Some Spring Product Empties

As a beauty product hoarder, the idea of finishing products and actually getting to recycle some is exciting. I’m on a bit of a spring cleaning kick and I was kind of thrilled to be able to get rid of some products that I finished — don’t worry, there are definite repurchases here too. Also, learning about the products people actually finish is fascinating to me and I hope it’s of interest to you if you’re reading this…

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Indie Lee Brightening Cleanser ($45 CDN| 125 mL): I’m disappointed with this this green beauty cleanser but I blame myself first and foremost. I had bought Indie Lee’s Rosehip Cleanser after hearing that it was a nourishing cleanser formula formulated with gentle ingredients. I like the simple ingredients list of both offerings but I didn’t find them offering anything special other than being a good gentle gel cleanser. To be fair, I only have tried these cleansers since their reformulation and I think they may have been better before. My issue with the product is probably that I’m not sure the tomato extract does anything for brightening and that it’s overpriced. The glass packaging is nice and I do like the simple fragrance-free ingredient list. Also, it does not remove makeup particularly well. I will say it feels nicely refreshing on the skin without containing any sort of harsh cleansing agents or sensitizing ingredients.

Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm ($40 CDN| 125 mL): I absolutely adore this balm cleanser for its gentleness and amazing ability to remove makeup with ease. It’s fragrance free, free of irritants and has an exceptionally short ingredient list. I’ve managed to use this when I’ve had major barrier issues and eczema outbreaks on my face without any burning or stinging. It doesn’t sting my sensitive eyes and rarely clouds my vision. I already have repurchased.

Hada Labo Shiro-Jyun Premium Whitening Lotion ($31.98 CDN | 170 mL): This ‘lotion’ had the light texture of a lightweight traditional toner and I really enjoyed using it in the toner stage in my routine in the warmer weather months. It wasn’t one of those milky toners that are immensely soothing and nourishing on the skin. Instead, it had a lighter consistency and delivered a hefty dose of tranexamic acid, a vitamin c derivative, and multiple forms of hyaluronic acid. It was gentle on my skin and I used it without any other vitamin c or solely brightening products in my routine and felt it left my skin bright and as even in tone as it has ever been. I’d be more likely to purchase the more nourishing version of this product. It would be great for slightly oilier skin, however, or just skin that isn’t so prone to tightness.

Paula’s Choice RESIST Advanced Replenishing Toner ($24 US | 118 mL): I never stop talking about this soothing milky hydrating toner but it’s for good reason. I’ve purchased countless bottles of this and will continue. It’s filled with fatty acids, phospholipids, a number of interesting antioxidants, sodium hyaluronate, liquorice root and evening primrose oil. It’s soothing, helps tremendously with an impaired barrier and is great for packing in the hydration.

The Ordinary “Buffet” + Copper Peptides 1% ($28.90 CDN | 30 mL): This is a hydrating serum with a cosmetically elegant liquidy texture. It contains numerous peptides, which act as humectants and help the skin to function optimally. The copper peptides give this serum the striking blue hue and helps with barrier function in tandem with the amino acids it contains. Right after glycerin, this serum contains a probiotic ingredient that shows promise in helping skin cells turn over whilst reinforcing barrier function. I’d repurchase.

Hada Labo Goku-jyun Premium Emulsion ($28.92 CDN | 140 mL): This was the product that made me fall in love with hyaluronic acid on a personal level, as a twenty something with dehydrated skin prone to uneven texture and congestion. I used it in the serum stage as a premoisturizer of sorts that I followed with a heftier cream to lock in. It’s fragrance free, contains urea, mineral oil — not a bad thing for my skin type — and five different kinds of hyaluronic acid. I’m repurchasing as it really improved the hydration, plumpness and overall appearance of my skin.

L’Oreal Revitalift Cicacream ($27.99 CDN | 50 mL): This is a comforting fluffy textured fragrance free cream that’s great on more reactive skin types experiencing any sort of dryness. It contains glycerin, shea butter, cacao butter and centella asiatica. It’s great underneath the eyes and never stings or burns. I repurchased it as soon as I realized my tube was nearing empty.

REN Evercalm Ultra Comforting Rescue Mask ($ 62 CDN | 50 mL): I would have gladly repurchased this soothing and hydrating mask, had Sephora had it in stock when I placed my last order. It has a thick and creamy texture and works great to soothe redness, take down irritation and calm angry skin down. I find it super anti-inflammatory and will gladly reach for it when my skin is tight, I’ve overdone it with the acids or retinoid, I’m sick or my skin is freaking out from a weather change. At the top of the ingredient list is a probiotic or two, shea butter, jojoba seed oil and algae. It never burns on the skin (even when my skin is to tight it hurts and is in a dermatitis flare) and always leaves the skin looking more glowy and less angry. It does contain fragrance, but it’s in the lower half of the ingredient list.

Sephora The Peeling Mask ($9 CDN): I don’t normally save up my sheet masks for these posts anymore but this one was special enough to keep. It contains lactic acid and niacinamide at significant concentrations and really left my skin glowing and with increased clarity and brightness after using. It was the perfect mask to reach for on congested but sensitive skin, as you got the resurfacing from the acid but without doubling up on an acid exfoliant and potentially making things worse. It’s an expensive sheet mask but I’ll buy again.

Eucerin Complete Repair Hand Cream ($10.49 CDN/ 75 mL): This was the hand cream I purchased and would happily repurchase to combat the itchiness, dryness and dermatitis I experienced as a result of frequent handwashing, wearing gloves and increased hand sanitizer use. It’s great as both a hand product and as a product to spot treat patches of dryness and eczema throughout the day. It’s fragrance free and contains glycerin, urea, a bunch of natural moisturizing factors and lactic acid (functioning as a humectant, not an exfoliant).

What have you finished lately?
Maggie, x.

Current Skincare Saviours

As much as I like obsessively researching skincare product and adding to the stash, I must say that I’ve been enjoying and reaping the benefits of relative consistency in my routine. Note, I do say relative simplicity… And with everyone spending much more time holed up in their homes and hopefully practicing social distancing, I think we’ve been reaching for a little bit more skincare self-care. I figure it’s a fitting moment to share some of these favourite products of mine. This could also double as a 2019 skincare favourites post which I now realize I didn’t write… Oops.

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Paula’s Choice Defense Gel-to-Cream Cleanser ($18 US): As someone with drier and more reactive skin, I’m not sure why I even  tried this gel cleanser but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by it. It’s a soothing gel cleanser that emulsifies into a slightly foamy (but not stripping) cream. It’s soap-free but contains a few gentler detergent agents that provide the slight foaming effect. It’s the gentlest and most soothing gel cleanser I’ve ever tried and removes makeup much better than most skin cleansers — but not as well as a balm or cleansing oil. However, it will remove a full face of makeup with a warm microfibre cloth and I have the kind of skin makeup likes to cling to for dear life. It contains a bunch of soothing agents like oat amino acids, aloe, green tea, liquorice root and sodium PCA. I attribute the cleanser’s soothing quality to the inclusion of these antioxidants, anti-irritants and skin replenishing ingredients.

Tarte Knockout Tingle Treatment Toner ($51 CDN): I was resistant to trying this acid toner but I love it. I hate that it’s marketed as if tingling is a sign of a product working and don’t completely understand the inclusion of a few weird potentially irritating plant extracts (onion bulb, horseradish, myrrh and a few others) and am kind of ambivalent about the acetic acid it contains. However, this is the acid I use most nights and love the smoothing results, radiance, even texture, hydration and overall clarity it brings to my skin. I’m fairly convinced that the liquid toner texture that includes a penetration enhancer makes it a particularly potent acid exfoliant that my temporamental skin likes. It contains niacinamide as the second ingredient and uses both BHA and AHAs to exfoliate the skin. It uses the gentler gluconolactone, lactic acid, citric acid, malic acid, phytic acid and salicylic acid. I love it but this might not be the most gentle acid exfoliant to start with. I notice results quickly using this toner without any sort of tingling.

Paula’s Choice Resist Advanced Replenishing Toner ($24 US): I’ve waxed poetically about my love of this soothing milky toner so I’ll keep it brief. It contains fatty acids, cell communicating ingredients like epigallocatechin gallate, antioxidants, hyaluronic acid and plant oils that really help to restore and maintain the skin barrier and add lightweight hydration  and plumpness that isn’t fleeting. It’s also a necessity for whenever I’ve pissed off my skin.

Paula’s Choice Resist Advanced Smoothing Treatment 10% AHA ($37 US): A few times a week, I will skip the acid toner and use this serum instead. I don’t find it has quite as much resurfacing oomph as the toner but I love it’s hydrating serum texture, combination of glycolic acid, lactic acid, malic acid and tartaric acid and the inclusion of pore-penetrating salicylic acid at a 0.5% concentration. It’s a brilliant potent water-binding exfoliant that’s loaded with peptides, glycerin, ceramides, skin soothing ingredients and antioxidants. As a result, it’s an excellent serum and exfoliant that gets you the benefits of a 10% AHA that’s easy to tolerate.

Hada Labo Gokujyun Premium Emulsion ($28.92 CDN): This emulsion is essentially a humectant based product that could act as a moisturizer that I apply before my moisturizer or sunscreen. It’s fragrance free, doesn’t have anything irritating in it and features five kinds of hyaluronic acid, urea, allantoin and mineral oil. The bottle lasted me nearly a year and I noticed my skin holding onto moisture much better without adding any real producty feel to the skin.

The Ordinary “B” Oil ($9.20 CDN): This rich fragrance free plant oil blend is economical and just so close to Sunday Riley’s Juno in my experience. It’s super anti-inflammatory and soothing with squalane, a variety of antioxidant-rich plant oils and some novel extracts, sourced from algae that research suggests are also anti-inflammatory in their own right.

Paula’s Choice Resist Skin Restoring Moisturizer SPF 50 ($33 US): This is actually the only synthetic or chemical sunscreen product that my reactive skin has been able to tolerate and I credit that to the gentle formula, loaded with antioxidants and anti-irritants. It has a comfortable cream-lotion texture that never feels oily, thick or greasy, while providing my drier skin all it needs in a moisturizer. It contains shea butter, allantoin, niacinamide, liquorice root and oat kernel extract. It uses a combination of broad spectrum filters but I wouldn’t use it for a day in direct sunlight for hours as these filters have stability issues over time. This moisturizer is one I happily reach for often; makeup applies wonderfully over it and it doesn’t seem to migrate into my sensitive eyes.

Paula’s Choice Defense Essential Glow Moisturizer SPF 30 ($29 US): I’m more of a daily mineral sunscreen girl at heart and this is likely the best one I’ve tried. It offers great broad spectrum stable protection and the cast is offset by the slight beige tint the ingredients have. I don’t think relatively fair to medium skin tones would really experience a cast because of the slight tint the ingredients naturally have. The formula also leaves a luminosity to the skin without visible shimmer particles or anything of the sort. It’s an emollient moisturizer that doesn’t feel overly thick or heavy, whilst adding a substantial dose of hydration. The formula contains glycerin, liquorice root extract, kiwi extract, argan oil, some fatty acids and peptides, a couple of different vitamin c derivatives along with other antioxidants. It’s really soothing on dry or parched skin as well.

L’Oreal Revitalift Cicacream ($27.99 CDN): This more affordable moisturizer has been a solid favourite in the last year or so that I’ve had it. It’s recognized for skin health by the Canadian Dermatology Association for being fragrance free and ideal for weakened skin. It contains glycerin, sesame seed oil, shea butter, cacao butter and a notable amount of centella asiatica. It feels comforting on the skin and definitely helps to protect and rebuild the skin barrier and fights inflammation. The centella also supposedly increases collagen production significantly.

REN Evercalm Ultra Comforting Rescue Mask ($62 CDN): This is a thick occlusive cream that does wonders for pissed off skin and/or an impaired barrier. It’s an excellent product for when I’ve overdone Differin and the acids or when my skin gets crazy dry and angry when I get sick or the weather changes. It contains lactobacillus ferment, which is an non-living probiotic with demonstrated ability to enforce the skin barrier and soothe and hydrate the skin, along with algae extract, a potent water-binding antioxidant, a few other probiotic ingredients and arnica flower extract. It’s not a cosmetically elegant cream to slather all over the skin and leave on overnight — although I do do this on occasion. However, it nips irritation of any sort and a problematic barrier in the bud without stinging on the skin in the slightest.

Any thoughts?
Maggie, x.