I should’ve had this post live back in March when it was the first day of “Spring”, but here we are! I completed my Roundup 2018 Series, and I thought for the year of 2019 I’ll section off my Empties and Current Favourites posts by season. Here are my first set of empties from January 1, 2019 – March 20, 2019!
Some products are PR samples, and are indicated down below. This post contains affiliate links. If you use this link to make a purchase, I make a small commission. Thank you if you decide to use it! If you don’t feel comfortable, feel free to google a new link.
“This mattifying fluid sunscreen combines potent antioxidants with a Polyhydroxy Acid (PHA) complex to protect and strengthen skin’s moisture barrier against environmental aggressors. Formulated exclusively with mineral sunscreens: Zinc Oxid and Titanium Dioxide.”
APPLICATION: Shake 15-30 seconds before applying. I use 64% of 1/4 tsp (will explain this in a future post). Feels greasy and spreads easily.
FINISH: Instant finish is is VERY shiny, and takes a while for it to eventually be matte.
FEEL: Light. Slightly drying once it decides to dry down.
STINGS EYES? No.
WHITECAST / TINTED? Not all tints are created equal… In other words, your face is GREY! I gave it a second change and did a sheer application to see if it would match my skin tone. As you can see, it’s better, but still slightly grey, and mattifies quickly.
WATER RESISTANT? Yes – 40 minutes.
There is PHA (lactobionic acid) and EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate), making “Defend” in their name suitable along with the SPF. However, I still treat this solely as a product with sun protection benefits.
Just like other physical sunscreens reviewed, it grips onto my It Cosmetics CC Cream really well and mattifies it.
Evens out complexion and reduces pigment intensity around blemishs / marks
Lists both UVB and UVA protection level
Greasy on application
Takes longer than 30 minutes to dry if you apply the necessary amount to get the SPF labelled
Literally same ingredients as the brand Exuviance but just a price difference, they could’ve changed it up a tad to justify this!
The package says “new advanced formula” but when I compared this INCI list to their “Target” green line sold in the U.S. (and Exuviance), it’s the same formula! Can someone confirm whether or not we had this formula (or sunscreen for that matter) in Canada prior?
IN BETWEEN FEELS:
Mattifies CC cream
Neostrata Defend Sheer Physical Protection Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Matte-Finish Tinted Sunscreen PA++++ is disappointing. I was hoping this would be my go-to tinted physical sunscreen so I wouldn’t have to rely on foundation, but alas, the tint doesn’t change significantly for me. This will be going to my younger cousin who is so fair and oily skinned, she can actually benefit from this SPF, its finish, and how it evens out the complexion for her also acne-prone skin.
Glow Recipe is another online K-Beauty retailer, but they curate more indie brands that are not as known or easily accessible to those of us in the Western World! Think Make P:rem, Blithe, Huxley, Whamisa… Working in the Korean and American beauty market for so long, and having their own business, the founders Sarah and Christine curated their own line, Glow Recipe!
I first purchased the original Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser and Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask, and eventually wanted to try their Jelly Sheet Mask! Since the Cleanser has been reformulated, I won’t be reviewing it * missed my chance *. If you would like to see a review on it despite it being the older formula, let me know in the comments! We’ll be focusing on the 2 Watermelon Masks I purchased from their line:
Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask
Watermelon Glow Jelly Sheet Mask
Why watermelon? I actually find it a very cute and sentimental reason. In the summertime during their childhood, their grandmothers would rub the rhine and flesh of fresh watermelon on their backs to soothe irritated, inflamed skin. My grandmother never did anything like that, but she’d always prepare a copious amount of snacks for me and my cousins!
– Cruelty Free
– Formulated without synthetic dyes and mineral oils
– Good for all skin types
– Made in Korea
Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask
Price: $59 CAD, Mini $29 CAD Amount: 2.7oz/80ml, Mini 1oz/30ml
Description: “The Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask is a luxuriously bouncy, breathable sleeping mask that smoothes and perfects skin, overnight. This pillow-proof formula acts as a radiance-boosting hybrid hydrator, formulated with soothing, amino-acid rich Watermelon Extract, hydrating Hyaluronic Acid, and pore refining AHAs that work while you sleep to gently exfoliate and clarify.” – Glow Recipe Website
Description:“This one-of-a-kind sheet mask gets its jelly texture from a blend of watermelon extract and natto gum. That’s right, it’s a sheet mask made out of watermelons that gives you all the benefits of the amino-acid rich fruit directly into the skin. The watermelon base gives the jelly a naturally translucent pink hue that’s almost invisible on the skin, meaning you can mask anywhere, anytime without anyone knowing what you’re up to. It’ll be our little secret.” – Glow Recipe Website
– One of the few Korean-inspired products with a decent-sized ingredient list. When Korean brands use plant extracts, the list is so insanely long and features a lot of exotic ingredients that I don’t even bother to check all of them. Glow Recipe’s list is actually readable.
– Key ingredients are actually near the top of the list. Too many times I have seen Niacinamide, collagen, HA, and all the good stuff at the bottom of a 50+ long ingredient list. I never thought it would do anything significant for my skin. Watermelon is noticeably high on the GR INCI lists.
– Texture – the Sleeping Mask has an interesting and fun texture, which adds to my enjoyment using the product.
CONS: – Price – $59 For a sleeping mask that dries way too quickly for my skin, PLUS I have to use extra layers to feel a decent amount of hydration… Not worth it. – Artificial fragrance – I don’t mind fragrance if it is somewhat natural smelling. The watermelon definitely smells like fake candy. It’s not overwhelming, but it takes away from a more enjoyable experience with the mask.
– This isn’t an attack solely on the Watermelon Glow Jelly Mask, but after trying multiple gel masks this one just continues to prove to me that gel masks are MEH. Not worth $11 When a $2 cotton-sheet has shown to be just as efficacious, if not more.
– Jelly Mask in general is flimsy and I managed to puncture it a few times when trying to get it to adhere to my face.
– More suited for oily skin. I wouldn’t say these products can be for all skin types, I don’t feel like my skin is nourished enough, even when I applied extra layers. Having said that, they still somewhat performed, and someone with an oilier skin type may see better results.
– Mild enough for sensitive skin or for those who have never used chemical exfoliants. I’m used to stronger chemical exfoliants, but I did notice my skin would look fairly smoother with the mask. I just feel like I have tried better, but for someone starting out, you may want to look into the Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask.
I appreciate Glow Recipe, admire the founders, and generally like the products. I’m sort of interested in trying the Avocado Mask, but I don’t really have an urge to try anything further from the brand. Have you tried the Avocado Mask? Let me know in the comments below!
“Face the day protected! Sun and environmental stressors can affect the health of your skin year-round – so fight back with our lightweight and non-whitening, tinted mineral face susncreen. Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide protect physically, not chemically, providing broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection.
Antioxidant-rich oils and plant extract offer intense hydration and reparative benefits to help keep your skin looking its best, no matter the season.”
No chemical sunscreens
No synthetic fragrances
TSA approved size
Price: $19.98 CAD Amount: 50ml
Titanium Dioxide: 3.2%
Zinc Oxide: 1.7%
On application, when I was gliding the product, it still managed to attract dead skin on my hands, like I did a little exfoliation.
Have to wait 20-30 minutes for it to dry down
Alcohol too high on the inci list
Face LOOKS dry, makes my fine lines look more noticeable, dry patches
Unpleasant to use
IN BETWEEN FEELS:
Mattifies cc cream; can be good or bad depending on skin type. For me it’s bad :p
Bare Republic Tinted Mineral Face SPF 30 Sunscreen Lotion was just okay. It’s great that this is a cruelty-free physical sunscreen with no cast whatsoever, but it’s very unpleasant to apply because of how liquidy/oily it is. For my dry skin, I don’t like it on my face at all because it makes my skin look dull. Perhaps in hotter, more humid weather it’ll perform better, but I’ll let oily-skinned peeps enjoy.
I feel like with every passing year, I always learn a different aspect of skincare. I found this year I focused a LOT on scientifically proven ingredients, as well as new, popular ingredients that are commonly talked about in the beautysphere. This was also the year I showed more interest in drugstore products! Out of everything I tried and used up this year, here are the skincare products that really stood out to me this year and deserve some praises.
Before we get into the individual products, I want to give a shout out to a few brands that have impressed me with almost every product I’ve tried from the line. If I didn’t, I feel like the list would be a lot longer! I also have product shoutouts along the list as well. They may not be my top pick for the year of 2018, but again, they deserve a mention since I did enjoy using them.
DRUGSTORE: Cerave – If you need affordable, effective skincare with a simple ingredients list, this is the brand to turn to. Almost any skin type can turn to this brand! I’m looking forward to trying more from the brand and provide you all affordable alternatives in skincare.
MID-RANGE: Krave Beauty – I actually would have featured everything in this post, but since I only started using them near the end of the year a handful of times, I’ll leave the praises for a future post *hint hint*. A new skincare line created by acne-prone, sensitive-skinned beauty Youtuber Liah Yoo. The brand is all about respecting the skin’s natural function and makes sure to promote its helf rather than further sensitizing it.
HIGH-END:Dermalogica – She may be pricey, but she works, and a little goes a long way with every product I have tried! I love the combo of science-backed ingredients mixed with botanicals and essential oils in their formulas. This is one of the few skincare brands I’m willing to splurge money on because I’ve reaped nothing but benefits!
Marcelle Eye Makeup Remover for Sensitive Eyes – Favourited by a handful of Canadian Beauty Bloggers, and I can see why. It is simple, it is gentle, it works really well at removing waterproof makeup, all the while never irritating my eyes or drying out my eye area!
Cerave Hydrating Cleanser – Jesus where was this when I had worse skin problems? Cerave has impressed me this year as a drugstore brand and this is one of their standout products to me. Preferably used for my morning cleanse, I find it softens my skin when massaging for a minute or so and does a decent job at removing overnight fluffs. If you need a very gentle cleanser, I don’t think you’d be disappointed with this one!
Shoutout: Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel * – She’s expensive, but she also has a lovely texture, amazing second cleanse, and a little goes such a long way it took me forever to finish it!
COSRX Galactomyces 95 Tone Balancing Essence – I seriously miss this from my routine! I’m currently using Secret Key FTE which is nice, but COSRX is pretty much the same but with my preferred consistency! It wasn’t until I started using this that the plateau I was experiencing in my skincare ended. Face felt more hydrated, looked even tone, and I actually started noticing improvements in my hyperpigmentation.
I already threw out the COSRX Essence so I couldn’t take a new solo photo :3)
Hada Labo Koi-Gokujyun Perfect Gel – I pine for this. Has the different HA molecules, Urea, Ceramide, and Squalane! A seriously lovely humectant moisturizer that I’m highly considering repurchasing.
Cerave PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion – Surprise surprise! But seriously, I really am surprised that I liked a drugstore moisturizer so much. It worked with my dry skin and I see the workings of the 4% Niacinamide.
Klairs Vitamin E Mask * – Love it as my night time moisturizer in the colder months, and it’s also just a joy to use because of the texture and the instant brightening effects. The bonus is that it is a heavier mask that doesn’t aggravate my acne or enlarge my pores!
Actives / Treatments
Dermalogica Biolumin-C Serum * – I cringe that this is a favourite because of the price point, but it’s SO GOOD! It does everything you could want in a vitamin C serum – hydrate, brighten, create an even tone, lighten pigmentation. I felt like it just simplified my morning routine when I used it.
Differin OTC 0.1% Adapalene – My gateway drug into retinoids (lol). After years of experimenting with skincare outside of prescription, and learning so much this year about its benefits, I decided to go back to Vitamin A. It was definitely a turn for the better, because I’ve only noticed my skin improving since incorporating it into my routine. I now use prescription Differin with a higher percentage, but Americans are very lucky to have easy access to this in your local drugstores!
Benzagel 5 Acne Wash – Simplest, gentlest BP product I have ever tried. It was very affordable, I was surprisesd at how long it lasted, and yes, I found it very effective at killing any spots within a few days. I never thought I’d like a BP product as much as this!
Secret Key Lemon Sparkling Peeling Gel * – Must be used on dry skin, but love how my skin is noticeably softer after using this. This one is particularly good for not just it’s quality but the low cost!
Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid – Out of all the products I’m mentioning, this one is probably the gentlest. I always anticipate a stinging sensation when using this, but it’s always soothing and moisturizing! Like I’ve said before, it’s like an acid essence. My skin always looks bright and even, and pores look smaller.
Krave Beauty Kale-lalu-yAHA * – This year’s AHA favourite. Love that it’s gentle, especially now that I am using a retinoid, and still effective as an exfoliant for my skin. I especially like how both this and the PC product can be used under my eyes!
Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence SPF50+ PA++++ * – How can I not include this? Seriously one of the best Klairs releases. Chemical sunscreen with photostable UV filters, doesn’t sting my eyes, is slightly moisturizing, doesn’t have a cast, and comes in a great size for a great price.
And there you have it! I’m impressed that I managed to keep the list * rather * short this time around. Hope you enjoyed this post and be sure to check out the related content below!