BEST OF BEAUTY 2018: Skincare

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.


BRAND Shoutouts

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!


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Makeup Remover

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!

Cleanser

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!

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Hydrator

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.

Shoutouts:
Klairs Supple Preparation Unscented Toner *
Some By Mi AHA/BHA/PHA 30 Days Miracle Toner *

I already threw out the COSRX Essence so I couldn’t take a new solo photo :3)

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Moisturizer

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!

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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!

Exfoliator

Dr. G Brightening Peeling Gel – Gentle and easy to use, and I like that I can use it on wet skin!

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 LiquidΒ – 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!

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Sunscreen

Elta Md UV Facial Broad-Spectrum SPF 30+ Moisturizing Facial Sunscreen – We hear time and time again from skin professionals, experts and enthusiasts how important sunscreen application is, and this is the one I used that really made me enjoy applying sunscreen. I also consider this a gateway drug into trying out many other sunscreens!

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!

xo, M


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BEST OF BEAUTY 2018: Makeup
BEST OF BEAUTY 2017: SKINCARE
The Best of Beauty 2016
My Morning (AM) Skincare Routine 2018
My Nighttime (PM) Skincare Routine 2018
SUNSCREEN WEEK [Day #2]: Elta Md UV Facial Broad-Spectrum SPF 30+ Moisturizing Facial Sunscreen
SUNSCREEN SUNDAY #1: Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence SPF 50+ PA++++
BRAND REVIEW: Dear, Klairs
I tried Dermalogica’s Double Cleanse Routine ft. the PreCleanse Balm
Skin Update [#1] December 2018: Acne + Scars


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REVIEW: Neutrogena Deep Clean Purifying Cleanser/Mask & Hydrogel Sheet Mask

A couple of weeks ago I got sent an Influenster VoxBox with complimentary Neutrogena products to try out!

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Neutrogena Deep Clean Purifying Clay Cleanser/Mask
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating 100% Hydrogel Mask

I’ve been testing the Deep Clean for a few weeks now and just used the sheet mask, and I’m ready to share my thoughts with y’all. Just keep in mind the basic information I’m providing about the products are based on the Canadian websites and packaging.


Deep Clean Purifying Clay Cleanser/Mask

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$13.49, 119g
Use: Post-workout, in-shower; Leave on for 5 mins

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Ingredients: Water (eau), Glycerin, Kaolin, Bentonite, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Titanium Dioxide, Trideceth-9, PEG-5 Ethylhexanoate, Xanthan Gum, Glycolic Acid, Citric Acid, Menthyl Lactate, Panthenol, Salicylic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Parfum, Sodium Citrate, Disodium EDTA, Green 3.

The Deep Clean Cleanser/Mask contains Salicylic Acid, a BHA that exfoliates the skin in the pore lining to help prevent clogged pores turn into blackheads, whiteheads, or a cyst, as well as smoothen skin texture. Glycolic Acid is on the list as well, but the focus for this product seems more about SA; On the US website only lists SA as an active ingredient (0.5%), but the percentage is unknown on the Canadian site and packaging. I typically use chemical exfoliants after a workout in-shower, since that’s when I will be the most oily and more prone to breakouts. For the past few weeks, I have been using the Deep Clean Purifying Cleanser/Mask on my face as well as my back and chest to prevent congestion and body acne. I need a treatment for my back because I still tend to develop painful cysts, and I have some marks leftover to prove it! I like that the cleanser can last for a few minutes on my body without worrying about it washing away.

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In the few weeks I have been using this cleanser, my back has not broken out and my chest area looks and feels congestion free! As for my face, the Menthyl Lactate in the Deep Clean Cleanser/Mask sensitizes my skin a bit; I can feel the cooling sensation a lot. While it doesn’t heavily irritate my skin, it is a bothering feeling, especially since it lasts a while after I use the mask. Because of this, it is the reason why I prefer using it on my body or solely after a workout session. I don’t like the unknown percentage of BHA, because I don’t know if it will effectively “Deep Clean” my pores. I opt for Neutrogena’s Oil-Free Acne wash for my face (and sometimes back) which clearly lists 2% Salicylic Acid.


Hydro Boost Hydrating 100% Hydrogel Mask

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$4.89, 30g
Use: Once; Post-shower, after using Deep Clean Purifying Clay Cleanser/Mask

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Ingredients: Water (eau), Dipropylene Glycol, Propanediol, Ceratonia Siliqua (Carob) Gum, Xanthan Gum, Chondrus Crispus Extract, Chlorphenesin, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Chloride, Parfum, Disodium EDTA, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Tremella Fuciformis Sporocarp Extract, Plukenetia Volubilis Seed Oil, Sucrose Cocoate, Tocopherol, Blue 1.

This is probably the most unimpressive sheet mask I have ever tried. As you can see, Hyaluronic Acid is low on the list, and the bottom piece of the mask kept slipping down from my face. I left it on for the recommended 15 minutes and didn’t find anything noticeable with my skin other than it looked somewhat hydrated. That look disappeared quickly and there was no nourishing feeling or look on my skin that I would normally get from other sheet masks in my collection. For $5, my $2 sheet masks do way more with better ingredients and more serum in the pack.


Final Thoughts

The Neutrogena masks are overall decent drugstore skincare products that provide some skin benefits. I personally will pass on the Deep Clean Purifying Cleanser/Mask because the Menthyl Lactate bothers me too much. The Hydrogel Mask was nice but I’d rather pay $2 for a Korean sheet mask that do the same thing. Also, if you have sensitive skin, both do contain Fragrance.

On the Neutrogena Official website, they stated that the ingredients list does not get updated in a timely matter or if the formulation changes, so you must refer to the package for the actual ingredient list of your product. So if you plan on purchasing Neutrogena, it’s best to go to your local drugstore rather than an online shop to make sure you’re getting the exact ingredients you know is in the product.

Hope you found this review helpful!

xo, M