This is the sheet mask that started it all. Last fall, a friend of mine who lives in Toronto, began sending our little group text ring sheet mask selfies. It was mostly for a laugh, but I had also seen celebrities and other people on social media posting them, I thought it was hilarious, and I was ready to get in on the fun. I went to Amazon, searched “Korean sheet masks” and this was the highest rated option. The user reviews were all laudatory, and the price seemed totally reasonable, and I was super excited about putting snail goo AND bee venom on my face. I bought a pack of 10.
Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV): The creed us AB skincare nerds live by. It’s shorthand for, this worked for me, but it may not work for you. The generalizability of my recommendations are limited; take my opinion for what you will.
The job I went to school and trained for had it’s own approach to YMMV. And that is clinical evidence. (Thank goodness, because I would hate to have to try all the medicines I’ve prescribed before prescribing them. I’m looking at you, methotrexate! And you, amphotericin!) How can I make those decisions, and decide what to prescribe? Clinical data, expert opinion, and a best educated guess. The joke was always MD = Makes Decisions. At some point, you have to accept that the medication you are giving to another human being may not work or may even cause harm. But you are beholden to do everything in your power to use the option most likely to help and least likely to harm, and that “best guess” is really hard to do without data and evidence.
So a big part of being a good MD (and I hardly will claim to be any such thing!) is learning to read and evaluate the evidence that informs you. It means relying on things like statistical significance, study power, number needed to treat, risk reduction, blah blah blah. It means knowing if what you’re doing is super-solidly supported by evidence, has some support using studies that are less than ideal, are theoretical, or is really just a last ditch effort that maybe might work when doing nothing is not an option.
Sometimes it also means relying on expert opinion and even (gasp!) review articles. Time is limited, and there’s no way anyone can read all the primary literature in a field unless you are super-duper specialized (making the number of papers you need to read small enough to be feasible). Sometimes, we have to rely on the opinion of well-respected experts. There’s some danger in this, but for practical purposes, it’s often necessary.
In an ideal world, everything we do would be supported with a randomized, controlled, double-blinded, multi-center clinical trial with a bazillion patients. Of course, that’s not only not feasible, but ethically unsound. Sometimes, you have to do with less.
I’ve been asked by people who know my background and interest in scientific study to comment on the NIOD line of products. My thoughts quickly evolved into something deeper. Of course. What follows are a few of my thoughts:
I’ll admit that, since I’ve been uber-focused on AB products, NIOD only came into my range of vision somewhat recently, mostly from following skincare instagrams. The little dropper bottles designed to look like laboratory solvents grace many a skincare enthusiast’s instagram feed, cabinet, and flatlay. I’ll admit, the streamlined, “sciencey” aesthetic seems awfully appealing, and does lend itself to the consumer assuming the product within is equally scientifically rigorous. This looks like something a hipster doctor would keep in his apothecary cabinet – it must be good!
I’ve also heard that the man behind the brand is reportedly a friend of a well-known contributor to the AB community, kindofstephen, who I greatly respect and trust. So I was definitely intrigued!
Knowing the growing demand in skincare communities for science-backed skincare, NIOD/Deciem/The Ordinary are certainly addressing a gap, and we are thirsty of products that address our concerns with seriousness and rigor. Everything about these products and their branding speaks to that. We desperately want to believe.
But before I get into the brand and it’s products, I want to talk about branding. Specifically, how a company describes its products, and positions them to address the kind of niche I just described.
My battle with the Face Picking Debacle of 2016 rages on. Half asleep, I scratched the scabs clean off early this morning like a goddamn doofus. Putting me almost back at square 1.
Started running again this morning. 4 miles. So instead of a morning routine, I did a swipe of micellar water, 2 layers of Biore Perfect Face Milk, and went for my run. That reminds me – I need to get on purchasing some for-real sunblock for my runs. The Biore is actually working just fine on these shorter runs, but by mile 6 it strggules.
Post run, I needed to double cleanse thanks to sunscreen, hence Icontinue to justify its existence in my full morning routine
- 1st Cleanser: su:m37 Skin Saver Melting Cleansing Balm
- 2nd Cleansers: su:m37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick
- Toners: Mizon AHA/BHA Daily Clean Toner, Dear By Enprani Moistfull Booskin
- Essences:COSRX Galactomyces Whitening Power Essence, Holy Snails Snowbang
- Serums: Holy Snails Shark Sauce, Hada Labo Gokujyun Premium Hyaluronic Acid Lotion
- Eye Cream: Mizon Snail Repair Eye Cream
- Snail: COSRX Advanced Snail 92 All In One Cream
- Sheet Mask: L’Herboflore Ceramide Complex Moisturizing Silk
- Cream: Freeset Donkey Milk 3D Moisturizing Cream
- Sunscreens: Bioré UV AQUA Rich Watery Essence
Don’t Pick At Your Face
I made a rookie mistake last night. I had a glass of champagne, looked at my face in a magnifying mirror, saw some blackheads, and started squeezing. In my defense, one of them did release a cathartic string of grossness. But the aftermath…
I don’t have many Instagram followers (and I’m MORE than ok with that), but one of my dear friends gave me the nicest compliment on a picture I took at the race track last week:
I love Saratoga also your face is glowing like an angel
I’m still grinning from ear to ear. Thank you, Amore Pacific Color Control cushion!!
OK, instead of holding out until I have proper reviews all written out, I’m going to use this space as my daily log, for making notes on what’s working and what isn’t, editing throughout the day. Let’s see how this goes!
My Current Wardrobe
- 1st Cleanser:
- su:m37 Skin Saver Melting Cleansing Balm
- illi Total Aging Care Cleansing Oil
- 2nd Cleansers:
- su:m37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick
- COSRX Low pH Good Morning Cleanser
- belif The True Tincture Cleansing Stick
- pH adjusting toner: Mizon AHA/BHA Daily Clean Toner
- BHA: COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid*
- Retinol/Vitamin C: Curology (0.02% tretinoin, 5% Vitamin C, 4% niacinamide)
- Toners, Essences, Serums:
- Dear By Enprani Moistfull Booskin
- Holy Snails Snowbang
- COSRX Galactomyces Whitening Power Essence
- Holy Snails Shark Sauce
- Hada Labo Gokujyun Premium Hyaluronic Acid Lotion
- Eye Creams:
- Mizon Snail Repair Eye Cream
- Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Eye Cream
- Emulsions, Creams:
- Erborian Ginseng Milk
- COSRX Advanced Snail 92 All In One Cream
- Freeset Donkey Milk 3D Moisturizing Cream
- Cerave Moisturizing Cream (tub)
- Bioré UV AQUA Rich Watery Essence
- Bioré UV Perfect Face Milk
*HELD since starting Curology
I have no idea what this blog is going to be. Heck, I wasn’t really thinking “blog” when I first started on this …journey? If I can call it that? But here we are.
Why am I here? I finally came to Jesus about my skin. My whole life I have worshipped the sun. My mother to this day refuses to wear sunscreen. I love her with my whole being, but her skin is a wreck. I need to do better.