just trying to get my skin through upstate new york winters and look GOOD doing it !!
Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid: worth it?
Today I want to compare two exfoliating toners: The Ordinary’s 7% glycolic acid toner, and Paula’s Choice 2% BHA liquid. I’ve used both of these toners in the past. The Ordinary - Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution This was my first ever acid toner, and one of my first acids. As with most of The Ordinary’s products, I think you get a lot of bang for your buck—7% of glycolic acid is a solid percentage, and at $8.70 for 8oz, it can’t get much cheaper. I’ve used this off and on for years, and I know I can always turn to it if I need some no-nonsense exfoliation. I haven’t been using it as much lately because I use tretinoin, so I’m trying to lay off the heavier-duty exfoliants, but I’ve even used it on the bumpy areas of my arms and it’s helped to smooth them. This toner does sting a little bit (not in a burning way—it just feels spicy on my skin), but it’s never been so uncomfortable for me that I’ve wanted to stop using it. I think it helps other products penetrate and absorb better because it removes any dead skin cells that are in the way. Long story short, if you’re new to acids, this is a great place to start: the formula is simple, the percentage is solid, and the price is unbeatable. PAULA'S CHOICE - SKIN PERFECTING 2% BHA LIQUID EXFOLIANT This toner contains 2% salicylic acid as the main ingredient, and green tea extract to soothe. I’ll be honest: I don’t love the way this toner feels when I apply it. It feels... oily? Greasy? I definitely was not expecting that consistently when I first applied it, and I’ve never quite gotten used to it. However, I love the way my skin reacts to this: while it’s never stung or prickled the way that The Ordinary’s toner has, I get smooth and glowy skin every time I use this. I think The Ordinary’s toner might be better for hardcore fading of dark spots, and this one is better for getting rid of texture and closed comedones. In the end, these are both good products. I think the Paula’s Choice is worth $29.50 for 4oz because it does what it claims to do, but The Ordinary’s formula is also very effective (and at a great price point). I would start with The Ordinary’s if you’re new to acids (make sure to wear sunscreen!) and while the Paula’s Choice has a different active ingredient, it’s also very effective and still at a reasonable price point.
The Ordinary-Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution
My go-to candles
Candles are a huuuge part of my self care routine—just as much as skincare or makeup. The ritual of lighting a candle can be just as relaxing for me as a face mask, so today I wanted to share a few of my go-to candles for different occasions. DIPTYQUE - BAIES / BERRIES CANDLE I can smell this candle even when it’s not lit—that’s how strong the fragrance is (in a good way!) This mini size is $36, but it burns for forever. This candle feels so elegant that it’s my go-to for when I’m getting ready: even if I’m just putting on my normal makeup to go to work, it makes the occasion feel more like a treat yourself ritual. I haven’t tried any other Diptyque candles, but I adore the scent of this one, which Diptyque describes as a bouquet of roses and blackcurrant leaves. It definitely smells like roses to me, and it makes me feel so special as I’m getting ready. #Woodlot - Recharge candle[products]#[FiveStars] This candle from Woodlot is the most calming scent I’ve ever smelled. It’s a blend of peppermint and rosemary that simultaneously makes me feel energized and calm... basically the remedy to all my grad school woes. Woodlot candles are made with organic coconut and soy wax, with essential oils for scent, and they burn around 40 hours! At $26 for an 8oz candle, I don’t feel bad about letting this bad boy burn for hours and melt away all my stress. I love burning this after I get home as I try to de-stress from the day. I’ve had other Woodlot candles as well, but this is the only one I’ve repurchased because the scent and its effects are addictive. For that reason, this is my go-to candle for relaxing.
DIPTYQUE-BAIES / BERRIES CANDLE
Biossance squalane rose oil: worth it?
Today I wanted to compare Biossance’s cult favorite squalane oil with a less expensive and lesser know squalane, the one by Hush and Dotti. The Hush and Dotti is approximately 1/3 of the price of the Biossance: Hush and Dotti: $52 for 2oz, or $26/oz Biossance: $72 for 1oz, or $72/oz Both of these oils have squalane as the main ingredient, though the #Hush and Dotti - Hydrating Serum[products]#[FiveStars] contains many more oils further down in the ingredient list: camellia, rosehip, rice bran, grape seed, argan, sunflower, carrot seed, pomegranate, perilla seed, black cumin, meadow foam, arnica, lavender, sweet orange, lemon, bergamot, sea buckthorn, and angelica root. That’s a LOT of oils, and while some people are very sensitive to essential oils, they come further down the ingredient list than the carrier oils at the top. Still, I would avoid this one if essential oils don’t work well for your skin. I really like this oil. The fragrance is pretty strong, but if you like earthy, herbal smells, this may be for you. In terms of how it feels on my face, it does feel a *bit* heavier than the Biossance (due to the fact that it’s not all squalane), but not by that much. I find that it sinks into my skin well. I typically use it as a nighttime oil, mixing it into my moisturizer, but I will say that because the smell is strong it doesn’t play well with all products—for example, one tried I tried mixing it with Glow Recipe’s watermelon pink juice and the scent profiles clashed so much that I wanted to just... wash my face. Regardless, this oil definitely does moisturize my skin, and it’s never made me irritated or given me a breakout. By contrast, BIOSSANCE - Limited Edition Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil has just squalane, rose, vitamin c, and a few preservatives. Biossance’s squalane is made from sugarcane, if that means anything to you, and the rose oil and vitamin c are supposed to help fade dark spots and brighten overall skin tone. I’ll be completely honest, I *love* using this oil, but I don’t think it’s exactly a powerhouse when it comes to fading dark spots. I’d like to know the actual percentage of vitamin c in this, but Biossance doesn’t specify. Regardless, I use a few drops of this every single morning, and because I only need a few drops, the 1oz bottle lasts forever and ever (as it should, for $72). It’s a very light oil that sinks in and never leaves me feeling greasy. In the end, I really like both of these oils. If you’re down for a squalane blend with some other botanicals thrown in, I recommend checking out Hush + Dotti! If you’re hardcore dedicated to squalane with just vitamin c and rose—and you can handle the sticker price—the Biossance is a great oil, too. Both are moisturizing without being irritating, in my experience.
HUSH + DOTTI-Hydrating Serum
FAB ultra repair cream: claims vs my thoughts
FIRST AID BEAUTY - Ultra Repair Cream I’ve seen this stuff everywhere, so I was excited to finally try it when I got it in a FAB gift set over the holidays. FAB describes this as a fast-absorbing, rich moisturizer that provides relief for skin that is dry, distressed, and/or suffering from eczema. It includes ingredients like colloidal oatmeal, shea butter, and allantoin, all of which are super soothing. My thoughts: I love that this product is versatile and can be used on face or body. I personally don’t use it on my face because my skin doesn’t tend to be super dry, and when it is I already have products that I’m happy with to fix that dryness. BUT I love this stuff on my body, and since you can buy it in huge tubs, I think it’s worth the price (around $34 for 6oz). I use this on my hands and arms, and on spots on my legs, that tend to get very dry and itchy because I refuse to give up scalding hot showers even during the winter (not sorry). ✅This cream follows through on its claim to be fast absorbing. I never have to wait for it to sink in, and it never leaves me feeling greasy or oily. ✅ It also follows through on its claim to provide relief for dry, distressed skin (I don’t have eczema so I can’t speak to that experience). It immediately soothes any itching I’m experiencing, and makes me feel moisturized.
FIRST AID BEAUTY-Ultra Repair Cream
My go-to sheet masks
Confession: I love sheet masks. I reach for them about once a week, usually when my skin needs a boost and/or I feel the need to treat myself. While I’m trying to cut down on single use products for environmental reasons, I still have several of these masks around and I reach for them for different reasons. GARNIER - Moisture Bomb Green Tea Hydrating Face Sheet Mask for Combination Skin 32g Do not underestimate this drugstore sheet mask!! It’s the best one I’ve tried. It has ingredients like green tea extract, glycerin, and hyaluronic acid that make it a great boost of soothing and moisturizing. Every time I get this mask, it is DRENCHED with product (just how I like it) and the mask is very thin and adheres to my face really well. Because this mask is so nice, it’s the one I use when I need an at-home spa night after a particularly hard week—you know, the kind of night where you light a candle and lay in the bath with a mask on. For me, this is that mask: the smell and ingredients are very soothing and calming, and it leaves me feeling refreshed and relaxed. At ~$4 per mask, this is a great treat yourself item. OCEAN KING - Manuka Honey 20+ Facial Mask Sheet This is a lesser-known brand, but I picked up a pack of these honey sheet masks a while back at TJ Maxx and I’ve been loving them ever since. The ingredients include niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, goat milk, kakadu plum, and of course, manuka honey. Products that contain honey always make my skin super glowy, and for that reason, this is the mask I pull out right before special events like weddings or anniversaries (or my upcoming graduation!). The masks are soaked with a generous amount of product that I like to spread on my neck and chest, and I use a jade roller on top of the mask to really massage the product into my skin. After I take this mask off, my skin looks and feels sooo plump and glowy. I’ve even used this as part of my morning skincare routine, and my makeup went on super smooth because my skin was so moisturized. This mask has great ingredients for a great price (around $5/mask), and it always leaves me feeling prepped and ready for big events.
OCEAN KING-Manuka Honey 20+ Facial Mask Sheet
Caudalie vinoperfect serum: claims & my thoughts
CAUDALIE - VINOPERFECT RADIANCE SERUM The Caudalie Vinoperfect serum claims to boost radiance and lighten dark spots, thereby evening overall skin tone. Caudalie claims that it’s 62 times more effective than vitamin c in this regard, but I’m not sure how they did the science to get to that claim. Some of the key ingredients include viniferine (a patented ingredient of Caudalie’s), olive squalane, and mint and geranium for a “phyto-aromatic scent” (of which I’m not a huge fan—I think it smells like grass). My thoughts: this is a nice serum. I got a mini size in a Caudalie set, and I have used the whole serum since then. While I didn’t love the scent, I enjoyed the lightweight, moisturizing texture of the product—it sunk in easily and made my skin feel moisturized but not greasy. The mini size lasted me several weeks of twice-daily usage, and I do think my complexion looks brighter and my dark spots are faded ✅ (though it’s always hard to tell how much of the fading is just natural and how much it was speeded along by any particular product). Regardless, I do think that this follows through on its claims. ✅ However—this is $79 (!!) for 1oz. In my opinion, though it does do what it claims to do, it wasn’t dramatically better than my $18 vitamin c serum (scroll back to see my review) when it comes to brightening and fading dark spots. If you have a higher budget, this is a solid option, but if not—there are other products that will accomplish the same goals at a much lower price point.
CAUDALIE-VINOPERFECT RADIANCE SERUM
Thin, cheap foundation for acne-prone skin
About the foundation: The The Ordinary - Serum Foundation 30ml is a lightweight medium formula that comes 21 shades across 9 categories ranging from very deep to very fair. The foundation has a natural look and does not feel heavy once applied. It’s comes in a matte, plastic bottle with a pump. (Glass pippet can be purchased separately.) It is a water-based foundation free of alcohol, oil, gluten and nuts. It does have silicone. (It is also cruelty-free.) It has a pH of 6.00-8.25. How to apply it, according to the Ordinary website: “Shake before use. Dispense a small amount into the palm or the back of your hand. Smooth on and blend throughout the face, ideally outward from the midpoint of the face.” I would apply this with a brush over a sponge it you want to use tools. A sponge would just soak it up. My thoughts: I really like this foundation. (I have had it for a year.) It is very liquidy, but packs a lot of pigment. The shade closet to my skin tone is 3.2 N, but is still a little bit too warm-leaning. This shade definitely oxidizes. You can only get it at a Deciem store or the Deciem/Ordinary website, which made me feel like I was playing foundation roulette. THE SHADE RANGE SUCKS. 3.2 N is the third-to-last darkest shade. What makes it good for acne-prone skin? It is a thin formula, which helps it not look cakey over active acne or scarring. The neutral pH level makes it less likely that it will be irritating to your skin. Specs: 1 fl. oz./30 mL for $6.70 Recommend? Yes. Note: Give me a pity save/comment. I originally reviewed this Monday with the intention to post it Tuesday morning, but when I opened the app on Tuesday it wasn’t there. (Now back to watching “Cheer” on Netflix.)
The Ordinary-Serum Foundation 30ml
PURITO - Centella Unscented Serum Purito is a K-Beauty brand that is cruelty free and is known for using natural and clean ingredients in their skincare products. All their products are 100% EWG Green Level Certified. I’ve had the opportunity to try their Centella Unscented Serum* for the past several weeks now. I’ve been reaching for this serum whenever my skin is feeling irritated/inflamed from any acne breakouts and it really has helped sooth and calm down my skin. The Purito Centella Unscented Serum is formulated with 49% centella extract which is an amazing ingredient to help with skin regeneration. Other ingredients include Niacinamide, Ceramide NP, Sodium Hyaluronate, and peptides which together help soothe, brighten, and strengthen the skin’s barrier. This serum has a rather short ingredient list when compared to a lot of other brands of similar serums. You won’t find any essential oils, fragrance, nor any ingredients that will dry out your skin. The consistency is a very lightweight gel that is fast-absorbing and doesn’t leave any sticky residue. Just 2 pumps of this product at night helps provide instant soothing relief to my skin. I love that it also pairs so well with my go-to moisturizers. I highly recommend the Purito Unscented Centella Serum if you’re someone with sensitive skin who maintains a simple routine but still want to incorporate a product that can provide some relief whenever your skin is feeling irritated/inflamed. It sells for a great affordable price of $20.50 for 60ml.
PURITO-Centella Unscented Serum
Just wanted to share that the YTTP mist is my favorite face mist EVER! Unlike other mists that have a chunky spray, this one literally just cascades beautifully onto your face. It is instantly hydrating and soothing, and has a minimal scent. I’m so happy I got my hands on the baby version for my purse! This is a holy grail for me!
YOUTH TO THE PEOPLE-Adaptogen Soothe + Hydrate Activated Mist with Reishi + Ashwagandha