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

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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

 

7 things for October (and the rest of fall really)

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So here we are; already October. Fall is in full swing and by “in full swing” I mean more rainy days than not, leaves that go from a wonderful red to a rather unflattering brown and that week of desperation towards the end of the month when it’s all dark and gloomy but too early to start making Christmas plans to cheer things up. Here are seven things that will get me through the month, and probably beyond, in no particular order.

  1. Reading The Tale of Genji. It is finally happening, the reading has begun and it’s exciting, inspiring and it’s 1400 pages long so I’m gonna have something to do when staying in.
  2. Feeling warm in my knitted kimono jacket. This is not something I made recently but this is the time of year that I bring it out, plum-coloured goes with this season like “whoa”.
  3. Scenting myself with Accord Oud from Byredo. I’m seven years to late to the Oud-game, and lord knows I have tried a lot of them on. As I used my samples last month I was, much to my surprise, taken by this one. I don’t even know how I ended up with a sample of it to begin with. “Never say never” is the moral of the story.
  4. Wearing my double monk strap shoes. I think I got my first monkstraps when I was twelve and I had waged a campaign to get them, it’s a kind of shoe I really like. But it can be hard to find a pair that fits my feet. The boy’s department might have something from time to time but they are often too wide. Every now and again I come across a pair in the women’s department. On the top of my double monk wish list you will always find brown suede ones but a pair of funky black ones with a bit of fake snake it just the kind of thing that works with 90% of my closet (as it is a cabinet of curiosities TBH). With these shoes being the foundation of my outfits I will prioritize short tight skirts paired with very clean-cut shirts and sweaters.
  5. Applying red lipstick. At the moment I’m back on the Chilean sunset from Victoria BeckhamxEstée Lauder but that is subject to change, when it comes to red lipsticks I’m a slut. But honestly this particular lipstick looks good with the plum kimono and that.
  6. Painting my nails in a dark red. This particular one is called Bordeaux and I also bought a so-called gel like top coat. It does give a nice finish though, but is still easy to take off.
  7. Checking the time on my watch and not being bloody distracted by my phone. This is not the watch I have dreamt of, it is not even a watch I really want but it’s a watch that is a reasonable size and that I can live with. I prefer leather bands to start with but finding a watch that is small enough for my wrists at a price that is small enough for my current budget is tricky. So this is my compromise for now, a Casio.

What do you do to get through October?

-Suss

Wednesday&What I’m into right now

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As much as I love Byredo candles, and will buy them again, for once I decided to try something new. Having seen Overose candles around I decided to splurge on one of them. They are not cheap because apparently making a decent scented candle that cost less than a pound of flesh is impossible but it’s worth it. We can get the “similar to Byredo look of the label” comment out-of-the-way immediately. I agree, it does look like one of theirs. This scent though is a lot more powdery then anything I have ever gotten from Ben Gorhams line. It smells like the inside of a posh Italian ladies handbag, and I mean that as the highest of compliments. I have a thing for that. On the box it mentiones amber, benzoin resin,labdanum, vanilla and sandal wood. Also it mentions Himalyan Spikenard and I don’t even know what that is but it sounds cool.  I once had a candle from Caffé Florian in Venice that smelled like this (or maybe it was a room spray?). I know I’ve had at least one candle that was similar and that one was a collaboration between a Swedish company and an artist that lives in Milan (I’m referring to Liselott Watkins). I should have stocked up on them. There is something about this candle that to me smells very sophisticated and un-Swedish. I find it very easy to pretend I’m elsewhere.

Another way to be transported to another place, and time, is obviously books. I’m currently reading Gengis Khan by Frank McLynn and I’m really enjoying it. I don’t think that he always strikes the balance between detail and flow in the way I would have liked but who am I to judge? I don’t write books and I give people too much detail always. The point is: of course Gengis Khan is not the brute that we kind of imagine being uninformed about that period in history, and certain people within the Chinese history have done a good job of telling the story of how the were occupied by uncivilized horsemen (they would do that, wouldn’t they? I get that). But in this case there is more to the story. That said he was not a peaceful ruler by any measure. I’m just saying that everyone back then was savage AF quite literally. There is another connection to the smell of an old Italian Ladies handbag, or at least to Caffé Florian, as Marco Polo turns up. That old Venitian scoundrel.

The cover of this book is a beaut, all glam and disco. I’ve already matched it with one outfit. Maybe I should play that old disco tune Gengis Khan by whoever that they play on radio sometimes?  For a full on thematic reading I mean. (This is the one I’m talking about, and no, I won’t play it). However I also have matching earrings now as I got stuck with part of  one in my scarf and long story short, my Bollywood earring bought in Bethnal Green for 50p have now become somewhat smaller but hopefully a little more wearable. We’ll see though because even though I changed the part that goes in the actual earlobe when I got them I can feel it itching when I’ve worn them for 10 minutes.

The reason that I was wearing them in the first place is because I’ve been watching the Mindy Project and I.am.hooked. It is the perfect antidote to all the sad books and as an added bonus Kaling wears patterns and amazing earring like a boss in that show. In fact she is one of the bosses, if you run your own business or part of it you get to decided the dress code. But it’s a show with fast talking people who are obsessed with junk food, alcohol and revel in being inappropriate. And in all of that every now and a again there is a little nugget to think about in terms of feminism, relations,friendships etc. I think that maybe it has a little of what made Gilmore Girls so popular but I have never really watched that show so I don’t know. Maybe it’s just that people drink reasonable amounts of coffee in both (i.e. by the bucket).

Related:

Overose candles 

-Suss

 

Wednesday & What to smell like now

I have been living in my own little bookish bubble of late, I really have. The fact that Le Labo, the very cool French perfumery, had opened a shop in Stockholm had completely evaded my attention. Until the other day that is.

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As it is located in a part of town I rarely visit (I only go to Södermalm to shop at Papercut and that is on the other end relative to this) I hadn’t stumbled upon it by accident but did so when I was thinking about them as I’m on the hunt for a new perfume. I enjoy looking for perfumes more than actually buying them, and I feel that it is time for me to break out of my comfort zone scent wise, so this might be a long process. Anyhow, I was looking at their webpage at the sample kits trying to remember which ones I had smelled and liked in London last year. As I was looking around at shipping cost etc. I realized that they have a presence here and have had so since around Easter. So off to the Le Labo store I went.

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As all their stores it has a clean design, slightly apothecary in feeling and very friendly staff. Currently they also have, for a limited time only, those “city specific” perfumes that they do that are usually only available in that one town. I forgot to ask if there was one for Stockholm as I was more interested in the classic range.

I must say that everything I have smelled from them is well made even though they might no be for me necessarily. Most of them feel quite discrete or rather not distinct. I read someone saying that even though Santal 33 is the most known and popular from the Le Labo range she was still asked what it was every time she wore it. Noticeable but not screaming its name. If someone wears Angel or Cool water you know which perfume it is at first whiff. What you want is a perfume that makes you smell good, not one that overpowers you. Or at least I do.

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They have samples for sale but this time I stuck with just trying two different ones on my wrists; on one there is the Vetiver 46  which is rather dry and miles away from the sweetness of Bal d’Afrique from Byredo. On the other I tried Thé Noir 29 which I took to immediately, it has figs in it and I’m on record of being partial to that family of scents (I have had several including Philosykos from Diptyque in the past). I currently have no fig scent as I used up teh one I had from Terry de Gunzburg earlier this year. So much for breaking out of my comfort zone…

The chase is on and we’ll see what I end up with. Le Labo is located at Bondegatan 48 and you can find out more about them here.

Other perfumes I’m thinking about;

Fantôme de Maules from Stora Skuggan

Ambre Narguilé from Hermes

34 Boulevard Saint Germain from Diptyque

Accord Oud from Byredo

-Suss