Beauty over Forty

Keeping up appearances when age is just a number



Powerhouse Overnight Anti Wrinkle Mask – Peter Thomas Roth vs my Dupe

I bought the Peter Thomas Roth “Camu Camu Power C x 30™ Vitamin C Brightening Sleeping Mask” in a set from Sephora a while back. It retails at 62 USD for 3.4 Oz which should last quite a long time.

camucamusleepingmaskWhilst I am generally critical of the brand due to their marketing being misleading, I generally really appreciate the actual products. What struck me about this sleeping mask is the combination of Vitamin C with Retinyl Palmitate (an ester of retinol). I usually use Vitamin C during the day, as we know it fights free radicals, reduces sun damage (pigmentation spots), promotes collagen production and due to it promoting the strength of my sunscreen I usually use it in the day. However, it is of course also effective at night, I just never thought of combining it with Retinol.

When applying it you put a thin (or thicker if you feel like it) layer of it on your skin. The consistency is between a gel and a paste, the color is orange. The scent is citrusy, but I reminds me of rotten oranges, so it won’t be to everyone’s liking. Once on the skin it feels tacky. You leave it on and go to sleep. When you wake up you will find that it has not fully absorbed, regardless of how thin the layer is. So far I have used the product 3 nights and it really does have a skin brightening effect as you would expect from Vitamin C.

I did not really enjoy using it due to the tacky feel, the concern that the orange would stain my pillow cases and the smell. I thought it must be possible to have the same effects without the ickiness.

ordinaryvitamincSo here’s my “dupe”: all I did was combine 1 squirt of the Ordinary’s Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%  with their Advanced Retinoid 2%, slather it on my skin and go to sleep. This combination is powerful! 1 “big serving” of Ascorbic Acid at 23% concentration is pretty much as concentrated as it gets. This amount of product is of course also acidic meaning that apart from delivering a potent Vitamin C shot, it exfoliates overnight. The suspension is in squalane which is skin identical and also contains hyaluronic acid, so a good shot of moisture and oil to help with the Retinoid absorption. The next morning I awoke with all the product having been absorbed and my face had an amazing glow and I received many many compliments about how my skin looked that week. Due to the high level of acid, this should not be done on two consecutive nights, at least one night gap in between is necessary.

If you are sensitive to that level of Vitamin C concentration use only half the amount to the retinoid and add some Rosehip oil (which is a natural source of Vitamin A) to the concoction.

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My Weekend Face Spa

I thought some of you might be interested in what a typical weekend of skincare looks like for me. I try to use the weekend to do some intense anti-aging work and get my skin ready for a week of makeup.

The weekend starts on Friday night, removing my makeup and cleansing with my Clarisonic (sensitive brush head), this is followed by Tone (Shiseido Ibuki Softening Lotion) and The Ordinary Lactic Acid at 10% topped with Philosophy’s Hope in a Jar which is also an exfoliant with an AHA complex. Lactic Acid at 10% induces collagen production, as well as being an exfoliator and drawing moisture into the skin.

The following morning I wash my face using Muji Anti-aging Moisture Soap, disinfect it and  microneedle my face with 0,5 and 1mm dermarollers. These are of course also disinfected. I then immediately apply Niod’s Multi-molecular Hyaluronic Complex, then The Ordinary’s Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%. This stings a bit, I wait quite a while for this to absorb and top it with Dr Jart’s Ceramidin Cream. I then do nothing more to my face that evening, leaving everything on to heal. The microneedling combined with Vitamin C are major boosts for collagen production and the Hyaluronic Acid penetrates deeper than normal. Under the eyes I added squalane and Sebamed’s Anti-ageing Eye Cream.

The next morning I washed my nose (only my nose) and applied Caudalie’s Instant Detox mask to it. Once that is done after 10 minutes I washed it off and washed my entire face with my Muji soap. Then I applied Dr Jart’s Wrinkless Solution cellulose gel mask for 40 minutes. The skin is quite sensitive and absorbs all the nutrients due to the microneedling of the previous day. This is then topped with Dr Jart’s Ceramidin cream, the under eye area treated again with squalane and Sebamed.

In the evening I wash this off, tone and apply Lancaster’s Complete Anti-Aging Retinol in Oil, covered with  Lancaster Total Age Night Cream with a layer of La Mer on top for extra moisture as the skin just soaks everything up. Retinol again boosts collagen production.

I now the start the week with visibly smaller pores, and skin with better circulation and hydration levels.

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Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil worth 105 Bucks?

Sunday Riley’s Luna Sleeping Night Oil is incredibly popular and has enjoyed a great deal of hype on YouTube. Retailing at 105 USD per ounce, it is a pricier skincare item. Influencers I hold in high regard support this product, so it’s kind of logical that I would test it.

lunaLuna Sleeping Night Oil is a blend of vegetable oils and botanical extracts containing hydroxypinacolone retinoate which is an ester (esters were acids, where one hydrogen molecule has been replaced by an alkali). The idea behind using this ester is that it should have the same collagen induction properties but without the irritation associated with retinol or tretinoin. As far as I am aware this effect is not proven, I find only one study where effectiveness was researched but in combination with retinol glycospheres as a replacement for tretinoin in acne patients, so for its effects on acne rather than collagen production. As such we may be the guinea pigs. The blue color of the product is a dye.

User Experience: The first thing you notice when using Luna is the blue color and the smell. The oil goes on blue and stays blue, by massaging the oil in some oil is absorbed and the color hue muted. The smell is very strong and reminds me of hay. I grew up in the countryside and love the smell of hay, but there have been many who greatly dislike the smell. Over the two weeks I sometimes used and entire dropper of oil, other nights I used only a few drops. Regardless of the amount I used, when I awoke in the morning the oil was not wholly absorbed. Many have reported that their skin felt very well moisturized in the morning. I did not experience that, I experienced my skin feeling taut (dry) and covered in oil.

If I used too much oil it would seep into my eyes during the night and I would awaken with very irritated puffy eyes.I noticed no positive change in my skin. The main issue will have been that my skin needs moisture and moisture is not imparted by oil alone, but also water. Creams have emulsifiers in them that help transport the water and the oil into the skin. If your skin does not require additional water, then using Luna alone every night might suit you.

I am bothered by the blue color, the color is not necessary and could color bed linen. Whilst I have no issue with the aroma of the oil, imparted by the chamomile, as hydroxypinacolone retinoate is supposed to be non-irritating, there should be no need for the calming properties of chamomile and this appears gimmicky. The use of avocado and grape oil makes this very suited to oily skin, very unlikely to block pores. Rosemary oil is astringent.

I am sure there are many people who experience positive effects to the skin from the use of this oil. My experience was pretty neutral and my skin definitely needed more moisture. At my age, I feel that it would be better for me to continue to progress with proven Retinol. For an unproven ingredient (hydroxypinacolone retinoate) I perceive this oil to be overpriced. I would be happy to continue using any skincare which includes this ingredient, but I also would want to have retinol and other ingredients as well to have more faith in it doing something.

Due to the use of the light grapeseed oil and astringent rosemary oil this product is probably best suited to consumers with oily or combination skin.

Skincare gifts that will be well received :)

Skincare is a highly personal purchase. skin types and dermatological challenges vary so gifting skincare can be a tricky business. Here are my tips on getting in right.

If you already know the recipients skin type and challenges you can gift a really well put together set from brands such as Paula’s Choice or Murad. These brands group their products by skin issues. Murad currently offers gift sets as can be found on Sephora or Lookfantastic. Paula’s Choice has many localized international sites to shop from.

Beauty savvy recipients may already be using the brands already, in which case you already know they like them, and if not, may well have thought of checking them out, as they really are well known top-quality somewhat high-end brands.

If you don’t really know so much about the person’s skin, but assume that it is generally without issue and you know the recipient takes skincare seriously and appreciates quality, Drunk Elephant and Sunday Riley are almost guaranteed to be a safe bet.

Sephora has gift sets for Sunday Riley, whose Luna Sleeping Oil and Good Genes daily lactic acid exfoliator are cult. It also stocks gifts sets with Drunk Elephant’s Vitamin C Serum (often quoted as being the best on the market) and Framboise Glycoloc Acid Exfoliator. The Sunday Riley products are very popular for anti-aging for sensitive or dry skins, with Drunk Elephant’s  Framboise Glycolic more suited to anti-aging for normal skins.

Recent Skincare Regime (now it’s getting colder)

Now that Halloween has been and gone, there is a real chill in the air and my skin has started to suffer. It’s really just over the last year that my skin has traversed from normal to dry and this has led to a rather different skin regime. Read on if your skin is also starting to suffer with the weather change.

So here’s my morning routine during the week:

Post toning I usually layer my Mizon Hyularonic 100 followed by the Mizon Peptide 500 rexalineAmpoule serums (reviewed in my recent post about Korean Skincare).  On alternate days I might use my The Ordinary Vitamin C Serum (mentioned in my brand review), or I might layer the Ordinary Hyularonic with the Ordinary Buffet. For lazy days I sometimes use La Mer’s “The regenerating” Serum (but then I need a stronger moisturizer on top).

The the final layer is either Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream (for normal days), or La Prairie Complexe Anti-Age (for days where I need less moisture, don’t really like it, but it was expensive, so I will use it up) or La Mer’s Moisturizing Cream (for days where I need extra moisture).

Around the eyes I use either Rexaline Premium which I am really enjoying! Or “Kiehl’s “Powerful- Strength Line-Reducing Eye-Brightening Concentrate“( a recent TJ Maxx bargain). You may not have heard of Rexaline, it is allegedly produced by Sephora but is readily available in the German chain “Douglas” (we have no Sephora here). It really helps my eye area be really well hydrated, I own 12 eye creams :O and it wins hands down.

goodthingsIf after all that my skin is still dry!! I help out my foundation by adding a drop of Good Things Argan Oil Perfecting Facial Oil to it. Despite the name, the oil consists mainly of almond oil with just a tiny bit of argan, again this was a recent TJ Maxx bargain and it is awesome!

Night Time:

If you thought that was complicated, hmm it doesn’t get simpler at night. On any night I  will do one of the following.

Exfoliation night: the Ordinary 10% Lactic Acid topped with Philosophy’s Hope in a Jar.

Retinol Night version 1: the Ordinary 2% Retinol topped with the Ordinary Rosehip Oil

Retinol Night version 2: Lancaster Total Age Correction Retinol Oil topped with Lancaster Total Age Correction Night Cream

Retinol Night version 3: La Roche Posay Redermic R topped with La Mer’s Moisturizing Cream.

If I am not doing this I will do a night mask instead such as Etude House Moistfull Collagen Sleeping Pack, Origin’s Drink Up Intensive or Etude House Bubble Tea Night Pack.

Damn, I am too high maintenance, but it works for me. Maybe this helps someone ❤




Brand Review – The Ordinary by Deciem


I first came across “The Ordinary” in a You Tube Video by Wayne Goss.

At the time I was already full into the swing of researching retinol, micro-needling, hyularonic acid, AHA’s, niacinimide, petides etc.. I had already spent hundreds of Euros on well researched best-performing products. Fortunately I had not already spent thousands.

Deciem, owner of the brand has set itself a goal of disrupting the beauty industry. In The Ordinary they are offering known effective key ingredients at an astoundingly affordable price. Products I have tested include 2% Retinol, A Peptide complex, cold-pressed Rosehip oil, 10% Niacinimide with 1% Zinc, 10& Lactic Acid with 2% Hyularonic Acid, A stable suspension of 23% Vitamin C with 2% HA, 2% Hyularonic Acid + B5. The most expensive of these was the Retinol, cost 8 GBP! for 30ml. I have also recommended the Ordinary products to colleagues of mine, due to the low price, even if they did not like them, they would not be losing a lot of money. So far everyone has been blown away, by the effectiveness which is completely out of proportion to their price in the most unexpected way.

As a cost comparison, some of the retinol products I own, which are all highly effective!

Lancaster Total Age Correction Retinol Oil: 62,95 Euros for 30ml

The Ordinary 2% Retinol: 8,96 Euros for 30ml

La Roche Posay Redermic R: 21,99 Euros for 30ml

I obtained the products shipped (very cheaply) from UK to Germany from Victoria Health

I can only recommend that anyone try them – you have very little to lose!

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