Before I get into this plethora of goodies, I have to acknowledge that I just surpassed my 2 year blog anniversary! I know that my posts are far and few between these days, but I’m still enjoying what I do and I hope that my reviews are helpful, informative, and enjoyable for you all as well! If you’ve stuck with me I want to thank you for being a faithful reader and for supporting my passion.
Despite my latest mission of minimalism and consistency when it comes to my skincare, I managed to acquire a handful of new things over the holidays. It’s really hard to pass up good sales on products you’re interested in trying! I would say my skincare routines are still as basic as I can get, but I admit I haven’t been as consistent as I was, with the exception of a few products that I use each morning and night. You have to try all the new things *rolling my own eyes*.
This latest haul includes pretty mainstream products, or “best sellers” often seen on Sephora. I’m also sharing a cleansing oil sent to me by Olive + M, a re-purchase from Ambar Beauty, and a couple items that I won in an Insta giveaway! There are a few more products I’ve been using but won’t be including as they aren’t really working for me. Let’s get into it!
Cleansers! Olive + M kindly offered me the opportunity to test their Cleansing Oil* ($62) which is a proper, non-emulsifying oil cleanser made with a base of olive oil, and includes castor oil, hemp seed oil, rosehip seed oil, red raspberry seed oil, and more. I really like this cleansing oil for a quick and easy deep clean, as the olive oil and castor oil work to purge pores, but is balanced with linoleic rich oils like sunflower, hemp, rosehip, and among more. It’s somewhere between a medium to heavy viscosity and it feels potent and rich, but not greasy. I haven’t been using it as much as I’d like to because my skin has been SO dry lately, making me lean towards my favorite buttery Stark Skincare cleansing balm, but if you’re a rich cleansing oil kind of gal I think this is a great, quality option especially at 4oz.
I’ve been eyeing Sunday Riley’s Ceramic Slip Clay Cleanser ($45) for some time now and I’m happy I finally took the plunge to try it. The online reviews for Ceramic Slip seemed pretty mixed across the board (too drying, didn’t cleanse at all, too foamy, not foamy at all, etc) so I figured it had to be somewhere down the middle – I was right. The performance has definitely exceeded my expectations! It’s a proper lightweight gel that transforms into a milky lather when mixed with water and it legitimately smells like clay fresh from the ground mixed with a hint of neroli. It thoroughly removes my first cleanse residue and keeps my pores nice and clean from oxidized sebum but it’s not stripping my skin of all life and moisture. I could see where many might feel like this is a plain cleanser – it doesn’t necessarily have a wow-factor or additional benefits like niacinamide, ceramides, etc, but I don’t mind that because I’m rinsing it off anyway. I’m pretty fond of the quality packaging as well!
Due to my dry skin I went a little moisturizer crazy (there are more that I’m not sharing in this haul or on social media because they didn’t work for me) and I’m pretty excited about these two! I sampled the Sunday Riley Brightening Enzyme Water Cream ($65) on my last birthday and even though it had artificial fragrance, I fell in looove with this moisturizer and have been longing to use it again. “Water cream” is a pretty apt name for it with its hydrating properties and brightening it certainly is! I like to use this in the mornings and it just makes my skin looking amazing, healthy, and plump. I’ve been layering Stratia’s Liquid Gold on top of it for extra moisture, but I think this is going to be wonderful come time for Spring and Summer when I don’t need so many moisture layers. Even though it’s artificially scented, the cucumber smells nice and fresh.
La Roche Posay’s Toleriane Ultra moisturizer ($36.99) is one I’ve had on my list to try for some time. It has a somewhat thick, traditional cream consistency and it provides non-irritating, soothing comfort that the Toleriane line was created to do. I like to use it as a “finishing” cream to top off my skin at night if it’s still feeling dry. I do think it’s a little expensive for a plain cream at nearly $37, but I think for sensitive skin types this might be a cream that’s worth it. I recommend waiting for a good sale at stores like Dermstore – you can actually get 20% off orders until 1/22 with code WINTER right now! Lovely Skin also often discounts La Roche Posay and occasionally sends me an odd sample in the mail here or there which is much appreciated.
Liquid gooooold! Stratia’s Liquid Gold ($24) moisturizer has been amazing for my skin since I started using it in mid December. With its correct ratio of ceramides, cholesterol, and fatty acids, this formula is meant to promote skin health and barrier repair. It has a pretty instant effect of making my dehydrated skin looking replete and nourished and over time I have noticed less redness and irritation in the under layers of my skin. It’s described by many as lightweight and serum-like, but it provides substantial moisture for me and is another wonderful option to top off my layers with. The only downside is that it does leave a slight yellow cast on my skin which is noticeable in contrast to my white neck. If you’re anywhere above a fairly light skin tone it shouldn’t be noticeable. Highly recommend Liquid Gold!
In addition to the Dr. Hauschka cleansing cream, I won the Botnia Daily Face Cream ($50) in a generous Insta giveaway provided Asakemi of the eponymous blog Asakemi! I was super grateful to win this giveaway as I’ve always wanted to try Dr. Hauschka and I was seeing Botnia all over Instagram so naturally I wanted to see what the buzz is about. Unfortunately, this cream feels like it’s lacking in hydrating/moisturizing qualities and thus feels too lightweight for me, but perhaps it will work for me one day if my skin recovers from this dryness! I’m not ready to give up on this moisturizer just yet, so updates will come in the future as the season changes.
Who doesn’t love a cute Drunk Elephant mini? I purchased the Rise + Glow ($23) and NightBright ($28) duos, with special interest in the B-Hydra Hydration Gel and C Firma vitamin C serum. These are pretty small samples, just enough to help you determine if you like the application, but not large enough to test long term results especially with C Firma.
B-Hydra has a much “wetter” application than I anticipated (which is a good thing!) and leaves my skin nicely hydrated. Even though it doesn’t contain silicone it seemed to “fill in” my skin like a primer, leaving it plump and smooth. It’s a good base product to precede your serums, oils, and moisturizers with.
C Firma has a reputation for smelling like hot dogs and I have to say it is unfortunately true! It smells like a combination of hot dog juice and citrus, which I didn’t mind the first couple of times I used it, but I could not get used to it. However, the formula was nice (not drying or irritating) and it delivered immediate glow. After applying C Firma I liked to follow it with B Hydra which was a great pairing. Despite the stink it seems like a promising vitamin C serum, but I don’t know if I can weather through the scent to use it. If I didn’t wash my hands after my skincare routine, my hands would smell like potatoes, which was hard to wash off even with warm water and soap. I don’t get it!
Framboos is a 12% AHA/BHA exfoliating gel designed to resurface the skin by clearing out dead skin cells and pores to reveal a smoother, brighter complexion. AHA’s just aren’t the type of acids for my skin, but I occasionally need something that I can use as a once-in-awhile treatment to exfoliate and evenly resurface my skin. While I haven’t tried Framboos but a couple of times, I can say that with just one use it delivered immediate results overnight. The formula didn’t burn, sting, irritate, or feel too tacky with humectants like some AHA formulas tend to do. I think this is a promising chemical exfoliator for those who seem to experience the aforementioned side affects. This little sample should last me quite awhile!
These days I prefer oil blends, but Drunk Elephant’s Marula Oil is a nice “medium” kind of oil to use when you need rich moisture. I don’t have much to say about it other than that it’s moisturizing and softening, but I don’t think I’ll be buying this full size.
If you’ve seen my sharings on Insta of the Ambar Daily Antioxidant Primer ($72) you’ll know how much I love this stuff! I reviewed moss Skincare’s sister line Ambar Beauty back in November and I’m still in love with this minimal skincare range. I repurchased DAP (at a good discount, mind you) for its antioxidant protection properties and the way its serum-lotion consistency adds a layer of nourishment into any morning routine I use. It’s the best way to prep and prime my skin for the day against all things that bombard it. It was a favorite discovery of 2017 and it’s a product I frankly don’t want to go without! If you get the chance to sample this, I highly recommend to try it out.
Last but not least, I received a Belif Hungarian Water Essence ($42 full size) sample in a holiday sample set from Sephora. It’s a runny and liquid-y serum designed to deliver deep, long-lasting hydration. I wasn’t impressed by it at first, but the more I use it I’ve been enjoying it and seeing its hydration benefits, although it’s not particularly humectant rich in feel on the skin. I’m not fond its lavender scent which is something I don’t correlate with a clear hydrating serum. It does have an extensive list of plant extracts which I appreciate.
Did you guys pick up anything good over the holidays? Take advantage of any good sales or deals? Is this dry + frigid Winter air killing your skin like it is mine?! Let me know below! Soon I’ll be sharing some of my favorite skincare items that are *somewhat* helping me get through it. See you soon!