Skincare 101: Discussions, Questions and All

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This is a place to discuss everything skincare.


- Have a question about a product (Or type of product)

- Need recommendations

- Learned a new tip or trick you want to share with fellow skincare junkies

- New to skincare and lost about where to start

- Have a skincare emergency ( Bad reaction, broken dropper, lost lid of a jar)


Images From top left to clockwise (Essencz, Garnier, Men's Fitness, Harper Bazaar)


We have some great thread about skincare but I feel we don't have a general place to discuss skincare which is open for everything from lowend products to luxury skincare. 


Other skincare threads you may like to explore




Re: Skincare 101: Discussions, Questions and All

@mztm I am using both Ceramic slip Cleanser and Tidal, I like Tidal very much and find it very hydrating. I use it in the morning.


For Ceramicslip Cleanser, though I have oily/ combination oily skin, I find it a bit too much for daily use. It is a clay Cleanser and dries out the skin if used everyday (or it did in my case) So I use it once or twice a week on the nights when I feel my skin needs a bit deeper cleansing.


Both Luna oil and Good genes are treated as serums but as SR says you can layer them together at night or use Luna at night and good genes in the morning. Toner will come after cleansing and before serum.


CEO is a moisturizer so you can definitely use toner and serum before it.


Re: Skincare 101: Discussions, Questions and All

NOOB Skincare questions (I usually stick to DIYs and natural ingredients):


I was eyeing The Ordinary's products- such amazing prices! I am in my late 20s and I want to decrease the appearance of fine lines. I have dry/normal skin. What products from the company would you suggest for someone new to skincare with sensitive skin? I also have some blemishes that I would like to decrease the appearance of as well!

Re: Skincare 101: Discussions, Questions and All

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lol between @fatimamummy and @fairlywell I feel like I've gotten the skincare equivalent of the bat signal @jesscheems Smiley Very Happy


I have some thoughts but I need to double check some ingredients.  Will be back to edit in details shortly.


ETA: ok, so a few things. I'm not quite sure what you meant by 'decreasing the appearance of blemishes' - do you want something for the hyper pigmentation left behind from them or something that helps to prevent/minimize the occurrence of them?


When you say you have sensitive skin, how are you quantifying that?  Are there particular ingredients that give you irritation? Do you have a redness or rosacea issue?  


For something that helps with frequency of blemishes, I'd recommend the Niacinamide Zinc serum but you can't use it at the same time as any vitamin C serums as it can diminish their potency. 


If you are looking for something that would fade hyperpigmentation, that would either fall into the vitamin C category (of which they offer several products, none of which I've tried) or their Alpha Arbutin (which I have tried and does fade, but I have reservations). Again, if you were to go any of the vitamin C routes, you'd need to use them at opposite times to the Niacinamide Zinc (so, one AM, one PM) Once you give me a few more details re: sensitivity I can help a bit more on this one.


For fine lines you could go the retinol/retinoid route but it can a) be harsh and drying for sensitive skin and b) you are still pretty young, so I wouldn't recommend it yet. I think it would be overkill, but that's just my opinion. Rather, I'd probably suggest starting with their 'Buffet' serum. It has a few ingredients I'd typically give the side eye to, but they're low on the INCI list.


As mentioned by the others, it's fine to pick out a few items but start slow and introduce them one at a time.  Are you using anything for hydration like an oil or a moisturizer currently?  If you have time please share your current daily routine.

Re: Skincare 101: Discussions, Questions and All

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@Mochapj LOL I guess so eh! Smiley Tongue


I have leftover blemishes from acne and I would like to prevent this in the future if possible.


As for sensitive skin, I just know my skin seems to react to a combination of things (chemicals)- for ex. if I am wearing makeup and use a makeup remover, it seems to cause some sort of a reaction and I break out either in tiny bumps or I've had eczema patches which I used hydrocortisone on and then learned that it wasn't the best as it thins out skin. My skin hasn't reacted well to Micellar water either and I had dry patches after trying it a couple times.


Now I use coconut oil to remove my makeup and then wash off with a Tea Tree cleanser and tone (The Body Shop). My skin seems fine with ingredients like Tea Tree. I find the simpler my steps, the better off my skin has been. After that I typically use Cetaphil to moisturize. Sometimes I'll wear an oil underneath, like Jojoba or Argan. I used to break out with oils but lately my skin has been fine and I have been experimenting more with oils. The key thing in my routine is simplicity.


That sounds good. Thanks for being so helpful and thorough as always <3


I was eyeing the Buffet serum and wasn't sure if I should go with that. I'll stay away from the retinol/retinoid for now. My skin is typically on the drier side and lately has been behaving and my skin seems balanced and hydrated.


When I'm not wearing makeup I just wash off with my Cetaphil cleanser which seems to keep my skin's pH balanced and everything seems A-ok lol. 


I like to do masks at home with things like bentonite clay, turmeric, yogurt, ACV... I've also used the Ole Henriksen Power Bright 3 step off and on and my skin seems fine with all 3 steps. I experience no tingling nor reaction. 


I am noticing fine lines by the outer corners of my eyes and my smile lines. It doesn't bother me all that much but I just don't want things to get worse as time progresses. I was also eyeing the caffeine solution- not sure how beneficial it will be though.


So mostly my main concerns:

- leftover acne blemishes that I want to fade

- fine lines by eye area and smile lines

- prevention of blemishes, lines

- keeping my skin hydrated/balanced


I was researching everything yesterday and then I got confused as to what would work best for me from the line. I really like that the products are inexpensive and thought this would be the perfect way to try things out before I go and splurge on skincare. Thanks so much once again!! Totally appreciate it <3 I hope that made sense- I typed a lot lol. If anything needs clarification let me know!

Re: Skincare 101: Discussions, Questions and All

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@jesscheems About Caffine solution @Mochapj is right, I basically picked it for fluffiness. I don't expect it to do anything for lines. I am using separate eye creams on top of it for rest of the problems. Farmacy Eye dew is great for dark circles but I don't feel it does much for fine lines so I started using Shiseido beneficence wrinkle resist 24 (from recent promo) at night and Farmacy Eye dew during the day both on top of Caffine solution. This routine is pretty new so I can't say at this time if it is working but I will share my feedback after a few weeks of use.

Re: Skincare 101: Discussions, Questions and All

What about trying out Differin??? 

0.1 gel became OTC, pretty affordable. 


I can't use any retinol so far (bad reactions and severe irritation leading to micro inflammation) or topical tretinoin  BUT i can use adapalene (3rd gen retinoid) with very minor irritation. 

Re: Skincare 101: Discussions, Questions and All

@HoneydewK I don't believe Differin is available OTC in Canada yet, which is where Jesscheems is.

Re: Skincare 101: Discussions, Questions and All

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@jesscheems ok, going to go through this and respond.  You may get a few edits - there's lots to address. Smiley Wink





Firstly, when you say leftover blemishes, I am assuming you mean the dark marks left over after the active acne has disappeared.  If that's the case, unfortunately I don't think there's anything you can do to prevent the temporary darkening/discolouration.  I think having an olive skintone, these marks often have a sort of purplish/grey cast to them and that makes them more visible.  That said, the chance they will occur after the acne is gone can be minimized by not picking at acne when you have it, and keeping any spots properly nourished.  Other than that, a good hyper pigmentation serum (either via vitamin C or other means like the Alpha Arbutin) can help to fade the marks once you have them. If @jemly were here, she'd tell you that you should be applying a drop of oil to an active breakout to help nourish it Smiley Wink

As for the sensitivity - chemicals, makeup removers and micellar water aren't for everyone.  By that I don't mean that you should not take off makeup - just that there are various ways to do so.  You should know in advance that the Ordinary products are full of chemicals - they are not completely natural (they contain manmade ingredients, and some natural ones) so that's something you'll want to consider.

Personally I can't handle coconut oil on my skin, but if you can, that's great, there's no problem with that.  I think the Tea Tree products you're using might be a bit harsh and stripping, though.  I took a brief gander at the ingredients lists on both, and they aren't exactly simple or natural.  The cleanser's second ingredient is alcohol, which is very drying.  Out of curiousity, why have you settled on Tea Tree?  This is typically used in very acneic skin - do you get a lot of breakouts normally?  Argan and Jojoba oils are both great - jojoba in particular is very good if you have oily skin, so I would keep one of them, for sure.

Since you mention your skin being on the drier side, I would definitely suggest to perhaps lay off the Tea Tree products for a little bit. You may find that switching them out for something a little more hydrating will keep your skin from being dry.  If I could suggest a change, it would be to continue to use the coconut oil to remove your makeup, and then use a creamy cleanser if you want to second cleanse - perhaps one you would remove with a washcloth.  I know @greenchilli quite likes that REN Evercalm one.


Speaking of the Caffeine Solution, I believe @fatimamummy has picked up that one, so perhaps she'll be able to give some direct feedback.  I don't believe it's meant to address lines, so much as darker tone and overall puffiness.


Alright, so after all that - the recommendations: 

- leftover acne blemishes that I want to fade - for this I'd recommend one of the vitamin C products, in your case I'd suggest the Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate one, as it's in a cream format and also a non-irritating form of vitamin C.

- fine lines by eye area and smile lines - for this I'd recommend the Buffet product as it is targeted at a little bit of everything for anti-aging.  They have stronger technologies for anti-aging as well, but it doesn't sound like you need those just yet, so best to start with the minimum first.

- prevention of blemishes, lines - the Buffet should assist with the lines, and if you wanted to add something to help minimize blemishes, the Niacinamide Zinc 1% is what you'd want.

- keeping my skin hydrated/balanced - this is tough - a good skincare routine in general will keep your skin hydrated/in balance.  There isn't really one product that does it all - it's more about finding a few that work and using them consistently.

Also I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that keeping yourself adequately hydrated (drinking water) and being mindful of what you eat also helps with that.  Skin is one big, giant organ.  What you put into your body will show on the skin.

And, as I mention to everyone - once you decide what you want to purchase, DO NOT attempt to try everything out all at once.  Make sure you build new products into your routine in stages, and know that it can take 4-6 weeks (cellular turnover) before you'll see visible results from any product.

Hope that helps!


Re: Skincare 101: Discussions, Questions and All

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I'm new to this brand that everyone seems to be talking about, and really appreciate your run down of the products P! I'm going to have to look at the Niacinamide serum.

Re: Skincare 101: Discussions, Questions and All

@k617 the Niacinamide is pretty decent stuff.  I posted a mini review in the Deciem thread as well.  I had been wanting to incorporate Niacinamide into my routine for a while but wasn't looking for another pricy product.  


This was a good way to test what it can do and I think I may continue with it once I'm finished my bottle.

Re: Skincare 101: Discussions, Questions and All

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@Mochapj Thank you so much. This helps a lot!


Okay. I had no idea that I had to nourish my acne. Is there a particular oil I should use or should Argan/Jojoba/Vitamin E be fine? That's something different. Thank you! I will try this. I have picked at acne which has probably caused many problems. I have heard of not picking at acne before but didn't know I should just nourish my poor skin.

Maybe my skin is not as sensitive as I thought. Thank you for the heads up on The Ordinary- letting me know that it's a mixture of man-made chemicals and natural ingredients.

I have pretty dry skin normally. I was dealing with cystic acne- one new pimple would surface per day at one point especially on one side of my face/cheek. I was just giving up with everything not knowing what to do. At one point I read some good things about a facial steamer so I bought one and off course it didn't help. I did have issues unfortunately with my diet and have changed things and noticed a major difference. I have tea tree oil and figured the tea tree line might have been beneficial to kill bacteria on my face causing issues. Little did I realize I had internal issues. I have continued to use the Tea Tree line from The Body Shop because I feel as though it will kill all the bacteria on my face lol. I have never thought so deeply about skincare until having to deal with many issues internally/externally. 

I usually only use the Tea tree cleanser after wearing makeup. But true, it is drying. I seem to be fine if I use it rarely. On days I don't wear makeup, which is often, I use Cetaphil (living in a dry climate and not knowing what to do I found many were using this cleanser and tried it and haven't looked back since). Purity made my skin super dry so now I use it for my makeup brushes lol. I will look into the REN. Is there any other creamy cleanser you would suggest?

I just purchased the Caffeine solution. I will experiment with it.


I will look into getting this cream. I was looking into getting the Vitamin C suspension but good to know the Magnesium is non-irritating! I'll keep that in mind.

Cool. I just ordered the Buffet so I will start using that.

Niacinamide Zinc 1% is something I was eyeing. I also have pigmentation from eczema patches so maybe I can try this on my body as well to see what happens.

True. I get it. Hydration is difficult- I guess it also depends on overall health.

I have had a difficult time these past few years and have changed things with my diet and continue to do so. I don't know if it was all triggered by stress but I've definitely changed a lot in my life. I've actually lost tons of hair as well. 

Perfect. Thanks so much @Mochapj. I feel the need to hoard whatever seems interesting by The Ordinary but I will definitely introduce things slowly and be patient.

That helps a lot <3 Nowhere would I have had this much advice/help so thank you very much for taking your time out to let me know what may work for me- totally appreciate it more than you know!

*I will now search in what order to use my new skincare as I have never had too many steps which is why I'm so clued out lol. 

Edit: I see you mentioned this above: a good rule of thumb is cleanse, tone, serum, hydrate (oil or cream, or both). 

What sunscreen would you suggest (SPF)?

Also once I get into my skincare later on and feel comfortable, would I use Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate and Niacinamide Zinc 1% opposite of one another (one in the morning, one at night)? 

Re: Skincare 101: Discussions, Questions and All

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@jesscheems no problem, happy to help Smiley Wink


I will echo what @k617 mentioned re: treating the area with drying products, as it's true it does harden the area and make it more difficult to heal.


Also, when it comes to picking, I would extend that to popping, pushing, and any general manhandling of acne spots.  Touching them should be kept to a minimum, as you don't want to introduce additional bacteria to the situation.  Plus, when we pop/press/etc it can push the infection deeper under the skin and cause it to spread, resulting in more breakouts. No bueno Smiley Sad  Definitely use an oil to nourish, but another thing you can do to help them come to a head is applying a warm (not hot) compress a few times a day to the area.  The heat can help to loosen and draw the gunk to the surface.


 Spoilering the rest:


If your skin is reacting well to jojoba, argan and vitamin E already, any of those would be a good candidate.  Jojoba in particular is considered anti-bacterial (good) and is similar in make up to sebum that our skin naturally produces so it absorbs well.

If you are wanting to stick to the natural skincare realm, generally that means sticking to the 'green beauty' brands like Herbivore, Farmacy, Tata Harper, etc or DIY'ing.  Broadly speaking green beauty seems to be a bit more costly but there are lots of options out there.

I can totally relate to what you've said @jesscheems. Last year I received a diagnosis that brought to light why I was having all the cystic acne issues I'd been dealing with for close to a year prior and after that I spent a lot of time investigating what could help to calm and soothe my skin.  I may PM you about this a bit more, as my experience may help but I am not comfortable sharing it broadly.

If you are using the Cetaphil and it isn't drying, I don't see any reasons why you couldn't use it on days you've worn makeup, after removing the makeup with your coconut oil.  If you are looking for other cream cleansers, you may want to check out the Pixi Caroline Hirons Double Cleanser - it contains both a makeup remover and a cream cleanser in one pot.  I haven't tried mine yet because I'm still trying to finish my current Farmacy Green Clean, but it has gotten many rave reviews.  In general I use an oil product to remove my makeup (Clinique Take The Day Off, Farmacy Green Clean, NUDE Oil Cleanser) and then if I want a second cleanse I use the Pixi Glow Mud, but I have combo oily skin so this might not work for you. 

Please fill us in on how the Niacinamide works if you use it on the body; I am curious.

I'm sorry to hear about your health and your hair.  It can be quite shocking to see how many things can be affected by what we eat and what products we use.  

In terms of SPF, it's not often that I'm out in the sun but for my face I use the PTR Rose Oil with SPF 15, primarily because sunscreens in general cause me to break out.  If I'm going to be in the sun for an extended period of time I will use Coola.

Interestingly enough, the Ordinary does not have the Magnesium cream listed as a contraindication for the Niacinamide, which I believe is because it's made of a vitamin C derivative and not pure vitamin C.  So theoretically you could use both in the same application, but you may want to space them out so you aren't doing a ton of steps at one time. Smiley Happy






Re: Skincare 101: Discussions, Questions and All

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Manhandling lol. That's exactly what I've done! Definitely going to be nicer to my skin going forward. This is all so eye opening haha.

Okay cool. I think I'll stick to Jojoba. Definitely PM me- totally appreciate it! Smiley Happy

The Pixi Double Cleanser looks like a nice product to try- thanks for the recommendation.

For sure! Can't wait to experiment. I just ordered Niacinamide from The Bay but the description on the site was for Alpha Arbutin so let's see what comes in the mail Smiley Frustrated 

I wasn't sure if my Cetaphil was helping remove any makeup after oil cleansing so I've been using the Tea Tree but maybe it's fine and I'm just overthinking things and could ditch the cleanser.

Thanks for understanding. I'm trying to come to terms with everything and have been for quite awhile now (feels like forever).

I breakout with sunscreens as well. I purchased a drugstore one that is oil free by Neutrogena. I haven't used it enough to know if I will breakout with it. 

Interesting. I would have thought you wouldn't be able to use the Magnesium and Niacinamide together. Alright that makes sense. Thanks a million! 

Re: Skincare 101: Discussions, Questions and All

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@jesscheemsabout nourishing acne/pimples - I can vouch that this works.


I actually no longer apply any sort of sulphur, benzoyl peroxide, tea tree or, in general, any drying products to active acne until it has popped on its own. I've found that this significantly reduces the severity of the hyperpigmentation left behind. Yes, I'll have to deal with a pimple getting larger for an extra day or two, but I probably save weeks of hyperpigmentation! Also, I always keep hydrocolloid bandages on hand to slap over a pimple that has just popped. That way it'll draw out and absorb whatever remaining fluid is in the pimple. You wouldn't want that pimple to close up while there's still remaining bacteria inside!


The rationale behind this is: an active pimple (especially a whitehead) is your skin's way of fighting the infection and trying to get the pus to drain and leave your body. If you nourish your skin vs. trying to attack it with drying products, your skin will be in better condition and easier for the breakout to "break through". If you dry it out with products, the skin will become dry, tough, and harder for the pus to come to the surface and drain.


I don't pick at pimples anymore (learned my lesson last year) but will gently squeeze around the area with the cushy part of my finger (no nails!) once it's come to a head and the whitehead is a good enough size. If it won't drain on its own, I leave it alone until it's ready.


Use whatever oil works for you that your skin can tolerate. Pick the one that gives you the most moisturizing properties without causing further breakouts.

Re: Skincare 101: Discussions, Questions and All

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Thanks! I have attacked my skin with all of the above lol Smiley Very Happy

Cool I will try this out next time. That makes sense. I have noticed that when my skin is moisturized, issues don't seem as bad. Is there a particular oil that you like to use? 

And I'll try not to use my nails- I've been bad to my skin =(

Re: Skincare 101: Discussions, Questions and All

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@jesscheemsI have multiple oils on rotation...I don't really keep track of which ones I use when I have breakouts though, just what I feel like that day and what other products I'm using: Herbivore Lapis (this is strictly my AM oil because my skin drinks it up and it doesn't make me look greasy), Pixi Rose Oil Blend, NUDE Rescue Oil, Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula, Fresh Seaberry Oil.


Definitely no picking. That is simply the worst you can do for pimples...we've all been there and I know it's hard, but I always regretted picking at my pimples because they always end up looking worse than before!

Re: Skincare 101: Discussions, Questions and All

Lol @Mochapj You know you are my ultimate source of skincare information and advice 😀

Re: Skincare 101: Discussions, Questions and All

LOL, aw thanks @fatimamummy! Smiley Wink

Re: Skincare 101: Discussions, Questions and All

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@jesscheems I just purchased some products from this brand but haven't started using them all. I am not very knowledgeable about what ingredients should be avoided for sensitive skin. I am sure@Mochapj and/or any other BTers who have more knowledge about the products suitable for sensitive skin can chime in and steer you towards right products.

Re: Skincare 101: Discussions, Questions and All

@jesscheems I hope someone else chimes in to help, you're at an intersection of things that aren't my area of comfort. I am just now trying a few things from The Ordinary, but my skin is not at all sensitive. I could probably exfoliate with a wire brush and sleep it off. 


Generally speaking, start slow and gentle? Hyaluronic acid maybe? They have a 1% retinol that might be less irritating than the 2% Retinoid I'm trialing. I think @Mochapj has a few of their products now, maybe she can be more helpful. 

Re: Skincare 101: Discussions, Questions and All

Oooops I didn't read your response first @fairlywell Our product expert Mocha is going to get double tags for this one.