REVIEW: Dr. Sam’s Perfected Basics

Back in February I had a “treat yo’self” moment, so I decided to splurge on the entire Dr. Sam skincare line (so far) called Perfected Basics. I purchased the following products and have rotated them in my skincare the past few months:
Dr. Sam’s Flawless Cleanser
Dr. Sam’s Flawless Moisturizer
Dr. Sam’s Flawless Sunscreen

As usual, after giving them a good trial run, I am ready to share my experience!


Who is Dr. Sam?

Her official bio says it best:

“[She] is a London-based cosmetic dermatologist specializing, quite simply, in great skin – she’s widely considered to be a beauty insider’s best-kept secret.

She’s passionate about making a dermatologist’s advice more accessible and helping women understand that a visit to her office is not just for serious skin conditions. Through her media and TV work, as a presenter on TLC’s Extreme Beauty Disasters, Dr Sam helps bridge the gap between traditional dermatology and beauty. She is sought-out for her expert opinion in countless fashion and beauty publications.”

I’ve been following her Youtube channel for a while now, and I find her videos to be very digestible and to the point when it comes to our common questions about skin and ingredients. Actually, it’s pretty much this strong trust she’s built through her social channels and in-person patient visits that pushed her to create her own skincare line.

QUICK FACTS:

  • Fragrance free
  • Not tested on animals
  • Vegan
  • Gluten free
  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Contains no SLS, parabens, pthalates
  • Worldwide shipping
  • Products manufactured in the U.K.

Here’s what the site has to say about their 3 Dr. Sam’s Flawless products:

“We want you to build an effective skincare routine by starting from a position of strength.
That means nailing your basics. We call them Perfected Basics.”

If that isn’t a wholesome dermatologist philosophy in a nutshell, I don’t know what is!


FLAWLESS CLEANSER

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ABOUT

PRICE: £16 / ~$21 USD / ~$28 CAD
AMOUNT: 200ml / 6.8 fl oz
CLAIMS:
– Suits all skin types, even redness-prone, sensitive skin
– Thoroughly removes make-up, sunscreen, oil and grime whilst respecting the skin’s natural barrier
– Specifically suitable for acne-prone, grown-up skin
– 1 minute to cleanse
– No oily  residue
pH: 5.0


INGREDIENTS: Aqua (Water), PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Poloxamer 188, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Polysorbate 20, Allantoin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder, Phenoxyethanol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, Disodium EDTA, BHT

EXPERIENCE

USAGE: Sometimes in the A.M. as my morning cleanse, but mostly in the P.M. as my 2nd cleanse.

SCENT: Smells like a raw, no masking fragrance product.

TEXTURE: Jelly!

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APPLICATION: One pump for my 2nd cleanse, massage for 1 minute. I tried to use 2 pumps to remove waterproof sunscreen, massaged for 2 minutes max, and it still didn’t remove everything. As I am massaging the cleanser on my skin, there is no foaming whatsoever!

FINISH: No residue, but my skin feels very soft and doesn’t feel like it’s going to dry up.

INSTANT RESULTS: Clean, happy skin.

LONG-TERM RESULTS: Skin still feels clean and happy!

FINAL THOUGHTS ON DR. SAM’S FLAWLESS CLEANSER

PROS:

  • Love the texture – most pleasant cleanser I’ve used to date (even my bf said the same thing)
  • I don’t think you need a full pump, I can use less to achieve similar results for a 2d cleanse

CONS:

  • From what I recall, Dr. Sam is not a fan of the double-cleanse method in the sense that you need to buy another product as the first step of removing makeup or SPF. I tried massaging 2 full pumps of her cleanser on my face to break down LRP’s Anthelios Tinted SPF, which is water resistant. While it removed most of the SPF, it wasn’t 100% (and I massaged the cleanser on my face for over 2 minutes). I’ll stick to my tried and true double-cleanse method and happily use her cleanser for the 2nd step

FLAWLESS MOISTURIZER

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ABOUT

PRICE: £25 / ~$33 USD / ~$43.50 CAD
AMOUNT: 50ml / 1.7 fl oz
CLAIMS:
– Bouncy gel cream
Suits all skin types
– Absorbs rapidly
– Leaves skin comfortable
– Long lasting hydration
– Layers beautifully with your serums and sunscreen
Won’t clog pores
– Contains 5% niacinamide, a master of all trades ingredient

  • Brightens and boosts skin
  • Keeps pores clear and skin calm
  • Makes your skin more tolerant of retinoids

INGREDIENTS: Aqua (Water/Eau), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Cyclopentasiloxane, Niacinamide, Propanediol, Dimethicone, Glycerin, Cetyl Alcohol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Panthenol, Xylitylglucoside, Polysilicone-11, Stearic Acid, Anhydroxylitol, Phenoxyethanol, Carbomer, Allantoin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Xylitol, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Sodium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, Ethylhexylglycerin, Citric Acid

EXPERIENCE

USAGE: A.M.

SCENT: No fragrance.

TEXTURE: At first it feels a cream, on application however…

APPLICATION: 1.5 – 2 pumps for face and neck, and surprisingly glides on like a gel. It really does feel like it adheres, or hugs my skin!

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FINISH: Moisturized and gouda.

INSTANT RESULTS: Comfortable, moisturized skin.

LONG-TERM RESULTS: The moisture doesn’t feel long lasting throughout the day. I also don’t find my skin looks noticeably brighter, something I usually get from using a product with high % of Niacinamide.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON DR. SAM’S FLAWLESS MOISTURIZER

PROS:

  • Love how the product literally hugs my skin
  • Niacinamide is bae, and 5% is an awesome amount in a moisturizer

CONS:

  • Skin doesn’t look even and/or bright from it
  • Too little amount for the price

FLAWLESS DAILY SUNSCREEN

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ABOUT

PRICE: £29 / ~$38 USD / ~$50.50 CAD
AMOUNT: 50ml / 1.7 fl oz
UV FILTERS: 11.8% Zinc Oxide, 7% Octinoxate
CLAIMS:
– Cosmetically elegant
– Soft focus, non-greasy primer-like finish
– Weightless daily shield for skin
– Contains 5% Niacinamide
– Suitable for all skin types
– Won’t clog pores
– SPF 50
– 3 pumps = 1/4 teaspoon, the general recommended amount of sunscreen you must apply to your face

INGREDIENTS: Aqua (Water), Zinc Oxide (nano), Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Niacinamide, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Phenoxyethanol, Squalane, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Lactic Acid, Carbomer, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, Polysorbate 60, 1,2-Hexanediol, Disodium EDTA, Isostearic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sorbitan Isostearate, Biosaccharide Gum-4, Citric Acid.

EXPERIENCE

USAGE: A.M.

SCENT: No fragrance.

TEXTURE: Cream.

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APPLICATION: I know the recommondation is 3 pumps, but after measuring my face and finding out I only need 64% of 1/4 tsp, I decided to use 2 for my face. It’s very easy to glide on te skin and feels like a moisturizer.

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WHITECAST? Yessssss 😦 Even at my palest, my skin’s undertone is still strong and I see a contrast.

INSTANT RESULTS: Casty, shiny, extra-moisturized skin. Skin feels smooth.

LONG-TERM RESULTS: Just like the Flawless Moisturizer, the moisture doesn’t feel long lasting throughout the day.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON DR. SAM’S FLAWLESS SUNSCREEN

PROS:

  • Primer-like finish
  • Offers good sun protection
  • Packaging makes it fool-proof to not apply the standard adequate amount
  • Good moisturizer for normal-oily skin types

CONS:

  • Caaaaaaaaaaaast
  • Too little amount for the price

FINAL THOUGHTS

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OVERALL PROS:
Cosmetically elegant products. Loved the texture on all of them and enjoyed using them.
– I haven’t emptied a product yet so this is based on comments in Dr. Sam’s Skincare Club on Facebook: once you run out of the moisturizer, it’s all gone! No need to try to crack open the bottle. It has been confirmed by numerous customers that you get everything down to the last dollop through the pump.
Gentle. The key component to these products being part of the Perfected Basics. My skin never reacted badly to any of them  and I never felt like my skin was sensitized.

OVERALL CONS:
Amount. Especially for the Moisturizer and SPF.
Longevity. Tied to amount, even with minimal use of every product they will not last and you’ll have to stock up frequently.

OVERALL IN-BETWEEN FEELS:
Price. I get it, that British pound conversion is quite a doozy, more so than the American Dollar! Also, all her products are manufactured in the U.K., that has to contribute to the price point as well. There is a shipping rate for international shipping, adding to my wallet hurting. Seems like Dr. Sam’s Perfectd Basics are better cost-wise for my friends across the pond!
Can be suitable for all skin types, if you want to work with it. Eg. The sunscreen is VERY shiny after application, but for oily skinned peeps you can probably just use it to moisturize as well (Caution to the very sensitive skin: I’ve read many a reviews that the 5% Niacinamide was too much and caused redness and irritation).

I hope you found this review helpful! As much as I really enjoyed the products, it would have to be too frequent of a repurchase and my wallet may bite at me and hide. Maybe eventually if they ever offer free shipping I would consider repurchasing the cleanser and moisturizer.

xo, M

WHERE TO BUY:
Dr. Sam’s Official Website

HAIRCARE HAUL: She’s a big one!

Hey everyone!

I haven’t done a hair specific post before, but I’d thought no better time then now since I bought a LOT of items to improve my scalp and hair.

I’ve tried every single product listed below, but will wait another month to give them proper reviews. All you have to know for now is I’ve been getting positive comments on how my hair has been looking! My friend says it visibly looks smoother, my mother even noticed it looks thicker and fuller, particular at the front, and I’ve noticed my hair feels super soft despite having bleached/dyed ends.

My hair:  Long (underboob length). Dark brown that gets natural highlights in the summer, tips are dyed because I’ve been growing out my natural hair – haven’t dyed my hair since December 2017. Pretty much straight 24/7 – although when I get a haircut there is a slight wave. Would say mostly my hair is 1A. Low porosity. Not thick like typical Asian hair but still considered thick (if that makes sense).

My Scalp: Used to be super inflamed when I bleached for years, to the point where I developed a disgusting amount of dandruff. Now it is fairly balanced – no dandruff, but scalp gets itchy by the 2nd day after washing. Scalp can get quite oily. I tried “adjusting” to wash my hair only 1-2x a week for a year and it never adjusted (yes, even without using heat, using SLS and silicone-free shampoo / conditioners, dry shampoo).


CALIA NATURAL

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Broken record intro, yes, I heard about this from Holistic Habits lol.

I actually contacted Calia Natural customer service because they actually have such a huge selection of products, catered to any hair type! After explaining to them my current scalp and hair situation, they recommended for me the Purifying line for dry hair, the Balancing line, and to do a conditioning mask every so often. I opted for the smallest sizes of their Purifying Shampoo, Balancing Conditioner, and Intensive Conditioner. I’ve used these a handful of times and holy moly, my hair feels AMAZING. I’m no stranger to SLS-free, silicone-free shampoos and such. I’ve actually been using them for years. I think the biggest standout about their products is that they are attentive to the pH of their products. Their shampoos are around pH 5.5 (like the scalp) and conditioners around pH 4.5 (like the hair shaft). I am VERY impressed with these products so far, and totally get the hype around them.


THE INNATE LIFE + HASK

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This brand has also been mentioned by Holistic Habits, but it was actually OrganicallyAnna’s review that convinced me to give this the Innate Life a go. I purchased their small bundle which contains their Scalp Treatment for Problematic Scalp, Herbal Hair Mask and Rose Hair Elixir. I have had an irritated scalp for years, and have always bought serums to help. Not once however, did I ever intently massage my scalp, or did I ever use something so oil-based for it before! I tried coconut oil in the past and honestly w-t-f is the point if I need to do 2-4 shampoos to get it out!? So far though the Scalp Treatment has been fairly easy to wash out, and very enjoyable to use! I love the scent of the Herbal Hair Mask, but it performs kinda meh; I’ll have to try it in different ways to see how it performs best.

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Usually for hair oils, silicone always performs the best for me, hence why I purchased an amazingly affordable one from Hask – their Monoi Nourishing Shine Oil. I love how a small amount goes a long way and makes my bleached, dyed ends feels soft. However, I am equally as impressed and more obsessed with the smell from the Innate Life’s Rose Hair Elixir. O-M-G, yes, you smell like roses for majority of the day if you use this in your hair. Both hair oils have great scents actually, not super strong, quite subtle, but I prefer the natural scent from the Rose Hair Elixir.


BEACH COSMETICS

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After giving spot-on recommendations, I trusted OrganicallyAnna with another one of her favourites, Beach Cosmetics Mellow Out Leave-In Conditioning Detangler. After having horrid results from using Carina Organics Sweet Pea Leave-In Conditioner, I steered clear from leave-in conditioners for a while. I tried a sample-size of the Briogeo one and actually seemed decent, but I opted to support a more local brand made by a Canadian actress! I’ve used this detangler the least amount of times compared to the other products, but I still enjoyed using it the couple of times I did! It’s a lovely fine spray, leaves my hair actually detangled, feeling soft, and smelling like a cookie! It’s a bit too faux-fragranced for my liking, yet I can’t stop smelling my hair and feeling delicious. Either way while it’s in my hair it’s not overpowering and I don’t smell it unless I willingly sniff my hair (admittedly more often than usual). I may consider the Briogeo one in the future but for now I’m happy with the one I just got!


TEK BRUSHES + KITSCH

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The only tools / accessories purchased in this haul! I feel like almost every channel I watched, TEK Brushes were ALWAYS mentioned! And on top of that, I haven’t found a brush that looks quite like it (well, I did, but the quality was poo-poo). I caved and bought TEK’s Oval Brush, which I have been loving! Basically a wooden brush is supposed to help massaging your scalp, help distribute your natural oils throughout your hair strands, and not cause a lot of breakage to your hair when brushing. So far the head massages have been nice and gentle, and I can’t really tell if the “oil distribution” part is doing much. Either way this brush definitely performs and is great quality! As for the Kitsch Microfiber Hair Towel Wrap – I like how microfiber absorbs a lot of water from my hair, for this has helped reduce the amount of heat I use significantly! I already had a microfiber cloth, but Kitsch offered a turban towel so I had to get it. I’m happy to report that it fits all my hair easily!

Honourable Mention: Revlon One-Step Dryer and Volumizer. Check out my Instagram post on it if you want to know more about why I love this tool!


And that’s that for the haul! I’m going to attempt to explain my haircare routine in the future, and I’ll be reviewing some of the products at a later date (I’m thinking July, since some of these products are made by Canadians!).

xo, M