Friday, April 26, 2013

Skin remedy 101

I have a lot of concerns when it comes to my face. I have different "skin-type" in the winter than in the summer, which confuses me a lot, but one thing is for sure - my skin is very sensitive.

I  what you could call "combination" skin in the summer: that's when your T-zone(forehead, nose and chin) is oily while the cheeks are normal. In the summer i tend to breakout more than in the winter.
On the other hand, my skin is dry in winter - like really dry that even my nose "flakes". I have a few breakouts during the winter because my skin is often more irritated, by the lack of moisture and therefore likely to breakout. 


Like if that wasn't enough I have hyper-pigmentation, scars from acne and allergy breakouts, uneven skin and skin tone. In order to meet all my concerns without using a bunch of money on skincare products , i've checked what my options are. First of all (and this won't be the last time i'm going to mention this) is that i'm allergic to fragrances, so i've narrowed down the list of brands with fragrances free products that i'm aware of .

  • Clinique
  • Khiels
  • A-Derma
  • Avène
  • BareMinerals
  • Neutral (only available in Denmark- from what i know :b )
  • Estelle and Thild (only a single skincare series)
  • Plasir(some of it)
  • Matas (Denmark and Malmø only)
  • GOSH (makeup - only a few countries have this)
  • M.A.C (makeup)
  • Coolcos (makeup)

All of the listed has a range fragrance free products skincare products and/or makeup, but that doesn't mean that they don't have anything else. Ex: Clinique has perfumes and Estelle and Thild sells natural scented skincare for the body. Brands that claim to be natural and organic are not always fragrance free and not necessarily good for your skin - even if you are sensitive. Instead of synthetic oils/aromas they use oils from herbs and flowers, but in my case, its still a fragrant.
Another thing that i haven't mentioned is that i have pollen allergy/hay fever especially for birch, grass and sagebrush. According to my doctor I shouldn't use skincare products that are natural based like products with plant/flower oils etc. Therefor, always remember to check the product/ingredients declaration and be sure to do it yourself! I've tried it so many times now that the sales assistants know nothing about the brands they're selling. It's okay to ask what they woul recommend you for your concerns BUT !!! - Be skeptical! Always double-check the declaration even if it is an "all natural" and 100% organic it's for your own sake.

According to EU's cosmetic directive there are 26 special fragrance allergens that has to appear on the package, if they exist in a certain concentration in  the products. Here's the list of the 26 that i've found on the danish Asthma and Allergy union homepage in alphabetic order:


Alpha isomethyl Ionone
Amyl cinnamal
Amylcinnamyl alcohol
Anisyl alcohol


Benzyl alcohol
Benzyl benzoate
Benzyl cinnamat
Benzyl salicylat
Butylphenyl methylpropional


Cinnamyl alcohol




Evernia prunastri (egemos ekstrakt)
Evernia Furfuracea (træmos ekstrakt)






Hexyl cinnamal
Hydroxyisohexyl 3-cyclohexene carboxaldehyde






Methyl 2-octynoate

Outside EU there are other rules which only makes it even more difficult get through the skincare jungle. 
 Another thing to remember that fragrance has many names such as: perfume, essential oil, Aroma, cologne, eau de toilette, extracts and many others. Be aware that some brands use difficult, advanced words for the same thing. The name in the parentheses are how the ingredient's name will appear on the product:
  • Fragrance
  • Parfum/Parfume
  • Linalool
  • Citronellol
  • Cinnamal
  • Limonene
  • Geraniol
  • Eugenol
  • Lavender oil (Lavandula angustifolia)
  • Rose flower extract (Rosa damascene)
  • Bergamot oil (Citrus bergamia)
  • Ylang-ylang oil (Canaga odorata)
  • Lemon (Citrus limon)
  • Lime (Citrus aurantifolia or Citrus medica)
  • Orange (Citrus sinensis)
  • Tangerine (Citrus tangerine)
  • Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
  • Spearmint (Mentha spicata)
  • Menthol
  • Cinnamon (Cinnamomum)

Okay Pheeewww... that was pretty much information and Wow!, i've used the f-word and a-word quite many times now...*couch-silly joke§. Well then! 
If you want to read more on perfume allergies, here's a site that explains pretty much anything about fragrance allergies: (it's in danish but you can use google translate or study swedish, you sissy)

...And let's move on !

Remember to look up the brands on the internet and read about them before you decide anything. If you have found a product and can't decide if you want to buy it or not or to choose another, you can always look up online reviews from different (beauty) forums. It can help you with the decision, because there might be others that shares the same problems as you. If you still can't decide ex. between two products, you can head down to your department store or any other place that sells the brand you're interested in and ask them for a sample. I know they literally tossing them around in the states, but sadly enough Denmark is different.  
There are a wide range of brands that make skincare for every concern and there are always alternatives so test as many products as you can and choose the one you prefer. 

(** bonus info! If you intend to buy something from Khiels in CPHA's (Copenhagen Airport) Tax-free, you get really BIG samples compared to the department stores! Just ask them! - I got a 40 ml toner and 15 ml face-cream sample. I Magasin(the only department store, besides the airport, that sells Khiels in Denmark ) i only got a 3 ml face-cream sample..)

Well, here is some personal experiences and preferences:

I used Clinique's 3-step skincare system since 8th grade to first second year in high school which is 3 years(2009-2011). I was analyzed by one of their specialist to be a "skin type 2"which is combination skin, and got my recommended set. After using the step 2 exfoliator (skin tonic/clarifying lotion) a few times, my skin started to feel even drier and more irritated. I found out later that the exfoliator from the skin type 1 series, which was for dry/really dry skin, fit me more. So i bought that one separately for every day use and used the no. 2 when I had breakouts in the T-zone and on a cotton pas to press my pimples flat... ehh...

I loved the skincare system but it costed me much more money than a 14 year old kid could save up (back then - i know it's a lot different now). Another problem was that the skincare set wasn't enough. You had to buy a face-cream  separately, because using the Dramatic Different Moisturizing Lotion (what a long word!) would only give your skin the same amount of moisture that you wash away with step 1 and 2. That means, if you have dry skin you would still end up with dry (but clearer) skin after using the 3-step system. The price for a face-cream from Clinique would be from 300 DKR (approximately 56$ USD) IN DENMARK and that wasn't something i could afford, so i used cheaper alternatives from Avène, Matas and A-derma. 

I was really annoyed with my dark spots and freckles so I saved up for a really long time and finally got money for their famous Even Better Clinical Dark Sport Corrector and Even Better skin Tone Contacting Moisturizer with SPF 20. I used it over a year = 4 bottles of corrector serum (My grandmother and mother gifted me one each, when they went to the states). I ordered them online for my relatives to pick and bring home to me, so i did not worry about the duties and taxes).
 I remembered that i ordered a big bottle (50 ml) online from Nordström (USA), and it costed 72$ USD = approximately 400 DKR back then. It would cost me 625 DKR if i bought it in Denmark. And the differences were minimal from when I began using it, so I was quite disappointed. Unfortunately I was so embarrassed and insecure about myself and my face that I didn't take any close-up pictures of my face to document my experience. 

In my second year in high school(2011-2012) and for about a year i've used face cream and cleansers from A-Derma and nothing else than an anti-spot stick from Clinique to fight my breakouts. I was looking for cheaper brands and my cousin Hoang Vi introduced me to Khiels. It was cheaper than Clinique and the reviews were good so i waited until i went to Vietnam, to buy it from the Tax-free department (that's 20% off from Magasin prices!!) 

I got my hands on the Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution for 272 DKR (normal price 340 DKR)

As you can see i've already used about a third of it and i LOVE IT! BIG LETTERS!!
It really smoothed out  the uneven texture of my skin and my face is SO soft. I haven't noticed any differences of either the spots or my skin color, but we'll see.  
I will post a picture of my face before I started to use it and a picture of how my skin looks right now, after using it for a month. 

Another thing i bought was the
Ultra Facial Oil-Free Lotion ( I forgot to buy the Ultra Facial Cream, but i'm using Cowshed Babycow organics-cream instead) 

Cucember Herbal Alcohol-Free Toner - does not dry my skin at all but softens the surface and  removes the dirt. 

And here are the other products i'm using on a daily basis right now. 

Yes, i've mentioned this one before !
COWSHED -  Baby Cow Organics Full Body Cream 
(got it on sale for 80 DKR remember?)
- it's a good, fat cream- perfect for colder weather and if if you want a cream that easily is absorbed by the skin. it doesn't leave your face shiny nor greasy

MATAS - Spot stick 
(got it on sale  for 19.95 DKR and is a great alternative to the Anti spot stick from Clinique)

PLASIR - Anti-wrinkle eye cream  
(Not because i have any but better prevent them before they appear ... and i got it on sale too .. for 20 DKR !!! that's insane !!!)

BAREMINEALS - Matte Foundation (BIG SIZE!!! - i was gifted this one^^) 

I hope you found my blog post interesting even though it was a quite long one. 
Goodnight !!