Johnnys Skincare Routine aka How He Went From Acneic Skin to Near Perfection

5:13 PM Moi Sanom 0 Comments

Johnnys Skincare Routine

I think Johnny Clydes skin type and concerns are quite common and it might be interesting for some of you to read about his journey and how he managed to go from blemished skin to almost perfection just by changing his skincare habits.

When I met Johnny I immediately noticed that he had the potential for great skin, but spots and milia made him look like he was just getting out of puberty. That was clearly not the case since at 22 you would expect that any teen acne would be on the way of clearing up.
Upon questioning his skin habits he confessed that he had used plenty of acne products in the past, including standard American drugstore products and Proactive.
All of these supposedly acne fighting cosmetics actually made his skin worse, so he gave up on them after a while. At the time he was washing his face with Dove body and face shower gel that a dermatologist assistant actually gave him (Sacrilege!). Well, I inspected the gel and was shocked why he would want to put that on his skin or why someone working at a dermatologist would recommend it. To the assistants defence, he never said to use it on the face and also I found out that it was free products they received from the brand. Go figure. I am not sure if this kind of propaganda is normal in other countries too.

Johnny and Moi 2012
It may be hard to see but close up both of our skin were not in good condition. Mine was blotchy, flaky and I had lots of small spots. His had spots and milia with some PIH thrown in.

The first step I decided to tackle is by giving the man some moisturiser. As someone with dry skin I can not even imagine living without one.
Unfortunately his skin did not improve at all and sometimes even became worse. Since I didn’t know what sort of product he likes I decided to procure samples instead of full sized ones.
Which means that in the first 6 months he used a variety of drugstore moisturizers that were all very questionable in their ability to hydrate without aggravating his skin.
Once I ran out of my own skincare I brought with me to the US, I had the same issues. Whatever I got form the drugstore just did not work.
My skin was dry and incredibly painful and on top of that it wasn't clear either and just looked a mess (in my standards).
I had to find another solution to get my and his skin back on track.
Now I realize that Johnny Clydes skin is somewhat sensitive. Similar to mine actually.
Back then I had no clue since the only way his skin shows its dislike for certain ingredients is by breaking out. Since he always had spots the only difference was a slight improvement or worsening of his skin.
I do have to say that simply having a routine did indeed improve his skin somewhat.
I finally convinced him to use a face appropriate cleanser after a while and exfoliate once a week in hope of managing the milia. It is funny since the only American product I actually liked (organics exfoliator) became his favorite product after the first use. To me that just shows that even if you are not into skincare, if you are using something that feels good and actually improves your skin, it might be enjoyable to use.

Pretty much every time he used a drugstore product

In comes Asian skincare.
As mentioned above my skin was a mess and I had run out of American drugstore options.
I then discovered the skincare section at a local Asian supermarket which thankfully had testers. I asked the worker there if I could make my own sample jars and test them at home.
Thank you dear employee at Uwajimaya! Thanks to your generosity my skin has changed completely! And not just mine actually.

The more I started getting into Asian skincare and the more my own skin improved I realised that there must be something special about these potions I was adding to my face.
I started slowly but surely sharing my own skincare products with Johnny, and just as slowly his skin started improving.
It took about a year to completely (well maybe 90%) swap all his drugstore products out for Asian ones but the change was very noticeable. He went from always having spots to just having spots occasionally.
His skin became softer and healthier looking and no more new milia came in.

So here is what I have found out about Johnny Clydes skin in the past four or so years.
His skin is normal. Meaning it is neither dry nor oily. Well actually, it can get flaky sometimes but never ever gets oily at all. Now that we live in a very dry climate it is sometimes dehydrated depending on the weather too. The thing is that even when he looks like a shedding snake his skin doesn't feel dry to him. Mine on the other hand starts feeling dry even before I get to the shedding stages.
So according to him he never feels his skin. It is just there. It is so weird for me to understand since I can always feel my skin. Sometimes it is dry, painful or moist but never not anything.
The only time he feels his skin is when you add oil to it. He can't stand oils whatsoever.
His skin is also sensitive. I actually have not found out if he is sensitive to a particular ingredient or just certain amounts or formulations. Besides BHA actually. He can handle it in very small amounts or every third day or so, but as soon as he gets too much his skin gets tender, pinkish and really small red bumps appear.
The sensitivity can show up in two different ways. One of them is acne and the other is burning.
He was using a German cream for sensitive skin which I thought he loved until he confessed that it slightly burned his skin. That taught me to always ask him how products feel (yeah he is weird like that and just accepts burning creams sometimes) and never to listen to what it says on the packaging.
When we moved to Germany I couldn't hardly bring any skincare so we were using about 50% German drugstore products. At the time his skin was better than ever but he still had the occasional spot, visible sebaceous filaments and PIH.

Johnny after using "sensitive" moisturizers
Currently he is actually using only Korean products (it is a coincidence to be honest) and his skin is better than ever!
I noticed that his skin hated American drugstore products and tolerated German ones, but somehow loves Asian cosmetics. Obviously some are better than others but since his skin is verging on the gorgeous and on some days nicer than mine I thought I would share his routine with you all. He has been using more or less the same stuff for a couple of months now so it is the perfect moment to do so.
If you have similar skin, or maybe you have normal skin with acne and don't know what else to try any more here are a few tips that I apply to Johnnys skin which helped immensely.

Hydration galore! Normal skin needs lots of hydration all year around. Oils are important in winter too but not as necessary during the summer.
Layering several hydrating products gives the skin a juicy and plump look without being too heavy.

Gentle products regardless of the label. Even though it is mostly experimentation with his skin, I still try to get him products targeted to sensitive skin, but that doesn't mean others aren't gentle too. Either try things out or go by the ingredients list.

Actives are your friend! Actives are the final straw that keep Johnnys skin clear. I noticed that when he started using Mandelic acid he didn't have a spot in an entire month. Since the skin can be sensitive make sure to start with the smallest percentage available and introduce products slowly. For some reason his skin is ok using Vitamin C twice a day but acids need to be used sparingly.

johnny before and after
By 2014 he was already using a lot of Asian products but had not yet started using acids besides for the milia

Try finding alternatives to drying foam cleansers. Johnny has been using PH friendly and gentle cleansers for about three months now and I feel like it has helped his skin stay healthy. Make sure the cleanser is gentle and non stripping. Gel, oil or milk cleansers can be a good option.

Listen to your skin! His skin seems easy going but is tricky. When he starts a new product his skin has to be monitored for any signs of sensitivity. If it shows any, the new products are stopped. To make sure it was actually a certain product and not just a fluke I make him re test them about 1-2 weeks later again. If the sensitivity appears those products won't be used any more. As mentioned above certain reactions could be also because of the way products were used or how often. He still uses BHAs only just once or twice a week instead. His routine is also quite flexible since it needs to be adapted depending on the dryness of the skin and the season of the year.

So finally after this odyssey of skin anecdotes, the actual routine!

Depending on what we are up to he uses either a gentle foam or powder cleanser.
They are both very gentle and non drying. They clean well including sunscreen.
I personally prefer the powder cleanser just because it is so practical and travel friendly.

Johnnys Skincare Routine acids

It depends on what I am using but generally either an AHA or Vitamin C or both.
As far as AHAs go he has been using Papa Recipe 8% AHA Gel, an acid that I love actually.
It is effective yet non drying at all. Mandelic acid is my HG but we ran out a couple of months ago and this is another favourite of mine. When I am using my beloved fairy dust containing C20 he actually gets some too. The actives have really helped not only keeping his skin clear but also reducing the PIH and sebaceous filaments. I did notice that his skin responds better to AHAs than to Vitamin C (unlike my skin which goes bonkers over Vit C!) so I usually have them as the more important part. He uses actives every day or every other day depending on his skin condition. Using them all at the same time might be too much for his skin all the time and too long of a routine. So I generally just use what is available or if his skin looks like it might want to break out soon again maybe more than usual.
The acids are also used to diminish the milia (which it has done very successfully!) and makes sure no more will appear. Acids have helped reduce them so much I often forget they even were there from the get go.

Johnnys Skincare Routine toners

Klairs Supple Preparation Toner
I really like this toner. It is very gentle yet hydrating.
This is actually the only product that we have used marketed for sensitive skin that I felt actually held up on its promises. I have previously reviewed it here.
Chosungah Villa de Garden Toner
He actually doesn't use this as a toner but mixed in with his moisturiser, the reason being that I put the cream in a pump bottle but it was too thick to use so I added the toner to make it more slippery and also hydrating at the same time.
It is gentle as well yet not as hydrating as Klairs. I haven't tested it extensively yet but it seems like a decent very lightweight toner. I think I would prefer it as a mist since I like thicker toners myself.

Johnnys Skincare Routine serum

He has been using two serums in the past few months.
The Klairs Rich Moist Soothing serum and Ladykins Vanpir serum. Klairs just adds hydration and Ladykin supposedly boosts healing and soothing abilities. I prefer Laydkins Vanpir serum. I think it is gentle and actually does heal and sooth somewhat. Not overly so but I feel like both of  our skins are calm and smooth when we use this.

Johnnys Skincare Routine emulsion

When his skin is drier or dehydrated he uses Chosungahs Wonder Milk. This stuff is the bees knees, which you can read about here, and I am happy to say that it is also gentle and works great on normal skin. Even though he can't stand oils at all he has no complaints about Wonder Milk. It can get a little oily when applied too much of but used sparingly it sinks in quickly.

Johnnys Skincare Routine moisturizer

He has been using two products recently and they both happen to be milk themed.
Skinfoods Steam cream. 
I bought this thanks to Samplehimes recommendation. This stuff is super smooth and creamy yet not very heavy or oily. It is a little too light for my super duper dry skin but for normal to dry skin it is perfect. This is also very gentle and a good basic moisturiser.
Donkey milk and argan steam cream. 
I am obsessed with anything milk related, specially weird types of milks. I like this cream better than Skinfoods since it is a little wetter. I think it just has more hydrating abilities than Skinfoods. Skinfoods cream would be more of a last step in the routine, such as a sleeping pack or an occlusive and I feel like this is more of a stand alone type cream.
Once again I do like both products but I think the Donkey milk received 0.75 points more from me.

Johnnys skincare routine sunscreen

Nuganic Customize Sun Block Fresh
I don't have that much to say about this honestly. I mean there is nothing bad about it but it is a tad too oily for my taste. The good part is that it is gentle and has no white cast. When it sinks in it is pretty weightless but it just takes a minute or two to do so.

Sleeping pack or masks:
Johnny hates sheet masks since having a wet face makes him feel like he can't breath. As mentioned before he is weird and proud of it. So sheet masks are a no no.
When I notice that his skin needs more hydration I give him Ladykins Vanpir Water pack bout two to three times a week. He has commented that he really likes how fresh and watery it feels on his skin and I have to agree. It is super duper watery but in a pleasant way. This is how I would imagine sheet masks would be if they were in a jar instead. Just as the other Vanpir products this one is gentle too yet focused on deep hydration.
Johnny doesn't really care what he puts on his face, unless its oils of course, since he doesn't seem to notice much of a difference. So when he says he likes something without me asking, it really stands out to me. I guess that makes this sleeping pack a yes yes!

Johnnys skincare routine masks

Spot treatments and extras:
COSRX BHA is used as a spot treatment for weekly pore cleansing and IF it looks like he is getting a spot then too.
Innisfrees Super Volcanic Pore Clay mask is also used weekly as part of the pore cleansing routine. Everyone can use some good ol’ Super Volcanic Pore masks since this stuff is absolutely fantastic! You can read about it and see some pretty pictures of pores here.

johnny after routine
The smoothness, the glow! Not perfect yet but well on the way.
Well, this has gotten much longer than expected!
Lesson learned, some skin is weird and fussy but will love you forever for taking care of it and reward you with glowing goodness.
It is worth it to experiment, even if you have some duds on the way and sometimes it can take a very long time but the results are worth it! Always listen to your skin since it knows best.
I hope this tale might be able to help a few of you, dear Batlings, or maybe even make you discover new and intriguing products.
That is it for the day, so long and bon voyage!

Woeful Windsday

12:22 AM Moi Sanom 0 Comments

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Innisfree Tea Tree Hydro Gel Mask review

6:38 PM Moi Sanom 0 Comments

Innisfree Tea Tree Hydro Gel Mask

I have been really pro hydrogels recently. It might already be well known that I am not a big fan of sheet masks yet keep using them due to their benefits to my dehydrated skin. Hydrogels are like magical sheet masks that eliminate most of the issues I have with the traditional wet cloth masks.
I remember the first time Mother used a hydrogel mask.
It was rather adorable.
It was a high end lace one too and it must have felt glorious since her face lit up and immediately told me to order her 20 of the same kind before she even took the thing of. If you haven't tried a Hydrogel mask yet I definitely recommend it. They are great.
Unfortunately they are also more expensive and the cheaper ones can be questionable to be honest.

This one seems to be in the latter category. I just want to come out saying how it is. This is the worst hydrogel mask I have tried so far (not that I have used so many though). That being said if I would find these for a decent price I would still buy them.
Well, because to me even a crappier hydrogel is better than a mediocre cloth mask.

Let me proceed to explain why this mask was on the lower end of my expectations to begin with.
These masks are on the cheap end of the hydrogel price spectrum (2.75$ on Innisfrees website but they can be found cheaper elsewhere for around 1-2$) and as far as I know only Etude House has a cheaper hydrogel for sale. So obviously I wanted to know how the cheapest of the cheap fare against higher end gel masks.
When I was preparing my package from my lovely sponsor Kosmeshop I immediately added this mask to the order upon spotting it in their line up. They now have added fancier looking gel masks to their line up which I will likely get next time to be able to compare them properly.

When I got the package I punctured the mask like the clumsy person I am. I managed to cut through tape, cardboard, bubble wrap and make a hole in the mask. Of course I used it immediately but had just enough time to lay the mask down on the holey side so it had just enough time to leak a bunch of essence.
Yeah, those are the adventures I have in my spare time in case you were interested.
I simply mention this incident since I can not for a fact say how much essence was in the package before the puncturing incident.
When I took out the mask there was no more extra essence left. The sheets itself were nice and saturated though, so it did not affect the whole masking experience.
Like most hydrogels the mask comes split up in two pieces which are then wrapped in sheets of plastic so that the masks wont stick to each other. Some hydrogels can be almost as hard to handle as wet rice paper but due to its thicker type this mask was easy to handle.
If you looked at it closely, it had kind of like a mesh in the middle which was noticeable on one side of the sheet. It was not very rough and you can only tell if touched gently with your finger tips.
The size was a little awkward for me, my face is tiny but my mouth is big which makes sheet masks fit a little odd on me sometimes. The nose part was a little long (which seems to be a trend recently) but it can be easily trimmed if necessary. Not something I did this time since it didn't bother me at all.
Even though the fit was not like a second skin (which is not rare with hydrogels) it was still more comfortable than most cloth masks. I think the reason for that, is that the mask was on the thicker side and not the most pliable of materials.

Innisfree Tea Tree Hydro Gel Mask  face
I would certainly not call this second skin like
When applied to the skin it was refreshing and moist but not in the wet kind of way. Something I appreciate as a borderline hydrophobic (in the ancient Greek kind of way, not rabies of course).
The scent was super subtle and skincarey. I enjoyed the experience of having this mask on my face which is quite important to me since I dont want to be suffering while masking of course.
My skin was mediocrely hydrated and more even than before. A result that virtually almost any sheet mask will give you (hence I almost never review them since I find them all so meh) but with the exception of having a more pleasant wear time.

Innisfree Tea Tree Hydro Gel Mask  b&a
The super impressive B&A. About as amazing of a change after using lots of moisturizer and essence.

Thus we have come to the reason why I would still buy this mask. I can get the same result as with any cheap cloth mask yet have a more enjoyable experience while doing so. Sans wetness dripping down my neck and the constant feeling of possibly drowning in essence in the process.

I think this might be a good mask for cheapos like me, hydrogel beginners who are daunted by having to spend 5$ on a new and mysterious mask type or anyone who would like to try out something new.

Ingredients: Here

Solid all the way through but certainly not the most elegant hydrogel mask in existence.
Rating: 1.Blegh  2. Pff  3. Meh  4. Oohh  5. Awwyeah 6. Wooha

Available at Kosmeshop.

Disclaimer: This product was sent to me for review purposes. That fact does not alter my review or opinion in any matter. For more information read my Disclaimer page

ASD and how that affects my skincare habits and reviews aka ASD Friendly Cosmetics

5:56 PM Moi Sanom 0 Comments

ASD and how that affects my skincare habits and reviews aka ASD Friendly Cosmetics

I am on the Autism Spectrum (the AS part of the ASD. D standing for disorder). If you want to be specific, I have Aspergers but I often also say I am Autistic. Either of the three are correct in my case, and I switch between them on a regular basis depending on the flow of the sentence/whom I talk to.
This is not going to be a post about ASD in general or my experiences with it. I will do that somewhen in the future. My writing relationship is: when it comes, it comes and so far it has not.

I have battled for a very long time to finally get my diagnosis and I also have such wonderful things such as Depression and Anxiety, more you can read about here. Unlike Depression though Autism is not something I have an issue with. It is also not something I want to eliminate but rather find out more about, and to what extent it is a part of me. In the time that I have know that I am Autistic I have found out so many interesting things and how that affects me in my daily life. Interestingly enough it has quite a bit to do with my skincare habits and the way I review products. Everyone has their cosmetic preferences of course, yet having SPD, (Sensory Processing Disorder that often comes with ASD) or sensory issues as I like to call them, can bring quite a new perspective into how I choose my cosmetics.

As you might have read here, Johnny Clyde is also on the spectrum and has his own set of sensory quirks that have been a fountain of entertainment for me. Not because I enjoy when he suffers but sometimes he is just so cute when his sensory issues get in the way of trying out new things as seen in the video below. I mean, how can one resist a husband who occasionally acts like a kitten? And in case you wonder I don't spray him with stuff all the time for my own amusement.
So his opinions will be included here since every one is different and two points of views are always more valuable than one!

Lets get to it then. I will start with something that I have comparatively little issues with yet Johnny Clyde cant really stand.
As seen above the topic is sprays.
And Mists of course, lets not forget those!
I find sprays to be quite practical and because of that I generally accept that mild discomfort they give me. The issues I have with sprays are actually similar to Johnnys only that it doesn't bother me as much as him. They are often wet (a big nope from my part. See why below), can touch/tickle skin in funky ways and clog the air around you so that you can not breath and have to flee with arms wobbling to fresh air safety. And yes, that is indeed what I do when I use sprays. I cant say that I don't enjoy that part.
Johnny said that he hates the feeling of water droplets hitting his skin ( absolutely! yuck!) which is what he feels when he gets sprayed.
Yep that is exactly how it feels! Darn water drops...
Mists don't really do that but they have the other attributes which makes them a no go for him.
I really tolerate mists much better than sprays. I had a hard time finishing Innisfrees Canola Honey “Mist” since it has the biggest wettest droplets ever and its spray mechanism is atrocious. To be honest I bet there is still some left in the bottle since I just toss it in the corner every time I use it, out of spite.
By the way the Mist I am using in the video is my beloved Holika Holika UV Wonder Shield reviewed here. If you have issues with sprays but prefer fine mists then try to get products in spray cans. The chance of getting an almost non noticeable mist is much better with that kind of packaging than regular spray bottles. One of my favorite is Holika Holika (they seem to have nice mists!) Good Cera Mist.

Water is a big no no for me. I just don't like it. I mean I love swimming and bathing but showers are no good. Neither is rain. I mean I love rain but I can't stand getting hit by those pesky droplets. It's not wet it's moist and moist is just gross. Not the word but the feeling. I have read in ASD related forums that other people have issues with water or moisture too, so I am not alone. *phew*
If I already have a 30 minute fight with myself to finally go shower (of course I have no bathtub) because I dread the water hitting my skin, you can imagine I try to avoid similar sensations with my skincare. It also adds to my water phobia that my skin is so dry it shrivels up and starts itching just at the thought of getting wet.
That is pretty much me in a shower.
So there is a few products that I am not fond of.
Sheet masks is a big one. 
They are often super wet and that is not a comfortable feeling for me at all. This is also the reason I much prefer Hydrogels since they are moist but more like a watery gel and not soaking wet.
I still use sheet masks since I own some but it is certainly not a spa moment for me. The ones I have I got as a gift and use them since they do really help my dehydrated skin get some needed moisture.
As you might have read before (here for example) I avoid using water on my face.
This is not due to a sensory issue but because of the drying quality of water. Since my skin type is very dry I have no issue having a “waterless” routine, and not getting wet at night during cleaning is just a sensory pro for me. If I do one day find a cleanser that requires water and leaves my skin as moist as non water cleansers I am likely to switch to that.
My favorite sheet mask so far is Innisfrees Royal Jelly mask which has a creamy essence which is less wet than most masks and also lovely on dry skin.

Johnny has a different reason why he does not use sheet masks.
He used them once and had such a hard time with it on his face I haven't even offered another to him since.
Johnny has this thing where he can't breath when his face is soaking wet. I honestly don't know how he loves using foaming cleansers since they require a lot of water (aka not breathing while washing). I might film him while washing his face one day since I find it incredibly fascinating. He does this little dance with the water where it looks like he is drowning in the sink coming up gasping for air rhythmically.
I guess if that is all you know when you come in contact with water, yet you love water, you just accept it as a part of life.
Obviously I knew this part of him, yet I did not expect the reaction when I gave him his first (and last) sheet mask. Since the mask was so wet he had trouble breathing, wheezing for ten minutes trying to get used to the feeling of the mask. I eventually took it off him since he looked so miserable (and adorable but I promise I am not a sadist!). His skin doesn't require sheet masks so I  thought that ordeal is really not necessary. In the end though, no one really NEEDS sheet masks, right?

Not really the most pleasant thing in the world

Another big issue is scent.
Johnny has no issues with scent but in this case I am scentsitive for both of us.
I have a very developed sense of smell. I can smell the faintest scents and often identify them if I know what they are in the first place. Since I can smell such faint things (to the point where others can’t) many things linger much much longer for me than most. Also many scents are not pleasant to me since I seem to have an issue with many artificial smells as well. I can handle strong natural scents much better than non natural ones for some reason ( I have the same issue with taste actually) so many skincare products give me some sensory issues since companies love masking “unpleasant” scents with fake “good” scents. In this case I rather prefer a “bad” natural one such as many acids have.
No issues there.
Many scents also give me a headache which is a big reason why I use no perfume or incense. There is some exceptions but to get to those I have to smell a lot of things that will give me a headache for hours and it is just not worth it. That being said I love scents that I consider pleasant (such as this heavenly smelling sheet mask which makes it worth being wet for) but they are rare. So if you read my reviews I usually rank scents on how strong they are and have even stopped using some because they were too strong or gave me headaches. Two examples from the top of my head are the Face Shop Mango Seed Heart Volume Butter and Nuxes Dry oil.

I always avoid perfume counters like my life depends on it!
The biggest issue out of all of these is the film dilemma. Not movies but a film on your skin kind of film. I had huge issues when I was younger with this and sort of got used to it but I still have my beef with products that don't sink in 100%. Johnny hates this layer on his skin, as he calls it, as well.
Fortunately he has normal skin so he doesn't need as “potent” cosmetics as I do but unfortunately products sink in a lot less than they do on my parched skin.
I basically stopped using western hand creams because none I try seem to actually sink in completely. Everyone I use make me feel like my hands are gross and dirty and I have to wash it off. If you have similar issues with hand cream you can give Etude House creams a try. I have used a few so far (like this one) and they are all watery and pleasant to use.
It is hard to explain how sensitive someone can be, but a good example is that I used to not be able to wear nail polish a few years back because I couldn't tolerate the feeling of the polish on my nails. I had instances where I created nail art on myself as a teenager (because fun!) and once it dried took it all off again. As I said it is hard to explain.

Now many products (especially the ones targeted at dry skin) leave a film on the skin on purpose and some because they are in my opinion cosmetically inelegant.
I think a big reason why I prefer Asian creams so much more to Western ones is that even the thicker kind often have a more watery feel than the Nivea type texture you find in most Western creams for dry skin. They are more efficient in dealing with my skin type and feel much much better when applied. I was actually using Queen Helens Cocoa Butter (in the bottle) for about 10 years exclusively for my entire body since it was the only product I could tolerate, since it actually absorbed completely. The issue with that is that for my super dry skin it only works when I am in a Tropical climate and when in Europe I still suffered of itchy dry skin. But the feeling when adding the really heavy stuff that is considered appropriate for my skin type is not worth the outcome.
Especially since the outcome wasn't even good. I still ended up having dry skin either way.

Just seeing this makes me cringe so much
The other type of products that leave a film on skin besides creams are oils.
I love oils and I hate oils. Since I was little, oil was smeared on me due to my dry and sensitive skin. But most oils just feel completely awful on my skin since they just sit there having a tickle party. Luckily I have found a few oils that are quite wonderful in terms of “dryness” and fast absorption time. My favorites at the moment are Graymelins 100% Natural Facial Oil and The Saems Harakeke Seed Oil.

Another product type I used to avoid like the pest was sunscreens. I guess I am lucky that I grew up during times where people actually thought that Black or Brown people don't need sunscreen. I don't remember instances of having to use sunscreen as a kid but I do remember seeing my white mother applying it to herself while in the sun unlike my black dad who never looked at a sunscreen before.
I say luckily since I wasn't tortured with said products but knowing what I know now about UV rays and photoaging I guess it wasn’t really that great after all. The good news is that there is Asian sunscreens and they are really really different to most western ones. There are some that are so non sunscreeny when it comes to texture that if tested blind one would think you were being smeared with bits of cloud (talking about you my beloved Biore Watery Mousse). One of my Korean favorites is Etude House Sunprise Super Aqua Sunscreen since it is non greasy and very fast absorbing.
Wouldn't it be great if sunscreen application was always this fun!

The reason for this post is that maybe other people on the Spectrum might find it useful to read about certain cosmetics that may or may not trigger sensory issues with them.
The other reason is that it might give non Spectrum and non Sensory Sensitive people a little bit of a perspective on what my descriptions actually mean. For example I found the scent of Papa Recipes AHA to be quite strong, yet Sam from Colorcrrush describes it as scentless. In that regards half the things I give Johnny to smell, so he can help me describe them for the reviews, are completely scentless to him. I don't think I have ever come across a truly scentless product, not even Cleansing Waters to be honest. 
So basically don't be surprised to try out items I review and really disagree with my scent descriptions. It can also widely vary with the textures too. I sometimes read reviews of products I have already used to see how people deal with the textures and films they leave and they are either not mentioned at all or described as pleasant/fast absorbing. After all everyone is different and some are more sensitive to certain things. And when it comes to textures and scents I happen to be very critical.

I do hope that this was even remotely interesting for you and I would love to hear what quirks and preferences you have with your cosmetics.
If you are on the Spectrum please let me know how you deal with your sensory issues!
And if there are any ASD related questions feel free to ask away.

Woeful Windsday

4:38 PM Moi Sanom 0 Comments

Nots Aqua Barrier Level Up Cream review

10:17 PM Moi Sanom 0 Comments

Nots Aqua Barrier Level Up Cream box

When I was offered to test some of Nots products I was both excited and worried. Excited to try out a new brand with promising ingredients and worried I might actually like any of their products.
Why? Well, money of course. As a permanently broke person finding an HG product in a higher end brand is always something to be wary about.
After having worked and used a lot of high to high-high end European brands I am not dazzled by expensive skincare any more. After all, if I am not impressed by smearing a 400$ serum on my face (but a little guilty to be honest) because it did nothing for my skin, yet being totally obsessed with a 15$ one for its efficacy, I believe money means little to me in terms of quality influences and outcomes.
So I approached this testing period with a good dose of scepticism.
The reason why I chose this particular product was that I am always on the look out for the perfect  moisturiser to soothe and hydrate my super duper dry and dehydrated skin. Something that really isn't easy to accomplish (if not impossible!). The words aqua and barrier attracted me in particular since I have good experiences with hydrating Korean mositurizers and having a healthy skin barrier is always a struggle for me.
A look at the ingredients settled it. I quickly spotted Beta Glucan, Niacinamide, Galactomyces, Saccharomyces, Argan, Allantoin, Squalane, Emu oil, Panthenol, Cermides and Honey in the ingredients list. I wont go into detail what these do and what other magical ingredients there is in this cream since there is others who are much better at doing precisely that. Let me just tell you that as a person with dry skin I tend to have some buddy ingredients. Some of them I like seeing in my skincare, since I have had good experiences with them or because science tells me that as a dry skinned person I should become friends with them. So the ones mentioned above are in my personal buddy group.

Nots Aqua Barrier Level Up Cream packaging
The packaging has writing on the inside and I appreciated the wrapped applicator

So how did this moisturiser perform in the end?
Good I must say!
I emptied the entire jar in one go (which I rarely do) and when I went to get more (since I depot into a pump) I sadly realised it was empty. I tend to take forever to go through full sized products and reaching the bottom of it usually feels like a chore not something you discover by sad accident.

Nots Aqua Barrier Level Up Cream

The cream is more or less scentless the kind of product without added fragrance (woo!).
The texture is super pleasant. It is a cream but it is lightweight almost gel like and watery. When it is applied it feels fresh and quite moist. It is quite soothing and lovely even when my skin is being weird and sensitive. There is a definite cream aspect to it which makes it perfect for skin like mine since just having a watery gel usually doesn't do much for me. It sinks in immediately and leaves no trace of it existence besides skin that feels more hydrated.
It is weird that I have little more to say about it since I really liked it quite a lot. But I guess that is just how things are when you find a functional product that does what it promises.
This has become one of the few moisturisers that I would actually recommend to people. It is gentle and works while being comfortable to use.

Nots Aqua Barrier Level Up Cream swatch
Partly blended on the right

I do believe that most skin types would enjoy this product as well. If you have super dry skin like I do I would add some facial oil once a day otherwise you should be all set.
Johnny really liked this cream with his normal and often dehydrated skin. His face looked quite lovely while using it which is always wonderful since he gets spots as soon as his face dislikes a product.
Mother (combo skin) randomly called me to ask what moisturiser I had sent her since there was this one she really liked. Mother is notorious for being unhappy with her cream (she wasn't a fan of my beloved Vanpir either *gasp*) so this was quite interesting to see.

I would recommend this to anyone who wants a functional and gentle moisturiser that is both pleasant yet effective.

Ingredients: See photo above

 Now one of 5 moisturisers (out of possibly a gazillion) that I would repurchase/enjoyed.
Rating: 1.Blegh  2. Pff  3. Meh  4. Oohh  5. Awwyeah 6. Wooha

Available at Q-Depot

Disclaimer: This product was sent to me for review purposes and contains affiliated links. That fact does not alter my review or opinion in any matter. For more information read my Disclaimer page. 

Which movie am I gonna watch tonight? Crimson Peak review

2:54 PM Moi Sanom 0 Comments

Crimson Peak
directed by Guillermo del Toro
staring Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, Charlie Hunnam

This is one of those films I have been looking forward to see for a very long time. Being so excited about a film due to its incredible actors and a great director can often influence ones view quite a bit, so I would just like to mention that this review might be a little more biased than usual.
That being said I was definitely disappointed when I watched this since my expectations were very high so please keep that in mind.

Lets start with the good part though. The production design is incredible. Truly breath taking. For someone who is interested in the Victorian era and production design in general, I kept squirming in my seat with every new scene since it was so incredibly beautiful. The detail in this film is astounding and I think the production is perfection. The costumes were just as incredible and creative to the tiniest of details on the walls or even the glimpses of food shown.

I had no idea what this film was about, since I dont watch trailers or read synopses, but by seeing the actors and their names in the film (also I knew it was about a writer) I assumed Tom Hiddleston was the main character/writer and Jessica Chastain his wife, while Mia was a random girl probably there to stir up the pot.
I am super happy to say that this was not the case. I was simply influenced by Hollywoods usual formula and never expected the ladies to be the center of the story while Hiddleston was the “mere” love interest.
Johnny had told me after watching the film that the internet had been buzzing with news that Crimson Peak had some "reverse sexism" nude scenes in it. Since I did not know this, I was positively surprised about the rather feminist storyline it had. I like that it wasn't the 'in your face way' some films like to add now (often without actually being feminist) by simply having a female character yell “I don't need a man to rescue me”. Hollywood should try showing that sort of thing and having better female characters than just putting a feminist sticker on it by having those rather silly statements.
So yes, Crimson Peak did exactly that.
Its story is very Victorian but without those antiquated misogynistic undertones, while still staying in the realm of a realistic Victorian romance.
There is lots of wonderful feminist instances that I don't want to mention since it would reveal too much of the story but if anyone would like to have a chat about that, I would always be happy to.

Usually I dont write this sort of thing into my reviews. (believe me I rate movies on their racism and sexism quite harshly since I am very sick of seeing films I like but having to simply live with them being sexist, racist or often both) But this time I find it relevant. The heart of the film (even though I feel like it didn't 100% commit to one genre) is a Period romance film with dark undertones. After all, Guillermo del Toro said he wanted to make a Gothic Romance. And that is indeed what this film is.
I like Period Romance movies quite a lot, but besides them being more or less the same, they do usually perpetuate a certain amount of stereotypes about women which is honestly tiresome. Even if the female is the main character, watching these movies often messes with your perception of reality and as a woman, they can influence your way of thinking and being, more than one would like to admit ( I am looking at you Sleeping Beauty!). The great part about it is that I still got all those romantic elements that I want to see in this type of film, without feeling like I (the main protagonist) am a meek victim of faith that has to cater to the every whim of the males around me.
So in the end I still swooned and sighed while watching some of my fantasies come true on screen.

The only issue was this. The story and pacing had quite a few flaws. The whole film was incredibly predictable yet it was presented as being some kind of big revelation. I am ok with it being predictable, after all it follows classic Gothic story lines, yet I do believe one could have made it more interesting by changing just little things. In terms of pacing, the beginning was just too long and winded. I never say there is too much character development or unnecessary scenes in a film but in this case I feel it is true. There is so many hints at interesting things to come which never appear in the film later on, which just leaves the viewer confused and wanting closure. Those scenes also give the film a slower start which makes you wonder what this movie is really about.
I do believe that by the 30 minute mark the story line should be clear to the viewer but I feel this was not the case here. More like watching two separate films with the same actors each being one hour long. In the end it almost felt like this is a six hour mini series, with lots of back stories and interesting info that they had to (not super successfully) cut down to a two hour film.

I honestly did not want to go into too much detail since the whole point of these posts is to convey if you want to see a film with as little information as possible.
I guess what I want to say is this. The film is absolutely gorgeous, if you like romance you will get it, if you like seeing better female characters you will get that too. Crimson Peak also has the Guillermo del Toro touch with its unique ghosts, random bouts of violence and incredible visuals.
But don't expect an amazing film sine this is not it. It has its many flaws but in the end I still quite enjoyed myself. I am excited to watch it again with lower expectations to see how it holds up!
Otherwise if you like slightly campy classic Gothic films or Period Romances this is definitely for you.

Woeful Windsday

2:59 PM Moi Sanom 0 Comments

Still from the Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

The Saem Natural Cucumber Sheet Mask review

7:14 PM Moi Sanom 0 Comments

Have you ever had that moment where you were convinced that you did something specific but then realise you never did such thing after it is far too late? Like thinking you took pictures of your brand new sheet masks then putting them all on your face and by the time you notice that it was all in your head, all the packaging is ripped open and tossed away?
That is exactly what happened here.
Usually it is no big deal for me since I rarely review sheet masks, unless they are either different in some kind of a way or really nice.
Well, this one belongs in the latter category.
I actually quite enjoyed this mask and thus wanted to tell you about it.
I have no product pictures or photos of it on my face since I used it during the night and no light means no photo.
I guess this will just have to do for in between words entertainment

Why did I like this mask even though I kind of believe that sheet masks are all the same?
Why do I even continue using sheet masks even though I find them wet and unpleasant?
These questions and more will be answered straight after the intermission.

Lets start with the first.
I use sheet masks, even though I am not a fan of cold wetness, because they work and I prefer something I can leave on my face to washing something off. They can be cheap and quite convenient, so I will likely not stop any time soon. But I will likely move on to using mostly hydrogels since they are more pleasant to use and not so wet. Downside is they are more expensive and as a permanently broke person they will likely just be in between luxuries for me.

Secondly, the reason this sheet mask positively stood out to me is likely that The Saem remembered that people have senses and senses add a lot, in terms of how human beings experience things.
In this case the stand out feature is the scent.
Wow this stuff smells amazing!
You know how some cucumber scents are quite bland and borderline unpleasant but then some are so nice that you want to paint your wall with the scent just so you can inhale its scent goodness 24/7. This is one of those plaster your wall and drown yourself in it scents.
I mean good!
The good thing is that it is quite subtle, so scentsitive people likely won't have issues with it (like me, I have huge beefs with scents regularly) yet it is there the entire time you wear the sheet mask without poking you in the nose non stop to make sure you haven't forgotten it is still there.

The other good thing is also that this sheet mask is smothered in essence.
So much that one can use the left over for another 3-4 uses by patting it into your face with your hands.
Even though I loved the smell of this mask so much the night I used it by the time I applied the leftover essence to my face in the morning, a whole new rush of happy scents with good memories came back to me. It is like the positive memory of it is not as good as the actual smell.
That is an impressive feat to be honest!

A kind of free illustration of what happened that next morning

The other sensory pleasure of this mask is its sheet.
It might not be the best sheet ever used but it is soft and velvety. It feels really pleasant on my face and I don't even mind that it doesn't have the perfect fit for it. The fit is quite decent though. It is a little big for my tiny face and the mouth hole was a little small for my big mouth but it was not disturbing the usage at all.
So besides the amazing scent and the lovely texture of the actual sheet, the mask also feels cooling and soothing while being worn.
The results are quite nice. Not miraculous but absolutely noticeable.
My skin was hydrated (not something every mask achieves) and it even calmed down some of my redness I had due to having a cold, some spots and blowing my nose profusely.
My skin was more even afterwards and I had a lovely hydrated skin glow.
So as you can see the sheet mask is absolutely solid. Even if the smell wouldn't have been so enchanting I would have still liked the mask.
I even would like to try other types of this mask just to see if there is another gem in the line up.
So far The Saem has not let me down and all the products I have used by them I either like or loved. Definitely a brand I will continue to explore.


Rating: 1.Blegh  2. Pff  3. Meh  4. Oohh  5. Awwyeah 6. Wooha

Available at Kosmeshop

Do you use masks? What is your favorite sheet masks?

Disclaimer: This product was sent to me for review purposes. That fact does not alter my review or opinion in any matter. For more information read my Disclaimer page. 

Graymelin Natural 100%Facial Oil

7:56 PM Moi Sanom 0 Comments

If you roam around on reddit or have talked to me in private, you might have heard me say that facial oils are THE thing one needs with dry skin. I also feel like anyone else can benefit from facial oils since they are wonderful creatures put on earth to make our skin feel lovely and comfortable.
Since I have very dry skin, oils are essential to me since I seem to produce close to zero natural sebum myself. Since most creams are created for people with at least a little bit of their own natural oils, using them expecting to fix my zero sebum skin is like wishful thinking.
So in comes facial oils that I can then use depending on the state of my skin.
The only issue is that I hate how oils feel on my face. Since I was little I had to use several oils and I hated every one of them. Olive, almond and coconut oil were the most common ones I had to use and if you ever put any of these on your face you might know they are not the most elegant and fast absorbing ingredients to ever be on your skin.
Thankfully facial oils are now very common and come mixed to target different skin types. Since there is such a large variety you can really get some that are thick and sit on your face forever and ever and some that sink in so fast you barely have time to register that it is an oil.

When I saw Graymelin for the first time I was so enchanted with the packaging. I am a sucker for vintage and as you can tell by the name that is exactly what they are going for.  While I was trying to find an adequate Graymelin product to get, I saw that they have a facial oil.
Bingo for me!
I am always on the look out for a new facial oil and this one just looked very promising. After a quick look at the ingredients, which indeed consist of 100% oils, I was sold.

First thing I noticed was the beautiful packaging.
Luckily it is also convenient packaging since I can not really do much with beautiful products that are a pain to use every day.

The oil is clear and smells like nothing. If you have a good sense of smell and really put your nose into it, you get a slight whiff of generic oil scent. It is indeed thin in consistency and relatively liquid.
The thin consistency lets it penetrate very fast. It kind of absorbs while spreading it onto your face. The good thing about this oil is that you can't feel it at all yet it is clearly there. If I touch my face I can feel it but not as an oil film just the way my skin feels when I add oil and it has already absorbed. It also doesn't give me a shiny face but a healthy glow. Even though it sinks in so fast with its thin consistency, it does all I want from a facial oil. It might not act like most oils but my skin can certainly tell that it does some good stuff to it. I can put it on my face by itself since it is so non oily or mix it into my moisturiser.  I have been using this stuff everyday for a month and a half and I have used less than a quarter bottle.

On the right the oil is freshly applied with absorption time before the photo was taken

I really like this stuff and really have no complaints.
It is now in my top two best oils I have used, and likely not to be kicked of the spot any time soon. The success with this product has made me super curious about other Graymelin products as well and I hope I get the chance to try some out since they look super promising.

Fast absorbing yet nourishing facial oils suitable for any skin type
Rating: 1.Blegh  2. Pff  3. Meh  4. Oohh  5. Awwyeah 6. Wooha

Ingredients: Here

Available at W2Beauty

Do you use facial oils? Which one is your favourite?

Get 5$ off your first order if you use this code 05734002 when you sign up.

Disclaimer: This product was sent to me for review purposes and contains affiliate links. That fact does not alter my review or opinion in any matter. For more information read my Disclaimer page.