Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The duochromes always get me: Review of L'Oréal Infallible Galaxy Lumiere Holographic Eyeshadows in Crescent Moon, Full Moon, and Moon Kissed

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Review of L'Oréal Infallible Galaxy Lumiere Holographic Eyeshadows in Crescent Moon, Full Moon, and Moon Kissed

Two duochrome posts in a row? Is that allowed? (As usual, we ignore the word "holographic" when it's in the name of a makeup product.) I love duochromes, and they make me pay more for drugstore eyeshadows than I normally would. More for eyeshadow singles in general (though there was that time I paid full price for Urban Decay X, and I don't even really like it). These (deep breath) L'Oréal Infallible Galaxy Lumiere Holographic Eyeshadows are $13 a piece, so I suggest waiting for a sale, which will always come sooner or later for drugstore makeup. I had a B2GO Free deal from, but if I hadn't also had Ulta points from my credit card to spend, I might have balked even at that.

None of that is to say that I don't think these eyeshadows are amazing and totally worth picking up if you are a duochrome fiend like I am. They're absolutely lovely.

The formula of these eyeshadows is interesting. Though they have the "Infallible" name attached to them, they're not the same as the regular Infallible singles (reviewed here), which come with little plates on top to keep them densely packed. These Galaxy shadows have a more spongey texture--not as squishy as Colourpop Super Shock eyeshadows, but if you press your finger into the pan, you can feel it compress a bit. I dropped Full Moon on the floor and, instead of shattering, the whole shadow came loose in one piece inside the pan. I was able to press it back in place with a finger. Like the L'Oréal Infallible eyeshadows and the Colourpop Super Shock shadows, these apply best with a finger. With a brush they go on very sheer and a little patchy.

How about I let my many, many photos do the talking? My swatches were made with a brush without primer. Each one is several layers, because these shadows are sheer, and in swatch form they don't show up clearly in a single layer.

Left to right: Crescent Moon (sheer beige with green shift), Full Moon (white gold), and Moon Kissed (purple with blue shift).

Swatches of of L'Oréal Infallible Galaxy Lumiere Holographic Eyeshadows

Swatches of of L'Oréal Infallible Galaxy Lumiere Holographic Eyeshadows

Swatches of of L'Oréal Infallible Galaxy Lumiere Holographic Eyeshadows

Swatches of of L'Oréal Infallible Galaxy Lumiere Holographic Eyeshadows

Swatches of of L'Oréal Infallible Galaxy Lumiere Holographic Eyeshadows

You can see that Full Moon (gold) is both the most opaque and the most reflective, but probably has the subtlest shift. Crescent Moon (beige) has the most shift but is quite sheer.

I swatched them all over black eyeliner too. I like to do this with sheer products that are close to my skin tone, like Crescent Moon, to see if they are just blending into my skin. As you can see, the beige base of Crescent Moon is almost invisible over black, while the green really shines. On every shade, the base shows through more over bare skin and the shift shows more over black.

Swatches of of L'Oréal Infallible Galaxy Lumiere Holographic Eyeshadows

Swatches of of L'Oréal Infallible Galaxy Lumiere Holographic Eyeshadows

Swatches of of L'Oréal Infallible Galaxy Lumiere Holographic Eyeshadows

I also made some comparisons to other duochrome eyeshadows I own. Here is Crescent Moon compared to some other beige/brown-green duochromes. Not much similarity here. Left to right: L'Oréal Crescent Moon, Total Intensity Bewitched (reviewed here), Urban Decay Sideline (reviewed here), Makeup Geek Ritzy (reviewed here).

Swatches of L'Oréal Crescent Moon, Total Intensity Bewitched, Urban Decay Sideline, Makeup Geek Ritzy

I don't have a comparison for Full Moon, because I don't have anything like it. (The white gold City Color cream shadow swatched here would probably be similar, but I got rid of it, because the formula didn't work for me.)

I swatched Moon Kissed next to other blue and purple duochromes, but as you can see I don't really have anything else like it either. Left to right: L'Oréal Moon Kissed, Maybelline Color Tattoo in Seashore Frosts (limited edition, reviewed here), and Ulta Holographic Highlighter in Fairy (discontinued, reviewed here).

Swatches of L'Oréal Moon Kissed, Maybelline Color Tattoo in Seashore Frosts, and Ulta Holographic Highlighter in Fairy

Now let me show you these babies on my face! First up is Crescent Moon, which, as I've said, is very sheer. In these first three photos, I applied the shadow with a brush, over primer. You can see how weak the results are, despite the primer. In all of the rest of the photos below, I used my fingers, which worked much better.

Review of L'Oréal Infallible Galaxy Lumiere Holographic Eyeshadow in Crescent Moon

Review of L'Oréal Infallible Galaxy Lumiere Holographic Eyeshadow in Crescent Moon

Review of L'Oréal Infallible Galaxy Lumiere Holographic Eyeshadow in Crescent Moon

Crescent Moon is more intense, as the swatches showed, over a darker base. Below I'm wearing it over Maybelline Color Tattoo in Tough as Taupe, but an even darker base makes it pop more. For that reason, I suspect this eyeshadow would totally shine on darker skin, especially since it doesn't have a white base. I haven't found photos on someone with a deep skin tone, though, so if you've tried it, I'd love to hear how it worked.

Review of L'Oréal Infallible Galaxy Lumiere Holographic Eyeshadow in Crescent Moon

Review of L'Oréal Infallible Galaxy Lumiere Holographic Eyeshadow in Crescent Moon

Review of L'Oréal Infallible Galaxy Lumiere Holographic Eyeshadow in Crescent Moon

And here's Moon Kissed. Pretty pretty pretty! (Sorry for the first eye! It was the best angle to show the color. I wasn't being murdered.)

Review of L'Oréal Infallible Galaxy Lumiere Holographic Eyeshadow in Moon Kissed

Review of L'Oréal Infallible Galaxy Lumiere Holographic Eyeshadow in Moon Kissed

And finally, Full Moon, which was the one of the three I wanted most originally. I've been looking for a vibrant white-gold like this for a while. I was really attracted to a shadow like this from the Nars Danger Control palette, but I knew I'd never wear most of the pinks in it. Full Moon is everything that I hoped it would be! I love how it brightens my eyes, though I'm not sure these photos really show it off.

Review of L'Oréal Infallible Galaxy Lumiere Holographic Eyeshadow in Full Moon

Review of L'Oréal Infallible Galaxy Lumiere Holographic Eyeshadow in Full Moon

Full Moon also makes a gorgeous highlighter. It's what I hoped the Marc Jacobs Glowstick (reviewed here) would be. I bet Crescent Moon would work great as a highlighter too, but I haven't played around with it that way yet.


I'm really enjoying these eyeshadows. They're on the sheer side, sure, but that's not a flaw. I'm going to have to do more layering with them and see what I can come up with. Of the three, Full Moon is my favorite. Crescent Moon is probably the least spectacular, but it's very versatile.

I'd recommend these shadows whole-heartedly--at least if you can get them on sale. (I just noticed, though, that they are apparently exclusive to Ulta, which is annoying for those of you who don't have access to one.)

Monday, April 2, 2018

Butter London Glazen Blush Gelee in Glimmer

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Review of Butter London Glazen Blush Gelee in Glimmer

I love my Butter London Glazen Eye Gloss in Oil Slick (swatched here), and so I was curious about how a similar formula would function as a blush. The eyeshadow has intense glitter and dries very quickly--neither of which are qualities I'm looking for in a cream blush. And Butter London's promotional photos weren't very inspiring. (My Instagram stories commentary on their ad below.)


Actually, yeah, that is a pretty accurate photo, I suspect, if you just smeared an opaque layer of this blush on your cheek in a circle. If you want to avoid that look, like I do, it's kind of a tricky product to use. I'll get to that later.

First, the texture. It really is unusual. It's gelatinous and jiggly. I made you a GIF!

Review of Butter London Glazen Blush Gelee in Glimmer

Swatches! I chose the Butter London Glazen Blush Gelee in Glimmer, because it looked like it had the strongest duochrome, and I can't resist a duochrome shift. This blush has a warm reddish-pink base with a gorgeous golden shift. Here are far too many photos in different lighting to demonstrate it:

Swatches of Butter London Glazen Blush Gelee in Glimmer

Swatches of Butter London Glazen Blush Gelee in Glimmer

Swatches of Butter London Glazen Blush Gelee in Glimmer

Swatches of Butter London Glazen Blush Gelee in Glimmer

Because the blush dries incredibly quickly, and blush application is all about blending in my opinion, this shit is tricky. Usually I apply cream blush with my fingers, but doing that with this gelee means that (a) too much product gets picked up, and (b) it ends up blotchy. Like the eye gloss, it's quite pigmented, so you really only need a few specks of product for each cheek. That means a special technique and/or tool is required to get this stuff to work.

There are two methods with which I've had some success. The first is using a wet beauty blender type of sponge. The advantage of the sponge is that the water keeps the blush from drying quite as quickly, so you have a couple more seconds to blend it. The downside is that the damp sponge sometimes picks up some blush from my cheek, so it can end up a little blotchy anyway. I've had a bit of luck applying it with the sponge and then quickly blending with my fingers. A mini sponge works better than a full size.

The other method, which works a bit better, is to use a stippling brush. I have the small stippling brush from e.l.f. Stippling brushes work well for highly pigmented products that you want to sheer out, because only the longer bristles pick up product, but you can use all the bristles together to blend it out. This type of brush helps here, but work quickly! Normally with I use cream blush, I tap my finger in it, pat it on both cheeks, then go back and blend the first one and then the second. I can't do that here. I have to tap the brush in the pot and then immediately blend blend blend before the blush sets. Sometimes a little extra blending with my finger is useful.

(I've read some reviews that say this blush can mess up makeup that's underneath it, too. I haven't noticed that, but I don't use full coverage foundations.)

If you can get Glimmer to work, it can be really pretty, provided you can wear warm blushes. I have fairly neutral coloring, so I can wear most blushes whether they're warm or cool, but if this shade won't work for you, there are three other options. Glimmer will give a somewhat natural, yet glowy, flush. Because it has a lot of red in it, it gives a kind of fairytale effect on me that's emphasized by the red lipstick I'm wearing in the photos below. With less dramatic lipstick, it looks subtler.



Even though I really like how this blush looks on me, it's hard for me to recommend, exactly. It can provide a lovely effect, and there aren't many wearable duochrome blushes out there. Also, I've experienced really good wear time with it. Still, I hesitate to suggest a product that can only be used if you have the right tools or one that can go wrong so easily. If you're up for the challenge, now might be the time, because ULTA has the Butter London Glazen Blush Gelees on sale for $15, down from the usual $26, which in my opinion is a bit too much for something so fiddly.

Have you ever used a blush like this? I'm also curious about the other shades. If you've tried one, is it as tricky to use as Glimmer?

Monday, March 26, 2018

The Ordinary's Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% for cystic acne, plus my skincare routine

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Review of The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%

For some reason, after I moved to California back in December, I started to experience more breakouts than I'd had in a long time. They were worst on my chin, but also happened on my nose, cheeks, and forehead. I had a combination of inflammatory acne (the scabby, infected pores on the surface) and cystic acne (those deep, swollen, underground pimples)--the latter concentrated on my chin and upper lip. I don't know what caused my skin to react this way. Something hormonal? Climate? Different water? Since I couldn't prevent it, I decided to treat it.

I bought this tube of The Ordinary's Azelaic Acid (for some reason I spell azelaic wrong in a different way every single time) back in July when I made a small order from Well.ca and had it shipped to my sister in Canada. I mainly chose products based on what had the best reviews, because I was curious about the brand. In addition to this stuff, I ended up with their Caffeine Solution (reviewed here and passed on to a friend), Buffet (which I've finished and will review soon), and the Matrixyl + HA (which I'm currently using).

(I know there has been drama and bad publicity about Deciem, the parent company of The Ordinary, lately. I don't really know what to think of it, and since I bought this months before any of that happened, it wasn't a consideration. You can easily find out what's been going on with a Google search and make up your own mind.)

After I wrote my post about not having a use for The Ordinary's Vitamin C, I looked at this tube and kicked myself. Another brightening product? Really? Well, azelaic acid in fact has a number of functions, and perhaps what it's most often used for it to treat acne. For instance, it's typically part of the acne medication prescribed by Curology. Yet The Ordinary's description of the product on their US site doesn't mention anything about acne (though it does say it fights acne in Canada). They write, in in much more straightforward prose than is typical for them:
Found in grains, Azelaic Acid is produced naturally by yeast that lives on normal skin. It brightens the skin tone while visibly improving the evenness of skin texture and reducing the look of blemishes. It is a multi-functional support ingredient for all skin types and also acts as an effective antioxidant. This formula offers a very high 10% concentration of high-purity Azelaic Acid in a lightweight cream-gel system.
If it's often used for acne, why no mention of that here? I suspect it has to do with drug labeling laws. If a product claims to treat acne, then it's classified as a drug by the FDA and has to have "drug facts" and other information on its label. There are other regulations for products classified as drugs in the US as well. For instance, Paula's Choice sells two versions of its popular 2% BHA liquid with the exact same ingredients. One is labelled as an acne treatment and one isn't--the difference is in the labeling, not the product itself. (So buy whichever one you can find on sale.) Deciem, I assume, has chosen to avoid the extra burden of these regulations by simply not mentioning acne and relying on its unusually informed consumer base to know the properties of azelaic acid. (I don't fault them for going this route, although they might miss out on some potential customers.)

Fortunately, I read about azelaic acid for cystic acne somewhere (probably Reddit, but I can't find the exact post now) and was excited to find that I already had a tube of it in my hoard. According to Deciem, you only need to use a pea-sized amount each day, and they generally seem to advise applying it at night.

Review of The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%

It's a fairly thick cream formula, and it dries in seconds, so you need to spread it quickly. I find it easier to use a patting motion than rubbing. It has a mildly unpleasant smell, kind of like the bedroom of a college boy with moderately-good hygiene, but it doesn't linger. I concentrate the product in the problem areas mentioned above, though as you will see in my skincare routine described below, the moisturizer I put on top probably causes it to be more evenly distributed across my face in the end. It's not gritty like The Ordinary's Vit C, and I don't feel any sensation at all on my skin when I apply it.

I decided to do a proper test of this product by applying it daily for a month without adding any other new products to my routine, limiting my use of strong actives like retinol for the first couple of weeks, and taking weekly photos of my skin. I wanted to keep going for at least a month, since my cystic acne breakouts tended to be worst the week before my period. I'm really glad I have documentation, because sometimes it can be hard to see progress without photographic evidence. When I took the last of the four photos below, I considered not even posting them, because I thought there hadn't been any real improvement over time. But I think the photos say otherwise. Left to right, weeks 1 (immediately before beginning azelaic acid) through 4 (all without any makeup):


The most dramatic improvement is, in fact, not really visible in these photos: the decrease in cystic pimples. I still get one or two during the week before my period (I'm actually in the second month of using the azelaic acid as I write this), but they are much smaller, less painful, and they disappear in just a few days instead of a couple of weeks (or more!). I just had one pop up a couple of days ago, and it's almost gone today.

The reason I thought there wasn't a visible improvement, despite being happy with the results, was that I still had an unusual amount of inflammatory acne on my chin. I've managed to get that under control too, though that's a topic for another post (spoiler: honey mask). I think you can see from the photos that even with remaining acne on my chin, nose, and forehead, the redness in those areas had decreased significantly with just the addition of the azelaic acid. Really, that should have been more obvious to me, because I've found myself needing to do less color correction/concealing (as described here) with continued azelaic acid use. (The one thing that's sticking around is that red scar/PIH/PIE mark in the middle of my top lip that was left behind by a cystic zit. If anyone has suggestions for fading it more quickly, I would be grateful.)

This is all very exciting for me! It's rare that I get such good results from a new product in this short a time. I thought I would list out my full skincare routine here, so that you can see where the azelaic acid fits in. As I've pointed out recently, you don't need to use nearly as many products as I do to have nice skin. I like to try new things and especially to review and blog about them, so I use more than I necessarily need. I haven't listed products I use sporadically like masks and oils. This is my daily routine.


Morning

Gentle cleanse (currently Paula's Choice Moisture Boost Cleanser or Simple Micellar Water)
Exfoliate with BHA (currently Paula's Choice 2% BHA Liquid)
Wait 5-10 minutes
Hydrating serum mixed with a couple of drops of niacinamide booster (currently The Ordinary Matrixyl 10% + HA and Paula's Choice 15% Niacinamide Booster)
Light Moisturizer (currently Clinique Moisturizing Gel)
Wait 10 minutes
Sunscreen (currently La Roche-Posay SPF 60 Fluid or Kinesys SPF 30)


Night

Double cleanse (currently Neutrogena Cleansing Oil and Simple Micellar Water)
Hydrating serum (currently Paula's Choice Redness Relief Serum)
Azelaic acid treatment (currently The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%)
Wait 5-10 minutes
Heavier moisturizer (currently Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion or Origins Night-a-Mins Cream or Paula's Choice Hydrating Treatment Mask)

I think I still have another month or two worth of this azelaic acid in my tube, and I'll probably replace it with the same thing when it's empty. It's been an excellent addition to my routine. Besides Deciem's website, it's available places like Sephora and Well.ca ($10 off $40 CAD with code brutallyhonestbeauty--anyone can make a coupon code). But do you know of any other good, non-prescription sources of azelaic acid out there? Paula's Choice sells it outside of North America (I assume not here because of some of those drug regulations discussed above), though I'm hoping that some recent social media posts they're written about azelaic acid mean they'll offer it here soon, too.

Has anyone else had good (or bad?) results with azelaic acid? Did you use a prescription product?

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The cheapest metallic thrills: Wet N Wild Silk Finish Lipsticks in Dark Pink Frost and Fuchsia with Blue Pearl

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Review of Wet N Wild Silk Finish Lipsticks in Dark Pink Frost and Fuchsia with Blue Pearl

Auxiliary Beauty has created a very useful taxonomy flowchart of lipstick finishes, which I think is totally accurate. According to that chart, these two lipsticks are neither metallic, as I'm calling them, nor frosts, as Wet N Wild calls (one of) them. They are probably best classified somewhere in the duochrome or shimmer/pearl families. And yet everything is apparently metallic these days, so I've lazily labelled these things that way too, because I think they serve as cheap dupes or alternatives for the various "metallic" lipsticks that are popping up left and right lately. Whatever you want to call them, they're are good starters for people venturing into reflective lip territory (as well as for those of us who are already pretty comfortable there).

Wet N Wild's Silk Finish Lipsticks are about the cheapest lipsticks you're going to get at 99 cents, and they're really no frills. The packaging is basic (though better designed than the slightly more expensive Wet N Wild MegaLast tubes). Even the names of most of them are simply descriptive. I'm guessing they date back to when these lipsticks were first released, which must be at least 25 years ago, though I haven't been able to find out their history. Even if Dark Pink Frost doesn't seem entirely accurate (it's neither dark nor a frost?), it'll certainly tell you more about what you're getting than the names of the new shades added to the line a few years ago, like What's Up Doc?.

There's definitely some variation in the quality and finish of the lipsticks in this line. I used to have Nouveau Pink, which was a bubblegum pink cream, and it applied and wore wonderfully. In contrast, What's Up Doc? (reviewed here), another cream, was a streaky, slippery mess (but makes a great cream blush!). Both of these shimmers are gorgeous, but Dark Pink Frost is much sheerer than Fuchsia with Blue Pearl. They both have an average wear time--they're not going to last all day, but you're also not going to look in a mirror an hour after applying them to find a mess. Fuchsia with Blue Pearl in particular leaves a pretty even stain behind.

It's a bit difficult to capture the blue in FWBP in a photo, but it's definitely there. And you can see that DPF has some more sparkly shimmer, while FWBP has that smooth pearly finish. But since neither of them reflects back icy or silvery, I don't think they're truly frosty. Each of the swatches below is a few swipes, since, as I said, neither is completely opaque.

Swatches of Wet N Wild Silk Finish Lipsticks in Dark Pink Frost and Fuchsia with Blue Pearl

Swatches of Wet N Wild Silk Finish Lipsticks in Dark Pink Frost and Fuchsia with Blue Pearl

So you can see where their subtle duochrome identity comes in. DPF is pink with gold shimmer, or rose gold, and FWBP is, well, fuchsia with blue pearl.

On my lips, DPF does emphasize lines a bit, but that doesn't bother me. Lips normally have lines in them, regardless of age. Think of it the other way around: the texture of my lips enhances the shimmer. It's a warm, rosy pink that keeps it from veering into scarily frosty territory, and it's easy to wear with whatever else I have going on.

Wet N Wild Silk Finish Lipstick in Dark Pink Frost

FWBP is bolder, for sure, but the blue is subtle enough that if you can pull off a bright pink in general, this isn't going to look costumey or bizarre. It's not perfectly opaque, but it's pigmented enough that you can get good coverage in one layer. Both of these lipsticks are non-drying and maybe even a little moisturizing. Both of the disguise dry flakiness in my lips rather than exaggerating it.

Wet N Wild Silk Finish Lipstick in Fuchsia with Blue Pearl

I think these are both, in fact, totally 80s lipsticks while at the same time being totally current. I mean, Too Faced could easily feed us some unicorn-fairy bullshit to sell these colors. Overall, the Wet N Wild Silk Finish lipsticks are decent products with some interesting colors in the line. I think these two stand on their own as just plain good lipsticks, but the $1 price also makes them an excellent choice for trying out colors and finishes you might not be sure will work for you.

I've only tried the four Silk Finish lipsticks mentioned here. Are there any others you've used that you'd recommend?

Saturday, March 10, 2018

An easy, affordable skincare routine for normal skin


Basic, cheap skincare routine

My sister asked me last year to suggest a skincare routine for her. Her skin isn't like mine (combination on the oily side, prone to breakouts); instead, she has that elusive "normal" skin. Not too dry, not too oily, rarely breaks out. The only issues she specifically wanted to address were wrinkle prevention, pore reduction, and occasional redness. She has this great skin in her early 30s despite never having to do much to it--usually just cleansing with water and sometimes moisturizing when she feels like she needs it. It's also useful to know that she doesn't typically wear a lot of makeup and never wears a base (foundation/tinted moisturizer, etc.).

I recently asked her how the routine was working for her, and since she reported that she's happy with it, I thought I'd share it here, in case someone out there is in a similar situation. I actually think this routine would work well as a starter for someone with oily or combination skin, and maybe even dry skin, since these products will address a variety of concerns. All of the products I've recommended are either things I've tried myself or have been recommended to me by trusted, knowledgeable friends. You don't need dozens of shiny, $50+ bottles to look after your skin! Each product is $20 or less. and most of it is closer to $10, but I've provided alternatives in case one item isn't easy for you to access, or you prefer certain qualities of one over the other. The main exception is the Paula's Choice 2% BHA Liquid, which holy shit, I didn't realize it had gone up to almost $30 now! I'd really like to see a graph charting the price increases of their core products vs. inflation, because that seems like a lot. Definitely buy that shit on sale--I've also provided an alternative below.

There are three products in the photo above, but it's actually a (minimum) four-product routine, split into one-to-two steps in the morning and three at night. I just don't personally own all of the things I recommended at the moment.

Here's what I suggested (I added links to previous reviews):
I'd recommend only introducing one new product at a time and using it for a few days before adding anything new. That way if your skin responds poorly to it, you'll know what caused it. 
Morning:
1. Just rinse with water. (If you feel like your skin needs more cleansing, see Night step 1.)  
2. Sunscreen. It's best to use this even on days when you'll mostly be inside, and especially when you're driving to work. You'll get lots of sun through the windows of the car and probably in your office, and sunscreen is the most effective skincare product out there to prevent "signs of aging." It's worth trying to find one that's comfortable enough to use every day. I really like the one linked below--it's light and not greasy. It's better to use SPF 15 that feels good enough to wear every day than to buy SPF 30 or 50 and only use it once or twice a month. 
$10 Simple Light Protecting Moisturizer SPF 15 (reviewed here and here)
But if you do want to go with a higher SPF, which is never a bad idea, this is my favorite:
$20 Kinesys Performance Sunscreen SPF 30 (reviewed here and here)
Night:  
1. Wipe your face with a cotton pad/ball soaked in micellar water, instead of using a cleanser. The bottle will say that it doesn't need to be rinsed, but it does contain a little cleanser, so it's better to splash some water on your face afterwards anyway. If you want to be extra eco-friendly, I use little rectangles of flannel that I cut up and folded in half instead of disposable cotton balls (more info here). I put them in a mesh lingerie bag and wash and dry them in the machine. Baby flannel is really soft and you might be able to get a small piece for cheap at the fabric store, or just cut up some old clothes you have. 
$5-10 Simple Micellar Cleansing Water; $15 Bioderma Sensibio Micellar Water (pink lid) 
2. BHA exfoliant to get rid of dead skin that makes your skin look dull or clogs pores (and makes them look larger). It can also soothe redness and make your skin feel smoother. You can wipe this over your whole face (avoiding eye area) or just on places that you think need it. Leave it on for 10-20 minutes while you brush your teeth or pet the cats or do whatever else you do while you get ready for bed. 
$4 Stridex Alcohol-Free Maximum Strength Acne Pads (red box); $29 Paula's Choice 2% BHA Liquid
3. Moisturizer with anti-wrinkle ingredients. Apply it on top of the BHA after you've let it soak in a little. Since you don't have dry skin, use something light, and don't feel like you need to use a lot--just as much as feels comfortable. Make sure to use it around your eyes too. It will also get rid of the sticky feeling from the BHA, if you use the Paula's Choice option. The moisturizers I've listed below have vitamins and antioxidants in them so that you don't need to add extra steps like serum etc. (unless you want to!). 
 $15 CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion; $12 Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Night Cream/Moisturizer
If you wear more makeup than my sister does, you're probably going to want to go with a traditional cleanser. I think Neutrogena makes some great cleansers, especially their Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser or Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanser. Obviously, you can also add as many additional products and steps into this routine as you like (for example, see my skincare tag), but this is designed for people who feel like doing something for their skin, but don't want to spend a lot of time and money on it.

I'm curious: do you have a minimal skincare routine, or are you more intense about it? Also, if you'd like to suggest alternate products in these same categories, that would be great! I know people like the CosRx BHA, but I don't know if it might be too strong for a beginner.

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