Alexis Adrienne

14.12.18

MY IN-FLIGHT BEAUTY ESSENTIALS

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about travelling, it’s that a tiny carry-on sized cosmetic bag will go a LONG way to making you feel fresh and new after a flight, or even as an in-flight pick me up. They're my travel skincare essentials. I’ve put together a short list of my picks that I absolutely refuse to travel without, and I hope this is helpful to you too.

The In-Flight Routine

First, there’s no point trying to put moisturiser on over dirty skin. Just thinking about it squicks me out. The best way to clean your face in an airplane bathroom is with a cotton pad and some micellar water. That’s right, put away the baby wipes!

But, the 100ml limit…

My favourite travel bottles to use for bringing all of this on board are some airless pump ones that I scored at Daiso.

They come in 15ml and 30ml sizes, and I’ve never had an issue with something being too thick to come through the pump, plus anything under 30ml won’t be a problem going through airport security.

However, it’s absolutely worth sanitizing them after every use, even if you plan to refill it with the same product - my travel pump of moisturiser recently spoiled because I didn’t clean it between refills!

I usually clean them by filling them with rubbing alcohol, letting it sit for a day or so then pumping all of the alcohol out so it cleans all of the mechanisms of the pump and container, then it’s ready for my next trip!

Freshen Yo’ Face

The best travel-hack I’ve heard for micellar water is popping a few cotton pads in a ziplock bag and adding enough micellar water to saturate them - this is best done with a CLEAN ziplock bag, obvi.

Or depending on the airline you’re taking, your flight attendants might hand out some lush steamed towels just before takeoff. I’ve never asked for another one mid-flight, but if you ask nicely you might get lucky!


Sheet Mask!

A bonus step that I might do on a particularly long-haul flight is whip out a sheet mask to really add a moisture punch to my skin. I recommend doing this after the lights have gone out and when most people will be sleeping to reduce the funny looks that you might get (but if you’re ballsy then by all means, go ahead!)

Then Moisturize…

Because airplanes are such dry environments, it’s important that you add moisture to your skin and make sure to keep it there. I usually take both a hyaluronic acid lotion plus a thicker moisturiser to help lock all that moisture in my skin. If I don’t take these steps, my skin becomes both drier and oilier, and both combined is an absolutely disgusting feeling.

I’ve found that while I’m definitely genetically oily, keeping my skin at an optimum level of hydration dramatically helps with excess oiliness. I don’t bring any actives on the plane because my priority is keeping it clean and hydrated - skipping your regular treatments for one night won’t hurt, IMO.


Nourish Your Lips

I always find my lips become extremely dry, peeling messes on airplanes, so I never travel without a tube of Papaw Ointment. I know it’s basically glorified fruity Vaseline, but I much prefer the texture and smell of Papaw. I also really appreciate the fact that it comes in tubes, I really hate sticking my fingers in tubs! It’s also great for adding a light layer on top of your moisturiser to stop your skin from drying out, and I know some people like to put it in their noses to stop dry noses and nosebleeds from happening.

The Extras

These remaining ones aren’t necessarily skincare, but they will make your travels slightly more comfortable: toothbrush + toothpaste, wet wipes (absolutely not for your face!), and hand sanitizer. Just brushing your teeth goes such a long way to make you feel fresher, and honestly I would hate to be stuck with smelly breath after eating plane food with no way to get rid of it. Skin friendly anti-bacterial wet wipes are great for freshening up yourself and wiping down your tray table and arm rests.

Also… Do I really need to explain the purpose of hand sanitizer?

Another thing I’ll never travel without, but have never had to use it yet is a change of clothes in my carry-on. Let’s say you arrive at your hotel at 9am, but check-in isn’t until 3pm - you’ve got everything you need, right in your carry-on for a quick freshen up before you’re ready to head out and explore your new city. Or maybe you need it even earlier than that - an irritating seat mate accidentally spills her orange juice all over your lap…

In any case, packing a full, mini-sized set of skincare plus these handy extras are guaranteed to come in handy on the road.

Happy travelling, babes!

2.5.18

5 MISTAKES YOU MAKE WHEN YOU WASH YOUR FACE

I know what you’re thinking. “I KNOW how to wash my face! Why are you even writing about this?”

But it’s only because I want to share with you how bloody important washing your face is as the first step in your skincare routine. Having perfectly prepped and cleansed skin, in my opinion, lays down the foundation for everything else in your routine to work - serums, essence, moisturisers, etc. If you’re not washing your face properly (and with the right stuff) then you may as well not have any kind of routine at all. Check through this list of super common (I admittedly still do some of them) face-washing mistakes so you know how to avoid them.

MISTAKE 1

You’re not taking your makeup off first. 

In a certain beauty-based Facebook group, I was confronted for the first time by women who did not remove their makeup before washing their faces. I was shocked (to put it lightly), especially since they were complaining about breaking out due to makeup. One of my first makeup-related memories is my mom pressing makeup remover and a pack of cotton pads into my hands, around the time that she gave me the “okay” to start wearing makeup. I was frankly shocked that this wasn’t the norm for many women. Makeup removal is the first step to a perfectly prepped face.

Luckily, there are literally SO MANY OPTIONS to choose from for makeup removal. My personal fave is a combo of a bi-phase makeup remover (for eye/lip makeup) + micellar water. There’s also cleansing oils, cleansing balms, and makeup wipes - literally every kind of makeup remover for every kind of person. Cleansing oils and balms have the added benefit of being able to melt down into pores and sometimes pull out things called ‘grits’ in the skincare community. They’re totally YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary) - some people never get grits and some people get them every time. There are even makeup remover wipes, however, I haven’t found a wipe that I like. The fabric is always too irritating for my skin and the remover not strong enough to actually take off my makeup. However, if these work for you, keep it up - just don’t forget to cleanse or rinse after.

MISTAKE 2

You’re using the wrong cleanser for your skin type. 

The only thing more crucial than removing your makeup is what you actually wash your face WITH. As an oily-skinned gal, I always kind of figured that my skin was working pretty well with foaming face washes marketed specifically to my oily skin. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I didn’t realise how desensitised I had become to how taut my skin felt after cleansing with a foamy cleanser - it was literally SO thirsty for moisture afterwards. Now that I use something really gentle, my skin just feels clean and soft. Lemme share with you what I look for in a cleanser:


  • Not medicated. This means no additional acids, acne treatments, whatever. I only want my cleanser to do one job - clean my face.
  • Not stripping. A lot of the time this is in the same vein as ‘not foaming’ but I know there are some properly formulated cleansers out there that can foam without being stripping. 
  • Actually formulated for the face, meaning they are pH balanced to be neutral or lower in pH. Most body washes and even some cleansers are higher in pH which is very disruptive to the skin’s natural acid mantle. 

My skin is happiest with cleansers that are neutral or just below neutral. I didn’t have very much luck with a low pH cleanser (CosRx Good Morning Cleanser) but my skin is definitely not happy with high pH, alkaline cleansers either. You can usually tell when something is alkaline by its slippery, soapy feel. Your skin may also feel dry and tight after rinsing - a red flag that something isn’t right. I personally really enjoy the Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser, but there are a lot of gentle and hydrating cleansers out there to choose from.


MISTAKE 3

You’re forgetting your neck.

This is super important, especially if you wear makeup and blend it down your neck. I’m not gonna lie, this is one that I started doing recently and my neck is SIGNIFICANTLY less ‘gunky’ (ew) when I swipe over it with some micellar water on a cotton pad. When your neck is properly cleaned and prepped, it can make the most of all the goodness in your other skincare. Not forgetting your neck also applies to applying serums, treatments, and sunscreen FYI! It’s the best way to avoid having a premature turkey neck. Taking skincare all the way down my neck and sometimes to my décolletage also makes me feel like a ~real adult~ too.

MISTAKE 4

You’re being too rough on your face.

You really don’t need to be vigorously scrubbing your face with handfuls of exfoliating scrub every day, as if doing so would actually scrub away any imperfections and blemishes (Pro tip: it doesn’t). So much abrasive rubbing irritates the crap out of your skin - believe me, I’ve been there before. Put down the apricot scrub and save it for your booty, legs, and feet.

You might also be too rough on your face by overzealously rubbing a dry towel over and over your scrunched up face to make sure you’ve gotten every drop of water off it, BUT this isn't necessary. It’s overly irritating for your face too. I’ve had my face literally sting after drying because I was too keen to dry it off with my towel. What I like to do to stop myself doing this (or anything bad for my skin really ahaha) is to ask myself “How would an esthetician do this?”. All you need to do is gently pat pat pat all over your face with a towel to dry it properly - just like an esthetician would.

MISTAKE 5

You’re using water that’s too hot.

I know gals - I also prefer my showers as hot as the depths of Hell, but the reality is too hot of a shower is messing with the natural oils in your skin. When you take away too much of the natural oil produced by your skin, you’re left with irritated skin which is left vulnerable to acne and dryness. This is why I usually turn down the heat when it’s time to wash my face in the shower, and use room temperature water to wash my face in the morning - my face is a lot happier for it.

Now that we’ve gone through this clearly super exhaustive list about face washing (who knew this would be such an important topic?), go forth and cleanse for happy, glowing skin!

Have you committed any of these skincare sins before? Or do you have even more amazing tips to share? Lemme know!

A xx

3.4.18

MY ACNE STORY: How I Deal With Acne


Hey, babes!

My name is Alexis, I’m 25 years old, and I have adult acne.

Today’s post is going to be a little different. As a beauty and skincare blogger, it’s all well and good for me to post about products that work for my skin while it’s all lovely and smooth and my acne is under control. But today, I really wanna show you how exactly how my skincare journey has gone, and how I manage my acne. To list it out in full, the treatments (script or otherwise) that I’ve tried for my acne are:

  • Lemon juice
  • Benzoyl Peroxide
  • Differin
  • Tretinoin
  • Clindamycin (topical)
  • Doxycycline (oral)
  • AHA (lactic acid)


My acne story starts around when I was 12 and just starting to get pimples, as you do when you hit puberty. The first acne ‘treatment’ (used very loosely here) I ever used was putting calamansi (a type of Asian lemon) on my skin around once a week to help sort out my acne and this is what I did for a few years. I can STILL remember the sting - this was the most torturous treatment ever and I can’t help but wonder how much permanent skin damage I actually caused by doing this.

Fast forward a couple years and I get into a semi-routine of seeing an esthetician to get facials every couple of months (thanks, Mom!). This helps, but it doesn’t actually treat my acne.

After a few years of regularly getting facials to help with my congestion, my mom took me to the derm and I walked away with a handy little script for Clindamycin and Differin. These two were great for managing my acne (although I probably STILL didn’t use enough recommended SPF with Differin oops) and I used them up until I moved to New Zealand for university and was no longer covered by my parents’ health insurance.

The Benzoyl Peroxide Era

February 2014
I ended up switching to the Acne.org method, which was 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide twice a day applied to the whole face. This worked really well for me (as you can tell by the photo) until I fell down the rabbit hole of benzoyl peroxide as a pro-oxidant. I couldn’t find any concrete information about negative effects of the long-term use of BP on one’s entire face, but I wasn’t willing to be a guinea pig either. So I stopped using BP and began to look for something else, and of course, my skin returned to it’s untreated, pimply state.

Before people come in perpetuating the myth of “ur skin gets addicted to BP that's why u broke out gal” let me just ask you something - if you took a medication to manage the symptoms of a disease, then stopped taking it and the symptoms came back, were you 'addicted' to the medication?

No.

I stopped using a product to manage my acne, and therefore it came back. The thing with all topical acne treatments is that you need to keep using them to keep seeing results because of how the skin is constantly renewing itself. What an amazing world we would live in if we could only use BP ONCE and be rid of our acne forever! Sadly, the skin doesn’t really work that way.

The Differin Era

July 2014, August 2014
So I struggled along for a little while, trying various acid toners (which didn’t work as well as I hoped for me) until I realised that under NZ’s national health care scheme, I could get Differin prescribed for acne! I don’t know why I didn’t realise this when I first started uni but whatevs. I marched into my doctor’s office at the end of July 2014 and she was able to prescribe Differin and a month’s course of Doxycycline to help battle the purge. Emboldened by the fact that I was going back to something which really worked for me, I did heaps and heaps of research how I SHOULD be treating my skin while using Differin.

My first time around using it, I still used harsh salicylic acid-based cleansers and scrubs which were completely unnecessary and hurt like hell. Turning to the internet, I heeded various warnings about the peeling, sensitivity, and dryness I would experience and began to fall into the rabbit hole that is Asian Skincare. I learned about things like sheet masks, watery lotions, and uber lightweight sunscreens.

I also downloaded an app called Day One to help me monitor my skin’s progress over the next few weeks. It's actually where I've been able to download all these progress shots from! Doing this really helped keep an eye on my skin and it’s something I still do to this day. It gives you a great idea of what is working and what isn’t working for your skin over time. What I like about Day One is it keeps the photos out of your camera roll and only in the app (which can be protected with a passcode), so it’s for your eyes only.

It was around this time that I started forming my Best Skincare Routine Ever, and there’s a good reason that that’s a proper, capitalised title. Let me show you how I looked six months after starting it:

January 2015
MORNING ROUTINE
Cleanse with water (yep for real)

EVENING ROUTINE

Other than Differin and sunscreen, the three products that made the most difference were the C20 Serum, EltaMD, and Hada Labo. C20 & EltaMD (Vitamin C + Niacinamide) were a KILLER combo for my PIH, and the Hada Labo really helped keep my skin properly hydrated and minimised peeling.

However, because my skin was finally GOOD, I got lazy and stopped documenting my skin (this is always a bad idea… Trust me!). I also decided to try too many new things at once. Not my best thinking, I’ll admit. Fast forward from January 2015 to June 2016 and I’m having skin that is just as bad or even worse than 2014. I think it was a combination of a couple of products, specifically CosRx BHA Lotion and a L’Oreal sunscreen that set my skin off. I panicked and went back to my GP, who sent me home with a script for Retin-A.

The Tretinoin Era

June 2016
I cut out C20 (as my skin would go through another period of becoming extremely sensitive) and went through the purge again. At this point in time, I actually had incredibly low self-esteem about my appearance (possibly the lowest I’ve ever had due to a crazy haircut I got plus the state of my skin) so I didn’t document my skin/take any photos of myself from July 2016 until January 2017.

January 2017
At this time, my routine was approximately something like this for these 6 months:

MORNING ROUTINE
Cleanse with water


EVENING ROUTINE
Tretinoin

July 2017
And this is how my skin looks now (sorry about the lighting discrepancy):
April 2018
My current routine looks something like this:

MORNING ROUTINE
Cleanse with water
Wishtrend Mandelic Acid (every other day)


EVENING ROUTINE
Tretinoin

There currently is a little bit more swapping out in my current routine, as I've gotta make do with what I can on the road (Watson's is a bloody godsend though!) but it's all working pretty well for me so far. I also sheet mask pretty frequently, but the jury is out on how much these are really making an impact on my skin other than temporary hydration and brightness - I'm hoping they make up for the fact that I don't have a permanent, strong serum like C20 in my routine right now.

So there you have it! I hope you've enjoyed following along with this post and gotten to know me a little bit better, and where my opinions come from when I review skincare. Feel free to ask me ANY questions about my skin, my routine, and the products that I used! I'll be writing about a few of them in-depth in some upcoming blog posts.

A xx

some products mentioned were provided as pr samples / contains affiliate links*

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