Skincare Review: The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

Hi, I’m back (I hope) but I don’t think I will be posting that much as I’m running quite a few projects on the side, but at least I’m here with this post!

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Have not scrubbed the polish off my cuticles but this colour is awesome is it not?!

 

This is one of the most popular products made by The Ordinary, and with good reason. Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) has long been a star ingredient in Korean skincare, which is why you can see it in nearly everything Korean. However, those Korean products tend to include it in miniscule to minor amounts (say, <2%) whereas this serum has it at a super high 10%. Zinc is also frequently used as an anti-inflammatory soothing agent, such as in baby diaper rash cream.

Niacinamide is said to reduce congestion and blemishes, as well as being a powerful brightener. With continued use, it supposedly balances sebum production for overall reduction in acne. For me, other products with some Niacinamide such as the CosRX Galactomyces Essence, have helped to calm my skin down and reduce appearance of pores as well. I was excited to try this as a more potent version of Niacinamide!

The ingredient list of this is super short:

Aqua (Water), Niacinamide, Pentylene Glycol, Zinc PCA, Tamarindus Indica Seed Gum, Xanthan Gum, Isoceteth-20, Ethoxydiglycol, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.

As you can see, this is a water based serum with lots of niacinamide, pentylene glycol which is a penetration enhancer, zinc, and some thickeners and preservatives. There’s very little else in this besides what is advertised, which is what I have come to expect from The Ordinary.

In the dropper, this is kind of cloudy, but squeezed onto the hand it is basically clear. However, I think due to the thickeners, people have reported pilling up a bit for them. This has never been an issue in the night time, but I do find that if I use it in the morning and apply sunscreen and foundation after, I sometimes find white bits on my face. But I haven’t had it happen recently at all, so maybe I was just using too many silicones at that time!

It has frequently been said that niacinamide and L-ascorbic acid (the most potent form of Vit C) shouldn’t be used together, but Kind of Stephen (kind of) debunks that. Having personally experienced some of the flushing and hotness described that occurs when you mix the two, I would personally not use Vit C products and this together, but you could if you’re less sensitive.

As this serum is fairly thick, one thing I like to do is to mix it into my COSRX Galactomyces Essence mentioned above, as that is very watery and it helps the serum be easier to spread. It can be used on it’s own too though, without issues.

I think it’s a great serum and I especially love to use it when my skin is very congested and inflamed (like around shark week.) It helps to soothe my skin and I do notice the congestion reducing. Also my pores are practically invisible most days, so it does help in that regard. My skin is definitely brighter and clearer after so many months of usage of this higher %, rather than just the amount available in the Galactomyces essence. I think this is like a workhorse serum – you won’t see incredible benefits (unlike the Advanced Retinoid) but with daily use the effects are visible over the long term.

Overall, I really like this serum and it’s also at a great price point. I may even stop buying the Galactomyces essence and use this by itself 🙂

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Sample Rundown: I don’t get many samples

  1. Innisfree Green Tea Seed serum:

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I didn’t like the Enriched Orchid Cream (review), from another Innisfree line, so I didn’t have that high hopes. Seriously, all Innisfree products are insanely fragranced. Maybe I’m just used to CosRX’s non fragranced stuff, but holy shit this fragrance is so strong. It’s not unpleasant, but I don’t want to put perfume on my face

It does seem reasonably effective – my skin seemed a lot smoother and nicer when I was using it, but I was using it when my skincare routine was barebones with only the Galactomyces essence (which tells you how long I’ve been writing this post…) I didn’t try it for very long, of course. 2 sample sachets lasted me about 3 days with day and night use, but it did seem quite nice. It’s rather slippery and siliconey but it did seem to have lasting hydration effects, which is definitely more than I can say about the Orchid cream. It’s also fairly affordable – you can buy it here [affiliate] for $43,90 for TWO 80ml bottles, or $23,90 for one, which seems like a pretty good deal to me for a ton of serum! I would consider this if my hands ever felt an itching to try new serums.

2. Innisfree Green Tea Seed cream:

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Holy shit this is so fragranced. After being used to CosRX’s very nicely unfragranced Rice Mask, this is a bit overpowering. It is also super siliconey, and pills up a bit if I’ve applied too much stuff underneath. I don’t find that it moisturizes that well either. At least it didn’t give me a film on my face like the horrible Orchid cream. Overall, a solid meh. Just in case you still want to buy it, you can find it here for $21.90 plus shipping. Personally, I would recommend the CosRX masks as moisturizer instead.

3. Dr Belmeur Daily Repair Foam Cleanser

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This was also super fragranced, which was not great, but it was quite low foaming, which was good. I feel like it cleansed my skin well without leaving residue, but also not leaving it tight. However I did get a couple of rather deep pimples in the couple of days I was using this wash – not sure if it was entirely due to this wash, or just three consecutive 12 hour work days and the wrong time of the month. I think the whole Dr Belmeur line is very cute (reminds me of like, Dutch milkmaids, but one whose a practicing doctor? Idk) but The Face Shop has a long history of meh skincare products, so…. It’s available for $11.89 from my bae Roseroseshop which I buy all my Korean shit from, not too bad a product to try out.

4. Danahan Silky Radiance BB Cream in 23

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If Sulwhasoo was the queen of traditional Korean skincare, Danahan must be one of the imperial consorts, assuming Korean royal court worked like all the Chinese ones in the dramas I watched in my childhood. My 2 sachets are in 23, which is the colour I prefer in Korean terms because I’m more scared of the bald eagle effect than having a slightly darker face. It also has SPF 30 which you know means almost nothing to me.

This is a super thick BB cream. It’s so thick that it’s difficult to spread with fingers and I had to use a brush, which left streaks that I had to blend further with my fingers… not a good start. After that, it didn’t look too bad, although it does look rather heavy. I’ve also not been using a face primer recently, and I felt like this didn’t cover up my pores as beautifully as my other foundations. It also looked a bit heavier than what I’m used to, but it does have more coverage than say, my Koh Gen Do 213.

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L-R Koh Gen Do Aqua 213, The Saem Tip Perfection concealer in 1.5, Danahan BB Cream in 23

You can see it’s much more neutral than the super olive 213, and it doesn’t have much of a grey cast. Overall, it’s a bit too neutral/pink for my face, and too dark, but passable.

I think it’s alright…? You might want to try it if you want to feel like a fancy traditional Korean. It’s not a bad product, but perhaps not what I’m used to (and I’m very finicky about shade matches.) You can get 40ml of the BB cream and a free gel cleanser for $30.69 from Roseroseshop.

Skincare Review: Update on Retinoid 2%!

So I did promise that I would do an update in mid April, and here we are!

I am happy to say that I am right and my skin has cleared up lots. I only get my regular hormonal once a month freak out, and I would say they are a bit less horrible than usual. I get much less whiteheads and clogs in general, and almost no giant inflamed pimples (except those stupid deep hormonal ones once a month.)

Although my acne did stop being full blown before I started using the retinoid, I was having a LOT of texture on my chin, which is totally visible even after foundation and concealer.

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24th Feb timestamp, right before I started using the retinoid.

Continue reading “Skincare Review: Update on Retinoid 2%!”

Skincare Review: The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2%

This is the product I was the most excited for from The Ordinary. As you know, I had rather bad hormonal acne on my chin for about 6 months. Although somehow it went away by itself and I don’t have huge cystic acne there like I used to, I still have very clogged pores there and a fair bit of texture. It bothers me for sure. So I was hoping Retinoid would wipe it clean and make my skin baby smooth again.

EDIT: Update as promised here, with before and after photos!

Sorry for the blurry pic! Also, HOW FANTASTIC IS MY NAIL COLOUR.

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Continue reading “Skincare Review: The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2%”

How much does your skincare cost you?

We all have our skincare favourites we repurchase over and over again. Have you ever thought about how much your entire routine costs say, in a month?

Thanks to my relentlessly seeking out good budget alternatives, my skincare items tend to be quite affordable. I’m using retail prices, although I do try to grab good deals where possible. I didn’t count shipping fees, because usually when I buy Korean skincare on Qoo10, I maximize my coupons so that my shipping is basically free. I also try to overestimate my usage where possible, so it’s perfectly possible for the products to last me longer than what I have stated below.

Caveat: my face is quite small and my skin quite balanced, so I tend to use very little product.

Current routine: My current routine is a little bare-bones, because I’m waiting for my fancy shit to arrive. 

Morning:

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Continue reading “How much does your skincare cost you?”

Be informed about Sunscreen! Part 1

Sunscreen/sunblock isn’t exactly the most exciting product out there. Nobody went OMG SUNSCREEN.

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When I was in school, I was in archery and I loved general sports, jogging, swimming, etc. I also happened to be in a particularly rebellious phase. Chinese people love being fair, so of course I had to be as tanned as possible. And obviously I didn’t care about sunscreen.

Now that I’m older, vainer and generally wiser, I slather on sunscreen everyday. But what is it and why do you need it?

In Singapore especially when its summer year round and the only seasons are hot or hotter, sunscreen is SUPER important. The sun’s UVA and UVB rays damage our skin cells and the DNA inside, causing aging, wrinkles, sunspots and burnt skin and in extreme cases, skin cancer. This is extremely anecdotal and unscientific (sorry, science teachers) so feel free to read up more if you want.

Basically, the best thing you can do for your skin is AVOID THE SUN LIKE A PLAGUE.

Based in my anecdotal experiences though, of course tans (to a certain degree) are sexy and make you glow (it isn’t called a sun-kissed glow for nothing.) I also notice that for example, when I swim more in the afternoon sun my facial skin tends to get better, with less spots etc. But what we must remember is that these are all good when we are young, and it will bite us in the ass when we’re 30 and beyond and getting dark spots and wrinkles and whatever else.

Obviously we can’t avoid the sun 24/7, so what we can do is reduce sun exposure and wear a lot of sunscreen.

Sunscreen is a confusing thing, I know. I am haunted by greasy white lotions from childhood memories when going to the zoo or similar. That’s why I’d rather tan. But nowadays sunscreens have become very advanced and nice!

In the picture above I have the 3W clinic intensive UV sunblock. It blocks both UVB (burnt skin) and UVA (skin cancer) rays, meaning it’s broad spectrum and something you should be using on a daily basis. A quick perusal of the ingredients show Titanium oxide and Zinc oxide, which are physical sunscreens.

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And this is Paula’s Choice skin balancing Ultra Sheer daily moisturizer with SPF 30. It’s a chemical sunscreen using avobenzone and some other chemicals I haven’t heard of but are basically sunscreen.

Titanium Oxide is blindingly white, so physical sunscreens tend to have a white cast, which isn’t too much of a deal breaker for me because by not being able to go out after having my baby I am getting even fairer. I can dedinitely see how it would be a hindrance to darker skinned people though. They generally stay on your face as a physical barrier until broken down/worn off by environmental factors,; face oil, water, sweat, etc. Chemical sunscreens generally wear off after about 2 hours and need frequent reapplication, and you’re supposed to let them sit on your skin for half an hour before make up (ain’t no time fo that shit.) So both of them have their benefits and downfalls.

Next part of this post will be comparing the two and which might be better for you!