What it is. Radiance Pell is a professional Retinol-based peeling. Meaning you can only get it from a LICENCED professional in a PROFESSIONAL Beauty Institute or Clinic.

What it does. Helps treating mild to moderate skin imperfections (think ACNE & ACNE SCARRING). Improves the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, uneven skin tone. Enhances skin clarity & radiance. After the treatment, your skin might peel (lightly)  for a few days.

Main Actives : Retinol, Citrafill, Vitamin E. 

Who is it for ? If you’re new to professional peelings, you might better start with an AHA/Fruit Acid peeling session. If you’re seeking for an effective, bit more “hardcore” treatment, this is the one to get. Not as heavy as a chemical peel, but just a bit more than the odd (yet beautyful) AHA peel. In between the two, I’d say. Great for ACNE, SCARS (from acne), but also AGEING SKIN. Think fine lines & pore structure. GREAT !

Should you get it ? Discuss it with your therapist. Best used when you’ve already experienced some AHA treatments. OR, if you did not like those, of course. This one is different. NO stinging, no burning. Just some light peeling in the days that follow. Great feeling of a NEW skin. LOVE it ….




Bionic acids (Bionics) and PHA’s are considered by some skin care experts as the future of modern skin care. Compared to their “big brothers”, the AHA’s, Bionics and PHA’s are MORE GENTLE, less irritating and also more MOISTURIZING. They could very well be used by people with MORE SENSITIVE skin types that are not able to use the stronger AHA’s, like GLYCOLIC and LACTIC acid.

Products with PHA’s, in the form of GLUCONOLACTONE and BIONIC ACIDS, in the form of Lactobionic and Maltobionic acids, are still not widespread. The brand that has most of them combined and offers a FULL SERIES with this type of acids is NEOSTRATA and its daughter brand EXUVIANCE.

If you are curious to see, what PHA or Bionics can do for your skin, I suggest you try one of these brands’ products.


I am personally very fond of Neostrata Bionic Face Cream and Ultra Moisturizing Face Cream.If have been using them both of and on since a few months and can truly see they are effective at both hydrating and activating the skin at the same time.

One of the advantages of this type of acids is, that they present the benefit of stimulating cell turnover, something we would all want once we are over 30 (and especially when over 40!). They are, however, much softer on skin than, for example, a product with glycolic or lactic acid.

If you want to introduce one of these products into your routine, I would advice you to do it STEP by STEP, like you would with a “classic” acid. I made the mistake of being over-enthusiast with these products and thought they would be a wonderful match with my Exuviance Retinol, but how wrong I was. Using full strength Retinol and alternating it with even a gentle PHA or Bionic acid on a daily basis, is just NOT a good idea …..

If you’re not on Retinol, or use Retinol in a very low (0,1/0,2 percent), start using your product twice or three times a week and see how that goes for about a month. If all goes well, use it 5 times a week for another month, before making it a daily use product.

If you’re using a stronger Retinol, try and keep AT LEAST three days in between using a PHA/Bionic and your Retinol. Experiment (carefully), to see how long your skin stays sensitive after using Retinol.For me, this is AT LEAST three days after having used Retinol for two nights consecutively.

I recommend you use “simple” moisturizers and lots of HYALURONIC serums/essences to keep hydration levels up and soothe skin as well as you can.

Reviews on both products will follow in a few weeks.


Things are not complicated in fact. I mean, skin concerns can be many, but sometimes one has to go “back to basics”. This is just what I had to do in the past ten days.

After some “skin stress” caused by some “overdoing” Retinol and Acids, I took things more easy and started thinking about what I (my skin) really wants/needs.

The introduction of Retinol in a “full strength” (one percent) formulation was one of the best things I ever did. Visibly. So I should stick to that. Combining it with AHA and also PHA and Bionic Acid, however, did NOT work out very well for me. It caused a nasty rash. Unpleasant and not very nice to look at. Hmmmm….

So I decided to let the acids go (for now) and combine my Exuviance Retinol with gentle, hydrating and protective skincare. It fixed my skin IN DAYS. Just to tell you how great this feels. Back in control !


My routine now consists of gentle cleansing (like always) and mostly HYDRATING TONERS followed by ever so HYDRATING ESSENCES and SERUMS. A “simple” moisture cream will do, as long as I’m “doing” the Retinol and SUN PROTECTION is my all times friend.

Routine :

Morning :

  • Quick cleanse with CERAVE HYDRATING CLEANSER
  • LEEGEEHAAM GROW HYAL B5 TONER as an essence (this has an essence consistency)
  • HYDRALURON SERUM (Indeed Labs)

The Heliocare has the added benefit of “FERNBLOCK”, a very POWERFULL ANTIOXIDANT protection and acts as my anti-ageing day cream.

Evening :

  • EXUVIANCE SUPER RETINOL CONCENTRATE 2-3 times a week ; I mostly use it for two nights on a row, then follow with 3 nights of moisturizing/soothing.

As you can see, simple, but effective. Now I need to figure out, how I can have some acids back in my routine ….


See you next week !


Sorry guys ! Or girls ! It has been far more than a week since I put anything on paper about my skincare routine.  My excuses ? Well, it has been soooo busy, as usual, and I just didn’t have the right mood to be writing anything during these hectic past two weeks.

Anyhow, I’m back nowand ready to tell you what’s up and new in my skincare programme.

Last time – that is if you read the post – I wrote about how AMAZINGLY WELL my combination (alternation) of Retinol & AHA product went. Honestly, it went perfectly well for a while, but under stress (I mean I was under stress), my skin started to respond to treatment in a different way. Sometimes, my skin just felt “warm” and glowing, in an unpleasant way. Just as if one has been in the sun for too long. That wasn’t really a problem, but it made me think of the fact that I had probably reached my “retinol maximum”.

A warm, glowing sensation (even without redness) can be a sign that your skin has reached its tolerance level when it comes to the use of retinol. If you remember, I am on a “full-strength”, although non-prescription 1 percent (which is quite a lot) Retinol cream for about 5 nights out of 7. Plus, on the other nights I like to treat my skin with a 10 percent glycolic acid lotion.

So, to make a long story short, my skin told me “STOP”, and I had to reconsider my skincare regime.

What you usually do, in such a situation, is just to “skip” your retinol/AHA product for one or more days (well, nights, actually), and then re-introduce it back into your routine. As I didn’t really feel like giving up the active ingredients on my skin, and just go back to a basic hydration, I decided to give two NEW PRODUCTS a try. New to me, that is to say, not new on the market.


NEOSTRATA ULTRA MOISTURIZING FACE CREAM, with 10% PHA (Polyhydroxy acid) and BIONIC FACE CREAM ( 12% Bionic/Polyhydroxy acid), were completely new to me. What I DID, however, KNOW, is that POLYHYDROXY ACIDS, also (mostly) listed as “gluconolactone” and “bionic acids”, have the same ability as AHA’s  to stimulate CELL TURNOVER, without, however, having the same exfoliating (peeling) effect. For that reason, they are also a lot “softer” on skin.

Interresting fact when you’re looking for MAXIMUM improvement with minimal drawbacks !

At the moment, I’m experimenting with both products, and am trying to find out my optimal schedule, alternating between those two and my classic AHA product & retinol. So far, a 2/3 times a week application, on the nights I’m skipping the strong products, seems to be ideal. Skin feels great, looks great and is MAXIMALLY HYDRATED. I truly love these two new discoveries and will keep you posted on how I get on with them.

See you soon !


Last time I wrote about my (weekly) skincare routine, I told you about incorporating AHA’s (Fruit Acids) into my skincare routine. As I had also been upgrading the use of Retinol, I was curious to see if any sensitivity reaction would occur ….

Being on a “full strength”, meaning 1% micro-encapsuled (Exuviance) Retinol night care product for about two months now,I wanted to discover if I could benefit from the advantages of AHA’s (Fruit Acids) at the same time. So I decided to give it a try and substitute my Retinol product by an AHA one, on a twice-a-week basis.

And you know what ? It works just great for me! No sensitivity, no irritation, just benefits up to now!

As you will know if you’re a regular reader of my blog, I suffer from acne scars, especially on my chin. They tend to become more visible when you get older (especially when over 40 J), and that was really bothering me.


As results of the Retinol were becoming more and more visible over the weeks (refined pore size, less marked acne scars), the introduction of an AHA product even lead to more improvement. I choose the Neostrata 10% AHA Lotion, which is being recommended for both body and face. It’s a light, non-greasy, slightly hydrating product and is fragrance-free. I introduced it on a twice-a-week basis, meaning I replace my Retinol by this product at night. After a good cleanse, of course.

I am absolutely AMAZED on how good my skin tolerates both products and how visible the IMPROVEMENT in texture is !PLUS, my skin needs a lot less hydrating, which could be caused by the fact that AHA’s, especially Glycolic Acid, contained in this product, IMPROVE the natural production of GAG’s, which are our natural moisturizing factors. Thus, using this type of product, my skin needs a lot less separate moisturizers, which keep my skincare routine so lovely and simple !

The high tolerance level of my skin to the product could well be caused by the Neostrata specific delivery system of the glycolic acid, making it better tolerated by even more sensitive skin types. That, in my opinion, is a BIG PLUS, as  you will always have to get used to the use of AHA’s, especially when they are in higher concentrations (like here) !


Morning :gentle cleansing (Cerave Hydrating Cream Cleanser), Vitamin C drops (Nazan Dermacare or Mad Hippie), Sunscreen (Heliocare Gel SPF 50 or Silk Gel SPF 30). And that’s it !!

Evening :gentle cleansing (Exuviance Cream Cleanser, Body Shop Chamomile Cleansing Oil, Clinique Liquid Facial Soap Extra Mild or again, my beloved and oh-so-simple Cerave), toning with Klairs Unscented toner or Exuviance toner, Exuviance Retinol (5 nights a week), alternated with Neostrata 10% AHA Lotion (twice a week).

If it happens that my skin feels very tight or dry (especially after a too long/too hot shower), I will skip all the active ingredients for once and just do a bit of “layering” of moisturizers with a Hyaluronic serum (my favorite is Nazan Dermacare), followed by a good-but-uncomplicated moisturizer like Biotherm Life Plankton Balm or La Solution 10 by Chanel. Got to have some French every now and then J….


See you next week !


As many of you that follow my blog will know, I’ve been working my way up the Retinol ladder and can actually use a “full-strength” Retinol product on an (almost) daily basis.

For those of you who are new tot he blog:Retinol is a stronger version of Vitamin A and is considered (by dermatologists) to be THE most powerhouse active ingredient in the cosmetic world.

Retinol can be used for wrinkles, post-acne scars (like I have), but also for hyperpigmentation and open pores. It improves almost ANY skin condition and should be in every “anti-ageing” routine.

Fruit Acids (AHA’s & BHA’s) are equally interresting because they also stimulate cell turnover and – contrarely to Retinol – work from the outside in (Retinol works from the inside out, by stimulating the deeper skin layers). Fruit acids are famous for improving skin texture and also work for many skin problems like wrinkles, fine (dehydration) lines, sun spots and enlarged pores.

Thus, Retinol and Fruit Acids are an excellent match. However, as both tend to be a little irritating when you start them, and as it takes a while for skin to get used to both, it is better to start them gradually, one by one.

As I told you, I’ve been skipping the “acid toners” for a while, in order to get my Retinol sorted and now am gradually introducing them back in my routine. MILD ones, however, like Clarins Doux Exfoliant and Wishtrend Mandelic Acid Skin Prep. Nothing too strong for now….

What I’ve also been doing, is using a 10 percent Glycolic (AHA) skin lotion once a week, instead of the Retinol. And that seems to be perfectly fine !I currently have the Neostrata Ultra Smoothing Lotion and I reaaly LOVE it. It comes in a 200 ml (!) tube and is meant to be used for both BODY and FACE. Of course, Neostrata makes other, more sophisticated face care products, but I thought I’d kick off with something simple.

Altogether, I’m trying to build up a steady routine with the ongoing use of Retinol and AHA’s. Both should also be your favourite ingredient if you’re struggling with one of the issues I mentionned before. Next step will be the introduction of Vitamin C to my routine. I’ve been using several types of vitamin C drops off and on for a while, but reading many dermatologists’ reports and collegues’ blogs on this active ingredient, I believe it also deserves a place in almost anyones routine! More of this next time.

See you soon !


I wrote several articles/reviews on toners in the past year. Some of which you might have read. If you did, you also know that I disagree with the “standard” definition of a toner, saying it’s a product meant to “remove cleanser residue, restore skin’s pH value and close pores”. In my humble opinion, none of that is actually true.

A good toner should prep your skin for your next skincare step AND, more than all other things, HYDRATE your skin. Which makes your toner a genuine skincare and not a “cleansing” product.

Lately, we have seen the upcoming of many (mostly Korean) brands, selling a different – yet similar – type of product, called an  “ essence”. To make it even more complicated : some Korean brands call their essences “toners” (if you still follow me).

In order to get things clear to you, and help you choosing the right type of product, here’s what I make of it :

The difference between a toner and an essence is the TEXTURE, the ACTIVE INGREDIENTS and APPLICATION OF THE PRODUCT.


Texture :to me, an essence is actually thicker, more gellified than a toner and has a consistency in between a toner (watery) and a serum.

Active Ingredients :most essences carry more active ingredients than most toners (there might be exceptions to this rule) and their thicker consistency generally makes them more “caring” (hydrating) than the standard toner product.

Application :in the Korean skin care method – and thus in our routines also – the toner is used BEFORE the essence. Both are considered to be essentiel steps in a skincare routine.

In practice, we (Europeans/Americans) might not have the patience to apply both a toner and an essence and we might actually choose to use only one of them. A good toner will hydrate and prep your skin for the next step and so will an essence. An essence, however, will give your skin even MORE MOISTURE (mostly in the form of HYALURONIC ACID). A toner will feel more “refreshing” as where an essence will give your skin more comfort and eliminate any feel of dryness.

If you want to do a full routine, the way Koreans do, you should use BOTH an essence AND a toner. In practice, you might want to skip a step and use your toner in the morning and an essence at night (or the other way around). Whatever you choose to do : both options are good. Just remeber that an essence will give you even more moisture and will be even more “skin prepping” than most toners.

I personally use either both products (when my skin feels like in need of lots of moisture) or just take one of them (when my skin feels well moistured). If I come out of a warm shower, I will mostly use both, if I have just cleaned my face with a very gentle cleansing oil/balm I generally skip one step.

Some of my favorite essences are from Leegeehaam, Missha (Time Revolution) and Klairs. SVR makes a nice one too and is available from your pharmacist. The other three are Korean and I get those from My Little Wonderland (Webshop NL).

SKIN MOMENTS 7 : all about the essentials

My skin care routine has never been so clear and uncomplicated. Ever since I decided to give Retinol a serious go, I’ve been working my way up to getting my skin used to a “full-strength” (although non-prescription) Retinol.

Exuviance it is, like I told you last week. The Super Retinol Concentrate, a time-released, micro-encapsulated formula. I adore this product. PLUS : I start seeing the results on my skin. Pores are better (I’m an ex acne patient), skin is smoother and looks brighter. I still think I look a bit tired around the eyes, but retinol might not be what I really need there. PLUS : you can’t go too near around the eyes, because the stuff is just too strong for that sensitive part.  We’ll see about that later. For all the rest : I’m in love with this product.

I apply it almost every evening now, after a mostly fragrant-free cleansing & toning. Retinol is known to be a bit irritating to skin, so I prefer to keep the cleansing as innocent as I possibly can, although I’ve also been sneeking in my (also) Exuviance Gentle Cleansing Cream, which does have fragrance. Otherwise it’s Ceravé Cream Cleanser and Klapp Cosmetics Bèta-Glucan Cleansing Milk (and toner).

For extra moisture, I sometimes apply the fragrance free Klairs (Korean) toner, which is in fact a “gel-toner” and is really, really moisturizing. I’ll do an article on this type of product (also called “essence”) soon.


Apart from that, it’s been only retinol. At night time, that is. During the day, I’ve now been working up my routine with a daily dose of Vitamin C serum, either from Nazan Derma Care or Mad Hippie. The Mad Hippie also has some Kojic Acid, which is good for hyperpigmentation spots. Both products are great and are non-sticky (very important to me).

On top of the vitamin C serum, I usually put some Hydraluron or Nazan Derma Care Hyaluron serum. Like the others, both are absolutely non sticky and absorb into skin perfectly.

On top of this : SUNSCREEN ! Your one and only TRUE anti-Ageing daytime product. I personally love the Heliocare Range, they offer every possible texture and are good value for money.

So you see how simple I got ? Just the essentials ! I might add some more anti-oxidants next week, or start using an eye cream,  but so far, so good, I love my actual routine !


See you next week !


This week’s skin care routine was all about me keeping up with my daily use of a “full-strength” non-prescription RETINOL night cream.

Retinol is considered to be the king (or is it “queen?) of skincare. It does about everything we like a skin-ameliorating product to do :

  • Improving pore texture
  • Taking care of even skin tone & hyperpigmentation
  • Evening out acne scars
  • Improving fine lines and deeper wrinkles
  • Firming skin

No wonder practically any dermatologist will advise you to use some form of retinol. I already wrote about retinol in some older posts, but just for the record : you can opt for either a prescription or non-prescription strength retinol. I can persononally not use the prescription (acid form, also called retinoic acid) version of retinol.  It is way too strong for me, so I am experimenting with several non-prescription “true” retinol products at this moment.

To get “into” the retinol, I first alternated Klapp Cosmetics Micro Retinol Soft Cream and the Retinol Booster for a few weeks. These products are ultra mild, but do have the precious ingredient, so your skin can gradually get used to something stronger. One step up was the Nazan Dermacare Retinol Serum, which percentage I’m not sure about. I guess it must be about 0.25 percent, which is already a good step up, when you are looking for serious results. I used this for several weeks, off and on, and finally started alternating this product with the EXUVIANCE RETINOL CREAM, which I ABSOLUTELY LOVE !!


But beware ; this is a FULL ONE PERCENT MICRO ENCAPSULED Retinol, and this is STRONG!! I am actually using it for about 5 nights a week, leaving my skin to “rest” on the other two nights.

So what does my routine look like now ? Here it is :

  • GENTLE cleansing with KLAPP BETA-GLUCAN milk or CERAVE cleansing cream, alternated with CLINIQUE FACIAL SOAP (which is not a soap, by the way, but a gel-cream) EXTRA MILD. All these product are fragrance free, which I prefer when my skin is under stress.
  • Lots of moisturizing toners & essences, like KLAIRS and LEEGEEHAAM.
  • MISSHA Time Revolution Night Repair Ampoule as a “prep”.
  • EXUVIANCE Retinol Cream.
  • CHANEL La Solution 10 cream on top.

This is my nighttime routine for now. Daytime is gentle, mostly the same as nighttime, but without the Retinol. I also like to use Embryolisse Secret de Maquilleurs daycare instead of the Chanel cream. And I ALWAYS wear an SPF of 30 (at least 30, will replace it by a 50 soon).

So, as you can see, it was all about “retinolling” this week. Important to me, because I do struggle with some ancient acne scarring and open pores. Will keep you posted about how things progress!

See you next week !


This weeks routines have been a lot about building up my skin during the ongoing use of Retinol and some occasional use of a – stronger – peeling pad. I love to use some exfoliating acids on a regular basis ; it gives me the absolute feeling of keeping my skin “active” and going at its best.

So in the beginning of the weekI did 2 consecutive nights of Chamomile Cleansing Oil by the Body Shop, which – like you will know from my previous article – is very mild & effective and is ideal when you have some stronger treatment in mind.

This week, I also liked alternating with the Korean Banila Co Purity Cleansing Balm. This is a beautiful, deliciously scented and effective product, which gives you the mildest possible clean. It is, however, VERY EFFICACEOUS at removing (tinted) sunblock or BB  creams from your skin. Peeling, with an acid toner, was a bit on the stronger side, with 2 consecutive nights of Neostrata Smooth Surface Daily Peel, a product based on 10% glycolic acid.

Glycolic acid works like a miracle on my skin. It is famous for its skin purifying and anti-ageing benefits and should have a place in anyone’s skin care routine. It helps dislodge impurities, deals with hyperpigmentation spots and also works great on fine lines and wrinkles, by its COLLAGEN PROMOTING action. The Neostrata Peeling Pads are great for the lazy ones amongst you, because they are ready-to-use.Fabulous when you’re in a hurry (who isn’t these days?). Be aware, however, that they are STRONG, so don’t do them every day if your skin is on the sensitive side. I tend to exagerate in my enthusiasm and then my skin isn’t happy at all !


After such a peel, my skin always needs a serious “moisture drink”. This week I opted for the lovely SVR Hydraliane Essence. This one is really unique, because it sooths, calms and moisturizes in just seconds. Ideal after some stronger acids !

Retinol, still from by beloved Nazan Tastan, has been on the menue every single night and will continue to be for the next few days at least. I’ve combined it with the very REPAIRING Missha Time Revolution Ampoule, which is, in fact, a copy of the famous Estée Lauder Night Repair (see my article on this legendary product). It is full of plant-based anti-oxidants, plus fermented ingredients that help skin find its balance in more difficult periods. We’ve had very cold weather and I’m doing Retinol now, som y skin can do with some extra help.

For nighttime, I like to use my CICAVIT repairing cream, which has helped me dealing with some post-surgery scars last years (see my review on this product). I’m planning to use it up on my entire face now and love it especially at night, to “seal in” any serums I’ve been using before. It’s a great product for those of you seeking for a skin-soothing, inflammation-reducing and repairing product.There will be an separate article on this product on my blog also.

Like you can see, taking care of your skin needs little adjustments regularly. It doens’t mean you need a wardrobe full of products, but it is nice to have a few different in each category (cleansers/serums), so you can adjust your regimen, according to your needs.