SKIN | What the hell is Vitamin C?

Well this post has been sitting in my drafts for far too long so it’s time for me to stop procrastinating and tell you why you should care about vitamin C in skincare.

Vitamin C’s having a real time at the moment, helped by the proliferation of vitamin C and vitamin C-adjacent serums in The Ordinary’s lineup. It’s a complicated ingredient, though, and it’s fickle—not all types of the molecule are created equal, so it’s important to know what you’re buying. Even the wrong type of packaging can make your vitamin C product a total dud.

So who should use vitamin C in skincare? Oh, you know, everybody. It’s one of the most versatile skincare ingredients, having measurable effects for preventing and repairing signs of aging, preventing and repairing dark spots and other pigmentation, minimising inflammation… it’s a comprehensive list, basically.

FACE | Tinies

Miniature beauty products - deluxe sized recent releases

Everyone has a soft spot for miniature-sized beauty products. The subscription box industry is built on this fact. Loyalty programmes are built on this fact. Smaller products are a marketer’s way to get people to try something expensive without having to buying the full size.

Ever wonder why cheap products don’t come in deluxe mini sizes? It’s because most peoples’ impulse spending threshold is high enough that we’ll just buy the full product. Like, you know, I’ll buy the full size of a Neutrogena or Goodness product untested because it’s only $20 if I don’t like it—but it’s only these Drunk Elephant minis that could get me to try the brand when the full-sized B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel is $82. (I haven’t even caved and bought the Drunk Elephant minis yet… but it’s only a matter of time.)

Anyway, more and more brands are making baby-sized products and my cynicism will step aside and make room for them every time. Tiny foundation bottle that looks like the full size? Yes please. Teeny powder jar, sifter and all? Get into my hands.

SKIN | The product I’ve recommended the most this winter

mario badescu hydrating facial spray and goodness face mist

It’s technically the end of winter but it’s still cold af and it’s not going to warm up any time soon, in Wellington at least. With cold weather comes the combination of biting cold winds and dry air-conditioned offices, a great recipe for, uh, nothing really, unless you like being cold and battered by the weather and also being gradually converted to a dry husk when you’re indoors.

I try to drink tons of water at work—not literal tons, but at least two Pump bottles a day—to stay hydrated because that’s meant to be good for you, but also to give myself the excuse to get up and go for a walk every now and then, whether to refill my water or to go to the bathroom, again, because I’m drinking so much water. This has the positive side effect of keeping my skin slightly more hydrated and clear, or so I like to think.

In the depths of winter my skin needs a bit more though, and I know other people’s skin does too. At least four people have asked me how to combat the redness, dryness, flakiness, tightness, general sadness that comes with dry winter skin. Four whole people! I’m going to have to quit my job soon to handle the flood of requests for skincare advice.

The challenge in keeping your skin hydrated throughout the day is that a lot of the time, people are wearing makeup and aren’t so keen on massaging a layer of expensive hydrating serum into their foundation. The ten dollar solution? A bottle of hydrating facial spray.

SKIN | What’s the deal with powder cleanser?

Powder cleanser review - DHC face wash powder, Dermalogica Daily Superfoliant, Clinique Fresh Pressed cleanser, Nude Detox Fizzy Powder Wash

Powder cleansers have come to my attention recently. Dermalogica launched the Daily Superfoliant* as a kind of dialed-up version of their ever-popular Daily Microfoliant, and Clinique’s new Fresh Pressed Vitamin C-based range includes a powder cleanser. Upon remembering I had a bunch of sachets of the Nude Brightening Fizzy Powder Wash that I’d never used either, I figured I should give them all a go and see how I feel about them. Is the powder cleanser format shelf-stable genius or over-complicated moisture magnet?

SKIN | The Ordinary skincare review

The Ordinary skincare products: Vitamin C, Lactic Acid and Alpha Arbutin

I’ve written about products from DECIEM’s NIOD and Hylamide ranges before, but The Ordinary is the line that everyone’s excited about because it’s so goddamn cheap (like, ten New Zealand dollars per bottle). The whole vibe of the Ordinary is offering single-ingredient-focus formulas that can be layered and coordinated into a routine that addresses your skin’s specific concerns.

The entire point of marketing is to tell people what outcomes and benefits a product will give them, and that’s one of the places where The Ordinary are saving their money. The challenge with their ingredient-focus concept for a lot of people is knowing which products to choose. I feel like I have a pretty sound grip on what skincare ingredients are and what they do, but it took me a while of navigating their website and doing some extra research before I decided on the products I wanted to try.

SKIN | Seed and Soul New Zealand natural skincare

Seed and Soul New Zealand natural skincare company

Seed + Soul are the newest company to hit the growing New Zealand natural skincare market and today I’m looking at what they’re about and what sets them apart from the rest. I’m vibing on their sleek packaging and charming product names, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts, right? These products use all natural plant-derived, paraben free ingredients.

I know what you’re thinking. Morgan, you hate that kind of thing! Not quite. I’m perfectly happy putting parabens and chemicals on my skin but I’m also perfectly happy to put plant-based and natural ingredients on my skin—as long as they don’t claim to do anything they can’t.

With that out the way, let’s get in to the products proper.

SKIN | Gel-cream moisturisers, from cheap to heaps

za deep hydration lasting moisture gel, belif aqua bomb, sunday riley tidal brightening enzyme water cream, neutrogena hydroboost gel-cream moisturisers

It’s January 5 and at some point I might write about my 2016 favourites but right now I just owe my blog some kind of attention and these moisturisers are already photographed so let me write about them instead. Gel-cream moisturisers, to be specific. A real category, or a made-up descriptor to make an age-old formula sound novel and new? I don’t particularly care—all I care about is that this is the texture my skin likes best. Lightweight but not fleeting, cooling and non-greasy.

SKIN | Get amongst these cream cleansers

cream cleansers

If you’re unhappy with your current skincare routine, the one change I would recommend over anything else is switching to a cream cleanser. Dry skin? Perfect. Oily skin? It sounds counter-intuitive, but I promise my oily skin responds so much better to a cream cleanser than a foaming one.

Cleansers spend such little time on your skin, it’s hard to justify spending a lot of money on them. With that in mind, here’s a selection of seven cream cleansers, from cheap to less cheap (and you can buy ALL of them in stores in New Zealand!)

SKIN | What the hell is niacinamide?

skincare products with niacinamide

Niacinamide is a true hero ingredient, but I held off on writing about it because I wanted to get my hands on the hero niacinamide product: Cerave PM. Cerave is a drugstore skincare brand from the US, and quite difficult to get in New Zealand. I had a promising connection with their PR until it became apparent shipping internationally would be too much of a challenge (story of my life). Anyway, eventually I found a reputable seller on eBay who didn’t have offensively expensive shipping, and here we are!