REVIEW: Cerave Skincare I Have Tried So Far!

CeraVe is without a doubt the most recommended drugstore brand from western skinthusiasts, experts, and professionals when it comes to affordability and effectiveness. I’ve used multiple products from their skincare collection and have recommended it to my friends and family as well.

In today’s post I will be reviewing the the CeraVe products I have tried! Note the reason this isn’t a full blown brand review is because they have a total of 70 products, and I have only tried 8 🙂 Clearly not enough of their products have been tested to give a proper opinion on their line.


VIDEO REVIEW


GENERAL CLAIMS ON ALL PRODUCTS

In 2005, CeraVe’s dermatologists developed a line of skincare products enriched with a blend of three essential ceramides (ceramides 1, 3, and 6-II), fatty acids, and other lipids to help repair and strengthen the skin’s natural barrier.

…A revolutionary delivery system was developed and named MultiVesicular Emulsion Technology (MVE), which releases moisturizing ingredients, layer by layer, to help keep skin soft all day long.

…The unique combination of 3 essential ceramides in CeraVe (ceramides 1, 3, 6-II) help replenish skin’s existing ceramides, relieving dry skin, by reducing moisture loss, increasing hydration, and restoring the skin barrier.

– Cerave.ca


BRIEF EXPLANATION ON CERAMIDES

Disclosure: I am NOT an expert in anything. I am sharing what I have learned and am trying my best to describe it to you all in this blog post.

Cerave, if you haven’t guessed already, has a strong focus around skin-identical ingredients – substances that are already found within your skin! Ceramides, fatty acids, cholesterol, phytosphingosine, are oil lipid substances that are found in the waxy parts of our skin between the bricks of our Stratum Corneum. It is responsible for holding skin cells together and retaining moisture. Ceramides in particular make up 50% of this. Dehydrated, dry skin lack these substances, which is why products with ceramides tend to be recommended in order to replenish them back into the skin.

Ever since becoming more dry-skinned, ceramides have always been the key ingredient for what I look for in moisturizers. For a couple of years now, whatever moisturizer I used absolutely had to have ceramides in the formula, or else it was not worth buying. However, in learning more about ceramides in relation to this blog post, I have been left stumped. To REALLY summarize what I’ve learned, ceramides have shown to be effective for various skin conditions such as dry skin, Eczema, Psoriasis, and aging skin (with wrinkles) – in specific ratios. Majority of ceramide-containing products – CeraVe and my beloved Bioderma Atoderm Intensive Baume included – do NOT contain that ratio.

Check out the following posts that explain this way better than I can ever imagine to:

The Beauty Brains
Reddit Thread

Even though the CeraVe may not have the required ratio, tons of anecdotal evidence suggest their products still work for people, myself included. Overall, Your Mileage May Vary. CeraVe is very affordable in general, so there’s really no harm in picking up the tub to try it out. If you’re using a moisturizer that doesn’t have ceramides and it’s working great for you, it’s not the end of the world either. For me, I find that ever since I switched over to using a moisturizer with a blend of humectants, emollients, and occlusives, my skin has felt very comfortable and moisturized throughout the day. This is part of the reason why I tend to say my skin is normal to dry lately rather than dehydrated and dry! If ceramides were out of the formula, who knows how my skin would behave, all I know now is that what I’m using is working for me.


Products marked with a * are PR Samples / gifts. All links provided below are affiliate links. If you use a link to make a purchase, I earn a small commission. Thank you so much if you decide to use them! If you feel uncomfortable, feel free to google a new link.

My thoughts are honest, always *casts doe patronus*


REVIEW OF CERAVE PRODUCTS

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser *

INCIDecoder
Price: $14.99 USD
Amount: 12oz / 355ml
Where to Buy: Ulta

One of my favourite products from CeraVe, their Hydrating Cleanser is a creamy, cushiony feel cleanser that gently cleanses my skin and is non-foaming. However I noticed it stung my face in my first 3 months of 0.3% Adapalene. I’m thinking that it is due to my barrier being compromised during the retinization period, for now the experience is way more pleasant. The only con about this cleanser is that I don’t trust it to effectively remove makeup if I were to use it as my second cleanse in my Double Cleanse routine.

 

CeraVe Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum *

INCIDecoder
Price: $18.99 USD
Amount: 30ml / 1oz
Where to Buy: Ulta

One of their newer products, The Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum is a gel-cream formula with the addition of Panthenol, a moisturizing and soothing ingredient. I don’t find it contributes any more to my skin’s health than the other products with the exact same key ingredients. I can see oily-skinned peeps potentially liking this serum, since it can be used on its own, and it has Dimethicone as a more common occlusive for moisturizers catered to oily skin. Overall for me it’s okay, it may have more HA than CeraVe’s other products, but overall it isn’t super wow, especially considering the price of this for the amount.

 

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

INCIDecoder
Price: $18.99 USD
Amount: 453g / 16oz
Where to Buy: Ulta

One of the most recommended moisturizers of all time, and I have mixed feelings about it! Although it is supposed to be one of their heavier products, it can be spread lightly. I find it doesn’t instantly moisturize my skin and I feel drier than usual, so I always layer more than necessary. This was the first mistake on my part when I started using this moisturizer, for after an hour my skin felt greasy and my pores looked very exaggerated. With a thin layer, it doesn’t instantly satisfy me, but throughout the day I do notice my skin feels more moisturized and comfortable, without feeling greasy or with enlarged pores. I sometimes find on application it actually stings my face, similar to what I experienced with the cleanser (without the retinization) and it makes me look red and discoloured. This is currently my boyfriend’s go-to face moisturizer and it works really well for him.

 

CeraVe Night Cream

INCIDecoder
Price: $18.49 USD
Amount: 1.7oz
Where to Buy: Ulta

I had high hopes for this one! It also contains Niacinamide and Peptides, so I was hoping for a new holy grail moisturizer with some more bells and whistles for preventative aging. Unfortunately this cream did not work out for me, I found I had to use a LOT of it to feel decently moisturized. Also, I noticed when I reached for this moisturizer, I would get a painful cyst. I know breakouts don’t work that fast, so I would have to retry the Night Cream to confirm, but I can’t help but associate bad breakouts with it! Also wasn’t a fan of the price for the amount – unfortunately there’s a premium for peptides in skincare. Truthfully I would’ve continued purchasing the CeraVe Night Cream if it worked for my skin the first time!

 

CeraVe PM Moisturizing Lotion

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INCIDecoder
Price: $15.99 USD
Amount: 3oz
Where to Buy: Ulta

Back in 2018 this was my go-to moisturizer and I repurchased it 3 times. It has the most pleasant light cream consistency (I’d say even gel-like), felt comfortable when layering with a hydrating toner/essence/lotion and a heavier sunscreen. I have not repurchased it since switching to a higher strength prescription, but I still recommend it. I know a handful of people complained about it stinging; Niacinamide is in the formulation, and I know a lot of people are sensitive to that ingredient in general. Perhaps because it is a lighter moisturizer, it may be sinking into the skin faster? It’s not something I can 100% confirm, but that may be happening. I actually repurchased this to try out with my new prescription strength, so I’ll eventually share my thoughts again about this moisturizer!

 

CeraVe Baby Healing Ointment

INCIDecoder
Price: $9.99 USD
Amount: 3oz
Where to Buy: Ulta

I forgot who first said this, but the CeraVe Baby Healing Ointment is like a jacked-up Vaseline because it includes the standard ingredients you find in CeraVe products and is an awesome product to have when your skin is feeling super dry! I mentioned in my Tried & True Tips post how using an occlusive layer is super helpful when relieving very dehydrated and dry skin. This ointment is slightly more pleasant to use – ~46% Petrolatum as opposed to 100%. I definitely reserve a full face of this at nighttime, and if I need it during the day, I mix a small amount with my moisturizer.

 

CeraVe Ultra-Light Lotion SPF 30 *

INCIDecoder
Price: $18.99 USD
Amount: 1.7oz
Where to Buy: Ulta
Reviewed: SUNSCREEN SUNDAY #5: CeraVe Ultra-Light Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30

 

Cerave AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30

INCIDecoder
Price: $18.99 USD
Amount: 3oz
Where to Buy: Ulta
Reviewed: SUNSCREEN WEEK [Day #5]: Cerave AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30


FINAL THOUGHTS

In my experience with these products, CeraVe has some hits and misses. The big miss was their infamous Moisturizing Cream – somehow it works really well for my boyfriend, and my skin hates it! Overall, CeraVe was my reintroduction to drugstore skincare and it has made me appreciate what other brands have to offer! I think any of the CeraVe products are worth trying – the bells and whistles are there for key ingredients, minimal formulas, and very accessible to purchase!

I hope you found this review helpful and informative when considering what to try for yourself.

xo, M

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!

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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)

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


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My Morning (AM) Skincare Routine 2018

Please refer to my “announcement” post if you haven’t already – it explains my skincare in a nutshell.
I’m Finally Sharing my Current Skincare Routines 2018

Breakdown:
1. Cleanse
2. Acne Treatment / Main Active
3. Hydrators
4. Moisturize
5. SPF


1. CLEANSE

I have tried going without washing my face in the morning, but I always get a lovely amount of zits on my face later in the day. I need at least a few splashes with water to start my morning skincare routine. If I feel like my skin has a bit of a residue from the night before, I’ll go in with a gentle cleanser.

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I’ve been really enjoying Cerave Hydrating Cleanser for this step! This is such a lovely, gentle, simple cleanser. One full pump really softens the skin as I massage my face and I don’t feel ANY sensation at all.

Just like its moisturizing partners, this cleanser also contains Ceramides and Hyaluronic Acid, great ingredients to help replenish moisture in its skin and support a good barrier function. The texture of the product is like a lotion and with the way it feels, the Cerave Hydrating Cleanser is definitely doing some good for my skin!

Because it is so gentle and slightly moisturizing, I always debate whether or not it would be good as a second step in my Double Cleanse. For now, I’m enjoying it as a go-to gentle cleanser in my skincare arsenal, especially the morning after using Differin the night before.

Every other day I go in with the Dermalogica Medibac Clearing Skin Wash * to incorporate Salicylic Acid in my skincare. It contain’s 0.5% Salicylic Acid, the minimal amount required to effectively exfoliate your pore lining. This is a much welcomed product, especially since I’m getting slightly oilier and actually maintaining a proper workout schedule. My lovely sebaceous filaments  on my nose have been getting darker, so this wash is effective, yet gentle and nourishing enough to even use it daily! I’m highly considering getting the full size of this product.

After rinsing my face I will lightly pat my skin dry, but not completely dry. I find if I do this, my skin is more susceptible to dehydration and dryness, so I always make sure it is “almost dry”.


 2. Acne Treatment / Main Active

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After cleansing while my face still has a tad amount of water, I first apply Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum on my forehead and each cheek. The idea of using my serum first is to get Vitamin C to make direct contact with my skin, so I can reap its benefits right away. It’s a light water-based serum so it doesn’t disrupt the flow of my skincare at all by using it first. It doesn’t sting my skin at all and feels rather refreshing both from the light sweet scent it has and how it makes my skin feel fresh.

It contains Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, a Vitamin C derivative said to be more stable and bioavailable than L-Ascorbic Acid, while still providing the same benefits. Ferulic Acid and Vitamin E are also in the formulation to amp up the benefits as well.

I haven’t really noticed a huge difference in my skin while using this serum, other than my skin feeling more hydrated. The only marker I have that this has helped with hyperpigmentation is on my neck – the only place I don’t apply Differin. The mark I had from a breakout is very faded now and doesn’t feel raised on my skin. Either way, I think this is a good starter Vitamin C serum, but I may opt for the popular Timeless Vitamin C serum after I’m done with the Mad Hippie one.

I pat it into my skin and once it gets tacky I move onto my other products.


3. Hydrators

I’ve been really enjoying the following products in my skincare routine because they have done an excellent job in adding back hydration to my skin. I don’t necessarily have to use both products, but I find my skin stays very comfortable throughout the day and I rarely ever get a tight feeling in my skin.

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I’ve raved enough about the Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner * and I’m currently using the Unscented version in my routine. So far, it performs the same! Hard to tell the difference anymore (aside from the scent) since it is summertime and my skin is slightly oilier. After 3 dime-size applications, it makes my skin feel just as comfortable as the original, and ready for more layers of skincare.
REVIEW & COMPARE: Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner – Scented and Unscented!

I follow up immediately with 2 pumps of Cosrx Galactomyces 95 Tone Balancing Essence (formally called Galactomyces 95 Whitening Power Essence – the one I have).  There’s not much information about Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate other than that it can help tighten and brighten skin, as well as improving skin’s barrier function. For me, I’ve noticed the tightness I used to get from dehydration is non-existent, my skin feels a lot smoother, and my face stays even-toned. I’ve noticed nothing but benefits from using a Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate product and will continue using it!

After all of this is absorbed into my skin and while my face is still tacky, I immediately go into moisturizing.


4. Moisturize

Inspired by Dr. Dray, I use 2 types of moisturizers – one as a humectant type to hold onto all that water I applied to my skin in my hydrating step, and sealing it further with a more occlusive one.

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I apply a minimal amounts of Mentholatum Hada Labo Koi-Gokujyun Perfect Gel to my face and neck, making sure to concentrate a little more around my eyes, middle of my forehead, and smile lines.

I was fascinated by this product originally because it had Urea high on the ingredients list. It is a moisturizing agent that helps increase the thickness of your skin barrier as well as help with the skin’s natural desquamation process. I had to get my hands on this product. Hada Labo is known to have 3 different types of hyaluronic acid to help further add to it’s skin-conditioning functions.

This gel always leaves my skin feeling very soft and smoother than before. I also find it has helped minimize my pores from keeping all the water in my skin cells, giving a plump look to my skin!

I use a tiny amount of the Mad Hippie Eye Cream under my eyes to my orbital bone. Whether or not eye cream is necessary – shush! I need something more moisturizing for my eye area, as it dries out easily, so for me, eye cream is a necessity.

What is really fascinating about this eye cream is the amount of actives! The eye area is very sensitive and I don’t have problems with this eye cream at all. It contains Matrixyl 3000, a peptide that helps collagen and elastin production. It also vitamins C, B3 and E, as well as Ceramide, Niacinamide, and other ingredients that aid in improving the look and strengthening skin.

I really like how this eye cream feels light yet it provides enough moisture for my eye area. Even on application while patting it in, I notice my eye area is brighter! The one big wrinkle I get around my eye area when I smile seems less deep, and the area in general looks a lot smoother. I don’t have a problem with darkness under my eyes, but I do notice after application it looks a tad brighter.

To seal all the good stuff in, I go in with 4 pumps of Cerave PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion to cover my face and neck. It’s also a gel moisturizer, but contains a high amount of Niacinamide. I love this ingredient because it helps with minimizing pores and increasing the strength of my skin barrier. And of course, it wouldn’t be a Cerave product without Ceramides in the list! Because it’s summer, and I follow up with a moisturizing SPF, I find I don’t need to mix this in with another moisturizer to make sure I’m well moisturized.


5. SPF

The topper to my skincare! Nothing ensures a protected skin barrier like using a sunscreen. I have a variety in my collection, but the following product is what I’ve been using constantly.

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Elta Md UV Facial Broad-Spectrum SPF 30+ Moisturizing Facial Sunscreen really is a cosmetically elegant sunscreen. It is also so moisturizing, I could skip using the Cerave PM Moisturizer if I really wanted to (but I won’t – can’t give up that Niacinamide).

It contains 7.0% Zinc Oxide and 7.5% Octinoxate as its UV filters. Because it’s a physical-chemical hybrid SPF, the cast you would get from zinc-oxide disappears as you massage it into your skin. I do notice my skin looks paler if I do not wear makeup, especially since my body is darker, but I’ve only noticed it while at the gym. It also has Sodium Hyaluronate, Vitamin E and Petrolatum, and a variety of moisturizing ingredients to help retain skin moisture. It spreads so smoothly on my face and makes my skin feel more moisturized. The finish is quite glowy but I don’t mind. I usually use this sunscreen when I plan on applying makeup because I can easily glide on my base and sheer it out without worrying about unevenness.


There you have it! My morning skincare routine. Even when I was experimenting with this routine in colder weather, my skin rarely felt dehydrated throughout the day. My skin has been feeling and looking good, and am overall really happy with how much my skin has improved. I could probably rid my routine of a few of the products to minimize it, but I enjoy my routine a lot right now and that’s what matters most to me. We’ll see once I finish them up.

Hope you enjoyed the read!

Be sure to check out my PM Routine: My Nighttime (PM) Skincare Routine 2018

xo, M

If you want to see the texture of the products and in action:


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