oily skin products

Beauty Review: It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Airbrush Powder

Beauty Review: It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Airbrush Powder | Writing Between Pauses

I know I write about this a lot, but I have oily skin. Very oily skin. Skin so oily that I have a special routine I follow to keep my foundation from breaking down after just 3 hours. (You can read about my oily skin foundation routine here.) 

Way back in October, I received a sample of It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores pressed powder in my Ipsy bag. (You can read that review here.) I really loved that pressed powder and was really devastated when I ran out. At $29 per pan, I couldn't really afford to buy a full size at the time--so I kept using my elf HD powder. 

However, after some thought, I realized: I go through a lot of that elf HD powder. At $6 a pop, it's not that expensive--but I use a lot of it. If a full size pan or pot of pressed or loose high end powder costs $29-32, but lasts 3+ months, is it worth it? 

Without having tried the It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Airbrush Powder, I didn't want to jump in to a $32 purchase without some reassurance. My chance came during the Ulta sale, when I received a 20% off everything coupon (including prestige). I bought a full size of the Bye Bye Pores Airbrush Powder (the loose version) and excitedly got home to use it. 

Here's what it promises: 

Instantly erase the appearance of imperfections with Bye Bye Pores™, your airbrushed perfection in a jar! Developed with plastic surgeons and infused with Bye Bye Pores Optical Blurring Technology™, this anti-aging, skin-perfecting powder utilizes real silk to make your pores disappear from view, and hydrolyzed collagen to smooth away the look of wrinkles. Loads of antioxidants, peptides and skin-loving ingredients give you a shine-free, airbrushed finish. Plus, the universal translucent shade goes on completely clear and works on all skin tones!

This powder feels so differently from the elf HD powder. It is extremely finely milled and very soft. It also doesn't come out of the little sifter as well, is slightly clumpier, and harder to pick up with a brush. Those aren't necessarily bad things, just a few details about the powder! 

I've incorporated it into my routine in place of elf HD powder. Basically, I use it on top of my moisturizer, underneath my foundation, to keep my natural oils from breaking down my makeup throughout the day. Instead of using a brush (as I do with my elf HD powder), I have found it's much easier to apply the It Cosmetics powder with a slightly damp beauty blender. 

The first day I wore this powder, I was blown away by how long my foundation lasted. However, I occasionally have a few fluke days where my skin doesn't get as oily. I knew I needed to wait before I sang its praises! However, after several days in a row of perfect make up after 6, 7, or even 8 hours... I was pretty convinced. 

It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores

I'm notorious for always wanting to choose a more affordable product over a more expensive one. However, here are a few factors that have swayed me towards continuing to purchase this powder at $32 a pop: 

  • I am using less product. I don't need as much of this powder as I did of previous powders I used. Therefore, I am ultimately saving money in the long run. 
  • My makeup is lasting longer. All parts of my makeup--foundation, blush, highlight--are lasting longer, as my makeup isn't breaking down or transferring onto my clothes or hands throughout the day. This is such a relief! Less laundry is always a good thing. 
  • It really does minimize pores and my makeup goes on smoother. Since I use a somewhat unique method to put on my foundation, I do notice that this powder works the way primer does on those with different skin types. (As a note: Primer has never worked on my skin!) My pores are much less noticeable and I don't have to spend as long blending my foundation around my difficult areas, like my nose. 

Am I convert to more "expensive" (or even luxury) powders? I suppose I am! I've always argued for how good drugstore brand powders are--and truly, there is nothing wrong with my elf or Maybelline loose powder. I'm just really impressed with this powder from It Cosmetics and can't see myself going back ever again. 

If you're extremely oily like me, and want a powder that will keep your makeup set all day, this is definitely one to look for! 

Do you have a product that you've always bought affordably--but would love to try high end? 

Everything You Need for Perfect Foundation With Oily Skin

Everything You Need for Perfect Foundation With Oily Skin | Writing Between Pauses

My biggest foundation woe has always been not being able to keep it on my skin. I've always (and I mean, always) had my foundation break down in the corners of my nose, the tip of my nose, my chin, and my forehead. It's pretty awkward to have everything else stay in play... and those points rub off! 

A few years ago, I set out to really solve the problem. I tried every primer under the sun. I tried every method of application. I tried expensive foundations, cheap foundations, concealer only.

Finally, I feel like I've settled on a routine that at least lasts my work day (anything beyond that is a guessing game!) and I thought I'd share my method with you. You definitely don't have to use these exact products, but I'll break down why they work. 

1. Start with a clean & moisturized face. 

Even if you washed your face the night before, you should wash your face before applying foundation. It washes off the oil and bacteria that emerged overnight. I usually wash with my charcoal bar, then apply Pacifica's Dreamy Youth moisturizer, a squeeze of Aveeno's Daily Moisturizer with SPF 15, and two drops of jojoba oil. Let your moisturizer sink into your skin for at least 5-10 minutes. 

2. Wash your beauty sponge every day. 

If you're one of those people who lets their beauty sponge get super dark brown... you're not doing your skin any favors. You need to wash it to its ORIGINAL COLOR every single day. I'm serious. And it needs to be stored in a proper drying rack (you can buy them for really cheap at TJ Maxx or Marshalls), not in a closed container or drawer. 

3. Apply setting powder first. 

I use elf's Skin Refining HD Powder in sheer. When it comes to setting powder, you should look for: a finely milled powder that applies cleanly and makes your skin feel immediately matte. I apply this before foundation because it helps foundation both stick to my skin and absorbs any oil that pops up throughout the day. 

I know this is a "controversial" step: many makeup artists contend that you just can't apply cream or liquid products (like foundation) over powder. But I've never had an issue with foundation applying over my powder. In fact, it makes my skin look better!

Another good base powder to try, if you struggle with large pores, is the IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Airbrush powder. They also have a Pressed version of this powder that I quite like as a topping powder. 

4. Use a matte foundation. 

If a foundation is advertised as "dewy" or "glowy," it goes without saying that it probably won't work with very oily skin. (And the reverse is also true: if you have very dry skin, don't use matte foundations; they'll just dry down.) Right now, I'm using the Maybelline SuperStay Foundation, which I love, but because it's not cruelty-free, I'm looking for an affordable replacement. Some alternatives I'll be trying once my bottle of SuperStay is used up will be the FENTY foundation (notorious for drying down and being super matte) and the Tarte Face Tape Matte foundation

You also shouldn't use a ton of foundation. If it's matte and full-coverage, I usually apply a tiny dollop of highlighting cream, as that thins it out and keeps it from being too heavy on the skin (and going cakey). If you watch MUA videos on YouTube or Instagram, it's easy to think that piling on foundation is better--but I assure you, it's not. 

5. Use a matte concealer

It also goes without saying that if you use a matte foundation, you should use a matte concealer too (if you use concealer). Tarte's Shape Tape is one of the most matte concealers out there (and a little goes a long way); I use Shape Tape on my undereyes, as well as on the tip of my nose and the corners of my nose, then let it dry down for a minute or two before blending. I find this extra little step goes a long way towards preventing break down. 

6. Use more setting powder

You use setting powder as a primer. Now, it's time for more setting powder. I usually use a large, fluffy brush to brush some more of elf's HD Powder over my t-zone; then I set the rest of my face with a smaller face brush with Maybelline's Fit Me loose powder. I know this seems like a lot of powder, but it will help absorb oil and keep your foundation set throughout the day. 

7. Invest in a good setting spray

Setting spray is really everyone's best friend. I love the Wet'n'Wild Photofocus Matte Finish setting spray (because it's only $5!); you only need a spray or two to set your face. I've also heard great things about Urban Decay's All Nighter setting spray for oily skin. Mostly, you want to look for matte finish, again, just like with your foundation and concealer. 

8. Clean all your brushes every single day. 

Sorry, but remember that bit about washing your beauty sponge every day? Well, you'll be washing everything else too. If you have oily skin, the oils from your skin naturally get on your brushes, sponges, everything. To keep your makeup sanitary, and your brushes working well, give your brushes a rinse every single day, especially ones that you use for your whole face (like blush and contour brushes, face brushes, fan brushes, and more). It doesn't have to be a full scrub; just a rinse. I then lay mine flat on a towel while I'm at work. I fully wash everything with Dr. Bronner's soap on Sundays. If you aren't washing your brushes at least once a week, you need to change up your routine and start doing it. You'll be surprised at the difference it makes in your skin! 

Beauty Review: Ole Henriksen Balance Skincare Line

As I recently posted on Instagram, I meant to post my review of these products way earlier. I received my VoxBox over two weeks ago. In that time, I came down with the flu, went to the doctor twice, and have almost recovered from the flu (12 hours without a fever flare up is about as recovered as I can expect 10 days on). At least I'm not flat on my back anymore, right? 

So here it is, my review. My review of these products is definitely colored by the fact that I haven't worn make up since I got sick. The number of times I've stumbled out of my house, hair a mess, wearing sweatpants, visible acne all over my face, is pretty astonishing, but very freeing. (I originally planned to post different content this week, actually. But reviews are easier to write on a fatigued brain like mine.) 

Let's start with the cleanser. 

Find Your Balance Control Cleanser

I have a really hard time finding cleansers that I like. I've been using the Beautycounter Charcoal bar since October (when I received it as a gift from my sister, who is a consultant) and I liked it: it removed my make up, it didn't leave my skin feeling covered in residue, it didn't dry out my very sensitive skin. That being said, it didn't seem to give me any benefit, but considering how sensitive my skin is to cleansers, I'm willing to take the bare minimum. 

The Ole Henriksen Find Your Balance Control Cleanser smells amazing, first off: it has eucalyptus and peppermint oils, which sounds really harsh, but is surprisingly gentle. It is a more gel-like cleanser that foams easily in water to later across your face. It gives my skin this super tingly, fresh feeling. And the smell. Did I mention the smell? It's amazing. For whatever, it reminds me of the scene in Mean Girls where Regina's face smells like peppermint. 

So how is in on the actual cleansing part? It removes my make up extremely well and I've noticed a significant reduction in the amount of oil my skin produces since I started using it. My skin is less red and I've noticed that a lot of my cystic acne scars are lightening. Those are two benefits that really work for me. 

Balancing Force Oil Control Toner

I have never really been able to keep up the whole "cleanser-toner-moisturizer" routine. It's just too many steps for me. But I was willing to take a chance with this toner. It is not as strongly scented as toners I've used in the past and definitely not as harsh. It has the same clean, eucalyptus scent as the cleanser, but very toned down. It's super gentle and doesn't burn my skin like a lot of toners. 

Ok, here's my important question: does not using the toner throw off the oil control aspect of this line? Here's the spoiler: yes. If I just use the cleanser and moisturizer, I definitely produce less oil than I would normally; however, without the toner, my skin definitely doesn't stay as matte. I tested out this theory a few times. So the toner is an important step and one I'm willing to take because I've literally never found anything that keeps my skin so matte during the day. 

Counter Balance Oil Control Moisturizer

Technically, this is called a "hydrator" (but it's a moisturizer). Like the toner, it has a really clean scent, but definitely toned down from the cleanser. I appreciate this because it means you get that nice burst of scent when you wash your face, but it doesn't stick with you all day long. 

This moisturizer promises to be mattifying--and friends, it's not lying. I've used lots of mattifying moisturizers in the past (my favorite has been dermatologica, but it definitely didn't do wonders for my skin). Since I've used this line from Ole Henriksen, I've seen a significant reduction in my acne which is honestly incredible. This moisturizer also definitely doubles as a primer for me (except on my nose, which I need a separate primer for usually). It keeps my skin super matte, it's a great base for doing make up, and keeps me from getting too dry or too oily throughout the day. I'm obsessed with it. 

Also, unlike other moisturizers which I feel make my skin feel super, super grimy, this moisturizer feels so clean. It's perfect. 

Ok, so that's it. I love these Ole Henriksen products. I'm so glad that Influenster selected me for the Find Your Balance Voxbox. I did receive these products for free for review (you can read my disclosure policy here), but all thoughts on them are my own. If you'd like to follow me on Influenster, you can do so here. Also, if you love this review (and all the other content on my blog), I'd love if you'd sign up for my newsletter by clicking here

Beauty Review: Columbia Skincare Probiotic Complex & Concentrate*

(Per my Disclosure Policy, an asterisk* denotes that this post is sponsored. I receive the Columbia Skincare Probiotic Concentrate and Probiotic Complex as samples in return for an honest review. While I received these products, the following review is honest and my own! To learn more about my advertising and PR policies, click here and here.)

When I was offered the opportunity to try out some new skincare, I'll admit it: I was really excited. I've been really struggling with my skin lately: a lot of break outs, a lot of oiliness, a lot of redness. I was hoping that trying something new would help me out. 

The products I received from Columbia Skincare are their Probiotic Concentrate and their Probiotic Complex. The concentrate is like a toner that you apply with a dropper and rub in; the complex is more like a thick cream moisturizer. 

Here's what Columbia Skincare has to say about their products: 

"Our probiotics promote the natural cleansing of impurities in the cellular system, including residual impurities from other medications and treatments including retinoids." 

Sounds cool, right? 

I don't use products with retinol in them (but if you do and decide to give Columbia Skincare a try, you need to stop using retinol products at the same time as it can cause some issues). However, I'm very into ridding my skin of impurities. I've used acne treatments for so long that my face is numb to them, which I'm sure isn't great

So what did I think of Columbia Skincare? 

Let's start with the Probiotic Concentrate: I really liked it! It made my skin feel really clean and smooth after applying. Plus, I loved the dropper; it made me feel extra fancy. I haven't noticed a huge improvement with my skin, except that I have had less break outs since I started using it (possibly unrelated correlation, but I like to think it has helped) and my skin generally seems healthier with less bad oily and dry patches. 

As for the Probiotic Complex, I did have some issues with it. When you first apply it, it feels really mattifying, which is actually awesome; I typically use a mattifying moisturizer from Dermatologica, so that was nice. However, after about 40+ minutes on, it got incredibly oily. It was like an oil slick. Underneath make up, it was even worse; my make up basically slid off two hours into wearing it. Not a great look. Even though the instructions say to apply both morning and night, I've decided to keep the Complex for night time. It's nice because it is very moisturizing and makes my skin very soft, but the excess oil for the day isn't great. If you have dry skin, however, it would be AMAZING. 

Other notes: the products are high quality, including the packaging. It is glass and very heavy, as well as feeling very luxurious. The smell of the products isn't bad; there is no artificial scent. It smells really clean and... doctor's office-y, for lack of a better term. Not bad, but not like something I want to smell like--although my husband assures me my face doesn't end up smelling like that! 

Want to try Columbia Skincare? Find them on Facebook here and you can check out their website here

Beauty Review: Honest Beauty Try Me Kit for Oily Skin

I don't usually try new beauty products. I used to be the kind of person who tried a new moisturizer, a new cleanser, or a new primer every single month. But over time, I realized that was not helping my skin whatsoever. I have my tried-and-true products for oily skin that I use consistently to help me keep things consistent

However, in my November diaper bundle that I receive from Honest (I'm a sucker for those cute printed diapers), I had the option to choose any Honest Beauty products. I decided to go to the Try Me Kit for Oily Skin, just to see how their products really measured up. 

Obviously, I get diapers for Forrest from Honest. We also exclusively use their baby body wash and shampoo, bubble bath, diaper cream, and healing balm; they're the only products that don't send Forrest into a tail spin of rashes. I love their products mostly because they deliver them to my house, which is a major bonus. 

When my bundle arrived, containing not just diapers, but the Try Me Kit, I was pretty excited to try it. I was also surprised that the kit arrived in such a nice travel bag; it feels like high-quality faux-leather, lined with a nice canvas. For something you get for free, it's pretty great. 

The Try Me Kit for Oily Skin came with three products: 

  1. Refreshingly Clean Gel Cleanser
  2. Dependably Clear Oil Free Moisturizer
  3. Beyond Protected Daily Beauty Fluid SPF 30

The gel cleanser is the largest bottle and I've been using it for about a week, once a day, without running out. The moisturizer is much smaller, but again, I've been using it once a day for a week and haven't run out yet; the beauty fluid is the same size as the moisturizer. 

Alright, let's talk about each products. 

Refreshingly Clean Gel Cleanser

I actually really like this cleanser; it cleans and gets rid of everyday oil as well as make up without leaving any kind of residue or feeling like it absolutely strips my skin. I can get really dry after washing my face, especially with harsh cleansers, but so far, I haven't noticed any dryness with this cleanser.

My one issue with it is that it smells really strongly--and not very good. Honest is famous for their products being fragrance free (or if they're scented, they have a fragrance free option) and sometimes, this can make them smell, well, a bit weird. When you combine chemicals to create soap, you're obviously going to end up with some kind of smell. They may have wanted to add a little something to cover up the smell of this. The closest approximation I can get is it smells like that really cheap lotion you can buy at the dollar store: chemically and weird. 

Dependably Clear Oil Free Moisturizer

This moisturizer gets a solid OK from me. I didn't feel like it harmed my skin, but I also didn't feel like it really did anything different from my normal moisturizer. It felt nice though and didn't give my skin that tacky feeling that some moisturizers leave. I tend to avoid "oil free" moisturizers because that often means they use something artificial to create moisture and ultimately, oil is actually very good for your skin (yes, even oily, acne prone skin). I worried a little bit about this moisturizer stripping my skin, but I haven't noticed any issues. 

Again, the one major issue I had with this product is... the smell. 

The smell of this moisturizer was different than the cleanser, but not any better. I don't know how to say this without sounding weird, but this moisturizer smells like cheese. It smells like that fake white cheddar cheese dust that's used for packaged popcorn or chips. It smells almost foot-like. That's not a pleasant way for your face to smell. I had a moment where I felt a bit like the scene from Mean Girls where Kady replaces Regina's moisturizer with foot cream. 

Beyond Protected Daily Beauty Fluid SPF 30 

I use an SPF 30 on my face every day anyway, so I was excited to try this product. However, it was my least favorite of the kit and here's why: it's not fluid. It's near impossible to get out of the bottle. It has a super weird texture and you have to use a ton of it to cover your face. And just like the moisturizer, it smells like cheese-and-feet.

That's enough "no thank you" moments to make me put it back in the bag and not finish the little bottle of it. I really wonder why they didn't just add an SPF 30 to the moisturizer; three steps is bordering on too many steps for skincare for me, and especially with a product where the instructions are "shake vigorously" so you can get it out of the bottle, it's just too time consuming. 

Want to try Honest Beauty for yourself? You can sign up for a free trial here