Cold-ish Weather Product Empties Part 2

Originally, this was going to be a second empties post to follow up the one I did earlier on in the winter. However, May is now around the corner and, therefore, it is safe to say that this is more of an end of winter, early spring kind of post. Winter may have made its way into spring — for the most part –, but this doesn’t mean that my skin on just about every surface of my body is not still dry, sensitive and likely flaking. Lets get to the products:

Skin & Co Truffle Therapy Whipped Cleansing Cream ($28 US | 100 mL)

I tried this cream cleanser thanks to FabFitFun and I enjoyed using it. The second ingredient was sweet almond oil and I found it removed makeup ridiculously well and had a thick oil-rich feel to the cream cleanser. It also contained some soothing plant extracts including witch hazel, which my skin tends to find sensitizing at times, amongst chamomile, calendula and centella asiatica. I did enjoy the moisture left after using this soap-free cleanser but found it could kind of sting around the lash line and eye area when used for makeup removal. However, there are few cleansers that don’t do that for me. I liked using this but it’s expensive for what it is and I want to explore other cream cleanser options. It contains fragrance, in case I didn’t make that clear, but it smells mainly of the sweet almond oil and something subtle and spa-like.

Niod Fractionated Eye Contour Concentrate ($68 CDN | 15 mL)

I would never have tried this eye serum if I hadn’t gone for the Caroline Hirons Summer Kit but I did enjoy using it, even as an eye cream skeptic with a very sensitive eye area. It was a nice kind of oily serum texture that never stung around my eyes, or seemed to irritate my dry eyes themselves. It helped with mask-related flaking and sensitivity around my eyes but I didn’t notice any sort of wow results. It contains glycerin, niacinamide, yeast extract, a ton of peptides, natural moisturizing factors, antioxidants and soothing ingredients. There was an improvement of hydration I noticed and maybe a minor improvement in my chronic dark circles. I don’t plan on repurchasing immediately as it’s not cheap and will likely experiment with some other eye products in the meantime.

Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado ($66 CDN | 28 mL)

Throughout the fall and winter, I developed some eczema around my eyes that never quite went away. Consequently, I’ve been reaching for eye-specific products on the daily and I happily used up this thick fragrance-free balm cream. I’ve had it on the go for over a year — the larger size is actually more economical than you’d expect — and I liked it. It didn’t tend to sting under my eyes, helped with moisture, wasn’t irritating and helped makeup sit nicely, even on my dry and flaky under-eyes. It contains shea butter, avocado oil, hydrogenated castor oil and sodium pca. I wouldn’t necessarily be opposed to buying again but I’m experimenting with different products at present.

Laneige Cream Skin Toner & Moisturizer ($43 CDN | 150 mL)

I love a good calming milky toner and I’m not sure whether I prefer Paula’s Choice’s milky toners or this one. Regardless, I have had another bottle of this fragrance-free moisturizing toner ready to go for months. It has a simple but nourishing and soothing formula with glycerin, meadowfoam seed oil and white tea leaf extract. It’s a great product to use after cleansing to add hydration and combat inflammation immediately after cleansing. My skin always feels less sensitized, nourished and plump. It also helps that it never stings on my skin, even when I have active eczema on my face.

Hada Labo Gokujyun Premium Emulsion ($29 CDN | 140 mL)

Despite the fact that I’ve previously loved this traditional lotion-textured hyaluronic acid, I’m not sure I will repurchase again in this form. It’s affordable, coming with a large amount of product, fragrance-free and contains five different forms of hyaluronic acid, along with glycerin, mineral oil, dimethicone and squalane. In the warmer months, it would be possibly enough to serve as a moisturizer during the day, whilst being a fantastic humectant. However, I find that when it’s layered with a bunch of different serums and moisturizers, it tends to pill. I actually ended up using this on my body throughout the cooler months along with on my face to use up. I actually repurchased the traditional liquid form of this product.

Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence ($27.99 CDN | 100 mL)

I happily used this gel-textured humectant serum once or twice every day for a good six months. Despite being labelled as an essence, I think it’s thicker than a traditional essence and, instead, is a more gel-textured serum. I would definitely buy again but I’ve ordered the newer dual-chambered formula with niacinamide to try first. It contains 96% snail secretion filtrate in all of its healing and soothing glory, sodium hyaluronate, panthenol, arginine and allantoin. This is an amazing humectant serum on irritated skin from wearing a mask, retinoid-abuse and for those suffering from flakiness and dehydration. Using this, my skin was so much more plumped and hydrated and my post inflammatory redness from breakouts seems to be resolving more quickly from daily use.

Caudalie Vinosource Riche Intense Moisture Rescue Cream ($48 CDN | 40 mL)

I’ve been using moisturizers from this range for years and have maybe happily gone through three tubes. It feels like an instant comforting hug in a tube for dry sensitized skin. Weirdly enough, it does contain some synthetic fragrance but never makes my skin sting even when my barrier is the most compromised and when I’ve overdone it the most. It contains squalane, antioxidant-rich grapeseed oil, shea butter, borage seed oil and fatty acids. I have a number of other moisturizers on the go but I don’t want to go without this one. It’s almost impossibly soothing and rich without feeling greasy. This cream is a godsend on sensitized skin with dry flaky patches.

Paula’s Choice Omega+ Complex Moisturizer ($35 US | 50 mL)

I shouldn’t have been surprised when the pump on this fluffy comforting cream stopped dispensing product this morning. I should have known from how much I relied on this moisturizer in this fall and winter and past experiences with this pump that it would give out without warning. Happily, I bought multiples last time after it went out of stock for a while. It’s soothing on the skin, doesn’t tend to sting, definitely helps with repairing the skin barrier and acts as a lightweight barrier cream for under a mask. Interestingly enough, it’s silicone free and shea butter based with glycerin, omega-rich plant oils, fatty acids, ceramides, squalane, sodium hyaluronate and nothing typically sensitizing. It sits well under makeup and sunscreens and offers richness and soothing while still being fairly lightweight. I love this stuff and it’s excellent value for money, even at full price and when I calculate the price into Canadian dollars… This is a product that I wish existed and I knew about in my teenage years. It’s brilliant for when your skin is sore and everything stings.

Cerave Itch Relief Cream ($27.99 CDN | 340g)

My primary eczema sites are my legs and arms, so moisturizing religiously is uber important. I’ve really enjoyed using this thick whipped cream. This rich cream tends to only sting very minimally on areas with broken skin. The texture of the cream is rich but it sinks in quickly and the best feature is that while the cream works to repair the barrier, it features 1% pramoxine hydrochloride to numb the itchiness without irritation. It contains glycerin, petrolatum, shea butter, dimethicone and ceramides. I’ve repurchased it already.

La Roche-Posay Lipikar Baume AP+M ($25 CDN | 200 mL)

After I saw the new more eco-conscious cardboard tube packaging, I decided to give this fragrance-free lightweight whipped cream another try. It actually uses citric acid as a preservative, which can be much less irritating than phenoxyethanol and features shea butter, dimethicone, niacinamide, rapeseed oil, vitamin e and extracts with humectant ability. I did find that the cream felt light on the skin to such a degree that I had to use an awful lot of product on my dry body skin and that likely due to the amount of niacinamide, it could sting over more irritated patches. I would use again as a nice everyday moisturizer.

Briogeo Curl Charisma Chia + Flax Seed Coil Custard ($34 CDN | 177 mL)

While it’s called a custard, I found this product a go-to cream with a bit of hold, control and ridiculous clumping. It’s rich but gave good results on my fine mixture of waves and loose curls, helping to hold my spirals together and form in a more controlled fashion. I used this cream every single wash day for months happily and I can confirm, it’s concentrated enough to be worth the money. It contains castor seed oil, fatty alcohols, glycerin, shea butter, rice and keratin amino acids, hydrolyzed quinoa, fermented extracts and a few plant oils. I tend to use this cream paired with a gel but actually does hold up as a single styler. It was an instant repurchase.

Curlsmith Curl Defining Styling Souffle ($35.99 CDN | 227g)

Over the past six months, I’ve been trying out Curlsmith products and this true loosely-packed soufflé-texture gel has been among my favourites. It’s concentrated enough that it lasted me months — even using it most wash days — and offered medium-flexible hold that casts nicely with medium weight and medium moisture. For a gel, it’s very curl enhancing and encourages my waves to form spirals, even working well as a single styler. I tended to use it to top a gel for multiple day hair that I didn’t have to think too much about. It contains glycerin, babassu oil, irish moss, flaxseed extract, avocado oil and shea butter. I bought a backup before I even let myself finish this gel.

What have you finished up?
Maggie, x.

The Winter Favourites

There’s nothing I love reading, watching and writing more than a favourites post or video but doing them on a monthly basis has proven excessive for me. Happily, we’ve reached the point in my year to do my winter themed favourites. It was actually really difficult to edit myself down to this many and I can easily say these were the products I enjoyed using and relying on when I wasn’t at home, complaining of tiredness and overthinking.

The Inkey List Oat Cleansing Balm ($12.99 CDN | 150 mL)

I feel slightly ridiculous that I couldn’t narrow it down further than three cleansers, but when you have skin that hates surfactants and harsh cleansing like mine does, you really appreciate the good ones, as I have done. I’ve been loving this affordable fragrance-free cleansing balm. It removes makeup quite well (but requires more product than some makeup annihilating balms) and leaves the skin wonderfully hydrated and soothed. It uses sweet almond oil, oat kernel oil, candella wax and almond glycerides. I love how practical the tube packaging is — even though it can separate. I use it most nights to melt makeup and sunscreen happily and remove it after emulsifying with a microfibre cloth. It’s very gentle around my sensitive eye areas and is a gentle skin cleanser in its own right.

Kate Somerville Goat Milk Cleanser ($53 CDN | 120 mL)

This cleanser actually has enough delicious oil content to break down makeup and sunscreen without scrubbing or rubbing, but I actually enjoy it best as a treatment cleanser, or on the rare mornings I want to cleanse my face. It’s expensive but I honestly only use a little bit and would probably have never bitten the bullet if it wasn’t included in the Caroline Hirons Summer Kit. It contains fragrance but no essential oils and includes grapeseed oil, jojoba seed oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, goat milk, milk protein, lactic acid and honey as ingredient highlights. The texture is a nice cream that leaves my skin soothed, glowing and hydrated. I tolerate it well even on my eczema patches, although it can kind of burn under the eyes if used to remove makeup — but this is probably because I have eczema patches around my eyes. I’ve been using for months and months and I’m happily going strong. It helps with texture, dry patches, general dryness and sensitivity.

Cerave Hydrating Cream-to-Foam Cleanser ($17.99-$18.99 CDN | 355 mL)

I’ve been a long term devotee of Cerave’s traditional Hydrating Cleanser but I love this one even more. It has a creamier lotion texture that foams slightly — but in a non drying way — and features amino acids, salicylic acid and natural moisturizing factors along with their classic ceramides. Unlike the original cleanser (since its most recent reformulation), this never makes my uber-reactive skin sting and it leaves my skin moisturized and comfortable afterwards. It does contain a little bit of salicylic acid so I don’t tend to use it to remove eye makeup but it does remove makeup better than Cerave’s other cleansers. It’s a great cleanser especially for skin with an impaired barrier from using actives, mask wearing and the like. It’s soap-free of course and uses very gentle cleansing agents.

Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence ($24.99 CDN | 100 mL)

This thicker gel texture more closely resembles a serum in my opinion, but I haven’t gone a day without applying it in months. It’s 96% snail mucin, along with betaine, sodium hyaluronate, panthenol, arginine and allantoin and serves as a fantastic humectant serum, with anti-inflammatory properties. It’s profoundly soothing on an impaired barrier, fights transepidermal water loss, plumps up the skin, aids in skin healing and helps to prevent and treat scarring. I find it helps fade pink marks left on my skin after a breakout or reaction in a more timely fashion while keeping my skin hydrated and soothed. The bottle is huge, too, so its excellent value for money. I know I included it in my last few favourites posts but I couldn’t help myself.

Neutrogena Bright Boost Gel Cream ($23.97-$34.99 CDN | 50 mL)

This is another repeat favourite of mine but I do love reaching for it as a mild daily chemical exfoliant in a lightweight cream vehicle. It acts as a humectant, formulated with mandelic acid, gluconolactone, acetyl glucosamine and squalane. It’s perfect for when my skin is feeling a bit too fragile for a heavy-duty acid toner but I still want the gentle resurfacing of an acid, along with the hydration of a humectant. It also has a pink sheen that’s nice and brightening, yet subtle.

Sunday Riley Juno Hydroactive Cellular Facial Oil ($95 CDN | 35 mL)

This winter, I got right back onto the facial oil bandwagon on a daily basis, applying this fragrance-free oil blend on my cheeks, around my chin and mouth and under my eyes, where I experience flaking and irritation, exacerbated by daily mask wearing. It has made a huge difference in the severity of my flaking, dry patches and radiance of my skin, when applied just before moisturizer. I’ve always found the combination of cold-pressed omega-rich oils anti-inflammatory and soothing. No matter how angry my skin has been, this oil doesn’t burn, sting, or have any sign of reaction.

Paula’s Choice Omega+ Complex Moisturizer ($35 US | 50 mL)

I’m onto my second container of this moisturizer this winter even though I’ve had plenty of others on rotation. It’s a lightweight whipped cloud cream that’s fragrance-free, kind of bland in the best way, and either super low on silicones or silicone-free and thus, never pills, even with the skincare layering I’ve been doing. It’s a beautiful comforting cream that works well as a barrier under a mask while sinking into the skin and leaving a demi-matte finish under makeup. It contains shea butter, omega-rich plant oils, fatty acids, amino acids, ceramides, an antioxidant or two and a bunch of skin-soothers. It’s great for an impaired skin barrier and generally angry skin.

REN Evercalm Ultra Comforting Rescue Mask ($63 CDN | 50 mL)

This mask is the only mask I’ve reached for with any sense of regularity, because it’s fantastic for skin that’s suffering with dermatitis, eczema, redness, soreness and any sort of irritation. It’s that one product that never stings — despite the fact that it contains fragrance including fragrance derived from essential oils — even during the throes of flaking painful skin that can barely even be touched with water without potent discomfort. Coincidentally, this is a favourite product to throw on after hours of mask wearing. It contains shea butter, a bunch of emollients, lactobacillus-derived probiotics, algae extract and an angel dusting of white mushroom extract. The product leaves a definite film to the skin but I don’t mind as I tend to rinse off or pat off excess or leave on when my skin is in need of dire help. After use, my skin is calmed, soothed, less reactive and definitely moisturized. I notice an immediate reduction in redness and inflammation when I use this and am able to follow with the regular steps of my skincare routine.

Cerave Itch Relief Cream ($27.99 CDN | 354g)

This winter, I had the delight of an experiencing a months long eczema flare. Applying creams like this one, loaded with shea butter, ceramides, hyaluronic acid, emollients such as petrolatum and dimethicone has helped keep my dry itchy legs and arms under control. What particularly helped about this formula is the 1% pramoxine hydrochloride, which relieves the unbearable itchiness that accompanies eczema with none of the side effects that ingredients like menthol have. This cream reminds me of the original cream formula but with an added richness and whipped texture from the addition of shea butter and the itch relief. When used with ointments on the individual patches of concern, this kept me from itching patches for long enough to let them heal.

Curlsmith Scalp Recipe Clarifying Scrub Shampoo ($37.99 CDN | 250 mL)

This shampoo not only is clarifying without ruining my waves and curls or turning my hair into a literal lion’s mane of tangles, but also has kept my scalp happy and not itchy, dry or flaky throughout the entire season. I tend to reach for this gentle exfoliating sulfate-free shampoo in between more standard shampoos. It uses perlite, a volcanic rock, for exfoliation rather than irritating beads, keeps my scalp soothed with probiotic ferments and clarifies without traditional sulfates. My scalp is super happy afterwards and all product build-up is removed, without that stripped feeling. It’s concentrated — so I still haven’t gone through the tube — and has a delicious subtly fruity spa scent. It also contains vinegar without smelling like vinegar.

Maybelline Superstay Ink Crayon in 20 Enjoy the View ($12.49 CDN)

While I’m certainly not wearing makeup everyday, I have been enjoying wearing it 2-3 times a week. When I have been actually reaching for a lip product, I’ve been playing with this warm kind of rusty rose colour. The formula is a comfortable semi-matte kind of finish that lasts well without being drying or clinging to dry patches. I’m not selling the colour either, but it’s incredibly flattering, adding colour to the face without actually being a bold lip. It also easily applies at full opacity and works nicely as a stain with lip balm on top for more of a subdued flush.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Sultry Eyeshadow Palette Vault ($86 CDN)

On the days I’ve been wearing makeup, I’ve enjoyed playing with eyeshadow. I think I’ve been reaching for this formerly limited edition palette the most. The formula is pigmented, buttery and a little bit powdery, and there’s a nice combination of spectacular metallic shades and practical matte shades of varying depths. Although this palette reads quite cool, I actually found it quite neutral on my warm undertones with a mixture of shades on both spectrums included in a neutral but not boring colour story. I love the mixture of different light-to-medium metallic shades to play with on the lid, of course I like the matte peach pop in the crease, and I love that the palette includes a matte black and matte chocolate brown with an impeccable formula. I like the shadows for an easy slap on kind of eye look but I love them for when I want a glitzier smoky eye. It’s kind of frustrating that the palette has to be bought in the vault form but I can’t complain, having missed out on it the first time around.

Christian Dior Miss Dior Le Parfum ($122 CDN | 40 mL)

I’m hesitant to include my staple scent over the colder months, as it — like all good things it seems — has been discontinued. It’s the warmer spicier big sister to Miss Dior in its standard version that captures some of the magic that previous iterations of the scent had for me. It’s not the kind of scent I would ordinarily expect to reach for in cooler months, spent mostly at home in casual attire but I learned that I love this heady scent applied lightly into clothing; it makes me feel cozy, sophisticated and put together. I get compliments when I wear it, especially when it has been applied to clothes days before — it has that kind of longevity. It’s a patchouli and rose scent with added warmth from amber and vanilla.

What were your winter staples?
Maggie, x.