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My Story & Routine in Detail

My Story & Routine in Detail Part II

Morning Part 2:

  • Moisturizer: Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Invisible Finish Moisture Gel OR Paula’s Choice RESIST Super Antioxidant Serum. The Moisture Gel is reserved, yep you guessed it, for when I’m indoors. Surprise, surprise. On the other hand, the RESIST Serum is applied under my sunscreen and foundation; it acts as an additional layer of (antioxidant) protection against the sun.
    • The Gel contains high amounts of the antioxidants green tea, grape, vitamin E, and the anti-inflammatory niacinamide. It also contains moderate amounts of vitamins C and B5 or panthenol, superoxide dismutase, an enzyme that has massive antioxidant potential internally (and less so if any at all topically), and the water-binding agent sodium hyaluronate. This does contain a high amount of algae like the La Mer line, however there are no studies demonstrating that this form of algae has any positive effect on the skin. Nevertheless, it does act as a water-binding agent. Its silicone base gives this a slightly spackle-like texture that dries down to a nice matte finish.
    • The Serum contains a plethora of well-documented powerhouse ingredients From high amounts of two forms of lipid-soluble vitamin C, three forms of vitamin E, ubiquinone (CoQ10), thiotic acid (alpha lipoic acid), ferulic and caffeic acid, the most potent aspect of green tea (epigallocatechin gallate), to a peptide that’s been shown through an in vivo study to be effective at encouraging collagen production, this Serum has got it all! Combined with the Shiseido SPF 55 sunscreen, it’s a formidable opponent against the UV rays of the sun. Check Part 4 of this series for an in-depth comparison of how this Serum goes up against the famous Skinceuticals C+E Ferulic Serum!


  • Moisturizer with SPF: Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Cream For Face SPF 55 PA+++. The Shiseido product has a limited amount of beneficial ingredients other than its sunscreen component, which is primarily inorganic. By limited, I mean there isn’t much research behind the ones present in this formulation. It contain moderate amounts of skullcap root extract, a plant whose parts have demonstrated some antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties when applied topically. In addition, along with another ingredient, ectoin, it has shown results suggesting that it enhances sunscreen efficacy by inhibiting UVA- and UVB-induced damage. There’s also an infinitesimal amount of vitamin E. It does also contains a small amount of fragrance. One last thing, I prefer inorganic sunscreens over organic ones because inorganic ones are more stable, organic ones irritate my skin and occasionally turns my face bright red, and I don’t have to wait 30 minutes after I apply them to go out into the sun.

About John

The Triple Helixian is an unbiased science and research-based site that attempts to clarify and elucidate questions about skin care, while aspiring to be the most thorough and complete source of information.


8 thoughts on “My Story & Routine in Detail Part II

  1. Thanks John! 🙂 Loving your blog, it is very informative, keep up the good work. It has been an excellent resource center for me. I am currently in the process of figuring out the best skincare routine to keep my cystic acne under control and also deal with future aging issues now that i passing the 25 mark! xx

    Posted by Harriet | September 30, 2012, 3:31 pm
  2. Hey John what are throughts on the Paulas Choice Resist Clear Skin Hydrator as a moisturiser without sunscreen? I noticed you use the skin balancing moisture gel and was wondering how they compare! 🙂

    Posted by Harriet | September 29, 2012, 8:38 am
    • Hi Harriet,

      It’s great to see you here! I actually addressed this on both my Facebook page and the routine review for Adrianna. Check them out for further details:


      I can’t actually link the Facebook page thing, so I’ll just copy and paste what I wrote. It’s actually more of an answer to a follow-up question that a reader, Arlon asked:

      Arlon: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1473-2165.2010.00480.x/abstract This study concludes that Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, which is in the Clear Skin Hydrator, ” is efficacious as monotherapy for the treatment of acne.” I found this study at the Ingrediend/Reserch section on Paula’s Choice website, so the Hydrator may have 5% SAP and Niacinamide around 4% (?). Don’t you think that it has more niacinamide than the Balancing Moisture Gel?

      Me: Well here’s the thing, a few studies do suggest that SAP can work for helping some forms of acne. However, I highly doubt that the Clear Skin Hydrator contains 5% SAP, or 4% niacinamide. And no consumer can accurately guess if it has more or less than the Moisture Gel. As I said to Adrianna, the only thing we can do is pick one based on personal preference; whether it’s texture, results seen, etc. I personally, prefer the Moisture Gel because it contains other more proven ingredients such as Green Tea, Grape Seed Oil, and Vitamin E, among others. The Hydrator, while having a sublime texture, only has SAP, and Niacinamide, and tiny amounts of others. If I want a vitamin C treatment, I’d rather use the Super Antioxidant Concentrate, or something like the Skinceuticals CE Ferulic Serum, since SAP was shown to to be 10x weaker than MAP and L-AA when it comes to promoting collagen production. So maybe it is a good product, but I know I can get better results with other combinations of products.


      Also, if you check my updated skin care routine (https://thetriplehelixliaison.wordpress.com/2012/02/16/my-story-routine-in-detail-v-0-07/), you’ll notice that I plan to make a lot of changes to my routine in the coming 1-2 months. I’m actually considering switching out the Moisture Gel… but I’ll get into that when I update my skin care.

      Overall, the “exclusive” pros of the Moisture Gel is that it contains good amounts of green tea and grape seed extract. Those for the Hydrator are that it has a good amount of SAP, which isn’t nearly as efficacious at stimulating collagen production as the magnesium-version and L-ascorbic acid. However, SAP has limited evidence supporting the fact that it can help those struggling with acne. Both products contain niacinamide. I just did a post on that ingredient on FutureDerm, but it seems that the site is having some trouble, but I’ll make sure to link it on this blog when it comes back.

      Finally as the names suggest, the Moisture Gel isn’t as emollient nor hydrating as the Hydrator.

      I hope that answered some of your questions, and please don’t hesitate to ask if you have additional ones.

      Posted by John | September 29, 2012, 5:37 pm
  3. Grrr… My computer ate my message! I’ll retype it, but less eloquently….

    Thanks for all your help via Twitter yesterday. I’m interested in trying the EltaMD sunscreen too.
    Yesterday worked out brilliantly — I had plenty of time to browse and test things while my laptop was getting fixed. Also, the Sephora SAs were bored and offered so many samples! I’m going to try: 1) Clinique City Block SPF 25 (tinted! Too bad it’s got such low SPF); 2) Clinique SPF 40; 3) Lancome BIENFAIT UV SPF 50+ Super Fluid Facial Sunscreen (only a chemical SS but the SA was really excited about it.); and 4) Laura Mercier Loose Powder (Real Sand). You’re right about the LM — it’s got a wonderful texture! It applied nicely over a layer of Shiseido SS Lotion.

    A few questions that popped up:
    1) Why have you opted for the Shiseido SS Cream rather than the Lotion? I wanted to try your Shiseido except I got confused at the drugstore and tried the Lotion (SPF 50) instead.
    2) What are you thoughts on mixed, physical + chemical SS formulations?
    The friendly SA at my drugstore gave me several samples of the cream and ultra-light lotion Vichy and La Roche-Posay sunscreens.
    3) For chemical sunscreens, it is recommended that we reapply every 2 hours. What are the recommendations for physical sunscreens? Does this differ from mixed physical + chemical SS formulations?
    4) When I was trying the Shiseido Lotion on my face and neck, I squirted out the same amount of product I use when I use my go-to Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch SS (~ 1-1/4 teaspoon). A SA came up to me and asked if I needed help because I looked like I had applied far too much. I just let it soak in and then rubbed in the super white areas. For very fluid SS products, what is the recommended amount to apply? Is there a fluid SS-to-cream SS application volume “conversion rate”?

    ps I purchased the Physician’s Formula Talc-free pressed powder. It was on sale so I figured it couldn’t hurt to give it a go. Now I just have to figure out how to use it. It’s my first pressed powder.

    Posted by BooBooNinja | June 22, 2012, 1:11 pm
    • Ugh I HATE when that happens. I try to remember to always copy and paste a long comment into something like a Word document before pressing submit, but even I forget sometimes. Like yesterday, I was replying to a comment on Futurederm, and for some reason, it didn’t go through. 😦 Had to retype everything. Ack.

      Anyways, first of all, you’re very welcome. And speaking of wTitter, let me respond to your last three tweets on here:

      @the3Dhelixguru I was looking into EltaMD and I think http://www.lovelyskin.com may have the lowest prices.

      The price looks the same, but perhaps the free shipping makes it cheaper? But I’m pretty sure you can easily get 10-20% off deals on Dermstore/Skinstore. Not sure about that, but thanks for the tip!

      @the3Dhelixguru…b/c for some reason I now send you info on sales/pricing about stuff you’re interested in. (remember my PC tip before?)

      That’s great and much appreciated! If something exciting comes my way, I’ll gladly share it with the rest of the readers, giving credit to you of course!

      @the3Dhelixguru I checked the PF ingredients before buying. The same, except in Canada, the product “may contain: titanium dioxide…”

      Yeah, I’m guessing that the Canadian regulatory authorities have placed a warning on titanium dioxide since some studies do show that it can generate free radicals in certain physiological conditions. However, in sunscreens, they’re typically coated with a silicone or something to prevent that from happening. No worries.

      Okay, now let’s get to the rest of your comment here.

      I’m glad to hear that you had a nice experience at Sephora! So many times, I hear the opposite. Both the Clinique SPF 25 and 40 are great. The Lancome one, though providing adequate UVA and UVB protection, has a lot of alcohol. And because at least for me, I apply sunscreen quite close to my skin, I don’t want the alcohol content to dry out my skin. But if you find that you can tolerate it fine, go for it. As for the SA getting all excited, that’s one thing you’ll need to get used to. They’ll always seem excited because that’s what they’re told to do when introducing products. It’s all or at least mostly about the sale. Don’t fall for that marketing technique. But anyways, try the Lancome one out if you’d like. And I agree that the LM is divine!

      1) I opted for the cream because the lotion contains alcohol… and while I did a FutureDerm post and ingredient profile on it, I still don’t like it in skin care. Its inclusion in makeup is great, but not skin care. But really, if you can tolerate it, like I said above, that’s fine and dandy. 🙂
      2) Because chemical sunscreens are so sensitive to the vehicular base and other sunscreen ingredients present, unless a product is already made with both types, I wouldn’t mix chemical and physical sunscreens because who knows what kind of negative reactions can occur. For example, avobenzone is quickly degraded by iron oxides… such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Yes, the coating may prevent that, but why take that risk? Furthermore, there are dispersion issues, incompatibility of vehicles, and many other things to consider… Leave that to the formulators. Mixing physical sunscreens is just easier since they operate the same way.
      3) Physical sunscreens, because they don’t degrade upon UV exposure, don’t need to be reapplied unless you wipe it off, sweat it off, go into a swimming pool, or something like that. But chemical ones, need to be reapplied because they degrade upon exposure; even stabilized versions.
      4) You need to apply the same amount (at least >2 mg/cm2) regardless of texture. It’s easier to do that for creams since creams themselves are thicker than liquids. It’s another reason why I chose the Shiseido cream over the lotion. And don’t be scared by the word “cream.” There are hardly any emollients in the product itself. It’s primarily made up of silicones and slip agents. Also, I’m sure you know that the way SPF testing works is that the researchers apply an “even and thick” coat before putting it under UV light. It’s more difficult to do that with liquids, just because they’re runnier and streakier.

      Finally, pressed powders work like loose powders. Just swirl/tap a little of it onto your brush, and do the tap and roll motion over your face. Or if you’re not wearking sunscreen, gentle tap and swirls or sweeping movements are fine.

      Good luck with everything and let me know if you have further questions!

      Posted by John | June 23, 2012, 3:16 pm

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