7 empties

February has become my January. Last month people decided to use what they had, finish stuff and be all around virtuous. I was deep into the work fog, but having followed my own advice when it come to Christmas presents and such, I actually had money on the account when I got paid at the end of the month. Also; being busy means not spending money on expensive things. And oddly enough it continues. Without even trying I have actually drunk all the tea I had. Like even the weird green tea that has been laying in the back of the cupboard for a long time. I’ve used up all the cinnamon. I am running low on notebooks, perfume and beauty products. According to my sources the Chinese new year starts this weekend, and I will be entering the year of the dog with very little. Not exactly a clean slate but a nicw efoundation for a new beginning (I repeat; I have run out of tea and notebooks! How is this even possible?).

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So let’s go through the used up products in the beauty department, shall we? Very few surprises. And a reminder; I am not a skin care/beauty blogger but I have skin and I care about it. Take my advice for what it is.

  1. L’Oréal Pure clay glow mask. I got this as a birthday present so I have no idea how much it costs, but it is L’oréal so I’m assuming it doesn’t break the bank. I have used a clay mask or two in my day and I really liked the one, smells nice, gets the job done I think. Easy to use, easy to wash off. I mostly use it in my T-zone so it has lasted longer than the 10 applications that it said it was supposed to last for on the box. Had it not been for the fact that I am on a mission to be more sustainable I would have bought this again.
  2. Maria Åkerberg Papaya Enzyme peel. I have found that this is a bit too much for me in the end. I need a gentler exfoliation that I can use more often.  Not gonna repurchase but that’s because of my skin, not the product.
  3. Book by Commodity. This scent is nice, and smells a bit like figs to me no matter what anyone else says, but it is a bit too heavy and only worked on the coldest days of winter. I won’t repurchase and given how hard it is to get by I probably couldn’t if I wanted to (and I rarely repurchase perfumes anyways. Same kind of scent absolutely, but rarely the exact one).
  4. Maria Nila volume shampoo. This is like the third or fourth, but not the last, bottle I go through. I have in fact already started on another bottle that I bought the other day.
  5. Bioderma Micellar water. My beloved Bioderma. I love this as a first cleanse, and some mornings I use it too. I’m trying another micellar water right now (one that is organic) and if that doesn’t work out I don’t know what to do.
  6. Apoliva cleansing foam. I’ve mentioned this before and I stand by my opinion. This is way too stripping  and my skin feels taut afterwards. It says for sensitive skin on the bottle but that should be taken with a grain of salt. I’ve used it on my body.
  7. Apoteket extra care body lotion. Winter hasn’t ended yet, but I have run out of body lotion. This is lightweight enough for me in that it absorbed quickly and I’ve used it every day and have thus avoided dry spots and itchy skin pretty well this winter.

IMG_7473A little bonus: The cire Trudon candle I got for Christmas, that was last years limited edition  (on sale) has been wonderful. Good quality, no tunneling and a truly wonderful scent. Not available anymore but I guess part of the joy of Christmas candles is the limited editions and the holiday extravaganza that they bring.  If it wasn’t so damn expensive here I might buy some of their other candles to have during the rest of the year, I have had them before (they are more expensive here than in Paris amongst other things).

 

-Suss

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Monday & My sustainable beauty efforts

I do not use a lot of products, neither on my face nor on my body. I try to keep it simple. I’m very much enthralled by the idea of using only one brand, and being loyal to it but as it turns out that doesn’t work in reality. So I have a few things, of very varied origin.

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As I’m running out of the stuff I use, I’m trying to replace them with a better option seen to environmental impact. Which, again, is easier said than done. It’s a knot of certifications, considerations and concerns that needs to be untangled in order to make choices. I’m not gonna buy something just because it’s organic, it has to work. Furthermore, I do not have unlimited funds for beauty. “Trial and terror” is then the name of the game. So far these are a few of the things that I use or have used, and my honest opinion about them.

  1. Apoliva cleaning foam. Only available at Swedish pharmacies this is a cleanser from the pharmacy’s own organic brand. It says for normal to dry skin on the bottle but honestly dry skins shouldn’t go near this. Leaves my skin too dry and I will save the rest of this for summer when weather conditions aren’t as harsh. Or use it on my body perhaps to use it up before it goes off. It was worth a try but my currently very dry cheeks need triple amounts of serum.
  2. Estelle&Mathilde Biomineral healthy glow foundation in 113. The packaging is shit; it has to be said. I have repurchased this as it is a reasonable light to medium cover foundation that is certified organic and reasonably priced (a thing that is hard to find). As I am very pale they have a colour that suits me pretty perfectly, but their range so far is very limited in shades. This started as an organic skin care brand and they have branched out into make-up. I’m cautiously optimistic about their offerings. But the fact that the cap started disintegrating and leaving black plastic flakes on my hands when using it, meant a very elaborate ritual in order to apply it without getting said flakes also on my face (I guess I could get a foundation brush but I like applying it with my hands).
  3. Maria Åkerberg Papaya peeling. This is both an enzyme peel and physical exfoliant. It contains papaya enzymes and small kernels, and you are supposed to massage it on. It says to use on dry skin but that is way too harsh for me, I use it on wet skin and only once or twice a week. It does make my skin feel refreshed but I’m not gonna lie; I haven’t stopped thinking about the Tata Harper mask for a second.
  4. H&M Conscious dry shampoo. This is mint scented potato starch. It does the job I guess although I have to find something else now that I have a fringe again, this leaves too much of a white residue, especially since you essentially shake it out of the bottle which easily can yield too much.
  5. Maria Nila shampoo and conditioner. Not in the picture but a product that has been repurchased more than once. It is made in Sweden, vegan, free of parabens and they try their best to use good ingredients and work to be climate neutral.
  6. Granit organic hand soap in citrus. It is by the sink to wash hands and it does the job, is not too drying and smells nice in a way that many appreciate. Nothing fancy but then again, it is a hand soap.
  7. Mavala bio-degradable nail polish remover. You have to press the cotton pad soaked in it to the nail for a bit longer than usual but then it comes off. The problem is more that you still have to use a cotton pad. There is a certain amount of waste built into the system, which should be taken into consideration.

Worth reading on the topic;

Emma Watsons “Top shelf” on Into the gloss.

-Suss

Gift guide; On the vanity

IMG_6029This one is directed more at the females, and it is what it is. I always want to think that my gift guides are more about a type of person than a gender but in this case it is weighted towards one of them. Not that I have anything bad to say about beauty products for men; Bulldog usually has nice sets this time of year, as do Kiehl’s (and many men need a bit of moisturizer). To say nothing of the coolness in buying classic things like cufflinks/shaving sets with brush and razor for the man in your life. Below however are a few gift recommendations for the ladies.

  1. An actual vanity. I have my eye on auctions because old furniture tells a story and are good value. Now that everyone and their mother has bought themselves a cool vintage bar cart I predict that vanity tables will be the next hot thing, so get them now. Whether is a voluptuous art deco thing or a sleek 60s table that hits that minimalist soft spot, it does scream “self-care” and “me time”. What I hear so many people complain about is the lack of ritual, that little space in time to mentally prepare and focus on the inner. Well in my view, sitting at the vanity for a bit is just that, and putting on the make up in the bathroom is a bad idea because the lighting is never not shit. I keep coming back to an episode in a biography about Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in which (according to my memory) he called out to her from the other room “What are you doing” and she replied “Oh, I’m sitting at my vanity, just playing with my jewelry”. Goals AF.
  2. Scented candles. It is the little black dress of gifts, a good quality scented candle. Either expensive or hard to get i.e. something that the recipient wouldn’t buy for him or herself. I will say that “Treehouse” by Byredo is appreciated by many men. My own experience with Overrose left a little to be desired but those pink containers are covetable and I don’t judge. Ciré Trudon can do very little wrong and  you know I love Diptyque. Jo Malone is good if you can get it, my respect for L:A Bruket is increasing with every product of theirs I try.  And Le Labo is amazing, the Santal candle is everything.
  3. Sample kit from Le Labo. Speaking of which, I’m on a bit of Le Labo tip. Not 100% about all the products that I’ve tried but when they get it right it is so right. Perfumes is tricky buying for someone else, so a sample kit is a good idea. Find it here.
  4. Good brushes for the hair. Mason Pearson is still the gold standard. A tangle teezer is a good idea for everyone who has hair longer than the ears. Best given with some nice shampoo and conditioner. If you are giving MP you do not need anything else really.
  5. Good brushes for make-up. With the risk of being a bit repetitive having good brushes when applying make-up makes all the difference. It is truth universally acknowledged that those applicators that are included in many eyeshadows, blushers and powers are inadequate. With a brush from say Laura Mercier (the Laura Mercier Pony brush is all that) or Mac (some very good sets available) the putting on of any products is simplified.
  6. Sisley black rose mask. Or anything in that series. Just putting that one out there.
  7. Personalized stationary. Maybe correspondence is better handled from a proper desk but I can easily conjure up the image of a woman, taking of her make up and jeweler, writing a little “thank you” while the memory of the evening is still fresh. That sort of thing. I do like that image, let’s try to be a bit classy in 2018, pay attention to other people, be thankful, make memories. I suggest getting something from Papier because personalized is king.

Additional tips; creme d’abricot from Dior for nails and hands, Pretty Honest by Sali Huges for the know how on beauty.

-Suss

7 things for my winter skin

 

Painting by Einar Jolin; had a pic in my phone

Nothing on this list is news to anyone, least of all to me. But I post it anyway as a gentle reminder to myself about what needs to be done. The dry eczema patches have started to show up on my legs and I’m itchy all. It’s that time of the year.

  1. Don’t shower every day. Haha obviously I don’t listen to this advice. I love taking a long shower. It does happen in periods that I cut down to every other day. And if I’m not doing much or seeing anyone I might skip it during a weekend.
  2. Use shower oil.  As I insist on putting water on my skin some kind of product is needed.  It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it makes a difference it really does. Eucarin is alright.
  3. Christian Dior Créme Abricot. Crazy expensive but a pot lasts forever and saves my hands and nails; you massage it onto your nail beds. I still miss the sister product Baume de rose which did great things for my very dry lips.
  4. Body lotion; light weight and often. This is what I’ve learned over the years, that it is so much easier for me to keep my skin hydrated with a light weight body lotion and frequent application. The reason is mostly behavioral; a thicker cream needs  to sink into the skin, I don’t have time for that or the inclination to walk around naked in a rather cold flat. And thus I avoid doing it and suffer as a consequence.
  5. Avoid synthetic fibers. Cashmere is king is king this time of year, as is silk,wool and cotton. I get itchy by synthetic fibers all times of the year just more so now.
  6. Eat salmon, avocado and other food rich in “good fat”. The kind of thing that I often forget makes a difference. It’s not just an excuse to eat avocado toast (but don’t worry; I never post them).
  7. Drink water and herbal tea. I forget to drink water during this time of year but I need it more than ever.

-Suss

Monday&Moisturizers&Masks (and a cleanser too)

IMG_5207First of all let’s be very clear; I’m not a beauty blogger or a skin care professional. I’m at best entry-level skin care nerd and I’ve quickly become rather niche as I’m trying to find something that is organic/sustainable yet still suitable for my skin i.e. I have skin and I care about it.Furthermore this is not review of Tata Harper products as such, this is review of the small “daily essentials set” that is a discovery kit of sorts. I have an opinion or two after using the kit which has products for about a week.

It should here be mentioned that I have combination skin, with an oily t-zone (pretty common affliction) and the discrepancy between dry cheeks and oily nose is greater during the cold months of the year because of weather. In summer my skin is pretty alright and fairly balanced actually. This time of year though? My cheeks are oh so parched due to wind etc.

I also have rather sensitive skin, and what I mean by that is that I don’t trust labels or their staff for a second. This harks back to when I developed cystic acne basically over night and went around looking for products, and so many labels gave me the whole “your skin is dirty you need to clean it more” and sold me often expensive products that obviously made everything worse. I say obviously because people who actually know anything about skin/care know that cleaning with harsh products (and there are a lot of them out there, known labels and pricey AF) isn’t the solution. At a few counters the staff were like “you need to talk to your doctor about a prescription and a regimen but we have a few products that will give some hydration back and take down the redness”. Those labels are forever in my good book, and a few other labels are dead to me. D.E.A.D.

This is also the reason that I haven’t really stepped up my skin care routine earlier, pure fear of rocking the boat. I’ve been so happy of not having painful acne and aching skin that I haven’t dealt with my hyper-pigmentation (the result of having very sensitive skin when I was on medication for my acne), pores, a few scars and anti-aging. This year though I’ve started to make changes, but I also have gotten more informed and thus more concerned about environmental issues which leaves me with difficult choices. And thus we end up where we started ; the Tata Harper discovery kit which contains seven products.

  1. Restorative eye cream. This comes in a little sachet and the amount is way to much for one application but you can’t just leave the sachet open to use the day after because then the consistency will change. I know this because it happened to me. I should have put it in a little jar I guess, a bit to tired to think of it at the time.
  2. Regeneration cleanser. This is good, smells quite a bit though. Has tiny granules of something in it so gives you a bit of physical exfoliant, especially when used on dry skin as recommended on the box. Can also be used on damp skin I say and then the effect is less regenerating I guess but also more gentle. When I bought the box I also got samples of the purifying cleanser which was nice.
  3. Resurfacing mask. This is the product that I really loved of the bunch. You are supposed to use it first for a few days to really give your skin a going over, and then do it a few times a week to top up. It made my pores appear smaller. Winning. The effect might be short-term but with pores that all one can ever hope for apparently.
  4. Hydrating floral essence. Don’t like and that is very much related to the scent.
  5. Reparative moisturizer. That’s a no from me. Mostly based on the fact that it doesn’t go well with my foundation, it totally “jacks it up” because of how it sits on the skin. Also the scent is a bother.
  6. Rejuvenating serum. Feels more like a cream to be honest but yeah, it’s alright. Wouldn’t ever buy it though, very pricey and more so in Sweden. This is deluxe organic skin care for sure but I’ve looked online and the prices are extra high in Sweden.
  7. Replenishing nutrient complex. I’ve barely used this. I found instructions online that said to add a drop or two of this in the moisturizer but due to the roller-ball applicator on this mini version that isn’t possible. So I’ve rolled a bit on my checks, every time with a face that was essentially a question mark, wondering why they couldn’t have put this in the sachet and offered a more substantial vial of eye cream.

So, those are my thoughts. I found one product that I’m thinking about, and if I buy it I will probably do so online. But I don’t ever want to buy something like this on a whim or without having tried at least once. I bought products from The ordinary without prior testing but at that price it wasn’t really an issue. With these though? Satisfaction must be guaranteed before parting with that much money. Still, I’m glad I tried. Now I will go back to my old routine for a bit to calm things down (my skin hasn’t reacted badly to any of the products but I don’t want to provoke it either with new poducts every week) and then upwards and onwards in my search for sustainable skincare.

-Suss

 

 

Thursday & Tabac

IMG_5220I love a scented candle, I really do, to the point that it doesn’t feel like home without it. And the sad truth is that once you go down the road of the fancier kind, there really is no turning back. Not that all expensive candles are good quality (let’s never talk about Overrose again) but they always get me excited and I do want to try. They can get awful pricey however. When I travel I let myself get confused when converting SEK into Euros or Pounds and I may or may not have spent a lot of money on scented candles at Jo Malone/Cire Trudon/several shops in Italy but that’s a different story. In general I draw the line at the Svenskt Tenn and Byredo collaboration; 850 SEK is just too much, no matter how nice the the glass it comes in and the lid that is included.

And speaking of the the glass it comes in; i’m not the only on that has noticed that many of us have more of those jars and glasses then we know how to upcycle. You need one or two in the bathroom for brushes and stuff (and a cute little glass from a flea market for Q-tips), then possibly one or two at the desk for pens. I love Diptyque candles and those have a label that is easy to peel of and then the glasses gets used for cocktails (perfect size for an Old fashioned). But that’s about it. Some can be recycled pure and simple. But nowadays they can also be reused.

I’ve seen two companies that do the same thing; offer little kits for around 250 SEK that consist of scented wax and a wick so that you can “make your own scented candle”. Except you are not really doing anything; it’s already scented, all you do is melt the wax in the bag it comes in and pour it into the container of your choice.

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The one I tried this time is from L:a Bruket that also make candles in nice brown jars, so I guess it is intended to refill those, but you can use one from another label; just make sure they are approx. the same size. I used an old fave of mine with illustrations by Liselott Watkins. L:a Bruket has four scents, I bought Tabac that “creates a golden aura of mindfulness and anticipation to give life and focus to your mind”. Mighty big words for a soft scent of musk, lemon, tobacco leaves and a hint of jasmine, does it make me coffee in the morning too? But it really is a lovely scent and it makes it smell like the flat is full of freshly laundered clothes, which is a lovely  to be sure.

We will see how it develops over time, but I can say that the instructions were easy to understand and accurate. I will try this again, possibly with another scent from L:a Bruket (as they make theirs in biodegradable soy wax) but I have seen another company that also work with the same concept, and they might have something that’s for me.

Refills? Seems like a very good idea actually.

-Suss

Saturday&Skincare&Sustainability

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I had this great idea, and a little project going on. In my efforts to live more sustainably I had bought a little tester kit of products from the company Neal’s yard; I found it at a shop here in Sweden and the kit was for combination skin i.e. suited to my needs. As all their products it was certified by The soil association meaning it was at least 90% organic content. I was excited, I had heard great things about this brand and was looking forward to try them as I’m ambivalent of spending loads of money on product with the risk of my skin reacting adversely and having to throw it away (it’s happened). Starter kits are great like that (but not as awesome as when brands give you samples to try).

On Monday when I was getting ready to try the cleanser and put on their face mask I realized that the clay mask was crumbling because it was too dry, in fact all of the products had expired. I returned it the next day and got my money back, and an apology for my troubles, but all the other kits on the shelves had expired too. And there I was; running out of my Vichy cleanser and without a sustainable option.

However, the same place that sold the Neal’s yard sells Swedish skin care label Maria Åkerberg. They had travel sizes of a few products (and a few kits but nothing that felt it filled my needs) so I bought The olive cleanser for dry&mature skin as my skin in fairly dry in the colder months (it’s the windiness and the constant change in temperature from indoors to outdoors and back again). It smells really nice of petitgrain and is a nice and mild cleanser. I’ve used it as a first cleanse on dry skin and it removes makeup wonderfully but it should be noted that I haven’t worn mascara in months. I don’t know why, I just ran out of it and haven’t repurchased. I don’t miss it all that much actually and I think I look alright without it. Blush I need not to look dead but the eyes are fairly good without any make-up. But I digress, my point is I don’t know how well this would remove mascara. I like the creamy texture and it leaves my skin feeling soft and clean, but go in with a toner afterwards (Pixi glow tonic preferably). I might buy this, and there is an enzyme peel in the line that I’m curious about.

Having bought that I went to Aesop to see if they had something for me. I have a somewhat checkered history with Aesop. I really want to like their stuff, which feels very natural and if nothing else uses natural ingredients and is made in Australia so i assume they are not jerks in production. That might be naive but whatever. I’ve tried a thirteen Aesop products ’til Wednesday but the Parsley cleanser is the only one I ever really got on with. It’s the scents, they always bothering me. One of the dangers of using natural ingredients I guess. I cannot bear with it. Staff is always super nice however, and they sell The Paris Review there so I’ll keep going there but rarely buying something (and when I do its gifts because I know people who adore their products).

Last but not least I ended up buying a set of miniatures from Le Labo when I went to buy a gift and a few other things at their shop. They launched some skin and hair care last month apparently. So for 90 SEK I got four small tubes and I bought the Body cream (nice but nothing special), The shower oil (nice but nothing special), the shower cream with the basil scented (which smelled amazing) and last but not least the charcoal face mask.

First of all I have to point out that some of these products come hinoki-scented by default. It is like the hottest scent right now; I’ve seen more hinoki products in the last three months then I have ever before. It used to be like what? Two perfumes from Comme de Garçons and that was it. But now? Hinoki is the new Oud, just putting it out there. I do not mind, I just don’t see the point. If they made more products that smells like the Basil shower cream did, then I would buy.

And then there is the face mask. If you don’t know how to use it then you are in good company. I got no instructions from staff and neitherdid I find any on the small tube, nor the internet. I went rough the first time (because I have used face masks before) and then sent of an e-mail. The second time it was as intended.

How to use the Le Labo Charcoal mask; apply to clean face, let it sit on the skin for 5-7 minutes and then rinse of. Can be used ever other day or three times a week. 

I will say that it felt nice, my face did feel clean and my pores smaller afterwards but after having used it only twice that’s more an impression than a review. I doubt that I will buy it, there is one more application in the tube (10 ml goes a long way with the mask, but is only one shower when it comes to the bath oil/shower cream). But my bathroom look like a disaster afterwards. There is a certain grit to the mask so when you rinse it off you get a little peel too. Nice but not worth having to clean my bathroom all the time, and I’m nit sure thse flanels will ever be clean again. Too much hassle.  It should also be noted that this product is “unscented” but here it means they haven’t used any perfume. It smells of bitter almond as there is bitter almond extract in it. Just letting you now if that kind of thing gets to you.

I guess I should just bite the apple and buy the Tata Harper kit with minis, but I’ll wait until there is “double points” at NK. At those prices I will make the most of it.

-Suss