Beauty Mode! My bathroom cabinet heroes

Beauty Mode! My bathroom cabinet heroes

If you peeked inside my bathroom cabinets, you would be forgiven for thinking that all I do all day is rub things on my face, such is the volume of face-related goop. Among the many goops, are some goops that I consider to be the Best of the Goops.

Keep in mind that I’m in my mid-30s, I was definitely too casual with the sunscreen earlier in my life, I used to have terrible eczema (on my face, what a treat for a woman in her late teens and early 20s that was) and now I have skin I would describe as “pretty good except I get these annoying break outs when I’m stressed and unfortunately I have a stressful job/life/nature”. My brother gave me a Caci Clinic voucher for Christmas that I haven’t yet deployed but trust: the stress breakouts are my number one focus area.

To the goops! I’m 99.999999999% confident these are all not tested on animals. They vary in degree of MaXiMuM ChEmIcAlS so if you are keen for clean beauty…sorry.

The Ordinary

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These are a new addition to the museum of product that I am apparently curating. Picked up on a trip to Sydney, I was keen to try these products because the reviews online verge on hysterical - such is the level of love. I grabbed three products (heads up: insanely inexpensive). The Amino Acids are for hydration (my skin gets dehydrated), the Buffet peptides are to plump out my skin because let’s pretend I still have the collagen levels that I once took for granted, and the Granactive Retinoid is to keep any breakouts in check.

My thoughts: certainly worth a crack for the price. If I could only buy one of these it would be the amino acid. You can buy it online here - I am also a big fan of The Ordinary foundations.

Body Oil

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I am HERE for body oils. I consider them vastly superior to body creams in all cases except where you have to wear clingy silk immediately. I was using a coconut blend oil from the supermarket, but when I spotted this in a pop up shop in Wellington I thought I would treat myself.

Well. What a treat this has proven to be. It’s a perfect oil consistency, but the thing I like the best is that it just feels fancy, and so I feel fancy. I feel like I could be the queen of an ancient empire when I’m rubbing this in, and that’s a feeling that I need to have in my life on a regular basis to make up for such moments as:

  • earlier today: opened a door while carrying a cup of coffee, spilled coffee down my pants. Appeared to have wet myself.

  • last week: took favourite sunglasses out of bag. One arm had clean separated from the frame. Had to wear them with one arm only, on a lean.

  • earlier this week: went to throw a bag of rubbish into the big bin at my apartment building. Dropped the sticky bag onto my foot. Had to go back inside to wash my foot.

I’m just saying: life is full of minor humiliations.

You can buy this body oil here. I think I might buy myself the milk bath soak at some point so I can go Full Cleopatra.

Aesop

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I started buying core products from Aesop (like day cream and a toner) after I had to quit Keihls because I realised they sold their products in China aka they were permitting animal testing on their products. I don’t need my face moisturised so much that I am cool with an animal being tortured.

I also, let’s be honest, went to Aesop because I wanted some of their bougie magic. The guy who served me on my first visit had skin so perfect that he appeared to be working some IRL photoshop. He also demonstrated the products on the back of my hand and it was the most soothing, comforting experience that I felt safe and loved. By a stranger. Selling me skincare.

Suffice to say, I’ve now tried a fair few products but these are my “will repurchase until end of days” three. I know you are going “Megan, what even is the point of toner” and all I can say is that splashing this on my face twice a day is doing some kind of calming witchcraft and I am not questioning it. The cream is perfect for days in the summer; in winter I add a drop of the oil to enrich it and it protects me against the cold winter wind. Since I started using these three products I have had zero eczema. ZERO. Sometimes when your eczema goes away for a while you forget how much it sucked, and you become complacent - that is not me. I am so grateful for the demise of my face burning, I am loyal for life.

You can buy it here. If you live in Wellington, go to the proper Aesop store, not David Jones. There is a high likelihood of treats at the real store, and a guaranteed haul of samples!

Pixi

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Sometimes I’m like “I just need to burn a fine layer of skin off, revealing the future me at a slightly faster pace” and that is when I turn to this little trio of fun from Pixi.

It started with Glow Tonic, which is a mildish glycolic acid aka an exfoliator aka don’t use it every day unless you want to irritate the heck out of your skin. I use it maybe once a week, and often I’ll put it on, leave it for 20 mins, then rinse my face with cold water. I find it clears up congestion really well, so I use it more frequently on the sides of my nose if I feel I could do with it.

The Peel and Polish I am seriously into. It’s a fruit acid exfoliator and if you want your skin to feel miraculously smoother, this is for you. I use it on my face, the backs of my hands, my ankles and knees and elbows, etc.

The Rose Flash Balm was a real fave but it’s been beaten out by a mask I’ll talk about below. However, it’s perfect for popping on your skin after one of the harder products. You need to be okay with rose scent though.

I buy mine at Life Pharmacy.

Face masks

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Can’t stop, definitely should stop. I love face masks so much, I love how I can just slap one on at the end of the day and see immediate changes in my skin. I feel like I’m doing self care without doing any actual work on myself. Sometimes you just need to feel like a character in a cheesy movie in the 90s, y’know?

These four are the ones I have on hand at the moment (also a couple of random sheet masks, not worth sharing). I’m gonna rank them:

  1. Coming in at a strong win is the Summer Fridays “Jet Lag” mask. And it should, because it was bleeping expensive. This stuff is beautiful on the skin, and perfect if (like me) your skin dries out in about 2.3 seconds on international flights. It also was great when I caught a bit too much sun in Sydney - soothed it down to nothing overnight. I will repurchase this again, although to be honest I think this tube is going to last and last… You can get this at Mecca.

  2. Runner up is the Antipodes Aura Mask. This is great for when my skin is playing up and I need it to hurry up and calm down. I just wait for Farmers to have a sale and stock up on this one. Also great if I have been getting into the secondhand shopping and my skin is inflamed from all the dust and so on. I’d recommend this as a great gift, too.

  3. This Organic Surge mask was an emergency purchase when I was home visiting my Mum, and if you want something to draw the shite out of your skin, this is it. Do not use immediately before big events etc because it does seem to work by drawing out problems (i.e. if your skin is congested you will break out a bit). You can get it here.

  4. Creme Little Pink Mask. Only last because I bought it recently and have only had one chance to use it. This is a peel off mask that is made with pink clay but looks like it was invented for unicorns because it’s a shimmery delight. I don’t know that this is the best mask, but there’s a teenage girl from the 90s deep within my soul who still believes that peel off masks are The Shit. I can’t find it online but I bought it at a Life Pharmacy.

SkinFood

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I saved the best for last, and by that I mean this cleanser is the best. This cleanser, which I buy from the supermarket or The Warehouse for between $10 and $15 is so good that I didn’t ever bother to try an Aesop one. It is phenomenal. I have back ups in case someone at SkinFood loses their sense of what is a good product and they decide to stop making it. The gel cleanser is also good but this cleanser is A+++ for me. It’s gentle and doesn’t strip my skin, so you will need to cleanse at least twice if you’re wearing makeup.

The restoring night cream was a recent punt and I haven’t fully formed my view on it (except for my general view that SkinFood = fabulous). What I can tell you right now is that this is insane value for money, because it’s so thick and nourishing that you only need a teensy tiny bit of it. If you get really dry skin, this is probably going to be great for you this winter.

Conclusion

That’s it team - a comprehensive round up of things I like smearing on my face. As I wrote this I realised things have gotten…say we say…comprehensive? Check back in 30 years to see if I managed to keep the effing annoying acne and eczema at bay.

Would you like a post on my Caci clinic experience? Let me know in the comments below. No promises when I will get around to booking, thought.