My Winter Morning Skincare Routine

I was watching some Youtubers sharing their skincare routines and thought it’d be fun to share my current go-to routine. Part of the fun is looking back my older routines and what products I’ve been reaching for. My routines are always a mix of “must-haves” and products I’m testing for a review - some of them will end up on the blog again and again while some might be left forgotten.. I recommend using the search and tag tools if you’re looking for a particular product review. Gifted products are marked with an asterisk (*). Also, say hi to Cara, my ~15-week-old maine coon kitten. <3

Winter AM Skincare Routine | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Current skincare goals / Concerns

My skin did pretty good before November, but as the month changed I swear to you my skin turned a) dry as a parchment paper b) my under eyes darker than darkness. Winters in Helsinki are partly freezing cold, windy and partly just annoyingly rainy, while there’s central heating indoors. Right now my biggest concerns are dehydration and evening out my complexion. I had a grand zit after the holidays and it left noticeable redness behind. Lightening my old acne scaring is always an on-going process, but sometimes I pay less attention on it. My final concerns are some blackheads on my nose (which this routine doesn’t target as much, I do opt for stronger acids from time to time).

Winter AM Skincare Routine | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog
Winter AM Skincare Routine | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

My AM Routine

My “beauty sin” is to wash my face in the shower. Fortunately I dislike long and hot showers, so I’m out of there pretty quickly before my skin turns into a worse raisin than it already is. In the shower I have a couple of cleanser options, but lately I’ve been liking the Glope Hope Cosmetics Cleansing Gel* (33.1€ / 150ml). It feels mild and gentle, perfect for AM routine. The INCI list is short and simple: packed with cornflower water, aloe and hydrating glycerine. In the evenings I tend to reach for more heavy duty cleansers.

Next is the one and only - Januarylabs Daily Brightening Tonic (29.7€ / 150ml) (review here). I think I was sent one back when this launched, then I purchased another, then another.. I can’t begin to imagine my life without it. Because of the packaging I feel the easiest application method is to pour some on a cotton pad and gently swipe face and neck. This multi-purpose toner both retains moisture and gently resurfaces the skin with lactic acid. I can highly recommend this to everyone!

After the Tonic I apply an essence. I had a small break with essences, only to notice how much I miss it. My friend Marinka was kind enough to shop for me during her travels and top 1. in my wish list was the Fresh Black Tea Kombucha Facial Treatment Essence (69.53€ / 150ml). I had seen some positive reviews on Fresh and not gonna lie, the kombucha trend did encourage me to pick this one up. The essence is just as I like it - light but thicker than plain water, hydrates, plumps and treats. I have noticed my skin is glowing after I started using this, but I won’t make any claims just yet.

After prepping my skin it’s time for serums. This is a bit tricky category as serums take a while to make a difference in the skin - especially if it’s lightening pigmentation. Globe Hope Cosmetics Lumi Strong* (54.90€ / 30ml) is packed with blueberry extract and arbutin from bilberry extract, which is a melanin inhibitor. If you’re HC about eco skincare and want to lighten pigmentation, Lumi Strong is worth looking into, but I unfortunately haven’t seen any change in my pigmentation issues during the good 4 weeks I’ve been using it. Clinique’s Hydrating Jelly* (61.50€ / 125ml) is also a slight disappointment for me. As much as I like hydrating serums and ampoules, I haven’t found one that would beat Kypris Antioxidant Dew or Esse Serum (reviews here) in that deep hydration my thirsty skin craves. If Clinique launches its Vitamin C and Retinol Boosters in Finland (which you can mix in the jelly) in Finland I’m willing to try again.

Eye cream is something I don’t use 100% of the time. Lately I’ve tried various eco beauty roll-ons, but this Tata Harper Restorative Eye Cream*.. it’s a winner. Needless to say, as it’s very expensive (~100€ / 15ml). Is it worth it? Is any eye cream (or skincare product)? If yes.. then Tata’s close. This eye cream is rich, moisturizing, but doesn’t give me any puffiness around the eye area or milia. Finally I feel my dark circles have improved and I hope the good INCI list can strengthen my eye area as it promises.

Another luxurious eco skincare treat in my routine is the Henua Organics Recharging Moisturizer* (129€ / 30ml), but it is a treat.. Not only Henua Organics is made in Finland, packed in the most exquisite bottles with birch wood caps, 85% organic farming and eco cert, but also this cream is packed with birch sap, pine park extract, sea buckthorn oil - just to name a few. It leaves my skin feeling so soft and supple, packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. I want to write a whole dedicated article about Henua Organics, keep your eyes peeled!

Finally the must have I keep on preaching about: SPF!! This Mádara Plant Stem Cell Antioxidant Sunscreen SPF30 (~15.2€ / 100ml) was one of my Best SPF for Summer 2018. Don’t let the package fool you, some sites might even list this sunscreen on the ‘body’ section, but I use it for my face, neck, décolleté, hands, you name it.. This sunscreen is on the heavier, a bit greasier side texture-wise and does leave a bit of white cast, which does disappear when you massage it in. I was sent one tube to test, went through it and purchased a new one. In the Spring and Summer I might go back to my beloved Innisfree sunscreen, but Mádara is easy to purchase here in Helsinki, inexpensive and my dry skin simply loves it. Rain or shine, Winter or Summer - always remember the SPF!

Winter AM Skincare Routine | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Did you spot any favorites in my routine or something you’d love to read more about? Leave questions, comments and your routine favorites in the comments below!

*Products marked with an asterisk(*) were kindly gifted me for consideration, with no obligation to write about them. My thoughts and opinions are my honest and my own.

Rouge Bunny Rouge ENCHANTING BLOOMS Tinted Luxe Balms Swatch & Review

I’ve always been a fan of Rouge Bunny Rouge lip products. In one of my early blog posts I reviewed the Rouge Bunny Rouge DAZZLING SIP Tinted Luxe balms** in Pinch of Nude, Sip of Pink and Specks of Cerise. Sadly, these three shades got discontinued when RBR revamped their Tinted Luxe Balms and came out with the ENCHANTING BLOOMS collection. My sadness was short lived as there are now more beautiful shades available that promise skincare benefits with a pop of color! These products were kindly sent to me, I hope you enjoy the post!

Rouge Bunny Rouge ENCHANTING BLOOMS Tinted Luxe Balms | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog
Rouge Bunny Rouge ENCHANTING BLOOMS Tinted Luxe Balms | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Rouge Bunny Rouge ENCHANTING BLOOMS Tinted Luxe Balms

RBR Tinted Luxe Balm is advertised as intensively moisturizing anti-age lip treatment that promises to plump and smooth fine lines in daily use. They call it a ‘balm’ but the product is also a dewy finish lipstick available in 7 colors. DAZZLING SIP in Pinch of Nude is now called Heavenly Honeysuckle and you can see swatches in my previous post. €29 for 3.5g / 0.12 oz.

Ingredients

POLYBUTENE, HYDROGENATED POLYISOBUTENE, C12-15 ALKYL BENZOATE, OCTYLDODECANOL, CANDELILLA CERA (EUPHORBIA CERIFERA (CANDELILLA) WAX), OLEIC/LINOLEIC/LINOLENIC POLYGLYCERIDES, POLYETHYLENE, CERA MICROCRISTALLINA (MICROCRYSTALLINE WAX), MICA, AROMA (FLAVOR), HYDROXYMETHOXYPHENYL PROPYLMETHYLMETHOXYBENZOFURAN, PENTAERYTHRITYL TETRA-DI-T-BUTYL HYDROXYHYDROCINNAMATE, BENZYL ALCOHOL, LINALOOL, TOCOPHEROL, CI 77492 (IRON OXIDES), CI 77891 (TITANIUM DIOXIDE), CI 15850 (RED 7 LAKE), CI 77491 (IRON OXIDES), CI 42090 (BLUE 1 LAKE), CI 15850 (RED 6), CI 19140 (YELLOW 5 LAKE), CI 45410 (RED 28 LAKE)

The formula of these lipsticks is very similar to the original Tinted Luxe Balms, except there is more pigment in most colors. I think RBR’s description is very accurate, except I was sceptical of the “anti-age” benefits of these lipsticks. I guess it’s how you label anti-ageing, in general I’m not a fan of the word. Tinted Luxe Balms have a patented active complex from sunflower oil that promises to plump, improve elasticity and also smooth fine lines. I looked into these polyglycerides (fatty acid molecules attached to glycerin), which are an Ecocert approved technology that is non-sensitizing, non-irritating and a greener replacement for lanolin, wax and silicones. I couldn’t find studies, but the manufacturer does promise these effects. I doubt any lip product except for injections can bring back lost volume (=size), but smooth and nourish for sure.

My lips are in a fairly good shape, I don’t have lines that would bother me - but I also haven’t used these lipsticks for 4 weeks of daily use. However, I do like to replace my lip balm with these lipsticks - especially with the old Pinch of Nude (now Heavenly Honeysuckle) as it’s almost transparent, very nourishing and feels like it “sinks in” the lips instead feeling waxy on the top.

Rouge Bunny Rouge ENCHANTING BLOOMS Tinted Luxe Balms | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Wearing ENCHANTING BLOOMS Tinted Luxe Balms

Compared to previous Tinted Luxe Balms these have more pigmentation. The feel is hydrating and smoothing, perhaps more slippery than RBR’s other lip products. They remind me of SUQQU’s Extra Glow Lipsticks, which are also designed mature lips in mind. SUQQU is richer in texture, which makes lipstick slipping and sliding more noticeable: RBR has some transparency which you can build with extra swipes. The site says that Tinted Luxe Balms are delicately scented, but I haven’t paid any attention to the fragrance - if you’re sensitive to scents I think these should be okay.

I find it slightly hard to compare RBR lipsticks as they are all very good, same packaging and I use them interchangeably. The Sheer Lipsticks feel less moisturizing, less shiny compared to Tinted Luxe Balms while Color Burst Lipsticks are more opaque. All of them glide beautifully on the lips. The wear time isn’t very long, these do move if you eat or drink and there’s no stain left behind. However these lipsticks are a pleasure to reapply.

Swatches

Rouge Bunny Rouge ENCHANTING BLOOMS Tinted Luxe Balms | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Captivating Camellias - Light caramel nude with peachy undertones

Mysterious Magnolias - Cool/neutral toned soft pink

Amazing Anemones - Bright, translucent cherry red

Playful Primrose - Cool toned vibrant pink

Poised Peonies - Darker wine/cherry red with cool undertones

Lovely Lilacs - Cool white based violet

Rouge Bunny Rouge ENCHANTING BLOOMS Tinted Luxe Balms | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog
Rouge Bunny Rouge ENCHANTING BLOOMS Tinted Luxe Balms | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog
Rouge Bunny Rouge ENCHANTING BLOOMS Tinted Luxe Balms | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog
Rouge Bunny Rouge ENCHANTING BLOOMS Tinted Luxe Balms | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog
Rouge Bunny Rouge ENCHANTING BLOOMS Tinted Luxe Balms | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog
Rouge Bunny Rouge ENCHANTING BLOOMS Tinted Luxe Balms | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Overall thoughts

Again, Rouge Bunny Rouge is winning with their lipstick formula. I don’t find nudes as flattering on me as the juicy, vibrant reds and pinks, but I’ll likely use all shades because of the comfortable wear and lip pampering benefits. I fear RBR is discontinuing their Sheer Lipsticks (they are now on sale!), but the Tinted Luxe balms wear just as lovely. Rouge Bunny Rouge is one of those rare brands that doesn’t release massive collections every season, but put the effort and elegance in all of their products, producing only very best. I would never purchase a mere lip balm this pricey, but with this lovely color and finish I do recommend Tinted Luxe Balms.

If I had to pick a favorite.. Amazing Anemones is very lovely and my usual style, but so far I’ve used Lovely Lilacs the most! What’s your favorite shade? Have you tried Rouge Bunny Rouge?

Rouge Bunny Rouge ENCHANTING BLOOMS Tinted Luxe Balms | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

**These products were kindly gifted for me. My review and thoughts are honest and my own.

Why Minimalism, KonMari and 'Capsule' Trends Need To Stop + Tips For Smart Consuming

From the beginning of this year I’ve been bumping into capsule wardrobes, project pans, minimalism challenges and no-buy promises more than ever. I thought I’d share some thoughts on this topic as I feel quite strongly about it - mainly what annoys me about this trend. Please share your thoughts in the comments if you feel similarly - or against!

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Reasons Minimalism Is So Popular Right Now?

I’d like to believe it’s because of the environment. Global warming is real, we simply cannot keep on consuming and wasting this much if we want to have a future on this little rock. But in media, I think minimalism is mostly just very trendy: Marie Kondo and her tidying rules were all the craze a couple of years ago, but now minimalism is also constantly spoken and pushed by bloggers and Youtubers. Where as shopping hauls were super popular video concept, now people post declutters and purges.

Why Am I Against “Capsule“ Collections and Declutters?

There’s a reason why I feel sceptic, sometimes even against the whole capsule concept and declutters. If these terms are unfamiliar to you, a capsule makeup collection (or wardrobe etc.) is a way to curate your stash, for example separating and storing seasonal items, discarding unused ones. Perhaps you limit yourself to a certain number of products and only shopping for a need. Decluttering one’s makeup stash (or wardrobe, cupboard, etc.) is getting rid of and donating unused items, also discarding things that have gone bad. That doesn’t sound so bad, just organizing?

The problem is the common mind-set to first discard and then create new “needs” to (re)purchase. We rarely just let go of unused items and show more love to our old favorites. Nope, there comes the need of replacing “missing items” as seasons, trends and hypes change. I see a similar trend with declutters - one shouldn’t just mindlessly discard old or unused items, but make a point why there’s so much excess in the first place! With all the new available room, one should refrain from shopping and filling it with new.

I started wondering if minimalism is just a trend for wealthy people, making you appear as a better person because because it’s trendy VS. being a mindful consumer. The things aren’t “weighing you down” but your problem with overconsumption. One popular Finnish blogger spoke how she has the goal of letting go 1000 things (excluding beauty items) - if I did the same, I’d be living in an empty flat.

My Tips for Mindful (Minimal) Consuming

I’m all about enjoying what I have, my problem is the endless decluttering, discarding and giving – that can lead to more consumption. In Finland we have a saying “The poor can’t afford to buy cheap” (“Köyhällä ei ole varaa ostaa halpaa”), which is what I stand by: only shopping for a need, saving and investing on quality items that don’t nee replacing right away. This method is also environmentally conscious as you’ll be buying less and only long-lasting items. A good quality item can often be repaired, fixed or modified.

  • When decluttering, remember to recycle accordingly!

  • Do self-searching why do you shop: is it for a need, because of boredom, sadness, etc. feelings you “deserve” something new

  • Stop referring to your items (bags, makeup, clothes, whatever) as a “collection”. They are items meant to be used, not just collected. Unless, you’re a collector of course.

  • Being a minimalist doesn’t mean asceticism, but enjoying and using what you already have.

  • Rotate your items to get the most out of them, store when not needed.

  • A no buy 6-12 months is a great way to inspect yourself as a consumer and make the most out of what you already have.

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Other Similar Trends To Follow

If you want to take a part in the “minimalist” game, I recommend two other trends: the anti-haul and no buy. An anti-haul is a concept created by drag artist Kimberly Clark where you use hyperbole to share why you are not shopping (new) makeup/product releases. We all have seen gazillion neutral palettes and red lipsticks, not that there was anything wrong with either of them, but this sort of humorous critical thinking raises awareness if we need all the new stuff.

The second trend is a no buy for X period of time, which I did myself in the Fall of 2017 by not shopping for new beauty items for a 1/2 year. I also have an article on How To Reduce Beauty Shopping. A no buy challenge encourages you to enjoy what you already have, question you actually need all what you want. I recommend checking Lisa Eldridge’s lovely #buynothing everyday makeup video where she focuses on techniques with what you may already have VS creating the need to purchase new.

Final thoughts

Don’t get me wrong, I think moderate minimalism is a great thing. Especially in the beauty world, who isn’t tired of brands pushing out new but similar products, new collections from left and right or accidentally purchasing dupes on what you already have. I’m all about enjoying my stash, repurposing and rotating items (do you want an article on that?) and letting go what I don’t use, but I try to do it mindfully. What are your thoughts? Are you a person who likes to declutter things or have you planned a no-buy?