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AHA vs BHA and the Alphabetical Lingo of Skincare Products


AHA vs. BHA

So, you’ve just run out of your favorite cleanser.  You head to your local pharmacy or beauty shop to pick up a new one.  But as your browsing the aisle, you’re shocked at all the new product releases.  You pick a few up and scan the bottle.  Okay, deep cleansing…brightening…hydrating…that words are familiar.  Then you get deeper in to the aisle and you start seeing: PH balancing…AHA…BHA…

Now, you’ve wondered in to unfamiliar territory.  All the “new” products just confuse you.  Like what are they supposed to do for your skin? You think,”The packaging looks cool, so it must be good right?”

If this sounds like you, then you’re in the right place.  I’m here to decode the alphabet for you because when it comes to skincare products you shouldn’t buy blind.

AHA vs BHA

Nowadays, it just seems like skincare products should come with their own dictionaries.  What does it all mean? Well, there are two very popular ingredients in skincare: AHA vs BHA.

Both AHA and BHA help with exfoliating the skin and improving collagen levels.  Basically it gets rid of the GUNK and leaves you with smoother, plumper, and more radiant skin.  If you want to know about the importance of exfoliating regularly click HERE.  Now what’s the difference between AHA vs. BHA?

Let’s start off with what it stands for.  AHA is an acronym for Alpha Hydroxy Acid.  It’s a gentle exfoliant that clears away the lingering dead skin cells the surface of your face.  Plus, AHA restores moisture and builds up the collagen.  For this reason, people with sensitive, dry skin love this stuff.  And if you’re still looking for the perfect mother’s day gift.  Any type of skincare with AHA will be great for her because AHA builds up collagen (which plumps up the skin) and prevents sun-damage by strengthening the epidermis.

BHA is short for Beta Hydroxy Acid.  It’s a deep-cleansing acid that is amazing for treating acne-prone skin and clogged pores. Unlike many cleansers in the market, BHA can get through the excess sebum on acne-prone faces.  By penetrating through this gross layer, BHA can kill the bacteria and reduce the inflammation of blemishes from the inside out.  Because BHA exfoliates while treating blemishes, BHA also is great for treating hyper-pigmentation.

Remember, to always use a good moisturizer and serum after exfoliating because that’s when your products absorb best!

For more detailed info, check out Skinstore and Stylecaster.

Which One Do You Need?

I prefer a combination of both.  AHA in the morning and BHA at night.  I use the NeoStrata Foaming Glycolic Wash every morning to gently exfoliate my face and prepare it for smooth makeup application.  I love how the Neostrata wash foams up and never leaves my face tight or stripped of moisture.  After using this was for a month, I’ve noticed less bumps on my forehead and reduced pore size around my t-zone.  Plus, the wash is fragrance-free so it doesn’t irritate my skin or cause any breakouts.

For days when I have a major breakout or I’m starting to noticed some pretty large blackheads, I go in with the BHA Blackhead Power Liquid from CosRX.  I take a toner pad and soak it with the liquid and just wipe it gently over my t-zone to get rid of the blackheads.

But for dryer skin, I definitely recommend the AHA vs BHA because BHA is definitely dries out my skin if I use it too frequently.  AND FYI, I have acne-prone combo skin, oily in the t-zone and dry under the eyes and around my chin.

Would you give AHA or BHA a try?

Comment down below!

**Disclaimer: I received the NeoStrata Foaming Glycolic Wash free for reviewing purposes.

All opinions expressed are my own.**

So, when’s the best time to moisturize? and The Three Step Skincare System You HAVE to Try


Best time to moisturize

It seems like there is a new step or a new product to try every day.  Like it never ends. And with so many bottles of toner, serum, essence, lotion, emulsion, and whatever else I have on my vanity cause a beauty guru told me I needed it.  (I know you guys feel me.  I mean who else’s vanity is cluttered with #youtubemademebuyit?)

Anyway, where do I even start? What exactly goes on my face first? Because on days that I wear makeup, it feels like I’m putting everything except the kitchen sink on my face.  But that’ll probably be a new DIY mask coming soon! Am I right?

Well, this is the no-fuss skincare routine for all my lazy girls out there.  I love the Korean Skincare routine but there are days (sometimes weeks, possibly a month) where I just need to be done in five minutes flat.  So, here we go…

What’s the Best Time to Moisturize?

Well, the best time to moisturize is when the clock is exactly 11:11:11.  (LOL just kidding) There isn’t literally a time, but there is a place for it in your skincare routine.

If you are a true believer of the three step skincare system then, the time to moisturize is right after your cleansing or exfoliating.  Because once your face is clean of the junk and grime it accumulated through the day, then it’s ready to be nourished and pumped back to life.

BUT before you moisturize, use a hydrating serum to really protect your newly cleaned pores and hydrate the skin.  Personally, I’ve been trying out the Hyla3D from Jan Marini for the passed month.  The serum hydrates my face and gives my skin a nice dewey glow.  Because I have combo skin and don’t want to look like an oil slick in the day, I only use the Hyla3D serum at night.

The Jan Marini serum has a loose gel-like texture.  It doesn’t really have much of a scent, which makes the serum great for people with sensitive skin.  When you first apply it to your face, it feels slightly tacky.  But after rubbing the product in, that tacky feeling completely goes away, leaving your skin feeling baby smooth.

Then, when you’re ready to moisturize your moisturizer is sealing in all that prep work, so your skin stays plump and radiant with just three steps.

The Three Step Skincare System

So, I’ve been a firm believer of the Korean 10 step skincare for almost a year now.  And I can honestly say that I’ve seen improvements in my skin.  However, exam week has recently killed my buzz and desire to do a lot of things like facial masks, essences, and toners.  I’m tired and I just don’t want to.

For the passed month, I’ve been trying out my newly invented three step system:

  1. Cleanse
  2. Apply Serum
  3. Moisturize

I’ve been using a gently exfoliating cleanser as my daily cleanser because I love a dual-working product.  Plus, with this cleanser I can skip exfoliating and give myself another five minutes in bed.  Because when you only sleep about an hour, five more minutes is much needed.

At night, after my double cleansing and exfoliating, I apply serum and finish off with moisturizer.

For the day, I apply serum and a CC cream after cleansing.

Through this whole post, what I’m trying to say is that the best time to moisturize is right after washing your face because applying a moisturizer over clogged pores and oil is not good for your skin.  It’ll only make matters worse because you’re sealing in the dirt with a moisturizer.  GROSS.

The next time you ask yourself, “When’s the best time to moisturize?” After cleansing and as the last step to your skincare.  Just remember that moisturizer is the icing on the cake.

**Disclaimer: I received the Jan Marini Hyla3D serum free for reviewing purposes.

All opinions expressed are my own.**

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Best Cleansers for Acne-Prone Skin (That I’ve Ever Tried!)

best cleansers for acne prone skin

The problem I have with many cleansers designed for acne-prone skin is how drying they are.  My skin felt stripped and tight and it just wan’t a good feeling.  Plus, my skin would start flaking around my eyes and my mouth and parts of my chin and forehead because it was so dry.  It was like the cleansers just sucked the moisture out of my skin.  If you have the same problem with your cleansers, check out my list of the best cleansers for acne-prone skin.

The Best Cleansers (like ever!)

My first suggestion is the Biore Charcoal cleanser.  I’ve been using this cleanser for almost two years now.  And it’s amazing.  It lathers really well and leaves your skin feeling soft and clean.  Take one pump in your palm and massage the product on to your face.  When you take a minute to really massage the cleanser in to your skin, you’ll get a light tingly feeling. For me, this feeling is ahhhmazing because I can feel my pores getting de-clogged.  After using this cleanser, make sure you grab a super hydrating moisturizer because this cleanser can leave your skin feeling a little tight and dry.

For moisturizer suggestions, check out my previous post here.

DermaE Charcoal and Algae cleanser is my current favorite.  Much like the Biore cleanser, this is a deep cleansing cleanser (Try to say that five times fast…) that helps unclog pores and keep your pores clean.  What I love about this cleanser is that it is much less drying and stripping than the Biore charcoal cleanser.  The whole DermaE line is gentle and great for sensitive or acne-prone skin.

When my face needs a little pick-me-up, I love using the DermaE charcoal mask.  And this mask is a great dupe for the GlamGlow Supermud Clearing mask.  For more info on this dupe, click here.

I also love the Soap and Glory Cleansing milk.  This is the perfect example of Youtube-made-me-buy-it.  I heard Tati from GlamLife Guru rave about this cleanser and Zoe from Zoella and Louis from Sprinkle of Glitter all love Soap and Glory Products.  So, when I saw this cleanser in Ulta.  I had to try it.  And it doesn’t disappoint.  I love the scent of this cleanser. It’s peaches and cream and smells heavenly!  This cleanser is super gentle, doesn’t break me out, and removes most of my makeup.

The BEST series continues…

That’s it.  Those are my best cleansers for acne-prone skin. I don’t experiment with too many cleansers out there because once I find one that works, I just keep using it.  But I have been testing out a variety of serums, toners, and essences so be on the lookout for that post coming soon!

Do you have a cleanser to add to the Best cleansers list?

Comment down below and I’ll be sure to check it out!

**Disclaimer: I received the Derma E charcoal and Algae cleanser free as a press sample.  All opinions expressed are my own.**

The Most Important Skincare Step You ALWAYS Forget!


Important skincare step exfoliation dermae scrub dermae mask

I’m guilty too.  I’m getting better at removing all my makeup every night and applying moisturizer.  But there’s this one step that I always forget and that is exfoliation.

The Most Important Skincare Step: Exfoliation

There are three reasons why exfoliation is an important skincare step.  The first reason is exfoliation removes dead skin cells.  Secondly, it prevents and cleans out clogged pores. Plus, exfoliation revives dull skin.

Exfoliation can seem scary especially for people with sensitive skin, acne prone skin, or dry skin.  People with sensitive skin shy away from exfoliation because harsh exfoliation irritates your skin.  There is a common misconception with exfoliation.  Many of us associate exfoliation with little tiny beads that you rub against your skin to get ride of the dead skin cells, but this isn’t always the case.  There is actually chemical peels that are super gentle and exfoliate the skin.  Or pre-soaked pads with chemicals that can help skin shed off dead skin cells without stripping the skin.  This type of exfoliation is also great for people with dry skin because who likes that really weird tight feeling you get from using harsh cleansers and exfoliants?  Some people with acne prone skin like these exfoliants too.

My Favorite Exfoliants + GlamGlow Dupe

Personally, (especially after a bad breakout) I prefer a physical exfoliant because I feel like it helps with skin circulation which will help me skin heal better while the exfoliants prevent hyper-pigmentation from the spots.  Lately, my favorite physical exfoliant is from DermaE.Their Purifying 2 in 1 Charcoal mask is a mask and exfoliant in one!  I love two-fer products.  The mask is actually quite similar to GlamGlow SuperClearing Mud mask, so if you’re looking for a dupe.  This is it!  The only difference I found between the two is that the exfoliant in DermaE is a bit harsher than GlamGlow, but they both leave my skin feeling soft and smooth and helps control breakouts.  So, I’m in love because saving money is always awesome!

The Purifying Detox Scrub from DermaE is also fabulous.  It’s very similar to the Soap and Glory Face polish that I love.  It’s a much gentler scrub that can be used multiple times a week. When my skin is relatively clear, I love using this to help revive my dull winter skin.  The cold weather has definitely taken it’s toll on my skin.  Right now, I’m in love with this scrub and bronzer because it gives me that summer glow I love (even in 20 degree fahrenheit weather).

 

**Disclaimer: I received the DermaE purifying detox scrub and charcoal mask free for reviewing purposes.

All opinions expressed are my own.**

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The Korean 10 Step Skincare System for Acne-prone Skin


10 step skincare acne prone skin

Normally, I’m all for the 3 step skincare system: cleanser, spot treatment, and moisturizer.  And I have been a huge supporter of this lazy skincare system for years now.  Until recently, those few steps were enough to keep my skin clear and kind of soft.  (I was terrible at remembering to exfoliate…)

But with stress from work and school combined with my three hours of beauty rest every night, my skin is far from clear or soft.  So, I decided to try out the 10 step skincare system.

What is the 10 Step Skincare System?

The founder of SOKO glam, Charlotte Cho, wrote a book called The Little Book of Skincare, where she explains the importance of replenishment, hydration, and exfoliation.  She recommends people of every skin type to use a non-stripping cleanser because oily skin is usually the result of dry skin trying to replenish itself with sebum.  With excess sebum, pores will clog and your skin will break out and blackheads will emerge.  Charlotte emphasizes the importance of hydration because hydrated skin heals better and hydrated skin is more even toned and smooth.

In her book, she lists out 10 steps:

  1. Oil Cleanser
  2. Water Cleanser
  3. Scrub
  4. Toner
  5. Essence
  6. Serum
  7. Mask
  8. Eye cream
  9. Moisturize
  10. SPF lotion

The Importance of Double Cleansing

So, you might be wondering, “Why are there two cleansers?”  Well, Koreans really believe in clean skin.  Double cleansing will help you remove all your makeup from the day and really clean your pores.  First, the oil cleanser breaks down your makeup and cleans your skin without stripping it of all its natural oils.  Second, the water cleanser cleans deeper in to your pores to make sure that there is no makeup residue left.

By double cleansing, your skin will be cleaner, have less clogged pores, and have smaller pores.  Pore size is reduced because there is no GUNK stuck in them!

Why Should I Exfoliate?

Exfoliating is an important step in keeping pores clean, your face smooth, and your face more even-toned.  The reason why exfoliating works is because the process of exfoliating removes dead skin cells.  As a result, your skin looks more radiant and even toned.

There are two types of exfoliation chemical and physical.  Chemical exfoliations are more gentle while physical exfoliation involves sugars or tiny micro-beads and can irritate the skin because of the physical abrasion.

Personally, I use a chemical exfoliant every two days and a physical exfoliant about twice a month.  This routine has helped my cells regenerate quicker and my acne scars to heal faster.  My skin also feels smoother and looks more even-toned.  If this routine irritates your skin, try exfoliating every three days.  Skincare needs to be catered to your skin, so do what’s best for it.  Plus, after double cleansing and exfoliating your skin will be better prepped for essence and serums.  Because your skin is clean, it can absorb products better.

The Importance of Hydration

Hydrated skin is healthy skin.  This is the reason why there are 7 steps dedicated to hydration in the 10 step skincare system.  Toner is used to hydrate and clean whatever residue is left on the skin after double cleansing.  After wiping your face with a cotton pad soaked in toner, apply an essence.

Essence is a light lotion.  It absorbs quickly in to the skin and gives it a good dose of hydration.  Once the essence absorbs into your skin, apply a serum to your face and neck.

Serums are a concentrated solution that hydrates and nourishes your skin with vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin C and hyaluronic acid.

To really nourish and hydrate your skin, you need to invest in a good sheet mask.  A sheet mask is a paper mask that is soaked in serum.  You take it out of the package and unfold the mask.  Once you have carefully unfolded the mask, place it over your face and leave it on for 15-20 minutes.  Plus, the mask really helps your skin absorb the serum and lock it in.

The Importance of SPF

After doing all that work, you have to protect your skin from UV rays with a good SPF lotion.  UV rays can damage skin cells which causes pre-mature wrinkles and discoloration.

Once your applied your SPF, you can continue with your makeup routine.  Trust me, your makeup will actually go on your skin better because its smoother.  BONUS!

10 step skincare lumpro c

The Products I Use

Since I have acne-prone skin, I customized the perfect 10 step skincare system for my skin-type.  The ten products I use are:

  1. Garnier Fructis Oil Cleanser
  2. DermaE Purifying Charcoal Cleanser
  3. Soap and Glory Scrub Your Nose In It
  4. The Body Shop Mattifying Tea Tree Toner
  5. SK II Facial Treatment Lotion
  6. LumaPro-C Skin Brightening Pigment Corrector
  7. Tony Moly Tea Tree Mask/ Dr. Jart Clearing Solution Mask/ Glamglow Superclearing mud mask
  8. Eye Cream
  9. Cerave Moisturizer
  10. Neutrogena Clear Face Sunscreen

My Results + Product Reviews and Tips

My skin feels softer, smoother, and more even toned after two weeks with this 10 step skincare system.  I still have breakouts because I ate way too much dairy and had an influx of hormones from that awesome time of the month we all love.  To help with the scarring and hyper-pigmentation left from my blemishes, I use the LumaPro-C Skin Brightening Pigment corrector.  This serum evens out my skin while also making it feel baby soft.  The serum has vitamin C in it too!  And Vitamin C is one of the key ingredients for radiant skin.

If you can’t find a good essence or don’t want to splurge for the SK II one that I’m using, try applying a second more moisturizing toner.  It will give you the same benefits of an essence at a fraction of the cost!

After all this, I’m sure you already know the answer to the question: Does it work? Yes, the 10 step skincare system works. And I promise it doesn’t take up too much time.  Actually, it only takes me 20 minutes to finish this skincare routine from beginning to end (if I do the sheet mask).  On days without the mask, I’m done in 10 minutes.

Would you try this 10 step routine?

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