Clinique's 3-Step Program // My Experience and First Impressions

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

 I'm constantly changing my skin care routine. With new releases promising to be the answer to all of my skincare woes, it's hard not to get sucked into the hype.

Out of all of the brands and products I've tried, I've actually never turned to Clinique and their range of products.

My mom has been using Clinique for as long as I can remember and one of my favourite memories of my childhood was sitting at their counter in Macy's and playing with their skin care chart and the sliders that help match you to your perfect products. With such an advocate for the brand living under my roof, I decided to give them a try and went off to Boots ready to spend.

As soon as I got to the stand and told the assistant (I wish I got her name, she was so lovely!) that I wanted to hear more about the 3-Step program, I felt like I was in good hands. She sat down with me and her iPad (the old-school chart was still there though, much to my delight!) and we did a short survey to get an idea of what my skin type was, what my problem areas are and what I wanted from my skincare routine.

She then presented me with what would hopefully be my perfect daily skincare routine. As a bit of background, I have combination skin (dry in some areas, oily in others) with the occasional breakout and patchy redness (hot!). I told her what was really frustrating about my routine was that I would try out a product in the beginning of the month and love it and then absolutely hate it by the end of the month. It's as if my skin gets oilier the longer I use the same product. With all of this in mind, here is what she matched me up with:

First up was a sub-step to their 3-Step system: taking off all of your makeup (quite possibly the best and my favourite part of the day). I normally use my Garnier Micellar Water, but I've been finding it quite drying and just not doing the job for me. I was recommended Take The Day Off Cleansing Milk. What I love about this is that it's a milk. You rub a small amount into your skin and it completely dissolves your makeup. Rinse it off with warm water and your makeup should be gone! I'm going to combine this with my Rimmel Gentle Eye Makeup Remover and my skin should be ready for Step #1.

Step 1 is to gently clean the skin. I was recommended the Mild Facial Soap. Honestly, I love that this is a bar of soap. I've only ever used liquid formulas in the past and I know that I waste more product than necessary. This soap is so much more economical! There's no need to delve too deep into this process, but you literally lather it between your palms and massage it into your skin. Rinse with warm water and you're on to Step 2.

Step 2 is to gently exfoliate. For this, I was matched with Clarifying Lotion Clarifiante 2 which gently sweeps away any dulling flakes and excess oil. I found it interesting that their 'exfoliating' step was actually what I would call 'toning', but the assistant assured me that this would both tone and gently exfoliate. All you need to do is put a few drops on a cotton pad and sweep across your skin (like you would for any toner). Next up, Step 3!

Step 3 is to moisturise, a step that is often overlooked for us gals with oily/combination skin. I was matched with Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion + which is made for those of us with combination skin. The formula is specifically designed to give moisture to places where you skin is thirsty and leave the areas alone that are doing well on their own.

As an extra step, I picked up Anti-Blemish Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel. It's hard to believe that someone who is prone to breakouts didn't own a spot treatment, but I didn't. Call me old fashioned,  but toothpaste was always my treatment of choice... yes... toothpaste. Laugh all you want, but it's actually really good for drying out spots, I swear! Anyways, I wanted something that would start working as soon as I felt a spot under my skin. This is where my new spot treatment comes in. As soon as I feel a spot under my skin or start to see redness that would indicate there's one brewing, I cover it with a thing layer of this gel. It acts as a sort of shield, keeping any bacteria out and confining the spot to itself. It's the perfect size for my handbag and can be used under/over makeup as it dries clear.

So, there you have it, my new skincare routine.

The icing on the cake of my Clinique experience is there after-care service. Not only was I set up with a profile so that my skin type, product history, etc could easily be pulled up at any Clinique counter, but I was promised I would receive a phone call the following week and again 3 weeks later to see how I was finding the products I was set up with. It's really nice to see that a brand actually cares about how their customers are finding their purchases and ready to re-think the program if a product isn't working for them!

After a few uses I can say that I' m really enjoying the program so far. Even though it's more products than I'm used to using, I'm really hopeful that I'll see results over the next few weeks!

Have you ever tried the 3-Step program?

Foods That Make Your Skin Pretty

Monday, September 22, 2014

Following on from my post on Food That Makes Your Hair Pretty, it's time to talk about how you can make your skin glow from within. We've all heard the shpeal: "Beauty comes from within" and this is absolutely true. Here are some foods to add to your diet that give your skin some extra TLC.

1 // Water: I can't stress this enough: Water is so important for your skin!! Your skin already contains plenty of water by itself, but it needs your help to stay looking fresh and glowing. Dehydration makes your skin look dry, dull and wrinkly. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day also helps control breakouts as your skin is feeling it's best.

2 // Chocolate: Rejoice, chocolate is good for you!! Yes, there are plenty of reasons to eat dark chocolate (I like to eat 70% chocolate, but the darkest you can handle, the better). Cocoa contains so many great anti-oxidants that are hugely beneficial for your skin. Don't worry about ruining your diet with a few pieces of chocolate, when I started losing weight (and lost my initial 30 pounds), two squares of dark chocolate were a nightly ritual. Keep your diet balanced, and your small indulgence won't break the scales.

3 // Green Tea: Among all of the greatly beneficial antioxidants that green tea contains is one called EGCG. This antioxidant is known to reduce the redness in skin. Not only that, but green tea helps control inflammation in your skin meaning you won't feel too puffy. Green tea is quite the acquired taste, but try adding one cup a day into your diet and see if you notice any benefits to your skin.

4 // Tomatoes are high in Vitamin C. I already talked about how great Vitamin C is for your hair, but it's just as great for your skin. Vitamin C aids collagen production in your skin which keeps it looking firm.

5 // Almond Milk: There are studies that show eliminating dairy from your diet hugely benefits acne sufferers and your skin in general. Switching to almond milk is a great way to start going dairy free. While my diet is in no way dairy free, I started switching milk in my cereal and porridge for almond milk. Not only is it more diet friendly in terms of calorie content, but almonds are high in Vitamin E that help nourish your skin and protect it from damaging UV rays. 

It's The Small Things // Week 2

Sunday, September 21, 2014

1. Riding bikes around the Phoenix Park with G. I've really been trying not to use my car to get around as much lately so when the petrol light came up, I took it as a sign to skip the tin can on wheels and brush the dust off of my Mom's bike instead. We cycled up to the World Parks Day festival (where we got delicious, homemade donuts) and to Farmleigh for some of our favourite apple juice and homemade fudge.

2. Constructing a new skin care routine that will hopefully solve all of my skincare woes. Details coming Tuesday.

3. Getting up that little bit earlier and having time to make a cup of coffee to sip on whilst getting ready for the day!

4. The sound of rain. It's probably one of my favourite sounds!

5. Friday nights in making homemade pizza, reading a good book and then watching Law and Order. I've officially turned into my Mom. 

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