Online Cosmetologist Consultation by SkinCity (Review)

When I first started getting into makeup and skincare, I quickly noticed how shopping can be a daunting task. Fun, but daunting. I have personally have an easy access to department stores or beauty shops, but I wish there had been someone to guide me. Getting product recommendations for specific skin concerns from a cosmetologist was not an option. This Autumn I discovered SkinCity.fi (available in Nordic countries and UK at least) - an online shop with free cosmetologist consultation. I’m very excited to review their service, I hope you enjoy today’s post.

*Products received for consideration, thoughts about the service my own and honest.

SkinCity Shop Review | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog @laurantaina

What is SkinCity?

SkinCity.fi aims to be “your skin clinic online”. They have a very curated selection of brands they carry, many higher end or clinic grade with some luxe eco beauty. What I think sets them apart is their customer service: everyone is a certified cosmetologist. That’s right – wether you phone, chat or email there is always a skincare professional who answers you. Their values are all about knowledge, quality and service.

To offer a similar experience as visiting a clinic IRL, SkinCity has developed an unique skin test where you fill a questionnaire, send a no makeup closeup of your skin and a certified cosmetologist will review your results for the best personal recommendations. This test is completely free and you can choose to purchase or skip any of the suggested products.

SkinCity Shop Review | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog @laurantaina

My Skin Test Process

Alright, so I make a customer account and chose to do the “Complete Skin Test” version with 15 questions. There is also a shorter questionnaire for a basic routine (4 questions). I chose three main concerns for my routine: hydration, firming and appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Previously I would have gone for brightening or evening out my skin tone, but lately I’ve felt more confident about my acne scars. I was able to choose one brand out of SkinCity’s selection I was interested in. I picked Medik8 as I had heard a ton about this brand, but tested only one product or so. Lastly, I submit a profile (cheek) picture of me with no makeup to give a better idea of my skin condition.

After one day or so, I got emailed my results! My cosmetologist was Riina. There were 9 skincare recommendations + 1 foundation (you can get a base makeup recommendation if you wish), the more essential products for the core routine were marked with an asterisk. I also got additional -10% off code for any SkinCity orders, which is not a ton but a great plus.

I felt like there might be problems with SkinCity’s questionnaire for people who are unsure with terminology or cannot pinpoint what they want or need. Fortunately, there is a real living cosmetologist who reads the results and answers questions and you can leave some questions unanswered. Always ask for assistance! Still, for shy or busy people I wish the questionnaire had more examples or explanations.

SkinCity Shop Review | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog @laurantaina

Testing right now: Medik8 C-Tetra+ Intense

SkinCity Shop Review | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog @laurantaina

SkinCity Customer Service Experience

After I had my results I came up with some questions regarding the foundation. Later, I also wanted to know why you could choose only one brand for your routine. First, I reached out via chat and then I even called the SkinCity office. Both times I was answered right away and the cosmetologist was very kind and knowledgeable. I felt the level of customer service was very high and left me feeling safe.

By the way, here’s the answer to couple of my questions: SkinCity believes that giving routine recommendations from one brand makes the products work together most efficiently. If you’re wanting to purchase a makeup product, you can ask the cosmetologist swatch the shades for you!

Pros and Cons of SkinCity

Pro’s!

  • very clear concept, easy to use website

  • the comprehensive skin test is relatively easy: reading and clicking

  • great customer service, quick results and personalized routine

  • no obligation to purchase

  • a great, curated selection of brands

  • if you choose to revisit the skin test, you see your old answers which is very handy

and cons…

  • terminology might be difficult for skincare newbies

  • not many inexpensive or drugstore brands

SkinCity Shop Review | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog @laurantaina

Final Thoughts

Would I recommend this service..? Big yes! I would love to “meet up” with a certified cosmetologist every time I shop for skincare, especially if I just need consultation help and still haven’t committed to a purchase. The level of customer service and efficacy was very high. With some online services I’ve felt the contact person has been somewhat faceless and nameless entity, but with SkinCity.fi it’s all very approachable. Nothing pushy, zero after quiz emails pressuring you to purchase. My first impression is very good with the products I got, but will report back how I get along with them! Expect some Medik8 reviews soon!

Would You Try Online Cosmetologist Service?

Benefits of Vitamin C in Skincare

I’ve received a lot of questions regarding my acne: how long I took Accutane, which products did I use and how to fade scars. I’ve researched and paid a lot of attention to the skincare ingredients and potency of the products I use: I want to heal my scars (they look quite faded right now) and also prevent further damage to my skin. Today I want to highlight one of my favorite skincare ingredients: Vitamin C! There has been a lot of Vitamin C talk in the beauty community lately, thanks to some best-selling products, but not all Vitamin C products are made equal. I hope this post is helpful! Enjoy!

*Medik8 serum in photos is a PR sample I’m testing out!

Benefits of Vitamin C in Skincare | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog @laurantaina

Benefits of Vitamin C in Skincare

Vitamin C is well-researched ingredient and studies show a wide range of skincare benefits when applied topically. When used in daily routine it is:

  • a great antioxidant

  • helps to fade hyperpigmentation / brown spots

  • stimulates skin’s own collagen production

  • fights against photo damage caused by the sun

  • protects against free radicals

Collagen is extremely important in skincare when it comes to (lack of a better word) “anti-ageing”: it promotes skin elasticity, making it soft, supple and smooth. Lack of collagen causes deeper wrinkles and sagging, making the skin look older. Using a potent Vitamin C product can minimize these signs of ageing for a brighter, tighter and more youthful appearance. It also reduces pigmentation by slowing down melanin production for more even and bright skin tone.

Combining Vitamin C with Vitamin E and Ferulic Acid can further protect the skin from photo damage aka exposure to sunlight (UVA and UVB). I’ve talked many times about the importance of sunscreen: read more. It’s a great idea to use a Vitamin C serum under your SPF - not instead of it!

Benefits of Vitamin C in Skincare | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog @laurantaina

Cons of Using Vitamin C in Skincare

Like with all ingredients, there is a possibility that large % of Vitamin C can be irritating to super sensitive or rosacea prone skin. If you’re new to this ingredient you can start from lower concentrations or natural sources of Vitamin C (fruit and berries in natural skincare). Patch test your serum before use and start from once per day application. Other ingredients such as Arbutin can be an alternative for fading pigmentation if Vitamin C makes your skin flare.

Formulating Vitamin C products is also tricky, as the ingredient is extremely unstable, doesn’t penetrate the skin easily without a proper pH and oxidizes quickly. It’s important to choose your product wisely and store it properly. High concentrations of potent Vitamin C serums are often rather expensive, which makes wasting them even more annoying.

How to Use a Vitamin C Serum

Because Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin its water based solutions are very unstable and need a correct pH to work (<3.5). There are waterless formulations on the market, but these are often silicone based and have somewhat gritty texture. Still worth checking out!

Like all antioxidants, Vitamin C starts to degrade when exposed to light or air: make sure to choose a dark glass or opaque packaging, preferably with an air-tight pump. Store the serum somewhere else than your humid bathroom cabinet, again preferably somewhere dark. I would avoid stocking up on Vitamin C products and instead use them up as quickly as possible. If the color starts to turn amber/tan/brown color the product has oxidized and should be discarded. Oxidized products will harm your skin by generating free radicals instead of protecting from them.

Usually adding a Vitamin C into skincare routine is beneficial for all skin types and can be used morning and night. Apply as your 1st treatment step after toning and before your moisturizer. Moisturizers with added Vitamin C may be beneficial, but serums are the most potent and efficient. Always top with an SPF in day time.

Benefits of Vitamin C in Skincare | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog @laurantaina

Above: Medik8 serum and waterless The InkeyList Vitamin C

Best Forms of Vitamin C in Skincare

L-Ascorbic Acid (or Ascorbic Acid) is the most potent - and notoriously unstable - bioavailable form of Vitamin C. It’s needed for collagen synthesis while all derivates need to be converted to Ascorbic Acid inside cells. When choosing a treatment with Ascorbic Acid: look for at least 10-15% concentration and use it up as soon as possible. Ferulic Acid and Vitamin E are excellent antioxidant companions to Vitamin C as they increase its stability. Vitamin C can also turn inactive Vitamin E back to its active antioxidant form.

Some forms of Vitamin C:

  • L-Ascorbic Acid

  • Ascorbyl Glucoside

  • Ascorbyl Palmitate

  • Aminopropyl Ascorbyl Phosphate

  • Ethyl Ascorbic Acid

  • Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate

  • Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate

The derivates are esters (oil-soluble) or salts (water-soluble), both pretty common in skincare products. They are less irritating and more stable with longer shelf life. Of course derivates are also less potent, but a noteworthy option if you find Ascorbic Acid too strong, too expensive or don’t use up your serums quickly enough. Remember that all Vitamin C products will still break down if exposed to light and air.

Do you love Vitamin C? What are your favorite products?

Favorite Hair Accessories For My Short Bob

Today’s post is about everyone’s current obsession (at least on Instagram): hair pins and bands. I’ve loved both hair accessories since forever and I’m so happy they’re back in style and more easy to find. I personally don’t have a lot of length in my hair, so adding an accessory or two really brightens up my look and my mood. Here are some of my recent favorites!

*This post contains gifted products marked with an asterisk (*). My thoughts are my own!

Best Hair Accessories for Short Bob | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog
Best Hair Accessories for Short Bob | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Marble And Tortoise Hair Clips

This style of clip looks fresh and modern, available in many colors: pink, black, white and classic tortoise color. Great for adding a subtle pop of color and texture to your look - especially if you work in an office. I usually wear this type of clip alone.

Above: Tortoise and marble clip from Gauhar

Below: *Pink marble clip from Cocobella Hair Accessories

Best Hair Accessories for Short Bob | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog
Best Hair Accessories for Short Bob | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog
Best Hair Accessories for Short Bob | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog
Best Hair Accessories for Short Bob | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Pearl Hair Clips

Who else has seen pearl hair clips taking over the world or at least social media? I still haven’t got tired of them: different shapes and sizes, gold or silver base, I take them all! Good quality clips you can open and close as you wish as the pearls are not hard glued on the clip, but are sewn with tiny string. I love to layer these hair clips to make my look more dressy.

*Big pearl clip from Cocobella Hair Accessories

Mini pearl clips by Complement (Åhlens Stockholm)

Best Hair Accessories for Short Bob | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog
Best Hair Accessories for Short Bob | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Velvet Hair Bands

I reach for my hair bands when I want my look to be put together and feminine. This big, knotted band is great in the evenings or going out, while thinner or bow bands are perfect during the day. With cat eye and defined brows a black hair band adds a little something to the look, don’t you think? Velvet bands remind me of Alice in Wonderland, which is my favorite fairy tale. If you’re not a huge fan of black or velvet, there are plenty of other colors and materials to choose from.

*Above: Knot velvet hair band from Cocobella Hair Accessories

Below: Simple velvet band by Complement (Åhlens Stockholm)

How do you accessorise your hair? I’ve been so into hair styling and care lately, my favorite hair styling products and a blow dry tutorial are coming soon..! x