protect and enhance while building a stronger lipid layer. We prefer to add a few drops of face oil in our moisturizer or serums. It’s super easy to go overboard with face oils, so use 3-4 drops max.

    With so many oils on the market,  how do you choose the correct one? This is another question we get asked a lot.

    Well here’s a quick rundown of oils:

    Agin Skin: Rose hip seed or Argan oil

    Dehydrated/dry skin: Argan, Jojob, Maracuja, or Marula oil (our fave!)

     Oily/acne prone skinjojoba, tea tree oil

     

     

     

    XO, MAHA

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    BEAUTY

    DRUNK ELEPHANT Products you need…NOW!

    We’re hoping 2020 is the year our skin sees some serious long term results so we’re putting all our faith into the highly coveted and beloved Drunk Elephant Brand.

     

    drunk elephant

     

    We wanted to feature for the first time on our platform these powerhouse products as we’re consistently hearing the buzz surrounding them. For those who don’t know,  Drunk Elephant (DE) is a brand that focuses on simplicity and believes in using clean, natural, well formulated ingredients that benefit the skin and environment. DE has a cult following on social media thanks to their powerful products and creative packaging. DE is the fastest growing skincare brand in history and have been praised for kicking off the massive Clean Beauty trend. Personally, a trend I am happy to jump on 🙂

     

    drunk elephant

    B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum $63

    By-Hydra is a serum that improves skins texture, tone and delivers maximum hydration as it contains powerhouse ingredients such as :

    Pro-Vitamin B5: Ensures hydration stays in the skin holds hydration to the skin, supporting skin’s barrier function.
    Pineapple Ceramide:  Improve the appearance of skin texture and tone.
    Sodium Hyaluronate: Delivers superior hydration to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles

     

     

    DRUNK Elephant photo

    Why do I need this product?

    Everyone can benefit from a well formulated light serum such as this one. If you are concerned with dry patches, dullness of skin and wrinkles than B-Hyrda is for you. Hydration is key to healthy skin. During the cold months in Canada, some of us experience what is known as wind burns, burning and redness to the face, when engaging in outside activities such as skiing, skating or simply walking 🙂  Very Canadian, I know!

    Now, B-Hydra won’t stop us Canadians from experiencing wind burns, that would just be a miracle, however, if you apply B-Hydra to those areas on the face that are burning or feel tight due to the cold climate, you instantaneously will feel a very soothing and refreshing feeling. 

    How to use?

    One or two pumps of B-Hydra should be used after cleansing and works well combined with other serums, creams and moisturizers. DE suggests C-Firma + B-Hydra as a powerful combination that will dramatically improve your complexion and bring skin back to life! At the time of writing this article, we had just bought C-Firma and had not yet used it in combination with B-Hyrda. We were using another Vitamin C formula that wasn’t quite right for us therefore made the switch to C-Firma. 

    T.L.C. Framboos™ Glycolic Night Serum $118

    T.L.C Framboos is a powerful overnight chemical exfoliator that rids your skin of dead cells. 

    Framboos contains a potent concoction of AHA/BHA.

    AHA stands for alpha hydroxy acid. BHA stands for beta hydroxy acid. They help peel away the surface of your skin so that new, more evenly pigmented skin cells may generate and take their place.  The T.L.C. Framboos blend includes glycolic, lactic, tartaric, citric, and salicylic acids, with raspberry extract.

    Why do I need this product?

    T.L.C Framboos fights dullness, wrinkles, fine lines, discolouration and even excessive oiliness. With continued use it may diminish the appearance of pores. This product is free of fragrance, essential oil, silicone, and irritants so works well on sensitive skin as well as dry, combination and oily.

    We have been using this product for over 2 months now and we can see a huge difference in the overall skin health, even after just one use. We used to have little bumps on our forehead that never went away regardless of the product used, until Framboos. No more little bumps! We’ve used many glycolic acids before to treat stubborn skin problems but truly nothing as effective as DE Framboos. A huge new favourite on this platform! We will repurchase over and over again.

    How to use?

    We like to mix one pump of T.L.C. Framboos with Marula oil ( DE recommends mixing with Marula oil for best results) but you can really use any oil you’re comfortable with.  At first use you may experience a slight tingling of the skin but this will diminish or completely be eliminated with continued use. It’s best to use Framboos every other night for a week or so to allow your skin to adjust to it.  Remember for best results, consistency is key 🙂

     

    A-Passioni™ Retinol Cream $98

    DE launched A-Passioni™ retinol cream to a lot of warm welcome and love! If you google  “retinol” within the top searches you will see DE A-Passioni™ retinol cream. It is a fan favourite and deserves the recognition and awards it’s received.

    According to the internet, “Retinol is a form of Vitamin A, an ingredient that promotes skin renewal and enhances collagen production (which starts to decline in your 30s). As well as lessening the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, retinol can also reverse some of the side effects of sun damage.”

    A-Passioni retinol contains 1% pure vegan retinol, which is high for a non prescription retinol. Along with retinol, A-Passioni™ contains:

    Triple Peptide Blend: A potent trio of peptides that helps firm and strengthen, boosting the age-fighting benefits of retinol.*
    Vitamin F: Soothing fatty acids (linolenic and linoleic) that work to improve skin’s texture and suppleness and help calm signs of sensitivity*.

    Why do I need this product?

    To fight collagen loss and eliminate/diminish the look of fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, and dryness effectively a retinol is required. We have been using A-Passioni™ for only a few weeks and have not seen any dramatic changes in our skin, BUT  that is not because DE A-Passioni™ is not working.  A well formulated retinol such as A-Passioni™  takes 2-3 months to show improvement in the skin. Retinol works in the most inner layers of the skin. Patience is key when using Retinol. 

    How to use?

    A pea sized amount of A-Passioni™ or less can be applied day or night. For maximum results, DE recommends using them in a DE smoothies. DE smoothies are combinations of DE products that work well together. A few DE smoothie are:

    Mix A-Passioni™  with B-Hydra™  for an extra shot of hydration and vitamin B*

    ABC Smoothie” for smoother, brighter, more hydrated skin. Mix a pea-size amount of A-Passioni™ , one pump of B-Hydra™, and one pump of C-Firma™

    To ensure no irritation occurs , less than a pea sized amount should be used and frequency of use should be limited to one a week and work up to 2-3 times a week. It’s also important to mention that SPF should always be used when using retinol.

     

    Have you used any of the DE products? If so , I would love to hear from you in the comments below!

    XO, MAHA 

    *Sephora site

     

    Disclosure: Products were purchased and not gifted to this platform.

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    BEAUTY

    Finally, Drugstore SkinCare Products that work !!

     
    I tend to be OK with paying a lot more for higher end department store skincare treatments or products because I know I’m paying for better formulation of ingredients, higher quality ingredients and the science behind the product. Even though I adore my higher end skincare products, I still jumped at the chance to test out the L’Oréal Revitalift Bright Reveal™ treatments for 6 weeks when Influenster offered them to me. I thought to myself, can I truly find products that can deter the signs of aging, brighten, hydrate my skin and not break the bank? 

    Read on to find out!


     
    Influenster sent me the Bright Reveal™ scrub cleanser,daily lotion, dual overnight moisturizer, and daily peel pads (not pictured).
     
    The timing of receiving this package was impeccable as I had just 
    written a post on the importance of adding new products to your 
    skincare routine at the turn of every season! As I truly wanted to provide a thorough review I dedicated 6 weeks to only using these products day and night. 
     
     
     
    The Bright Reveal ™scrub cleanser provides gentle exfoliation to reveal new skin. This is done by the micro-pearls in the scrub that contain Glycolic acid. Glycolic acid is a powerful compound that penetrates deep into the skin to address any concerns such as blackheads and wrinkles. L’Oréal recommends you use the cleanser scrub once in the morning and once at the end of the night.
     I ‘m usually not a fan of the micro-beads found in scrubs or exfoliators as I find they are too abrasive on my skin. I don’t have sensitive skin, but my skin just doesn’t react well to them.  Fortunately, I didn’t experience any abrasions with this cleanser scrub. The micro-pearls are so fine that my skin wasn’t irritated. Even though I found this cleanser scrub gentle enough to use everyday, I decided to use it three times a week in the morning.
     
     


     
    The Bright Reveal ™ peel pads are pre-soaked with powerful amounts of gylcolic acid to help smooth out fine lines and wrinkles , brighten complexion, rejuvenate dull skin and exfoliate, at a higher concentration than the cleanser scrub, dead skin cells. I used the peel pads every night before applying the overnight moisturizer. I definitely saw a more even toned complexion in the morning after using it consistently for one week straight. After raving about this product for two weeks my sister snatched it from me before I could snap a photo of it for this post. I’m not mad at her though,  sharing really is caring 🙂


     
     
    Bright Reveal™ Brightening daily lotion with SPF 30 can be used every morning after cleansing the skin with the scrub or pads. This lotion is very lightweight and definitely has become my favourite daytime lotion. Since it has SPF it’s also become my only protection against the sun’s harmful rays. The lotion is great under makeup and it doesn’t give off a white cast due to SPF ingredients. I like to wear Estée Lauder double wear foundation during the day and this day lotion is the perfect base for it. Anytime I wear it I see my face has a glow to it regardless of what makeup I apply on top!
     


     
    Bright Reveal ™ Dual Overnight Moisturizer can be used after the reveal pads or the cleanser scrub. This overnight moisturizer is a brightening + anti-wrinkle night treatment. This treatment contains a powerful combo of Glycolic acid + Vitamin C + Retinol to combat wrinkles and uneven skin tone while you sleep.I’m exceptionally surprised by the high level of Retinol contained in this overnight moisturizer. Usually drugstore products do not have high concentrations of retinol and therefore are not as effective on the skin. This is not the case with the this moisturizer! 
     
     Do I love these products?

     Yes, I sure do! I especially love the brightening peel pads and day lotion! I think they are the stars of the set! I am on my second bottle of day lotion already and I love how it feels on my skin and under my makeup. It gives my skin a surge of moisture and brightens up my complexion instantly. The brightening peel pads are doing wonders at shedding away dead skin. After using them every night I can see that they are more concentrated than the scrub but still gently enough to use everyday. The overnight moisturizer feels great when I apply it after cleansing my face. It’s a light and silky lotion that doesn’t have a fragrance. I have very small fine lines on my forehead and I wanted to see if after 6 weeks of continuous use they would be less visible , as per L’Oréal claims with this product. Unfortunately, I can’t say the claims about reducing fine lines are true, at least for me they were not. I didn’t notice any change with the fine lines. I may need to use the product longer, which I am doing anyway because I did notice that the little sun spot on my right cheek was diminishing slightly! Yeah no more sun spots, boo, still have fine forehead lines! 

    I will continue to use the L’Oréal Revitalift Bright Reveal ™ products as a set for the the simple fact that I have seen a change in the overall tone of my skin. My sunspots are diminishing and hopefully with extended use they will disappear, but the #1 reason I will continue to use these products is because I have noticed that my skin is more radiant than ever before. 

    As I am always open and honest on this blog (and life in general) I want to finish off this post by stating that if Influenster didn’t send me these products to test out, I probably wouldn’t have picked them up on my own. Why? Because I had the mind set that any product under $25 was not powerful and concentrated enough to make a difference on my skin. You see, I am that girl that spends atrocious amounts of money on makeup products so if I can find a drugstore dupe for some of the higher end makeup that I fancy then I go for it and buy the $8 mascara that will give me voluminous lashes like Lancome Hypnose can. I need to start applying the same way of thinking to drugstore skincare products as well. Just because it’s sold at Walmart or Shoppers doesn’t mean it’s not as effective as the product sold at Nordstrom or The Bay. I’m not saying that all drugstore skincare products will do as they claim on the packaging but I won’t dismiss them as quickly as I used too.
     
    XO, MAHA 
     
    Disclaimer: I was sent these products for review by Influenster, but I was not asked for a positive review on my blog. All the  opinions expressed are my own.
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