I hope everyone is doing well in the midst of this pandemic. I struggled with whether I should even blog about skincare and fashion since it seems so frivolous at this point, but writing is how I practice mindfulness and cope with stress. I hope that by continuing to blog, I can maintain a sense of normalcy in my life, and if you enjoy reading my reviews, your mind can also take a temporary break from the onslaught of negative news.
I know that historically I’ve generally focused on luxury beauty and luxury skincare, but today I wanted to share with you some of my more budget beauty favourites. Not everything has to be ultra luxurious to be effective, and by reviewing luxury skincare, I’m not saying that you have to break the bank if you want something good. There are a ton of budget beauty products that are equally, if not more effective than some of the luxury ones.
Vichy Mineral 89*
It’s no secret that I absolutely love the Vichy Mineral 89 ($41.95 for 50mL). I’ve used at least 5 bottles of this liquid gold and I love that it is so affordable too. It is completely non-scented, hydrating, ultra soothing, and just overall as a step 0 product for my skincare. I wrote about this more extensively here.
Vichy Mineral 89 Eyes*
Vichy released the Mineral 89 Eyes ($34.95 for 15mL) as a step 0 serum for the eye area. I don’t generally use this alone, preferring to layer it under a thicker eye cream. It helps my eye products sink in better, and it also helps to hydrate and freshen the eye area. I particularly enjoy using this during the day because it makes my eye area feel brighter and fresher. If you have younger skin, for example if you’re just starting out in the world of eye products, this is a great starter product to use alone. I wrote about this more extensively here.
Pixi Peel and Polish*
Pixi Peel and Polish (C$34 for 80mL) is one of my absolute favourite Pixi products. It’s an incredible enzyme and physical exfoliant in one. It is super tingly to eat away at your dead skin cells, but it also has the exfoliating bits for those who prefer a more physical scrub. As someone who sometimes uses relatively expensive exfoliants, this is one of my favourite and I honestly can’t say enough good things about it.
Pixi Rose Tonic*
The Pixi Rose Tonic (C$20 for 100mL) is the toner that I’m currently using. Truth be told, I’ve really enjoyed almost every single Pixi product that I’ve tried – they are fantastic value for still being super effective. I’ve also used the Glow Tonic, which is their top seller. It’s very effective as a gentle exfoliator but I generally prefer hydrating toners in combination with a serum that has actives in it, which is why I don’t enjoy using this on a daily basis.
Now back to the Rose Tonic – it is very gentle, yet still very hydrating, smells great, and my skin has been looking very supple and smooth since I started using it. For $20, you can’t go wrong with it.
Indie Lee CoQ-10 Toner
As a beauty blogger and skincare addict, I love to try new products so I rarely repurchase products. I discovered the Indie Lee CoQ-10 Toner (C$45 for 125mL) a year ago and I absolutely fell in love. So much so that I immediately repurchased a second bottle. This toner is seriously hydrating, and my skin feels so bouncy and supple after finishing the bottle. I could tell a significant difference between this toner and the Diorsnow one I used after (which is not good, do not recommend). I’m currently waiting to finish up the Pixi Rose Tonic before diving into my second bottle of the Coq-10 Toner.
May Coop Raw Sauce
I previously wrote about this product here. The May Coop Raw Sauce (US$29 for 150mL, but often there are $10 off promos) is one of my favourite daytime hydrating essences. I use this during the day only and using a patting / slapping motion on my face, and not with a cotton pad. It’s super thick and very very hydrating – a little bit goes a super long way. I used this for 3 months straight and only went through 30% of it, so the bottle will last you a very long time, further extending the value of this incredible essence.
Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask
I received two deluxe mini samples of the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask (C$26 for 20g) in the original Berry from Sephora over a year ago, and I’m currently on my second pot. The first pot took me nearly 9 months of daily use to finish, which is fantastic value for a free sample. My lips are perpetually dry, so I love using this lip mask at night before bed. Compared to the Bite Agave Lip Mask, it doesn’t last on my lips throughout the night, but I find it way less sticky and more comfortable to wear.
L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream and Shea Butter Intensive Hand Cream*
In terms of hand and body care, my top favourite product that I’ve been using for over 10 years is the L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream (C$35 for the 150mL). I’ve been using this for so long that I was looking up the prices of this product now and I’m actually a little bit shocked. I recall the price of this hand cream to be around $25 when I was first introduced to it, but now it’s $35. Even then, I still think it’s 100% worth it because a little bit lasts you a super long way. Even before the campaign for hand washing, I was already washing my hands copiously, resulting in perpetually dry hands. This is one of the only things that help keep my hands feeling soft due to its 20% shea butter. Currently, I have the regular formula (in the limited edition blue packaging from a few years back), the rose-scented formula, and the Intensive Hand Cream.
The Intensive Hand Cream is usually what I apply at night right before I go to sleep. It’s a balmy texture that is super rich, making it great for the driest of hands and cuticles. It contains 25% shea butter, and it’s also great for dry elbows and knees. I love both the original formula and this one.
Neostrata Resurface Glycolic Renewal Smoothing Lotion*
This Neostrata 10% glycolic acid body lotion (C$45 for 200mL) is a quick an easy way to gently exfoliate your body. I love using this all over or just on my feet for when my feet are feeling extra dry or crackly. It absorbs quickly and leaves my skin feeling ultra soft.
CND Solar Oil*
CND Solar Oil (C$9 for 7.3mL) is the only cuticle oil I use. I keep a little mini bottle everywhere – on my desk at home, on my desk at work (back when I still had my own desk), next to the couch, on my bedside table, in my travel tote for use on the plane). It is so effective at keeping my cuticles healthy and it also smells amazing.
Hope this was helpful and provided a nice distraction to all of the negativity out in the world!
Items marked with an asterisk were (or have been) provided by PR for review consideration or as gifts. I’ve repurchased with my own money several of the PR products mentioned here, but they are asterisked for transparency purposes.