Fresh Faced: My Skin Care Regime

Fresh Faced: My Skin Care Regime

July 16, 2014

Hey there, hope you’re all beating the heat! We went off the grid this weekend (literally and figuratively!) and spent a fun-and-sun-filled few days jaunting between local lakes and rivers with friends and their families…it was awesome! Felt so great to be out in nature, kids running wild and we are beyond blessed to have so many great families in our lives. Hooray for Summer!

Now, I’m by no means a beauty blogger but I have lived with crazy skin for the majority of my life and thought I’d switch things up here a little by sharing some products that have changed my skin for the better. It’s always great to hear real-life product reviews, don’t you think? I have always had combination skin (you know that ideal mix of oily shine, flaky dry patches and just the right amount of breakouts to keep things interesting) and despite my assumptions that I would grow out of it before I hit my 30’s, sadly that just didn’t happen. The fine lines did, however (I just turned 35 last month ) and there’s nothing lamer than tackling wrinkles while combatting adult acne! But through word-of-mouth from friends, product reviews and even my doctor’s advice I have managed to finally achieve pretty decent skin with the help of some great products, although I did have to expand my search outside of the drugstore aisles. It will never be perfect (and I’m ok with that) but on the off-chance that several of you may have had similar skin struggles, it just wouldn’t be fair not to share so here goes! (Side note: If you were born with naturally glowing, clear, age-defying skin, this post is not for you but I won’t hold it against you 😉

Birch + Bird: My skincare regime | Drink Water! | Photo by Rikki Snyder | by Rikki Snyder

Drink up: Obviously, water is our best friend when it comes to health + weight loss and I have been drinking a lot of it over the past couple of months. I drink a big glass first thing in the morning, usually mixed with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (definitely an acquired taste!) or half a lemon squeezed in. This has really helped me keep my weight on track and my skin has been much clearer from the dreaded acne too.  Not sure about the apple cider vinegar? Just do a Google search to read the endless health benefits! I also try to drink one green smoothie per day, exercise regularly and have cut back on processed foods and sugar as much as possible with my busy lifestyle.

Birch + Bird: My skincare regime | Cleansing Products

So fresh + so clean: I swear by Norwex face cleansing cloths (you have to purchase them through a consultant but I’ve had the same 3 for almost 5 years and honestly haven’t used eye makeup remover since!) and invested in a Clarisonic Mia a year and a half ago…love it! It gently exfoliates (I use the deep pore replacement brush heads) and has really helped with those gross flaky patches. I usually wash my face with cleanser and a Norwex cloth first before going over it with the Clarisonic for the timed amount of time after (I feel like this helps my replacement brushes stay clean from makeup and last longer).

Birch + Bird: My skincare regime | MD Formulations

My first “grown up” skin products: My good friend Julia has been my beauty mentor forever and recently recommended an anti-aging skincare line, MD Formulations, that really worked for her. Although we have very different skin, I took a gamble and purchased my own kit anyway and was really happy with how my skin looked after using it for a few weeks…even Brad and several close friends commented on it! There are a number of steps for day and night (which initially felt much more complex than my usual $12 grocery store moisturizer but is no big deal now) but I really like how they target specific skin (especially the eye area) and I couldn’t believe how supple my skin felt…pretty sure it had been dehydrated for years, actually! The daytime antioxidant creme and serum are very lightweight, as is the sunscreen, and I felt like my skin looked more luminous without looking greasy…big thumbs up! On the downside, I did break out for the first week or so (boo…although we were in the midst of moving so stress could very well have played a factor in that) and the nighttime anti-aging serum smells really weird.


Birch + Bird: My skincare regime | Optimera Product ReviewOptimera

My second “grown up” facial creams, Optimera: Shortly after I ordered my first real skincare kit, I was invited to meet one-on-one with Marie Bertrand, Skin Scientist and founder of the Skin Science clinic in Calgary, to learn about the newly launched Optimera line of skincare products. We were hosting an event at the store that day so I couldn’t meet with Marie but agreed to try some samples of the product anyway (hey, why not?!) and I was very surprised to receive two full size bottles in the mail a week later. I waited to try them out (as I’d just started the other line) but it was definitely worth the wait! You can read much more about this plant-based line here but (in a nutshell) these creams are the only products on the market to include the exclusive SAL-14 extract which is a combination of various botanicals produced from cutting-edge plant cell duplication technology. It’s formulated to significantly reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, discoloration, uneven skin texture, enlarged pores and aging/loose skin. In addition to the signs of aging, Optimera also claims to improve radiance, elasticity, and the smooth appearance of skin…sounds too good to be true, right? I admit I was skeptical (I mean, even my previous drugstore brands claimed to work miracles!) but I honestly loved both of these products. The day cream is light and leaves my skin feeling smooth and moisturized all day, without being greasy, and I really like the thicker feel of the night cream…it actually feels slightly tight when it dries, almost like a mask. My skin tone felt much more even after using these for only a week and I didn’t break out at all, something very rare for me when using new products! They smell great and the Optimera products were developed without parabens, sulfates, phthalates, synthetic colors, propylene glycol, mineral oils, or synthetic fragrances. They are also gluten free and cruelty free, noncomedogenic and ideal for all skin types. I will definitely keep using these creams and although they’re pricey, would totally recommend them!

Adult Acne, boo: Now, I don’t have a pretty picture but I do keep a prescription of Clindoxyl on hand for hormonal acne flare-ups (always be prepared) and it’s a game-changer if you’re prone to breakouts. Thankfully I don’t have to use it regularly anymore but it works like a charm for the face, chest and back. Talk to your doctor about this one!

Birch + Bird: My skincare regime | Makeup Faves

Best Face Forward: I’m not one to go out of the house without makeup but I also like to keep things looking as natural as possible. When battling oily skin, I’ve totally been guilty of caking the powder on too thick (which always backfires) but it’s a habit I’m definitely trying to break. It’s summer so I forgo foundation and use a medium coverage concealer for any dark circles or blemishes, followed by a mineral based correcting powder (I’m currently using this one). My must-have product is Tarte’s Oil Absorbing Amazonian Clay Finishing Powder…honestly, any of you oily/combination skinned girls can thank me later! Just a light dusting soaks up any extra shine, minimized pores and usually lasts me all day. I’ll touch it up if I’m going out but seriously, I used to have to wash my face and redo my makeup if I had evening plans so this was a game changer! A quick sweep of bronzer and maybe a bit of blush (Nars Orgasm is my favourite, duh) and I’m good to go. What about my eyes, you might ask? I actually get eyelash extensions (gasp!) and looove them! They’re totally low maintenance (I go for a fill every 3-4 weeks, depending, and my friend Keely does an amaaaazing job!) and although I might add a sweep of eyeliner or shadow if I’m feeling fancy, I otherwise only use it teeny bit of mascara on my lower lashes. There, the secret’s out 😉


Phew, that took a lot longer than I imagined it would but I hope my skincare journey helps at least a few of you on yours! Enjoy your day and don’t forget the sunscreen 🙂

Disclaimer: I was not compensated by any product or company for this post. Although I did receive samples of Optimera free of charge, my review is unbiased and is 100% based on my own experience with these products. All other products mentioned were purchased by myself and reviews are based on my personal experiences. Please talk to a doctor regarding any prescriptions or skincare conditions…I am no expert by any means! 

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