Summer Empties | The Skincare

I’m both proud of and slightly horrified by the number of products — mostly skincare — that I’ve used up since early spring. I’ve been slowly downsizing the excessive products that I own — not that I haven’t broken down and purchased a few more than I needed — and here are my thoughts. I’ve actually gone through so much body care and general skin care in recent months, especially dealing with horrifically angry skin from wearing a mask, increased hand washing and the like. Let’s get to it, or rather to the first part of my empty products to be reviewed…

Cerave Hydrating Cleanser ($17.99 CDN | 355 mL)

This is a great gentle soap-free cleanser for skin that is dry, undergoing sensitizing treatments or is just prone to irritation. This was a saviour when I was reacclimatizing to using Differin and experiencing irritation from wearing a mask. It’s fragrance-free and contains ceramides, glycerin and hyaluronic acid. The texture is a thicker gel that never foams and feels quite soothing on the skin. It’s a forever repurchase for me and I’m happy to see that it’s now available in a larger size as well.

Paula’s Choice Defense Hydrating Gel-to-Cream Cleanser ($18 US | 198 mL)

Despite normally being the kind of girl whose face feels tight at the very thought of a gel cleanser, I loved this one. It contains a number of gentler surfactants but no soap of sulfates, goes onto dry skin as a soothing gel and later emulsifies into a frothy milk. It feels refreshing without being anything resembling drying with soothing ingredients like amino acids, green tea, liquorice root and fatty acids. I will be repurchasing. It also doesn’t sting my eyes and actually removes makeup pretty well, whilst being a ‘skin’ cleanser.

Laneige Bright Renew Original Serum ($59 CDN | 40 mL)

Sadly, Laneige appears to have phased out this milky serum when they kind of rebranded their brightening line. It contains squalane, niacinamde, green tea, liquorice root and beta glucan and offered lightweight hydration when patted into the skin. It contains ingredients that I found helped my skin remain bright and radiant, fade hyper-pigmentation and added a dose of anxtioxidants. The Laneige Bright Dew Original Essence seems to be the replacement, although it’s a bit more expensive and appears to have the niacinamide replaced with ethyl ascorbic acid.

Kate Somerville DeliKate Recovery Serum ($110 CDN | 30 mL)

This was the perfect type of serum for me to incorporate over the last four or so months when my skin was freaking out from the mask wearing and when I decided to reintroduce a prescription retinoid into my routine perhaps a little too quickly and hastily. I really enjoyed it but it was quite expensive and I want to explore other options. If I came across it on a good sale, however, I would buy. This is a soothing, calming and barrier repairing milky serum, loaded with glycerin, ceramides, nourishing plant oils, antioxidants and anti-irritants. I appreciate that the bottle is opaque and thus the antioxidants will remain stable after being exposed to light.

Paula’s Choice Resist Advanced Smoothing Treatment 10% AHA ($37 US | 30 mL)

I finished up my second bottle of this AHA-serum hybrid a few days ago and happily moved onto my third bottle — in the new slightly improved packaging as well. It’s not cheap but I don’t mind spending on such a sophisticated formula and I often find good sales from Paula’s Choice. It contains a 10% blend of glycolic acid, lactic acid, malic acid and tartaric acid, along with 0.5% of salicylic acid to keep pores clear and congestion at bay. The serum has a slightly milky water-gel texture and along with the alpha hydroxy acids, contains peptides, ceramides, liquorice root extract, green tea extract, oat bran extract, chamomile and allantoin. I tend to use it up to a few times a week in the place of my usual chemical exfoliant and serum. Also the packaging keeps the antioxidants and replenishing ingredients stable and protected from light. It’s an effective AHA that’s easy to tolerate, in a nutshell. It pleasantly doesn’t ever sting my skin, despite containing glycolic acid.

The Ordinary “B” Oil ($9.20 CDN | 30 mL)

For years, I’ve loved using a few drops of an oil blend — preferably one formulated without essential oils or other irritants — in the treatment stage as a skin soother, to add additional antioxidant protection and to sandwich in moisture and comfort. This is a medium weight oil blend that follows that criteria and is housed in appropriate packaging. It contains squalane, the antioxidant, bisabolol, marula, argan, baobab, patula, brazil nut, inca inchi, rosehip and borage oil, and an interesting amount of a micro-algae. I would consider buying again after I’m finished with the oils I currently am using. It was very soothing and anti-inflammatory.

Sunday Riley Juno Antioxidant + Superfood Face Oil ($95 CDN | 35 mL)

When I wasn’t using the above mentioned facial oil, I happily used this classic essential-oil-free oil blend. It’s an investment buy for me but I found myself buying yet again for the third time, when I found this oil on another good sale. It smells like a good Greek salad dressing in the best way and contains a mixture of omega-rich and antioxidant-rich oils including blackberry seed oil, blueberry seed oil, grapeseed oil, cranberry seed oil, meadow foam seed oil and cumin seed oil. Afterwards, my inflammation goes way down, my skin glows and retains hydration.

Bioderma Sensibio AR ($25.90 CDN | 40 mL)

This was a really good moisturizer with a minimal ingredients list that was replenishing and soothing. It contains glycerin, mineral oil, probiotic ingredients, liquorice root extract, allantoin and green tea. It never burned or stung on my reactive skin, even when it’s quite irritated. It’s fragrance-free and has a minimal but effective ingredient list that definitely targets dryness, dehydration and inflammation. It was effective without being heavy in the slightest. I don’t plan on repurchasing soon but I wouldn’t be opposed to using again.

Kate Somerville Goat Milk Moisturizing Cream ($84 CDN | 50 mL)

This was an item I actually chose from Fabfitfun to receive and I didn’t realize that I was a fan of it until I chose to receive it again. This packaging looks a little different than the airless jars because it’s your traditional jar with limited edition packaging composed of 25% plastic ocean waste. It’s a nice soothing runny cream that I got along well with and would think even those with a more combination or acne-prone skin would enjoy. It’s almost fragrance-free — there’s a plant extract or two that contain fragrance — and feels comforting and lightweight on the skin. It contains soothing lactose and goat’s milk which have humectant properties, boost barrier function with the fat molecules they contain and combat inflammation and redness. It also features witch hazel flower water which has antioxidant activity — but can be slightly irritating when used in higher concentrations — and antioxidant-rich plant oils. I would prefer it housed in the airless jar but regardless, I enjoyed it, particularly on my sensitive neck and chest.

Paula’s Choice Resist Skin-Restoring Moisturizer SPF 50 ($33 US | 60 mL)

This is a fantastic moisturizer with antioxidants, soothing ingredients and barrier-repairing ingredients that also contains SPF 50 sunscreen with chemical filters. What I love is the hydrating lotion vehicle and that my sensitive and reactive skin can actually tolerate the chemical actives without experiencing irritation. I repurchased as an everyday sunscreen-moisturizer hybrid, even though the sunscreen actives aren’t the most photostable; it’s a joy to apply and you don’t have to worry about a cast or any sort of clinging to dry patches. It contains shea butter, allantoin, niacinamide, liquorice root and oat extracts which I think help my skin tolerate the chemical actives. This was so good that was cut in half and used to the last drop so it didn’t appear in the picture.

Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask ($33 CDN | 75 mL)

I’ve been using and loving this hydrating mask for years, despite the fact the ingredients list does not particularly thrill me. It’s always contained a bunch of fragrance, potentially irritating plant extracts and citrus peel oils galore. It’s actually been reformulated so it has niacinamide but also has some drying alcohol towards the middle of the list but the fragrance, citrus oils and plant extracts remain. What I love about this mask is that it has a pleasant creamy thicker texture that feels soothing on the skin and sinks in, leaving long-lasting hydration. I have repurchased it before but I think I’ll try something else first. Also, I dumbly forgot to photograph this one!

Have you finished anything as of late?
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.

DSC_0109

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.