Posts Tagged skin care

G.M. Collin Bota-Peptide Concentrate & Eye Contour

OMG. I’m still here. I know, it’s been ages! I picked up a few things today from Sephora in light of the 15% discount and it got me in the mood to post. Let’s do this!

Back at the end of November, I showed you guys my current skincare routine and mentioned a handful of products I had been trying from G.M. Collin. At that point, I gave you a quick overview of their Bota-Peptide Eye Contour, but I hadn’t yet tried the Bota-Peptide Concentrate. Today I wanted to give you a more in-depth review of both of these items since I’m long overdue!

GM Collin Bota Peptide

First, a quick primer on peptides and why they’re important in the fight against aging skin. Peptides are amino acids that help bind moisture to the skin and help the skin to repair itself. More importantly, peptides applied topically to the skin encourage collagen production, which helps reverse some of the natural breakdown of collagen we experience over time (from age and external factors like sun and stress). Since collagen is what keeps our skin supple-looking and youthful, it’s a great idea to regularly use a product that boosts it’s production.

OK. So, the name ‘Bota-Peptide’ in both the eye treatment and serum is probably an indication we’re on the right track, yes? And indeed, both the Eye Contour and Concentrate are packed with a host of different peptides to battle the appearance of expression lines and wrinkles; the Eye Contour also is designed to reduce dark circles.

The Eye Contour ($96CAD) is a light eye serum that is somewhat hydrating as well (likely due to the Sodium Hyaluronate), as I can get away without any additional eye cream after using this (though note my undereye area isn’t particularly dry). Now that I’ve been using this daily for over 4 months (and wow, I just realized how long this has lasted!!!), I can confidently say that it has reduced any fine lines I’ve started to develop under my eyes – the area just looks so much smoother. I don’t know if my dark circles are reduced – I mean, they’re REALLY DARK so I have a long way to improvement – but the ingredient list boasts some badass circle-lightening ingredients (such as Vitamin K, caffeine and Haloxyl) that make me think they probably are lessened and I just haven’t been paying attention (oops).

Ingredients: Water, Phytonadione (Vitamin K), Phospholipids, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hydrolyzed Glycosaminoglycans, Arachidyl Alcohol, Behenyl Alcohol, Arachidyl Glucoside, Acetyl Hexapeptide-3, Hesperidin Methyl Chalcone, Steareth-20, Dipeptide-2, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3, PEG-6 Isostearate, Hesperetin Laurate, N-Hydroxysuccinimide, Chrysin, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Carbomer, Polysorbate-20, Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-3, Squalane (Vegetal), Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclohexasiloxane, Cetearyl Isononanoate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat Germ) Oil, Hydrolyzed Hibiscus Esculentus Extract, Dextrin, Soybean (Glycine Soya), Caffeine, PEG-100 Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Octyldodecanol, Irvingia Gabonensis Kernel (Wild Mango) Butter, Hydrogenated Cocoglycerides, Ethylhexylglycerin, Dimethicone, Propylene Glycol, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Chlorphenesin, Xanthan Gum, Fragrance, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Disodium EDTA, Triethanolamine, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A).

GM Collin Bota PeptideTop to bottom: G.M. Collin Eye Contour and Concentrate

The Concentrate ($132CAD) has a very similar texture to the Eye Contour, which feels neither silicone-y nor *too* thin, and has a clean scent that I don’t even really register when using (which is my preference). I use this in the evening and apply a facial oil over top, though in the summer I could probably get away with using it on it’s own as it seems to provide a very light veil of moisture (dry skins will still need a moisturizer though). It dispenses easily from an airless pump mechanism; generally I use 2 pumps and this covers my face and neck sufficiently. As I rotate my skincare, alternating with a retinoid product, I use this every 2nd evening, and I always notice in the morning how soft and smooth my skin feels after using this. As I have few wrinkles I didn’t notice any drastic results, but I will say that the expression lines in my forehead have decreased since using this, and I honestly just feel like my skin looks more youthful.

Ingredients: Water, Acetyl Hexapeptide-3, Glucose, Xanthan Gum, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan), Cyclomethicone, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Medicago Sativa (Alfalfa) Extract, Glycerin, Carbomer, Polysorbate-20, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3, Butylene Glycol, Laureth-3, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Acetyl Di-Peptide-1, Cetyl Ester, Bambusa Vulgaris Extract, Pisum Sativum (Pea) Extract, Glucosamine Hcl, Saccharomyces/Xylinum Black Tea Ferment, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Seed Extract, Polydodecanamideaminium Triazadiphenylethylene Sulfonate, Polyvinylalcohol Crosspolymer, Dimethicone Cosspolymer, Thermus Thermophillis Ferment, Peg-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Polyacrylamide, C13-C14 Isoparaffin, Laureth-7, Dimethiconol, Dipalmitoyl Hydroxyproline, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, Sodium Hydroxide, Ammonium Acrylate-Acrylamide Copolymer, Polyisobutene, Fragrance, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil. 

One other note: the PR person who sent this to me cautioned that as I have sensitive skin around my mouth, I might not want to use this in that area as it’s a powerful treatment product – however, after using it for the past several months, I’ve starting using it in that area anyway and have had absolutely no issues.

GM Collin Bota Peptide

The final verdict? I really, really like these two products! I’m surprised at how much so. Though it pains me and my wallet, I actually think I’ll pick both of these up again when I run out – I just feel like they proof is in the pudding, both in my results and in the stellar ingredient lists. I mean, who doesn’t want their skin to look like this again?:


Have you tried any G.M. Collin products? Do you use any peptide-based products?

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Pampering rituals for mommas-to-be

I’ve been meaning to do this post for a while, but er…it’s been busy. Story of my life! All I want for Christmas is some downtime before the baby comes – guess I’ll have to make that my New Years resolution 🙂  I’ve been feeling fairly energetic so right now being busy isn’t a huge problem, but because the pregnancy has been pretty easy so far, I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop – in my mind thats feeling bone tired, swelling up like a balloon, and having a bitch of a time getting off the couch. It’s coming for me, I just know it O_o

IMG_1347If you were curious…this is me today, at 25 weeks along 🙂  No face shot or full body shot because a) I’m not great at taking these, and my face is always blocked by the camera anyway, and b) I don’t have pants on, because EFFORT.

There are a lot of things that I wanted to do throughout my whole pregnancy – walk every day for 30-60 minutes, do exercises for my back to strengthen it and my for my hips to stretch them out and prepare me for labour, etc. etc. etc. – that I haven’t been diligent with at all, sadly. However, unsurprisingly I have been pretty good at looking after my skin (face & body), and I enjoy a good pampering session every week in some way or another. These rituals haven’t changed drastically from what I did before I was pregnant, but I do luxuriate in them a bit more and really try to relax and indulge myself more than usual.

1) Give good face

Ever since watching this video by Lisa Eldridge, I’ve been trying to do a longer facial massage once or twice weekly when removing my makeup. I use organic grape seed or pumpkin seed oil to take off my makeup daily, and both of these are awesome for giving my facial skin a really good pamper.


When I do these longer ones, I usually pop on a TV show or a youtube vid (I use to really hate these videos – never could take the time to sit down and watch them – but now that I always seem to have only moments at home, I often throw a video on and do the dishes, or wash my face/brush my teeth, whatever – multitasking at it’s best 🙂), and gently rub the oil into every nook and cranny in my face, relieving any tension in my forehead, jaw and around my mouth, and just really ‘get in there’ for about 10-15 minutes. Just as I do with my daily oil cleanse, I remove everything with a microfiber cloth that I’ve soaked in hot water, and do this several times (tip: I bought a few giant-sized microfiber cloths from the Dollar Store that were designed for cleaning around the house, and just cut them up into smaller sizes. Super-cheap and super-effective!).

Next, I use my regular cleanser (which right now is still the Refresh Foaming Cleanser – still really loving it’s simple and gentle formula!) to ensure there is no trace of oil left, and then I apply a mask. Right now I have a multitude of masks in my arsenal, so I have to assess what my skin needs and go from there. I’ve been trialing the Peter Thomas Roth masks I picked up during the Sephora sale, and so far I like them – one is for soothing and hydrating dry skin (green), one is for revitalizing and antiaging (pink), and one is exfoliating (burnt orange). If I’m feeling really keen, I’ll do an exfoliating mask first (I also have a sample of Fresh’s Sugar Face Polish) and then apply one of the more hydrating/soothing ones. I also still have two powder masks which I use every couple of weeks (Yüli’s Pure Treatment Mask and Purple Urchin’s Chocolate Facial Mask).


After all that masking, I spritz my face with Yüli’s Cocoon Facial Elixir, which is soothing and smells lovely, and then apply an eye cream (trying to use up all my samples…I finished a Bobbi Brown Hydrating Eye Cream deluxe sample, and now I’m onto Clinique’s Repairwear Eye) first, then follow up with a facial oil. I only have two right now in rotation – Yüli’s Cell Perfecto PM, and La Bella Figura’s Barbary Fig Seed Oil (reviews on both to come) and they’re both almost finished (eep!).


Happily, my skin hasn’t caused me any grief at all this whole pregnancy – whether it be this routine, or luck, or both, I couldn’t say, but I certainly feel like keeping on top of things can only be a good thing!

2) Maximize the Good Hair Days

Though I haven’t been looking after my hair as well as I should have since getting pregnant (ughhh, effort), recently I’ve been trying to put in that extra work, because it takes my hair from ‘good’ to ‘GREAT!’ with just a bit more dedication. For many pregnant women, your hair falls out slower than normal so it often appears fuller. My hair in particular sheds a lot on a normal day because it catches and breaks easily with all those curls to contend with, but in the past month or two I seem to hardly be losing any at all and I’m LOVING it.


As such, I’ve been giving it that much more TLC, and my once-weekly routine starts with a good rinse, followed by a liberal coating of coconut oil from root to tip. I know for oily-prone hair types this is probably a no-go, as when I shampoo it 12 hours later (or the next day if I’ve left it overnight), it doesn’t all completely rinse out – but for my chronically dry hair, it’s a perfect way to retain a bit more moisture than normal. And on top of all that, after the wash I put in a deep conditioning masque (right now I’m using Kerastase Oleo-Relax, as it was on sale at a local salon for 50% off!!), which I leave for about 30 minutes or so before rinsing out. Et voila! Beautifully soft, hydrated hair that is super-touchable, with ends that don’t feel rough and knotted like they usually do by the end of the week. <– Hopefully this ‘ratty ends’  business will be rectified tomorrow after I get my hair cut – first time in like, 5-6 years! 

3) Take a nice bath

I hesitate to say ‘take a long bath’ because with my eczema, soaking in a bath for ages probably isn’t the best idea. But I do take a couple baths a week for about 20 minutes at a time, and it really helps me relax and sort of connect with the baby – can’t ignore a growing bump when lying prone like that! I always throw in a pile of Epsom salts and aim to have the water quite warm but not hot, so that it really gets into the bones and lets me feel quite tranquil. It’s especially good in assisting in a good night’s sleep, which can sometimes be hard to come by – sometimes I just can’t get comfortable (whether due to back pain, my hands ‘falling asleep’/going numb – a common symptom in pregnancy – or just general discomfort), other times my mind is just filled with too many thoughts (and not all about baby, just a stream of random stuff), and still other times there’s no rhyme or reason, I just can’t sleep. It comes and goes in phases, and the past week has been a crappy one. Let’s hope it goes away again soon! Anyway, the bath definitely helps to chill me out and encourages a better sleep overall.

IMG_4008My mini oasis (and I do mean mini…I desperately need a bigger tub :S)

4) Moisturize like crazy

I’ve always been huge into hydrating my skin, since it’s an absolute necessity with eczema, but since I’ve gotten pregnant I’ve really taken the time to work in my moisturizer of choice (for the past few years now, it’s been coconut oil) and give my body a good massage after every shower or bath (I also add a touch of my fave Lina Hanson Global Body Serum to the mix after one of my bath sessions). In particular, I make sure to give my legs a good rub to help prevent too much fluid retention (thankfully something I haven’t experienced much of yet) and ease any extra strain due to weight gain (which has been slow and steady, to my surprise and pleasure). Obviously, I also dedicate some time to my abdomen – though I’m not terribly worried about stretch marks, I figure there’s no harm in putting in a little extra effort to avoid them, and I just picked up a neat little massage bar from Lush in ‘Therapy‘ yesterday to assist in my endeavours. Its composed of Cocoa and Shea butters, as well as Sweet Orange, Lavender, and Neroli essential oils, and I’m quite enjoying it so far! (Side note though: the Lush sales asssociates are terrifying! They’re so ON IT, it’s really kind of off-putting. YIKES.)


5) Get regular monthly massages

This was something I was determined to do once I got pregnant, and I’ve really stuck to my guns. I have a fantastic massage therapist at Spirit Spa (where I get all of my spa treatments in Halifax) who specializes in prenatal massage, and it’s such a treat that I look forward to every month. My work covers $300 worth of massage therapy in a calendar year at 80% a shot, so it’s not been as hard on the bank account as it could be. Honestly, I don’t even care anyway because I figure – I’m growing a damn human, the least I can do is treat my hard-working body to a little something special here and there.


BONUS RITUAL: Get my yoga on

I’ve mentioned before that I’m taking prenatal yoga classes but I haven’t really elaborated on them, and I love them so much so I want to highlight them properly. I consider these classes in the ‘pampering’ category because quite honestly, they are a retreat from the daily grind of life, and I look forward to them every single week. Aside from helping me look after my body in a gentle way, and helping to prepare myself for labour through controlled breathing and hip- and pelvic-stretching postures (the yogic squat is effing HARD, dudes…I hate it but love it at the same time), it’s also an awesome opportunity to connect with other soon-to-be-momma’s and air our fears, our excitements, and our milestones – good (“We’re having a ‘X’!”) or bad (“I’ve been constipated for two weeks!”) *That last one’s no joke…totally, totally shitty part of pregnancy (or…you know, NOT shitty. AHEM.)  I 100% recommend taking prenatal yoga if/when you get pregnant – honestly one of the best things ever. If you’re in the area, I go to Breathing Space Yoga, which has locations all over Nova Scotia. SO GOOD.

I haven’t really done much in the way of updating you all on my pregnancy journey – partially that’s because this is a beauty blog, and though a blog by nature is just a composition of one’s personal thoughts and experiences, if I want to talk babies I’ll just write a pregnancy/mommy blog; but also, the experience is really only relevant to me, Ryan and our families, ya know? I don’t share belly photos on Facebook for example, because I just don’t know if anyone really cares (haha) ~shrugs~ That’s OK, because I prefer to talk about it with other people who are just as excited about the news as we are 🙂  But, if you ARE curious, or want to hear more about it, let me know – I am not shy about talking about it at all, just don’t want to fill up this space with details no one is really interested in. But correct me if I’m wrong!

IMG_4012Rumparooz Cloth Diaper – is this not the cutest friggin’ thing you’ve ever seen?!?!

The short story about everything is: I love being pregnant, I’m so damn happy all the time I can’t stand it, and I’m super-excited to meet our little one in less than four months! I’ll be entering my third trimester next week and it’s all sorts of crazy how fast time has gone by. I’m starting to get a bit nervous about the whole ‘birthing’ thing – less about the actual labour itself, and more about my recovery after the fact – but I figure women do it all the time and survive (literally), and then go on to have more than one baby, so I’m sure I don’t have anything really to worry about (and please, moms – feel free to reassure me and not tell me just how traumatic/horrible/scarring it is – only nice stories, please! LOL).

So now, consider yourself updated (even if you didn’t want to be haha).

What kind of pampering rituals do you have (in general – not just soon-to-be-moms!)?

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Skincare Focus: Getting Your Best Skin!

Despite what my post from last week may indicate, I am trying to shift my focus in cosmetics away from accumulating MORE makeup, and instead opt to purchase better tools and invest in good skincare in 2013.  Aside from a few gaps which I’ve identified here, here and here, I’m aiming to cull back my makeup collection and indulge in my consumerism in a way that feels more justifiable.  As such, I’ve been doing a lot of research on the best routine to adapt to keep my skin looking youthful and as flawless as possible.  As I’ve mentioned before, I really want to incorporate retinol into my regimen, as ensure that I’m using antioxidant-full products to minimize the effects of aging sun damage.  I found a great one-page article in the most recent InStyle magazine (March edition) that explains what to use and when for your best skin.  Here are the main four points, and my suggestions for products to try (after much research!) *Keep in mind I’m merely making suggestions – I’m no doctor and everyone’s skin is different!:

I. Vitamin-A Derivatives (aka Retinoids) – keeps collagen stimulated; use every second night.

Retinol Suggestions

1) Skinceuticals Retinol 0.5 Refining Night Cream with 0.5% Pure Retinol $54US (not sure about CAD prices)

2) Kate Somerville Quench Hydrating Serum $78CAD

3) Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream Original Formula $25CAD

4) Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM $75CAD

II. Alpha-hydroxy Acids (AHA’s – glycolic or lactic acid) or Beta-hydroxy Acids (BHA’s – salicylic acid) – prevents wrinkles, combats dulls skin and uneven skin texture through exfoliation; use on opposite nights to retinol.  Interesting note: AHA’s are better for normal to dry skin, while BHA’s are better for oilier or acne-prone skin types, as it can penetrate through oily skin better to exfoliate the pore. Salicylic acid is also anti-inflammatory and has mild antibacterial properties.

AHA's & BHA's

1) philosophy Clear Days Ahead Oil-Free Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment & Moisturizer (BHA’s) $39CAD

2) Peter Thomas Roth Glycolic Acid 10% Moisturizer (AHA’s) $52CAD

3) Neostrata Oil-Free Smoothing Lotion Level 3 (AHA’s) $39CAD

III. Antioxidants (particularly Vitamins C & E) – protect skin from free radicals that cause lines and dullness; use every morning before applying sunscreen (which is also a must!).


1) Peter Thomas Roth Camu Camu Power C x 30™ Vitamin C Brightening Serum $105CAD

2) Clinique City Block Sheer Oil Free Daily Face Protector SPF25 $25CAD

3) MD Formulations Moisture Defense Hydrating Gel $46CAD

4) Kate Somerville Protect SPF 55 Serum Sunscreen $45CAD

5) MAC Prep + Prime Skin Brightening Serum $48CAD

IV. Anti-inflammatory Night Moisturizer – soothes skin from any potential irritation via the retinol or AHA/BHA’s; use at night between uses of treatment products.

Night Cream

1) Jurlique Calendula Cream $45CAD

2) Clinique Super Rescue Antioxidant Night Moisturizer$55CAD

3) Tarte Pure Maracuja Oil $55CAD


Phew!  This was a lot of work and research you guys!!  I haven’t tried all these (though there are a few I recommend – Kate Somerville’s Quench, Clinique’s City Block, and Tarte’s Maracuja Oil), but I cross-referenced between Paula Begoun’s Beautypedia, Makeup Alley reviews, and Sephora reviews so I hope that’s at least somewhat reassuring that these are decent picks!  *But of course…please don’t come back angry if you try one and it’s crap!

I hope you guys find this post and the recommendations helpful!  Personally I’m thinking of picking up the Neutrogena Healthy Skin lotion, Philosophy Clear Days Ahead moisturizer, and the MAC Prep + Prime serum 😀

Do you have any skincare goals this year?

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Patience, Patience…

To update you on my skin woes, it seems my sensible, albeit boring, regime of Cetaphil cleanser and basic oil-free lotion (in this case, Neutrogena Moisture Oil-Free Sensitive Skin) has been a success.  Seven days of faithful dedication to these two and only these two products, and my skin is almost back to normal, save for one breakout on the right corner of my forehead.  In fact, I’d even go so far as to say my skin looks better than it did before the spaz-tastic behavior ever occurred.  I am almost certain it was due to overexfoliation – when I looked up the symptoms online, and reflected on my maniacal practice of exfoliating every day/using retinol in my day lotion/alpha-hydroxy in my night lotion, it was hard to ignore what was going on.  It was a difficult week, abstaining from any exfoliation; even now, moving into day 10, as I’ve been  slowly introducing one product at a time back into my regime, I have to hold myself back from falling back into the same harsh routine.  So far, I have been able to use my Microdelivery Wash by Philosophy twice (with a couple days in between), and have tentatively used Neutrogena’s Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle lotion on my forehead at night, without incident.  And not a moment too soon!!  My high school reunion is in a week, and I am determined to 1) look as if I have actually reversed aging and look 16, and 2) make up for having corkscrew curly bangs back then.  Ok, well maybe not 16….

Some great advice I stumbled upon while researching how to heal my face:
1) Cleanse face with a gentle cleanser
2) Use a basic, hypoallergenic moisturizer designed for your skin type (be sure to use oil-free / non-comedogenic for oily skin) – or you can try a lotion designed for upset skin (calming, a small list of ingredients to lessen chance of irritation)
3) DO NOT EXFOLIATE – I found for myself my skin returned entirely to normal after a week – but if you are still showing signs of irritation or have damaged the skin more severely, give yourself about a month to heal
4) When you are able to introduce exfoliating products into your routine again, ease into it slowly
5) Choose exfoliating products such as enzyme-based scrubs and masks (be sure the product is thoroughly rinsed as it can still be activated on the skin), or lactic acid or salicylic acid-based products, which are more gentle. Avoid using harsh scrubs.

As an advocate for exfoliation for ages, it was tough to heed this advice for myself – but since seeing the improvement (and having that scare), I have realized that there is no need or benefit to being over-zealous with exfoliation.  The price of beauty, eh? 

Has anyone else had a hard lesson to learn with skincare?

NOTE: You can often get coupons to save on Cetaphil and Neutrogena (and other brands!) at, or!

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Brain Drain

Whoa, I have spent far too much time staring at a computer screen today, my poor eyes!!  And my backside…I somehow pulled a calf muscle big time and I can barely walk, let alone get in a good run, so needless to say sitting down all day isn’t helping!  At least most of my time spent was fairly productive – at least, to me 🙂  I didn’t do a lick of work today except research my upcoming trip to NZ/Australia for next year (so in addition to being a computer zombie, currently I’ve got LOTR: The Return of the King playing in the background to check out the NZ scenery).  Oops.  Oh well, it’s the holiday season, no one does any real work this time of year, right? *cough*

Moving along…I did manage to pick up some Cetaphil and an oil-free Neutrogena lotion for sensitive skin on Saturday.  So far I haven’t seen any improvements at all – my face feels somewhat better but it looks like crap.  I think I may pick up a product by La Roche Posay, under the Toleriane line which I had a sample of – when I got home from work I washed my face immediately and put some on and it feels very soothing.   Has anyone tried this long-term?  Or has had success with something similar?  It’s just awful to feel rough-textured skin when you’re used to it being smooth.  I feel sympathetic to those who have regular skin problems, it’s really tough!  I have ezcema so I know what it’s like to deal with skin freak-outs, but at least I can cover it up (for at least half the year).  Hopefully if I’m diligent I’ll start to see improvements in a week.  I did a little reading and it sounds like I have to be extra gentle for the next month or so before I can ease back into my normal routine.  Oh well, you live and learn!

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