Monday, July 29, 2013

ZO Medical Aknetrol Acne Treatment

I have been battling breakouts of varied severity for years now. I have oily skin, sometimes it gets combination patches, sometimes it gets super sensitive and dry, depending on the season. We are currently in The Season of Oil. Which means more chances for those pores to get clogged and attacked by bacteria resulting in blemishes. Sometimes, if a blemish is extra angry-looking, my friends and I refer to it as a "Steve". 

Note: apology to all guys named Steve. It's nothing personal, I promise.

I am quite diligent with my skincare but I do still get the odd hormonal breakout once a month or so. Last month I broke out worse than usual so it was time to put one of the newest additions to my arsenal to use - the ZO Medical Aknetrol. I had high hopes since the ZO Skin Health line is started by Dr. Zein Obagi (yes... that Obagi) and I am a big fan of pharmaceutical/medical grade skincare lines, especially if you have problem skin. Rose petals and herbs can only do so much!

What is it?

A 10% Benzoyl Peroxide spot treatment. Benzoyl Peroxide is effective at clearing blemishes because it kills the bacteria that causes acne... 10% is a pretty high concentration since most of the stuff you find on the market is around 5%. It is a very light white lotion that is clear once you apply it on the affected area and rub it in. It is meant to be used twice a day, morning and night. It does not disrupt makeup or leave a white cast if you apply it correctly. Other ingredients:

How did it work?

Since benzoyl peroxide products didn't always work for me, I was hesitant so I did not want to use it twice a day. I used it at night on my problem areas, for three nights in a row, and the results were fantastic:

Top left is before - you can see a ripe one and some underneath-the-skin lurkers... top right is after night 1, bottom left is after night 2, bottom right is after night 3 of the spot treatment.

It healed the blemishes without drying out my skin at all, and left the skin smooth. I am a happy camper and I definitely recommend it to anyone suffering from mild to moderate acne to help keep those suckers down!! 

You can find ZO Skin Health products at dermatologist offices/med spas in several countries around the world, as well as online on their official website (if you live in the United States).

*PR Sample, but the results speak for themselves :) y'all know I always speak the truth!

Quarter Age Crisis // Currently Reading

A bit of a random change of pace - sometimes on my Instagram (follow me at @5andra_ for more nonsense) or Twitter I mention books that I'm reading or interested in, and some of you enjoy knowing what's currently on the menu. I myself always love getting book recommendations from friends (IRL or online alike) so on to Amazon I went!  Here's what has currently been residing on my bedside table:

I started reading this a few weeks ago on and off and it's really interesting. It's got more of a scientific journal feel to it which is why it's not exactly a speed read but it contains lots of interesting observations and research on the role of introverts in a society that seems to strive for extroversion. 
I recently bought this on a whim after seeing this TED talk. Being in my mid-20's and confused about my career path, relationships, family ties, etc. it just seemed the opportune moment to pick this up. I'll be sure to let you know if I feel enlightened after reading it :)

After these I think it's time for me to dive back into some easy fiction. I need to read Catching Fire before the movie comes out (I only read the first book of the Hunger Games trilogy and I enjoyed the film so I am looking forward to instalment two!).

What books have you been enjoying lately?

Friday, July 19, 2013

Clinique High Impact Extreme Volume Mascara

I bought this mascara on a total whim about a month ago and I am so happy that I did - it's great!
It's one of the new offerings from Clinique, in their High Impact range that has amassed quite the following over the years. 

My top 3 requirements for mascara are:
1) Volume
2) No smudging/transferring yet easy to remove at the end of the day
3) Holds curl

That is a pretty tough set of requirements and I am happy to report that Clinique High Impact Extreme Volume does the trick! 

left eye - with 1 coat, curled lashes.
It offers a more intense result than its regular High Impact counterpart, but still delivers a clump-free natural fluttery result. I am rather lazy with mascara and I don't apply more than one coat.  The brush is rather thick and it has plastic bristles, which I normally dislike in a mascara, but somehow this delivers and the formula has only gotten better after a month.

The verdict? This mascara gives me volumized thick lashes and nice definition in one coat and does not transfer on me at all throughout the day... which says a lot considering I have super oily eye lids, this isn't a waterproof formula and it's been hot as hell over the last couple of weeks. I love it and I would definitely repurchase. At $19.50 it doesn't break the bank, lasts longer than most drugstore mascaras I like, and is widely available at Clinique counters. I got mine from Shoppers Drug Mart Beauty Boutique - but you can get it at Nordstrom, Sephora, The Bay, etc. 

Usually my impulse mascara purchases don't go so well but I am glad this one did!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Bare Necessities

It's summer. It's hot out. I've been wearing minimal product during the day (to work, to run errands, etc.) while at the same time still trying to look composed. Here's a quick round up of the things I am wearing non-stop lately:

with flash

1. Dior Nude Tan BB Creme in shade #1

This is nice for me to wear by itself if I have just freshly fake tanned. Other than that it's a bit too warm to match my skin tone. The coverage is light and the finish is satin. It blends in easily and is a nice summer base if your skin is OK and leaning towards the oily/combination side. I mainly bought it to mix in with some of my lighter-coloured foundations. I am enjoying it but probably wouldn't repurchase since it's not exactly my natural tan shade and the SPF isn't as high as I'd like (15). If you're into very warm/golden tones for your base, though, this might be a winner :)

natural light
2. Chanel Les Beiges Powder in shade #40

While the Dior Nude Tan BB Creme fell short in terms of colour, this powder is the perfect complexion enhancer and gives me that all over beautiful tanned glow even if I'm not tanned. The premise of this powder is just that - to add a subtle sun-kissed glow to the skin, which is why at the Chanel counter in the Paris airport (where I bought this product) I had a brief argument with the Sales Associate when I was heading for shade #20 and he insisted I was #40. Well, I am sold, Mr. Chanel. The powder in #40 is just enough to liven my complexion and it will be one of those products I will always have on hand. This is available at counters throughout most of the world but in the U.S. it won't be released until August.

3. Lancome Gloss in Love #146

Last summer was all about the Buxom Big & Healthy Lip Cream in Creamsicle, this summer it's all about the Lancome Gloss in Love in #146 Peach Show. Not sticky, goes on smoothly on the lips and gives just a hint of a nude peach colour. What's not to love?

That's my summer base sorted. What have you been wearing?



Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Laura Mercier Face Illuminator: Spellbound

I am not a crazy highlighter fiend. I have a couple that I love but never felt compelled to add to my collection until now. If you remember almost two years ago, Laura Mercier came out with a Limited Edition Illuminator as a part of the Fall 2011 collection. It was called Rose Rendezvous and it was a beauty (I did a post on it here). It was finely milled, had an almost metallic rose-gold sheen and I haven't bought a powder highlighter since.

Enter the 2013 Dark Spell collection and the latest face illuminator to catch my attention - Spellbound. I was a bit weary before ordering it online sight unseen since I don't normally do that but I know these things sell out like hot cakes so I trotted on over to and bought two (one for my BFF). It's a beauty!

To my pleasant surprise, it is slightly warmer, more subtle (yet buildable) and more finely milled than 2011's Rose Rendezvous.

Spellbound on left, Rose Rendezvous on right

Here comes the hairy-armed "amateur blogger" swatch:

Rose Rendezvous on left, Spellbound on right
The sheen is more subtle yet you can build it up to more intense metallic whereas with RR you had to be careful from the start. Spellbound is a beauty aaaaand you kinda need it.

If you love and use highlighters, you will not be disappointed. Get it before it sells out (UK girls you can pre-order it from Space NK here as they roll out starting July 12) or if you're in North America, trudge on over to Nordstrom - Laura Mercier has a gift with purchase thing going on as well - link.

15 steps, then a beauty blog. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.