My Winter Skincare Routine - Combating Winter Dryness & Pregnancy Eczema

Since the start of my second trimester, I developed really dry skin (also aggravated by the change in season) and my eczema flared up on my hands, wrists and arms. I don't have chronic eczema, but when it flares up it's incredibly itchy and I tend to scratch and scratch until my skin is red and raw. You need to try treat is as soon as you notice it flaring up, and to keep your skin well moisturised.

I also found patches of dry skin started popping up on my face, and to top it all off, those dry patches also started to break out. So all in all, I felt very for myself. Here are the products I've been using to keep my skin calm, as well as the products I've tried and recommend for keeping your ever expanding belly moisturised and stretch mark free.

A little note on eczema...there are numerous steroid based creams you can use (some that are prescription based and you need to get from your doctor, and others that are sold over the counter) but these are not recommended for prolonged use, and can weaken your skin barrier. The main culprit behind eczema is dryness...so make sure to drink plenty of water and keep your skin well moisturised to help prevent the pain and discomfort (and itchyness!) that usually shows up. 
For me, it's also aggravated by eating lots of citrus, so I have to avoid oranges and most fruit juices which also contain loads of preservatives and other nasty things that your body really doesn't need.

My Winter Skincare Routine

For the body

I wash my body with either Epimax (the Original formula or the Baby & Junior cream) or Epizone (not pictured).

After drying, I immediately cream up with Epimax (focusing on the areas of my body where the eczema is the worst...for me this is my hands and wrists)  and then I follow the below face routine before continuing with my body routine. This is to make sure my face doesn't get too dry. 

After my face is done, I then apply Bio Oil all over my tummy and boobs, making sure to massage it in as much as possible. I hate putting clothes over an oily body. I've been using Bio Oil everyday since I found out I was pregnant and have, touch wood, yet to get any stretch marks. I still have about 3 months to go so there is plenty of time for them to show up. Although I would like to prevent them, stretch marks are a very normal part of pregnancy, and almost everyone gets them.

Here is a really lovely extract from my favorite pregnancy website & app, What to Expect:

More than half of all expecting women get these pink or red (sometimes purplish) streaks; you'll most likely notice them across your belly, butt, thighs, hips, and breasts.

WHAT CAUSES THEM?

Stretch marks are actually tiny tears in the supporting layers of tissue under your skin as it's pulled tight to the limit during pregnancy. Susceptibility has lots to do with genetics: Chances are, if your mother got them, you probably will too - while if she sailed through her pregnancies with smooth skin intact, you'll probably stay as smooth as your baby's bum. Rapid pregnancy weight gain can also make you more likely to get stretch marks. And darker-skinned women are less likely to get stretch marks as fair-skinned gals (plus they're not as visible on dark skin).

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Try as you might to avoid stretch marks, there's no proven way to treat them or to stop them from zigzagging their way across your body. Fortunately, they won't stay so vividly hued forever. After delivery, they usually fade to a less noticeable (and more easily concealable) silvery gray color. Meanwhile, try to wear them with pride.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Whether or not you get pregnancy stretch marks is usually a matter of genetics - but there are a few ways to try avoiding them (or at least to slow down the stretch):
  • Moisturize: Cocoa butter certainly won't hurt (though no stretch mark cream is the miracle cure it's touted as). If nothing else, moisturizing daily will help with the dryness and itchy skin associated with pregnancy (plus it's fun to have your partner rub some onto your belly!).
  • Nourish your skin from the inside: Plenty of vitamin C foods in your pregnancy diet may also help keep your skin toned and less subject to stretch marks.
  • Watch your weight: Keep an eye on that scale during pregnancy and put your pounds on slow and steady instead of in big spurts. Keep in mind that eating for two doesn't mean literally eating twice as much - so as much as possible, try to follow the general recommendations for caloric intake during pregnancy.
  • Wait it out: Of course you wanted a solution yesterday. But keep in mind that your dermatologist can offer treatments such as Retin-A or laser therapy after you give birth. (Neither is safe for pregnancy - plus, the stretching ain't over till it's over.)

For the face

I wash my face with Epimax (the Original formula or the Baby & Junior cream) or Epizone (not pictured). I use a soft facecloth to remove as much dead skin as possible, without stripping my skin.

Then I tone with my all time favourite toner...Natur Vital Rose Water Toner (I've only ever found this at Dischem and it is often out of stock. When I do find it I make sure to stock up! It's super gentle on skin, smells heavenly, doesn't have a whole lot of yuccky chemicals and retails for about R55. I usually apply this with a cotton pad, but while on holiday I used a squirt bottle which sprays the toner in a fine mist (it was just one of those cheap travel bottles) but I've found I prefer spraying the toner on as opposed to wiping it on with cotton wool. This toner also works well as a gentle makeup remover.

After toning I use my new favourite serum, Malachite Jojoba Oil which works amazingly as an intensive skin treatment/essence/serum. I've been using it for the past 3 months and I just love it! I stock up on mine at the Bryanston Organic Market in Joburg, but you can but it online by clicking here. I use it everyday, morning and night, and it leaves my skin feeling incredibly soft and supple. And it smells incredible!

Next I apply cream (Epimax or Epizone) and then if needed use my little jar of Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream on areas that are really sensitive (like the sides of my nose and around the corners of my mouth). Click here for a full review on this lovely Korean beauty product. 

For day time, I finish off with my favourite suncream, the Missha All Around Safe Block Soft Finish Sun Milk (unfortunately another Korean beauty product that I stocked up on while living in Korea...I wish we could get our hands on products like these here in South Africa!). 

So there you have it, a comprehensive list of what I've been using to combat winter dryness and eczema (which I am pretty sure has a lot to do with the pregnancy hormones surging through my body right now).

Are there any other great products you would recommend for dry skin or eczema? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below! 

28 Day #ChangeYourSkin Challenge with Kiehls & BeautyBulletin ~ First Impressions

28 Day #ChangeYourSkin Challenge with Kiehls & BeautyBulletin ~ First Impressions

I am so excited to share this post with you all today as I have been selected to be part of the Kiehls & BeautyBulletin #ChangeYourSkin campaign. I am joining a small group of bloggers and influencers for the next 28 days & we will all be sharing our thoughts on the following 5 Kiehls products: 

  • Midnight Recovery Concentrate
  • Powerful Strength Line Reducing Concentrate
  • Clearly CorrectiveTM Dark Spot Solution
  • Ultra Facial Cream (R355):
  • Ultra facial Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado
Read More

Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream - Currently Testing & First Impressions

Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream - Currently Testing & First Impressions

For the past week I have been trying a very exciting new addition to the Dear Klairs range of beauty products. Dear Klairs is a Korean beauty brand established in 2010 in Seoul, South Korea, and what I love most about them is that they do not test on animals and their their products are alcohol-free, paraben-free, and artificial-color-free!

The majority of their products are catered towards sensitive skins, and their latest addition, the Midnight blue Calming Cream is no exception. If you have 'patchy' skin, dry and undernourished only in certain parts of your face, then this cream is just for you!

I have tried out a number of their products (courtesy of WishTrend) and have been most impressed with them. Dear Klairs has actually become one of my favourite Korean beauty brands, and I have tried LOTS of Korean. Here are my own (always honest) reviews for the products I have tried out so far.

Read More

7 Days of Beautiful Skin...#CGSFaceMaskChallenge

#CGSFaceMaskChallenge Korean Beauty Sheet Masks

Last week I started up a fun Instagram challenge to help us combat the icy cold Korean wind and the havoc it wrecks on our skin. It's not just the outside elements that lead to dry skin, but even more so, it's the air-conditioners in our classrooms and apartments that leaves our skin feeling tight flaky.

I started a facemask challenge to make use of all those facemask most of us have lying around at home. I created the hahstag (#cgsfacemaskchallenge...the CGS stands for CityGirlSearching, the name of this blog) and then asked everyone to snap a photo of themselves with their face masks, and tag their photos with the hashtag for the challenge. I really didn't expect so many of my friends and followers to take up the challenge, and was blown away by all the photographs everyone uploaded. It was so much fun to see everyones different poses and to hear their views of the different face masks.

South Korea is famous for their 10 Step Beauty Routine (blog post to come soon!) and one of the steps that Korean women advocate is the use of a face (or rather, sheet) mask. You can buy these masks in every beauty store here in Korea, and they are so affordable, with prices ranging from W500 (+- US$.50) and upwards. The skincare stores here often have specials where you can pick up a pack of 10 for a few KRW1000. I used a mixture of masks from Innisfree (around W800 a pop) and my new favourite brand for sheet masks, Mamonde (each mask was about W1500). 

Korean Skincare Sheet Masks CityGirlSearching

At the start of the challenge I was worried that I would end up breaking out from using a different mask every night, but that didn't happen at all! Instead, the few pimples I had from recently changing my skin care routine cleared up dramatically and my skin felt baby soft and full of moisture every morning! I was shocked! Before this challenge I had used a sheet mask maybe once a month or so, but after using them every night for the past week I think I am going to start using them regularly, at least 3 or 4 times a week. I was worried about the time it would take to apply the masks, but after the second day I was in a good routine and simply popped one on at night, carried in with whatever I was doing (watching series, doing he washing, eating dinner) and then took it off just before bed. 

My skin definitely looks brighter and I have no more annoying flaky bits of skin around my nose area. Another thing I have noticed is that my foundation and BB cream no longer 'sits' on top of my skin, but rather sinks in properly like it's supposed to. I was having to use a primer to prevent the foundation from streaking and and sitting in my pores, but now it goes on effortlessly and looks far more natural. I was even able to use a BB cream I had long ago cast aside because it was so thick and I was never able to get it to blend into my skin. These sheet masks are just the best thing!

Thank you to all the ladies below who took part in this challenge. I hope you all had as much fun as I did and that your skin loved the masks too. I think this needs to be an ongoing challenge, especially in winter!

Innisfree Whitening Pore Synergy Serum {Review}

Innisfree Vitamin C Whitening Serum Review

Innisfree established itself in Korea in 2007 as the first natural beauty brand to set up shop in Korea and it markets itself as an authority on eco-friendly skincare. Their products feature extracts of pure ingredients from Jeju Island and are packaged in eco-friendly materials, making me, and a lot of other women, huge fans of this skincare brand. 

I have been using the Innisfree Whitening Pore Synergy Serum for a while now and I'm really excited to share my thoughts on it with you.

One of my biggest skin concerns is pigmentation. When I was younger I had pretty bad skin (lots of pimples and my skin was always inflamed from my constant touching and picking) and I tried a host of lotions and potions, eventually resorting to Ruaccutane which sorted my skin out after the second round of use. Since then I have been lucky to have pretty clear skin.

But, I do suffer from pigmentation, which I'm sure is a direct result of the contraceptive pill. I don't view my pigmentation as a dehabilitating thing, I know it's more of a vanity issue than anything else, but I am always interested in products that are specifically catering for this skin issues. I wear a factor 50+ sunscreen everyday, and wear a hat most of the time that I am outdoors to combat any further damage to my skin. It's the summer months when I am outdoors more and the sun is stronger, that my skin really suffers. I know there are more permanent options out there, like laser and peels but they scare me a bit and as I am pretty sure my skin is due to The Pill I am planning on waiting until after I have children before venturing into the realms of laser.

Innisfree Whitening Pore Synergy Serum Review

This serum claims to offer the combined goodness of an ampoule & an essence (if you're not sure what the difference is between the two click here) for an intensive whitening treatment. It claims to diminish dark spots and brighten uneven skin-tone.

On that note, here is a before and after of 4 weeks of use of this serum. All these photographs are unedited and I am not wearing any makeup in either of them. Although the lighting is a bit different, the results are quite drastic. These shots were all taken on my iPhone in the early morning after a light walk with my dog. I really hadn't noticed an actual difference in my skin tone until I put these photographs next to each other. Although the pigmentation is still noticeable on the right, my skin tone is much more even and looks a lot smoother and now after seeing these photographs together I think I am going to go and purchase ALL the other products in this range! 

I use this serum both day and night under either my  Innisfree Whitening Pore Cream (review to come soon) or my Innisfree Eco Science Cream (when I need more moisture) both of which I use at night. I wear this serum under my Nivea Q10 Day Cream for day time use. 

The serum comes in a pump dispenser with 50ml of product. The pump is great for measuring out the right amount of product without unnecessary wastage. I always seem to apply too much product to my skin and end up wiping my hands on my towel and wasting too much. The fact that this serum also comes in a pump means it is far more hygienic than sticking your fingers in a tub. 

I really wasn't expecting much from this product and have been quite shocked at the before and after photographs. The serum isn't cheap though and will set you back W28 000 at your local Innisfree store. You might want to wait until Innisfree has their monthly sales where most of their products are on sale for 30% - 50% off. This serum should last anywhere from 2 - 3 months with daily use (both morning and night) as you only need one pump of product per application. 

Have you used any of the Whitening Pore range from Innisfree? Did you notice any results? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!

Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Cream, Rich Moist Soothing Serum & Supple Preparation Toner {Review}

We are nearing the end of winter here in South Korea, and these Klairs products have been amazing in helping me deal with the winter dryness. I use the rich moist cream for day, and use my favourite Innisfree Eco Science Deep Cream (review to come) for night time. This toner, cream & serum work perfectly with the Black Sugar Scrub & Cleansing Oil I reviewed a little while ago (click here).  Another of my favourite products from Klairs is their Illuminating Supple BB Cream (click here to see the review).

And the best part about Klairs: 

Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Cream 50ml ($23.99 on WishTrend)

An ultra light cream for normal to dry skin. This cream leaves skin feeling soft, supple and looking radiant while providing a great canvas for makeup. This cream is particularly perfect for sensitive skin, helping to calm redness while restoring your skins natural balance. I've been using it for the last 3 months and have found my skin has become a lot calmer, with little to no redness after washing and exfoliating my skin. It also absorbs quickly into the skin without leaving any sticky residue.

It has faint traces of lavender perfume which always makes me feel  calm and relaxed. I have really liked using this cream and it has become a firm favorite, especially for day time wear. I have been needing something heavier for night time use, but for day time this cream is perfect!

You can read more reviews of this cream over on the WishTrend website, where over 100 women have left their thoughts on this great cream. 

For the Ingredients list click here.

Klairs Supple Preparation Toner 150ml ($21.99 on WishTrend)

This toner balances the skin’s pH levels, helping to improve the effectiveness
of your entire skincare regime by gently cleansing your pores to allow for full absorption your other skincare products. This toner is gentle yet effective and never once leaves my skin feeling dry or tingly.

Toning is a very important step in your skincare regime no matter what skin type you have. Toner helps to remove excess dirt and sebum from the skin after cleansing. Once your skin as been cleansed (using both your cleanser/wash and toner) it is prepped and ready for your serums and creams. Toners also aid the skin in being less prone to skin irritations from the environment and pollution by closing your pores. This limits the amount of pore clogging particles that can enter the pores of your skin and lead to potential skin troubles like blackheads, whiteheads and pimples.

Some of the key ingredients the Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner are:

  • Phyto-Oligo ingredients which helps moisture flow evenly throughout the skin to help with dryness.
  • Amino Acids which are anti-inflammatory, helping to reduce inflammation in the skin and provide deep hydration.

These anti-inflammatory properties also help to reduce redness in the skin, calm irritation as well as reduce redness in acne pimples (WishTrend).

Read reviews from over 60 women on the WishTrend website.

For the ingredients list click here

Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Serum 50ml ($22.99 on WishTrend)

This serum definitely lives up to it's name as I found it to be incredibly soothing and moisturising. It literally melts into your skin and leaves no sticky residue. I've ben using it under my cream both day and night and have found my skin looks healthier, but it feels softer too.

Why do you need to use a serum? Serums, are considered to be the most important step in any skincare routine as they contain smaller molecules with higher concentrations of beneficial ingredients compared to regular moisturisers. Serums are intensively infused with higher concentrations of active ingredients that can penetrate deeper into the skin, delivering more targeted results. Serums fit perfectly into every skin care routine to provide you with the optimal results your skin needs, no matter your skin type. 
Serums are also a great alternative for makeup primers. Use a serum to prime your skin before applying your skin makeup to get the most smooth and soft looking makeup application with all the benefits of serum; re hydrate fine lines, smooth over the appearance of pores and create a soft skin surface that is ready for makeup application (WishTrend).

For the ingredients list click here

You can read the reviews of over 60 other women on WishTrend.

Do any of these products sound like something you'd like to try? Let me know in the comments below!

Disclosure: I received the above products for review purposes but the opinions expressed here are 100% my own. This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission should you make a purchase using one of the links. 

Dove Deep Repair Treatment Mask {review}

Winter always leaves me feeling like I've been left out in a desert for days, and it's not just my skin that takes a beating. My hair feels (and looks!) dry and ill cared for, and I'm often to be found patrolling the aisles of Dischem looking for the latest hair care offering.  I picked up this little beauty in Pick n Pay (I know, most people would never admit that publicly!) and thought I'd share my thoughts...

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I have really been loving this treatment hair mask from Dove's Nourishing Oil Care range of hair products. Not only does it smell heavenly, but it leaves my tresses silky soft, and without the tell tale oiliness of most hair masks. 

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The packing looks great, but is a bit of a pain to travel with, as it doesn't really 'fit' well with the other goodies in my toiletry bag. Nonetheless, a small price to pay really for such a great product. 

Once applied, the creamy textures glided on smoothly and easily right through to the ends of my hair. My hair is really long, and tends to get very knotty at the ends. Once applied, my hair felt velvety soft, and my comb slid right through without a pull or a tug in sight.

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After a quick rinse, my hair was left feeling clean and fresh (I am currently using L'oreal Elvive Re-Nutrition Shampoo) and silky soft. The fragrance is light and lasts even after blow drying. I use it 3 times a week, in place of my regular L'oreal Elvive Re-Nutrition conditioner.

All in all, I am very happy with this new addition to my beauty regime. Get your hands it at most Clicks/Dischems/Checkers/Pick n Pay's from -+R53.