Bare Bones Skincare Routine – Did I Like It?

Some time last year I decided to strip my skincare routine to the very basics of washing, toning, moisturising, and occasional peeling and masking. It was not so much out of boredom/ for fun, as it was because I didn’t have the money to spend on anything extra. One could argue that skincare is not a necessity at all, aside from basic hygiene and sun protection. One would be right, but one would also be wrong.

So here are my basics.

Chapstick Hydration Lock Lip Balm

Over the years I’ve accumulated quite the collection of lip balms. I’ve been slowly going through them all, and this Chapstick was just next on the list. It certainly did not give enough moisture and protection during winter. Chapstick did OK in the spring time, and now that it’s summer, I don’t see much difference. The ‘day’ end has SPF, which is good. But I don’t feel like my lips are conditioned and soft unless I actually have this balm on my lips. There’s no comfort in between wears, so to say. I hear that’s an issue with nigh all Chapstick products. Once it’s gone, I will not buy it again.

Oriflame LoveNature Purifying Oily Skin Face Lotion

This is a basic oily skin moisturiser. I’ve been using it on and off for years. It’s no miracle worker, but unless your skin is especially dehydrated, it moisturises a decent amount. I like its light texture, and I really like its slightly medicinal herbal scent. I will buy this again, as it’s pretty much a staple.

Olay Regenerist Regenerating Eye Lifting Serum

This was a gift, and a next (and last!) one in my stash of eye creams. I have sensitive eyes, and Olay Regenerist Regenerating Eye Lifting Serum has some microglitter in it. I thought I would not be able to handle it (e.g. I couldn’t handle Avon’s Anew one), but it’s fine. This cream (serum?..) is lightly yellow in colour, but I noticed no colour correcting properties. I suppose it does diffuse the light just a bit and it moisturises a decent amount, but I noticed no effect on my fine lines.

Faberlic Botanica Face Tonic with Cornflower and Pomegranate

I was broke and I needed a face toner, and this one was free with my purchase of other things, so into my basket it went. I can’t claim this Faberlic Botanica Face Tonic does a whole lot, but it does something, so to say. I can’t skip the toning part more than two-three days in a row, as I begin to break out. Faberlic Botanica Face Tonic is, like the rest of my current routine, basic. I find it non-drying, but it’s not hydrating or particularly refreshing.

Avon True Nutra Effects Micellar Cleansing Water

I think this is the… fifth? Maybe sixth micellar water I’ve tried. Avon True Nutra Effects Micellar Cleansing Water is scentless, gentle, and fares up rather nicely to, say, the Garnier one, which is my favourite budget micellar water. I’m almost at the end of this bottle, and I already purchased a huge-arse 400 ml bottle as back-up. Good stuff.

Neutrogena The Transparent Facial Bar

I bought this recently as a replacement for my beloved Pears. Unfortunately, I don’t like it as much, though usually I am inclined to quite like Neutrogena. Neutrogena The Transparent Facial Bar has a strong perfume, which is also of a kind that I have come to associate with male-oriented cosmetics. I suppose these are the remnants of sexism in me, but yes, I’m a bit particular when it comes to scents. But that aside, Neutrogena Facial Bar is much more drying than the Pears soap I’ve been using prior to that. I’d buy a Pears bar in an instant, but unfortunately it’s not usually sold where I live. I snatched two bars on the grey market by pure chance. There’s a tiny bit left, but it doesn’t give me enough suds for a proper face wash.

Yellow Sponge Thingie

I’m pretty sure it’s not its proper name. 😀 This is a generic one I bought for like 60c per two. I like using it, but next time I’m going to pay a bit more and get a softer one from, say, Oriflame. This one is a little harsh on my skin, so I only tend to use it on my nose and my forehead.

The Grand Question: Do I Like This Routine?

You may have already guessed the answer, but… No. There are certain things that I enjoy about the basic skincare routine. It’s short, straight-forward, economical, and more or less efficient. Also, since I haven’t been experimenting with different moisturisers and cleaners that much, I’ve been getting less breakouts.

Actually, that could be the Pears soap. If you suffer from acne, do give Pears soap a go.

But I’ve also noticed that my skin isn’t as plump, and there are many signs of dehydration beneath its usual oiliness. Also, the frown line on my forehead has become much more prominent. There are, of course, other contributing factors to less plumpness and more dehydration. Three prominent ones are stress, the office AC, and the fact that I’ve aged about a year. However, my epic multi-layer skincare routine that I’ve adhered to before helped me keep the effects of those factors on my skin at relative bay. The bare bones one I’m doing now is fine, but I want more from my skincare. Step up that retinol, mate!

I’m still at an awkward point financially, so it’ll be another several months at best until I’ll be able to go back to my multilayered long-arse day and night skincare routines. I’ll still be using the basic skincare routine described above with light variations of moisturises and lip balms and toners, and once I’ve finished the Neutrogena Bar, I’m going to switch to a different face washer. Aside from that, I’ll be relying on masking for hydration and cleansing in the interim.

Regardless, it’s good to know that I could fall onto a basic skincare routine like this one and still be more or less satisfied with the appearance of my skin.

What’s your skincare routine like?

Monthly Manicure Report – July 2017

Nail polish is one of my favourite things in the world, so I keep wanting to share with you what I’ve got on my fingers and toes, but somehow am never pleased with the format. Can I blather on about a single polish for an entire post? I sure can. But Armour & Warpaint is not a nail blog, and if I had talked about all the polishes that I wear throughout the month, we’d only have nailpolish posts around here.

This wouldn’t have been a case for July, though, because in July I wore four polishes only – three on my fingers, and two on my toes. I’m going to throw a June polish into the mix just to spice things up a little bit (really, though).

On my fingers

avon rebel rose

Avon SpeedDry+ in Rebel Rose

You will have seen this polish here and here. It’s old and gloopy, but I just don’t want to let it go. Recently I dropped a bit of alcohol in it to thin it out, and yay! It’s with me again! I’ve been wearing it non-stop in July, intent on using it up and getting it over with. This is such a perfect bright cool-toned pink, though. When AVON rebranded their Speed Dry line, they added a similar colour named Strawberry. I own it as well, and the tone is ever so slightly different. A normal person wouldn’t notice, but unfortunately I do.

Rebel Rose has been discontuned for a while, and I believe its replacement within the AVON line has been discontinued as well.

AVON Mark. Gel Shine in Mint To Be

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In June I painted my fingers and toes with matching mint colours. AVON Mark. Gel Shine in Mint to Be is slightly easier to work with than the Oriflame Mint Zest counterpart below – but Oriflame lasts longer and has more shine. I also enjoy the Oriflame brushes more.

As much as I enjoy mint as a nail polish colour, I find it very difficult to work with. The only two shades I find harder are white and yellow. Every single white, yellow, and mint polish I have encountered in life ends up being gooey, capricious, streaky, messy and slow-drying. I love this polish, it looks amazing – but consider yourselves warned.

blue nail polish

Flormar 437 + Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Xtreme Wear in 150 Fly By

This particular Flormar shade has been with me for quite some time. They’ve got quite a long expiration date, though, and this one has just passed it. I cannot say it has affected the formula too much, but I believe it started to chip a little faster. Anyway, it’s always been one of my favourites, and I am going to attempt to use it more until it decides to cooperate no longer. Sally Hansen is a sheer shimmer polish. It matches Flormar 437 perfectly, and I think I am going to wear the two together again. Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Xtreme Wear in 150 Fly By takes a long while to dry, though. A long while. I want to try wearing it over a white polish to imitate my friend’s gel manicure, but the moment I imagine the dry time of white polish and this topper, I reconsider.

On My Toes

avon on point blue

AVON Speed Dry in On Point Blue

Well this has been an AVON-heavy month, hasn’t it? I have quite a few of AVON polishes, and most of them are of great quality. This is another one of the SpeedDry series. It’s a revamped version, and is therefore younger than the rebel rose above. Blue polish is perfect for summer.

AVON On Point Blue is on the thin side, so you would need two coats – maybe even three if you like working with thinner layers. It goes on well, dries quickly, but doesn’t stay put for very long. This is a problem of every single fast-drying polish I have encountered, though.

Oriflame The One Long Wear Nail Polish in Mint Zest 31458

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The photo was snapped with my bookstagram in mind, so the focus is obviously on the book, but you can see the polish just fine. It stayed on my toes for an embarrassingly long time. Frankly, it would’ve stayed longer, because it didn’t chip or crack anywhere, but I felt it was time for a pedicure and a fresh coat of paint. Oriflame The One Long Wear Nail Polish in Mint Zest was a limited edition shade; it is no longer available.

oriflame mint zest

Oriflame Volare Perfume

crystal roses

I am not the one to throw around statements beginning with ‘every woman wants’. Every woman is different, I’ve got no idea what all y’all ladies want – aside from less bullshit and more respect.

But.

Every woman wants a crystal rose on their vanity.

I’ve got three.

Okay, well, two. One of them is gold.

oriflame volare past bottles

My relationship with Oriflame Volare started by proxy – it was my grandmother’s favourite perfume to give to my mother. Since then the perfume bottle has gone through a couple of redesigns. I am not sure how many there were in total, but I believe the rose-shaped bottle is the third version. At least, it’s the third design I own. I’ve included the two previous incarnations of Oriflame Volare for reference.

classic oriflame volare

Together with the bottle, Oriflame has altered the scent. From where I stand, the third incarnation of Oriflame Volare EDP is lighter and easier to wear, but I know there are a lot of people out there who disagree with me.

oriflame volare

Volare EDP

As you might just guess by the shape of the bottle, Volare certainly has notes of rose in it. They’re on top for me, shifting to leather rather quickly, and then moving on to something woody. This is the perfume I wear when I want to play grown-up. It is a very ‘have to be in the mood’ scent for me. I have to really feel it to wear it.

amber rose

If you quickly flip through some Fragrantica reviews (old/ new), you will see that the scent of Oriflame Volare EDP is quite polarising. Some people hate it, some people love it. I find it classic and beautiful, undoubtedly partially influenced by the bottle. Though I like it and use it, I don’t think it suits me well.

volare forever

Volare Forever

One of the recent variations of Oriflame Volare. Still very rosy, but a lighter kind of rose. Whenever I scent this, I think of a big bouquet of white roses. This time around it shifts into citrus, and then goes into something a bit musky and a touch aquatic. Volare Forever is lighter and therefore easier to wear than the Volare EDP above, but still requires a certain mood from me.

oriflame volare forever

oriflame volare gold

Volare Gold EDP

Released to celebrate Oriflame‘s 50 year anniversary, Volare Gold has notes of peach, rose, and salted caramel. Again, you can certainly scent the rose, and I suppose the underlying sweetness that is so attractive for me in this perfume is peach.

I have a peculiar relationship with sweet perfumes. I love them – but they need to be, in my understanding, properly done. For example, I love nearly all Escada perfumes. They’re sweet as all fuck, but man I could bathe in them. What I would do for a bottle of Rockin’ Rio or Magnetism just about now, you have no idea.

And I love peach. One of my favourite scents is easily the least sophisticated one out there – Victoria’s Secret Love Spell, I’m looking at you. Again, I could just bathe in it.

volare gold

Oriflame Volare Gold reminds me of both Rockin’ Rio and Love Spell. It is heavier than either of those, with rose still being the main accord, but Volare Gold is indeed my favourite one out of the three perfumes in the Oriflame Volare line. It is a little too heady for the blasted heat of Moldovan summer days, but I can picture myself wearing it on a cooler summer evening, preferably somewhere close to a big body of water, or a gentle spritz or two to the Arctic conditioned office.

volare magnolia

Volare Magnolia

I have a teeny tiny bottle of Volare Magnolia, a limited edition Volare scent in the second incarnation packaging. My bottle – as any bottle out there, really – is old. Directly from it, these days I mostly scent rubbing alcohol in it. However on my body it opens up rather nicely. It is a very light scent, lightest of them all, and reminds me of walks under the blossoming trees during the warmer days of spring.

volare 15ml edp

Volare EDP 15 ml

Although supposedly the same scent as the Volare EDP above, this tiny bottle smells different. To my nose it’s much more powdery and quite ‘older’ than the rose-shaped bottle of Oriflame Volare EDP.

beautiful perfume bottles

Have you tried either of these?

Oriflame Optimals Seeing is Believing Eye Cream

Oriflame Optimals Seeing is Believing Eye Cream

To be honest, until recently I’ve been fully prepared to give this Oriflame Optimals Seeing is Believing Eye Cream if not a fully negative, then a lacklustre review at best. Yeah, an eye cream. Sure, better than nothing. Meh, comes in glass, good.

But then one day I’ve been awake for more hours than it’s decent to be awake for, and my eyes were burning and feeling very heavy inside my skull. I took out my contacts, washed my face, half-arsedly applied some moisturiser, and then decided that I need to go in with an eye cream as well.

That was a very wise decision, because my eye area felt instant relief. It was a very cooling, refreshing, ever so lightly tingling (in a good, absolutely non-burning way) sensation. For a while there it didn’t hurt to blink.

Now, I can’t tell you how long the effect of Oriflame Optimals Seeing is Believing Eye Cream lasted, because I went to bed and promptly fell asleep for once.

Other things I’d like to tell you about Oriflame Optimals Seeing is Believing Eye Cream:

The packaging is cute, and the colour is nice, and I love the fact that it’s glass – but mate, it’s not convenient. I have no problems with creams in jars. Unlike many, I do not feel squeamish about possible contamination or something. It’s just that the jar of Oriflame Optimals Seeing is Believing Eye Cream is pretty small, and the glass is slippery, and it requires certain finger dexterity to maneuver the product around, especially as you reach the last few uses.

The jar will last you a long while.

Oriflame Optimals Seeing is Believing Eye Cream often appears in Oriflame catalogues with a good discount. I recommend that you wait for the discount, because the product is not worth its full price.

In short: Oriflame Optimals Seeing is Believing Eye Cream is great at cooling and moisturising the eye area. It will help fight puffiness, and I am inclined to agree with its claims to brighten the eye area, if only a little. It will not do much else, however. If fine lines are your problem, you need a heavier artillery.

That said, I’m on my second (maybe third) jar of Oriflame Optimals Seeing is Believing Eye Cream, and I plan to repurchase.

Recent Dry Shampoos: Oriflame, AVON, Viteks, Axe

army-of-dry-shampoos

There are three seemingly irrelevant products in my admittedly quite high maintenance beauty routine that I periodically decide I can do without. One of these things we’re going to talk about today.

So. Dry shampoo.

Let’s look at the Oriflame offering first. I’ve been through a few amount of both types. The five bottles in the photo below are just a fraction of the amount of Oriflame dry shampoos that’s gone through my hands and my strands.

(There are five bottles, the fifth one is hiding behind the front one in the picture.)

oriflame-dry-shampoo

Oriflame HairX Pure Balance Dry Shampoo

Formulated for greasy hair, this dry shampoo is indeed a power blast. The pressure is strong, and sometimes I feel that it cleans hair with the sheer speed of the product coming out.

As in many of other dry shampoos out there, the scent is strong, but one of the more pleasant and fresh-smelling ones I’ve encountered thus far.

The cleaning properties of Oriflame HairX Pure Balance Dry Shampoo are also very potent: While its counterpart Oriflame HairX Volume Boost Dry Shampoo (described below) can be mistaken for a texturising spray, Pure Balance is a shampoo. I’ve tried it on the greasiest of hairs, and although I’ve used up an abominable amount of product, it still worked.

When I was blonde, I had no qualms with it at all. Now that I’m a deep brunette, I need to take care to massage the product in really well, as sometimes it might leave a bit of a dusty grey residue. Nothing a bit of brushing through wouldn’t fix though.

My only gripe with this product? Perhaps due to the pressure in the bottle, Oriflame HairX Pure Balance Dry Shampoo will not give you many uses. I think the quickest I’ve run out was after five (albeit rather generous) uses. And although lovely, Oriflame HairX Pure Balance Dry Shampoo is not the cheapest offer on the market, so at times I would think twice before ‘washing’ my head with it.

Oriflame HairX Volume Boost Dry Shampoo

The gentler ‘brother’ to the Pure Balance Dry Shampoo above, this product comes out in a misty kind of spray – at least when you compare it to the blast that comes out from the Pure Balance. It is formulated for fine hair.

Oriflame HairX Volume Boost Dry Shampoo has a rather overbearing sweet scent. While not particularly offensive, it will be stuck with you for a long time, so take heed. I’ve got compliments on my ‘perfume’ whenever I used either HairX Volume Boost or the HairX Pure Blast dry shampoos.

Oriflame HairX Volume Boost Dry Shampoo does ‘cleanse’ your hair, but it works better as a texturising spray. As always, if you’re dark haired, take care to brush out any excess product.

Volume Boost lasts much longer than Pure Balance, that I can certainly tell you. I believe on one bottle I counted at least thirteen uses – and then I got tired of counting.

Overall I am pleased with both Oriflame HairX Dry Shampoos, and will definitely be restocking whilst they’re on offer.

oriflame-dry-shampoo-balance

AVON Advanced Techniques Dry Shampoo

Periodically I get a product that I just can’t seem to write a full review about – this AVON Advanced Techniques Dry Shampoo is one such product.

It’s not bad, but it’s not outstanding. It does not seem to have any negative qualities to it – the price is about the same as Oriflame’s, the scent is strong, but so are the scents of other dry shampoos in this post. The usage is long, but not too long. The effect is noticeable, but not ‘woah’. And yet I know that if I catch AVON Advanced Techniques Dry Shampoo on a good offer, I will probably snag a bottle or two. Perhaps then I will take care to note its full effects on my hair and write a more detailed review.

viteks-dry-shampoo

Viteks Fresh Hair Dry Shampoo

Viteks is a Belorussian brand. And although there are two different products in the photograph above, I will only be writing about one. Why? Because the nozzle on the first bottle broke three seconds after I pressed it. As a result, the only thing I can tell you about Viteks Fresh Hair Dry Shampoo with Burdock Extract (right) is that I found its scent more pleasant than that of the Green Tea Extract (left). I can also tell you that it’s marketed for all hair types, as opposed to Green Tea, which has a mark ‘for oily hair’ on it.

And here’s the part: I would be interested in buying either of these products again. Their scents were OK and were definitely not overbearing throughout the day. You do need to take care to brush the stuff out of your hair to avoid looking powdered, but it’s not something that cannot be done quickly. The hair after Green Tea felt reasonably clean. The longevity was also fine. And it is also cheaper than the Oriflame and AVON offerings above. However: The nozzle on the Viteks Fresh Hair Dry Shampoo with Green Tea Extract also broke. It broke sooner than I was able to finish the bottle, thus ruining my dastardly plan of placing the working nozzle on my still completely full bottle of dry shampoo with burdock extract.

But I think it’s not so much the nozzle that is the problem as the ‘straw’ that goes into the bottle. I inspected them both, and they both looked kind of rusty, and seemed to get stuck whenever I’d press on the nozzle to get the product out.

So yes, I want to give these Viteks Fresh Hair Dry Shampoos a proper test run – but I’m afraid I would just lose money again. The burdock bottle was a complete and total money waste – as I said, I barely managed to disperse some unto my scalp.

In conclusion, a few words about my main gripe with all dry shampoos I’ve encountered so far: They make my scalp so itchy. I suppose the nature of the dry shampoos is rather drying, and that’s what gives me the irritation. Unfortunately it doesn’t always go away even after I wash my hair.

If you’ve had a similar problem but then found a product that works for you, do let me know! (Please don’t recommend Colab, though, as it will make me cry! I can’t get it here, and I want to try it so bad.)

axe-no-water-shampoo

And lastly, an odd little number from Axe. My father goes through these phases of buying any and all cosmetic products he could see on offer, and this Axe Reset Waterless Foam Shampoo was one such ‘victim’. This is a foam that you spread through your hair to make it fresher. If anything, it made my hair look dirtier. Maybe you’re supposed to use it on very short hair? After all, this is Axe. I tried it a few times, but then gave it up, because it yielded no positive results for me. I liked its scent, though. (Never thought I’d say that about an Axe product, soz.) Still overbearing, but strangely sweet and coconut-like. More feminine than masculine as per me.