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!


skincare-faves-18-1

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!

IMG_20180707_183504.jpg

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)

skincare-faves-18-4

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!

skincare-faves-18-3

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 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!

skincare-faves-18-6

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


RELATED CONTENT

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


This post contains affiliate links.

December 2018 Roundup – I DID IT!

*clap clap clap* I have somehow managed to do a roundup for every month this year, and use up a ton of products along the way! Here are my favourites and empties for December, and stay tuned for the Beauty of Beauty posts!


Favourites

IMG_20190116_151956.jpg

Skincare

Cerave Baby Healing Ointment – The regular one isn’t available in Canada, but I swear these have similar ingredients! This is my current go-to occlusive for around my eyes, smile area and any dry spots (let’s be real – my entire face). It has 45% petroleum, mineral oil, as well as *drumroll* CERAMIDES! You guessed it lol. Basically this is less greasy to use compared to straight up Vaseline (although still greasy) and is easier to thin out or mix with my moisturizer.

Tools

Sephora Pro-Diffuser Brush #64 – Another solid recommendation from my friend. This brush is the best complexion brush I have ever used. MAC Face and Body, MUFE Matte Velvet, cream blush. powder blush, general blending… Bless this brush, for it does everything!


Empties

IMG_20190116_151752.jpg

Skincare

Benzagel 5 Acne Wash – One of the best BP products I’ve ever used. It was really gentle when I used it, lasted WAY longer than expected, and worked well with OTC Differin.
My Nighttime (PM) Skincare Routine 2018

Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Tea Tree Scalp Treatment – Love it more than the Phytopolleine I had prior. It worked fairly quickly at balancing my scalp, and I actually found I didn’t have a need for it until I *unbalanced* it with other hair products I’ve been trying. Will probably repurchase this.

CNP Brightening Daily Fluid Sun Essential Fluid Formula SPF50+ PA++++ – Loved it when I first bought it because of how milky it was. However near it’s end it seemed to pill on my face a LOT! Also I can’t rely find a reliable link even if I wanted to repurchase.

Dermalogica Biolumin-C Serum * – After much reflection on all the Vitamin C serums I have tried this year, I have concluded that this was the best one. Mainly because it benefitted my skin in a variety of ways, and the one major con is the price.
REVIEW: Dermalogica Biolumin-C Serum

Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel * – Holy cow, this took so long to finish, I actually used it in the morning as well. I got this back in October 2017 And pretty much used it every night since (aside from testing other stuff). A little went a long way and despite the price you really do get the full value of this cleanser!

Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream 30ml – You all know I purchased the 60ml size, ’nuff said.
BRAND REVIEW: Dear, Klairs

Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Cream – This moisturizer will always have a special place in my heart. The only moisturizer I  could rely on when my skin was Going from oily to dry while still breaking out from getting off of BC.


HAPPY NEW YEAR, 60+ EMPTIES LATER.


TOTAL EMPTIES

January – 4
February – 4
March – 6
April – 5
May – 4
June – 5
July – 3
August – 7
September – 10
October & November – 7
December – 7

62 MO’FREAKIN’ PRODUCTS! I know my bf helped me with some, but majority of them were on my own damn face! Keep in mind I didn’t purchase all these products, some were gifts and PR.

For 2019, I’m really going to try being more diligent at using up products I have before purchasing another one. I thought I was doing pretty good, but receiving PR that I care to use after review makes it difficult.

Hope you enjoyed my Roundup series! This year I may just do current favourites and empties based on the season so the video is more focused on a topic. Stay tuned for my Best of Beauty 2018 posts, they are almost done!

xo, M


*  This post contains affiliate links.

REVIEW: Dermalogica Biolumin-C Serum

My interest of Dermalogica’s esspenssive Biolumin-C Serum peaked when I first tried it when I had a Dermalogica’s ProSkin30 Facial. I achieved the results below from cleansing, clay mask, toner, Biolumin-C, and a mositurizer with SPF.

proskin-facial-before-after
Gloals

My face felt very calm and comfortable for the rest of the day and I was stunned myself to see the before and after. Mind you, I was out dehydrating myself for my friend’s birthday the night before 😛

Before the ProSkin30 Facial began, I mentioned in my consultation that I was acne prone, normal to dry skin, concerned with hyperpigmentation from acne as well as preventative aging. One of the products the esthetician recommended to me was the Dermalogica Biolumin-C serum. Check out my Instagram multi-post where I took photos of my experience!

Dermalogica was kind enough to send me the Biolumin-C Serum as a gift, and I decided to give it a 2-week run to see if I would notice any noticeable benefits from it. If you’re interested in learning a bit about what it’s done for my acne prone, normal-dry skin, then keep on reading!


Product was sent as a gift, it was not sent for review purposes.
This post contains affiliate links. If you use the link to make a purchase, I will earn a small commission. Thank you if you decide to use them! If you feel uncomfortable, feel free to google a new link.


BIOLUMIN-C

IMG_20181209_145308.jpg

“A high-performance Vitamin C serum that works with skin’s own defenses to brighten and firm. Advanced bio-technology fuses ultra-stable Vitamin C and Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5, helping to dramatically reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Formulated with advanced technology to deliver more Vitamin C into skin. This superior formula outperforms other Vitamin C products (including those formulated at higher concentrations). Other key ingredients include Vitamin C Complex for brighter, firmer, more radiant skin, Lactic Acid to accelerate cell turnover, Sophora Japonica Flower Extract to help return skin to a calm state after experiencing oxidative stress, and Salvia Hispanica (Chia Seed) Oil to hydrate and help quench free radicals.

Price: $118 CAD
Size: 1oz
Gluten-Free
Vegan
No Artifical Fragrances and Colours
Paraben-Free
Cruelty-Free

WHERE TO BUY:
Dermalogica
Sephora
In-store at select retailers


INGREDIENTS

Water/Aqua/Eau, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Ethoxydiglycol, Lactic Acid, Salvia Hispanica (Chia) Seed Extract, Sodium PCA, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5, Sophora Japonica Flower Extract, Ascorbyl Methylsilanol Pectinate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopherol, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Aminopropyl Ascorbyl Phosphate, Trehalose, Polyacrylate-13, Propanediol, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Polyisobutene, Methylpropanediol, Carrageenan, Pentylene Glycol, Glyceryl Polyacrylate, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate, Xanthan Gum, Polysorbate 20, Limonene, Sodium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol

COSDNA IL

HIGHLIGHTED INGREDIENTS:

Lactic Acid (unknown %): exfoliant, humectant
Salvia Hispanica (Chia) Seed Extract: emollient, skin-replenishing, skin-restoring
Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5: skin-restoring
Ascorbyl Methylsilanol Pectinate (unknown %): antioxidant, texture enhancer
Aminopropyl Ascorbyl Phosphate (unknown %): antioxidant, skin-brightening

I haven’t been able to successfully find much online about Aminopropyl Ascorbyl Phophsate or Ascorbyl Methylsilanol Pectinate, not even parroted information from other bloggers. Here are 2 links I found, feel free to share with me more info!

https://incidecoder.com/ingredients/aminopropyl-ascorbyl-phosphate https://www.futurederm.com/dr-brandt-power-dose-vitamin-c-serum-20-review/

Despite the lack of online information to us mere consumers, I’ve been informed by a Dermalogica esthetician that the bioavailability score of Biolumin-C is 21, compared to leading competitors with L-Ascorbic Acid rating at 7 and 9. In layman’s terms, it penetrates the skin better than the unknown competitors.


USAGE

First Week: Used in the morning only, used AHA toner every night with OTC Differin.
Second Week: Used morning and night, no BHA or AHA, with OTC Differin.

Fragrance: Light citrus scent. Possibly the Grapefruit Peel Oil in it. It is not strong at all and you only notice it for a second.

Texture: A runny type of serum but definitely on the more viscous side.

Application: I use almost half a dropper, placing on my forehead, cheeks, chin and neck. I make sure to massage the product all around my face and neck, and only the undereye area. I then tap the product in until it starts to feel tacky.

Finish: Tacky and moisturized.

Initial Results: Skin feels smoother, hydrated, bright, plump.

Long-Term Results (2 weeks): Spot on face (with Differin) faded. Spot on neck (without Differin) faded.


FINAL THOUGHTS

IMG_20181209_145147.jpg

I like it, but I’m confused. Is lactic acid doing majority of the work? It also helps smooth skin, make it brighter, and contribute to anti-aging skincare. Is it helping the Vitamin C derivative penetrate better? Although it might be highly stable, does it just sit on top of the skin? Also, for the price, it’s asking too much of me to apply half a dropper day and night!

Despite my confusion, the product is showing results. Every Dermalogica product I have used has bettered my skin, so I am open to it being an efficacious Vitamin C derivative. They like using ingredients with endless studies proving its benefits, but also try to create innovative products using phytobotanical ingredients. Their description of Biolumin-C alone states that they formulated the serum to help the Vitamin C become more bioavailable, but unfortunately I’m not a chemist and wouldn’t know how they began to do that.

Despite my skepticism, I overall am enjoying the Biolumin-C Serum. Face feels and looks smoother, brighter, feels moisturized, works with OTC Differin, and is able to heal spots on its own (the neck spot). I feel like it cut down some steps in my skincare routine; I can pretty much use just do Cleanser, Toner, Biolumin-C, Moisturizer, SPF and call it a day (until my nighttime routine, obvs).

If you’re interested in learning more about it, Dermalogica actually talked about it on their podcast called Living Skin. Check it out here!

Do I recommend? I would recommend if this would be your skincare routine’s star player in a fairly minimal routine, and you purchase during the Sephora VIB Sale lol.
Specific Skin-Type? I think all skin types would like this. Half a dropper may be too much for oily-skinned peeps though!

WHERE TO BUY:
Sephora
Dermalogica

Hope you found this review helpful!

xo, M


RELATED CONTENT

I tried Dermalogica’s Double Cleanse Routine ft. the PreCleanse Balm
My Morning (AM) Skincare Routine 2018