SKINCARE | Recent product hits and duds featuring Herbivore Botanicals, Apothekari Skincare, Caudalie, May Coop and Elemis

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I haven’t written about skincare in a while but I wanted to share some quick thoughts on a few products I’ve been using lately.

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Herbivore Botanicals Bakuchiol Serum

I got a free deluxe mini bottle of this when I placed an Herbivore order during their 30% off sale. I used this every night for a few weeks and I didn’t see any major benefits to my skin at all. It was lightly hydrating, and the texture was soothing, but other than that I wouldn’t say it’s a very effective anti-aging serum. I personally feel like if you are pregnant or are majorly adverse to using stronger ingredients such as actual retinol, or you have very sensitive skin, or you just want all of your skincare to be 100% clean, then you might enjoy this because you can feel like you’re using an effective anti-aging ingredient. Otherwise, I wouldn’t get this over something else that’s more potent.

Repurchase? Nope.

Herbivore Botanicals Pink Cloud Moisturizer

Another dud from Herbivore Botanicals is their Pink Cloud Moisturizer. I purchased this last November during the Sephora VIB sale, and started using it at the beginning of July, and by then the jar had already mostly dried up to a point of it being a thick cream instead of a more whipped texture. In addition to not being moisturizing on me at all, it also broke me out. I loved the subtle rose scent, which was the only thing it had going for it.

Repurchase? Heck no.

Herbivore Botanicals Prism Serum

I ordered this because I love chemical exfoliants and this one contains a blend of fruit acids. Well similar to the Pink Cloud Moisturizer, it sat in the box for 8 months (unopened) and turned a weird brown murky colour. I still used it for a few days (according to the Herbivore Instagram account, the product is still good to use, and the colour change is just cosmetic) but I literally felt nothing from this. Maybe if you’re just starting out with acid exfoliators, you could give this one a go, but the fact that it turned bad before even the one year mark, combined with how it didn’t do anything for my skin at all, dissuades me from recommending this to anyone.

Repurchase? No

Herbivore Botanicals Rose Hibiscus Coconut Spray

The only item from Herbivore that I seem to be getting along with is the Rose Hibiscus Coconut Spray. It smells subtly rosy, which I am enjoying. It’s not super hydrating, which is a bummer, but it does feel really refreshing on the skin. It sinks in completely with no residue, making it a good candidate as a post-makeup setting spray too.

Repurchase? Maybe, but probably not because there are other products out there that can do better.

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Apothekari Skincare Bespoke Vitamin C 10% Serum

I received this from the Apothekari brand. I’ve known about this local Vancouver brand for years but it was my first time trying their products. The founder is a pharmacist and created this brand for people who are looking for active ingredients without certain harmful ingredients. The Bespoke Vitamin C 10% serum was custom mixed for me once it was confirmed that I wanted to try this product. With this product, they don’t mix everything together until it is confirmed that a client is ordering it, which means everything is ultra fresh.

I’ve tested several Vitamin C + Vitamin E + Ferulic Acid combo serums in the last few years, including the very famous CE Ferulic by Skinceuticals, and I honestly have to say this one is my favourite. The texture is funny, almost goopy like aloe gel, but it feels super soothing and hydrating on the skin. As a vitamin C serum, I apply this on my face pretty much every morning and it doesn’t feel sticky or leave my skin with an orange tinge. I would highly recommend that you check this out if you are in the market for a Vitamin C serum, especially if you’ve been interested in the Skinceuticals one for a while. This is $95 which is a lot more affordable than the Skinceuticals version.

Repurchase? Absolutely yes.

Apothekari Skincare A is for Anti-Aging Retinal Serum

Retinal is Retinaldehyde, a derivative of retinol. Per Apothekari, retinal is the “ultimate retinoid because it is the direct precursor to Retinoic Acid, the form of Vitamin A.” I haven’t looked too much into the science of it, but this is supposed to be a gentler version of retinol. In addition to retinal, it also includes one of my favourite skincare ingredients Niacinamide at a 5% concentration.

This serum is an interesting yellow, creamy texture. It goes on smooth underneath my moisturizer without giving me a yellow tinge. I love that it absorbs super quickly, and is not as drying as regular retinol. The effects aren’t as immediate as regular retinol either, which is good and bad depending on what your skincare preference is. I personally like instant gratification, which is why I’m obsessed with regular retinol. I do see that my skin is smoother and brighter over time, but it’s just not an immediate benefit.

Repurchase? Maybe. At this point in my skincare life, I personally prefer something stronger like retinol because my skin can take it right now, but I definitely will repurchase if my skin becomes sensitive later on and I need something gentler.

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Caudalie Vinoperfect Brightening Glycolic Essence

I received this from Caudalie PR and I love it so much, I have it saved on my Sephora Loves list. This is such a great lightweight essence lotion / toner for the summer months! I love the thinner texture which makes it great as a toner but also as a gently brightening essence. The scent is super subtle and very refreshing. I use this primarily in the morning but I also use it at night if I feel like my skin can use a bit of a kick. This is probably the most comparable essence lotion to the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence that I have found, which is amazing because this is a fraction of the price of SK-II.

Repurchase? Already on my list!

May Coop Raw Sauce

I love essence lotions and when I saw a promotion on May Coop’s popular Raw Sauce, I ordered myself a bottle to use in the mornings. This has a really thick serum-y texture which absorbs quickly. The trick is not to use a lot, otherwise you end up feeling sticky. I noticed an immediate boost in hydrating in just 1-2 days of use, and then my skin also feels way more comfortable and even. I had a pimple on my chin that was taking a while to heel but for some reason this really helped heel that as well. I haven’t used this enough to see the long term benefits, but in just the few short weeks I’ve had it, I’m already starting to be a believer.

Repurchase? Yes! It’s so affordable too.

Elemis Pro Collagen Marine Cream

This full size jar came in the Elemis advent calendar I ordered last year. I’ve been using this as a daytime moisturizer and I’m a big fan. It has such a nice lightweight gel cream texture, soaks in immediately, is super hydrating, layers well with other products, and creates a good base for foundation. While this is advertised as a day cream (there’s a separate night cream that’s supposed to be thicker), you can absolutely use this as a night cream as well. I don’t think I’ve noticed significant anti-aging benefits, but I do feel like my skin is nicely hydrated all the time and more plump. The only thing I don’t love about it is the jar – I feel like the formula is light enough to be in a pump or squeeze bottle. That being said, you can easily get every last drop of this cream from the jar.

Repurchase? Very likely.

PR products include Caudalie and Apothekari, everything else was purchased with my own money. I do not use affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

SKINCARE | Don’t buy products from Herbivore Botanicals

You know me and my obsession with natural skincare products. I started to be interested in Herbivore Botanical‘s products after finding out about their Blue Tansy mask. This was at the height of my blogging days, and I had enough skincare for up to eight lifetimes, but I still bought a jar to try. I love blue tansy as an ingredient, and May Lindstrom’s the Blue Cocoon is one of my saviour products. A few months later, I noticed that my Blue Tansy mask, which used to be a beautiful ocean blue colour, is now grey, smelled weird, and also much thicker in texture. This is example #1.

I didn’t think much of it, and I continued being obsessed with their products, ordering a skincare kit which contained travel sizes of the Pink Cloud cream, Prism exfoliating serum, and the Rose Hibiscus spray. As a skincare hoarder, I bought it and never opened it, leaving it in the box, sealed tight, for a few months. I ordered it in November 2018, and come July 2019 when I was finally ready to use it, I opened the box to find that my Prism serum, which is supposed to be transparent, is now a weird brown murky colour, and Pink Cloud cream had essentially dried up in the jar.

I reached out to Herbivore on Instagram asking about this, and they said that their products are all natural so colour discolouration is normal. However it doesn’t explain why Pink Cloud essentially dried up in the jar. While Pink Cloud was still usable, it is no longer that whipped texture, and is instead slightly hard and needs a few spritzes of the Rose Hibiscus Spray to become spreadable.

Now, right before I discovered the mess of NEW products I had from Herbivore, silly me made another order, this time because they were offering a 30% discount and a free mini of the Bakuchiol Serum. I love retinol, and any products that claims to have retinol-like benefits, I latch onto and won’t let go. So I ordered some products for the promo. While I haven’t received it in the mail yet, I see a post by Chemist Confessions on Instagram talking about the lack of protective packaging used by Herbivore.

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Bakuchiol hails to be a natural alternative to retinol. For us, it's definitely an interesting little guy that has some eye catching studies out there… so this won't be going anywhere anytime soon. We're seeing a flurry of brands coming out with their interpretation of this product! One of them is Herbivore's newly launched bakuchiol serum. So let's #decodethatIL 1. The good: Bakuchiol studies use 0.5% of the ingredient. Now Herbivore doesn't disclose the exact bakuchiol %, but it's reasonably high enough on the ingredient list that we think it should at least be close to the 0.5% mark 2. The gimmick: the product includes another hot ingredient on the market — PHA gluconolactone. Now based on the data, this should be used at fairly high levels. Think upwards of 14%. So there's no way it'll hit that here. Really at this level, it's more of a formula support. 3. The questionable: bakuchiol is a retinol alternative that doesn't have nearly the same level of stability issues that retinol does… but it's still suggested to store it in a cool dark place. So we're still feeling a bit meh about the clear dropper bottle. Final thoughts? We think this is worth a go for those who want to try out a bakuchiol product since it's most likely used at the right levels. Just keep it in vampire settings (cool and dark) just to be on the safe side. #retinolalternatives

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This really made me think that YES! Despite Herbivore’s products all containing some kind of active ingredient, coupled by the lack of preservatives, means that they should be trying HARDER to put their products in airtight containers which will prevent oxidization, right? But no, they do not. Their products are clearly drying out in the bottle, and are turning bad earlier than they should be. This is a sign that the ingredients contained within the products are not as effective as they should be, and may even be completely ineffective.

Oh, and don’t forget this Reddit post about contaminated products made by Herbivore… Do you want to be putting mold on your face?

If you’ve noticed that I haven’t linked a single product here, it was done deliberately because I really don’t want you to buy their products. There are SO many products and brands out there that are equally, if not more amazing, and you really shouldn’t have to waste money on Herbivore’s products with the selection we’re faced with today.

Just another disclaimer that I’m not a scientist, I’m just some girl on the internet who loves skincare and who works hard at her day job so she can go and buy skincare products. Just based on that alone, I wouldn’t recommend buying Herbivore. Spend your hard-earned money somewhere else!

I purchased everything mentioned in this post. All opinions are my own, and based on my personal use and experience of the products.

SKINCARE | The most overhyped moisturizer of all time

Creme de la Mer review

Today I have a review of a luxury facial moisturizer that is infamous for being used by celebrities as body cream – yes I am talking about Creme de la Mer. I’ve been lusting after the original Creme de la Mer for over a year, so last fall I finally took the plunge and picked up a 30mL jar. It was C$230… an astronomical price for something with pretty basic ingredients. I fell in love with this product for two reasons – the smell, which is incredibly fresh and powdery and relaxes me completely; and the texture.

A lot of the reviews say that Creme de la Mer is so thick that it causes breakouts and congestion. It is indeed very thick, a balm-cream texture that is hard to spread around, however there is actually a right way and a wrong way to apply this. The right way is to take a pea-sized amount, warm it up on your palms, and then press into the skin. You notice a significant difference when you take the time to warm and melt the cream in your palms, which then allows it to soften into a gorgeous light balm which will then beautifully envelop your skin. I don’t always take the time to melt it (you really want to take your time to warm it), so application is iffy on most evenings. I also found that it doesn’t work well for facial massage, because you’re only really supposed to apply a tiny bit and just enough to thinly cover your skin, so when I try to massage with it, I either overapply or my hands drag on my face, which is not ideal.

Going back to the smell, it really is such a wonderful comforting scent. A lot of people might think it smells like old lady, and I can definitely understand why. It is a soft floral powder, which tends to bring a lot of people back to their grandma’s perfume. That being said though, the smell dissipates after a few minutes, and you can’t smell it anymore after.

Creme de la Mer review

In terms of efficacy, this really is just a very basic moisturizer. It’s really not that hydrating – my skin is very dehydrated so I tend to have to apply a hydrating serum before apply thing (usually a few drops of hyaluronic serum). You really have to be careful not to overapply, otherwise you will get congestion and some breakouts. I didn’t notice that my lines or wrinkles had been reduced, and I didn’t notice an increase in hydration over time or anything either. The one good thing I do like about this is that it is really good at protecting skin. The original story behind La Mer (which has since been disputed and called into question) was that it was developed by some scientist to help people with skin burns. While I didn’t have any skin burns, my skin was peeling due to the A-Passioni retinol that I was using, and I found that this was definitely helpful in helping my skin heel. While most other products stung my sensitive skin at the time, Creme de la Mer did not and was very soothing on my skin.

Would I recommend / repurchase? Definitely not. The 30mL is lasting me quite a while (I’ve been using this for over 2 months now and still around 1/4 of the 30mL jar left), so I’ll just enjoy this and then move on to something more effective. The experience was nice, and I’m glad I did try it out so I wouldn’t forever be lemming after this, but ultimately I don’t think it’s worth the price tag.

SKINCARE | La Prairie Essence of Skin Caviar Eye Complex… you don’t know how good it is until you stop!

La Prairie Essence of Skin Caviar Eye Complex review

Last summer, I got a nice raise and bonus at work, so I rewarded myself by buying myself a nice eye cream. I’ve always had really good luck with La Prairie skincare, so I picked up the La Prairie Essence of Skin Caviar Eye Complex (C$225 for 15mL). This is an eye serum that comes in the signature dark blue La Prairie bottle with a silver dropper. You can apply this alone, but they recommend that you apply this underneath their Skin Caviar Eye Cream.

The Essence of Skin Caviar Eye Complex has a lightweight clear gel texture. It sinks in super quickly into the eye area, and you really don’t need a lot for maximum spreadability. It sinks in completely, and works well alone or underneath your eye cream of choice. I am lazy, and I used this pretty much alone the entire time I owned it.

I’ve always been really bad at apply eye cream in the morning, and only apply at night, so my eye area is usually pretty dry throughout the day. Because of the lightweight texture, it really sinks in right away and I never feel like my eye area is heavy or greasy from eye cream. It also sits wonderfully under makeup.

Now here comes my revelation. When I was using this regularly, I was really not impressed. It was fine – basically just a fine eye product that did its job but I wasn’t sure if it was worth the price tag. My eye area was hydrated enough, and my lines were also somewhat smoother but not groundbreaking. Now, as soon as I finished using it and started using something else, I noticed a tremendous difference in how my eye area looked. It was almost… tired looking. I don’t generally get undereye dark circles but I noticed that my eye area looked not quite to dark circle level, but again tired. I had a tiny bit of the Essence of Skin Caviar Eye Complex left in the dropper, and I applied that back to my eye area, and then it went back to being hydrated, smoother, and brighter.

My experience was super puzzling, but then it just made me realize that La Prairie products really do work. They aren’t going to give you that WOW I just had an incredible skin procedure and now my skin looks amazing experience, but over time you can seriously tell the difference between using them and not using them.

This product is pretty pricey so I’m not sure I will immediately repurchase, but I can see myself going back to it again in the future. Because of the texture, a little bit can go quite a long ways, even if its used twice a day. I still have a little bit that I’ve just been trying to get out of the bottle. If you have an eye cream that you already use and love, this layers wonderfully underneath it as well.

Now if you’re interested in picking this up, you can grab it at Holt Renfrew. If you buy in store, make sure to ask for samples of other products as well because the girls are usually very good about giving samples with your purchase. You can try this out with the La Prairie Skin Caviar Eye Cream, and you’ll likely get an even more dramatic effect.

SKINCARE | DRUNK ELEPHANT A-Passioni Retinol Cream, C-Firma Day Serum, TLC Framboos Glycolic Night Serum, and B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum reviews (part 2 of DE reviews)

DRUNK ELEPHANT A-Passioni Retinol Cream, C-Firma Day Serum, TLC Framboos Glycolic Night Serum, and B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum reviews

I’m back with a few more Drunk Elephant skincare reviews! Today I’m talking about the good stuff, basically all of the products that got them to the top of everyone’s wishlists. The Drunk Elephant facial serums are some of the most popular on the market today, and for good reason. While in my last set of reviews, I was iffy about most of the products, I am happy to report that I am fans of pretty much everything I’m reviewing today.

The first is the highly anticipated A-Passioni Retinol Cream (C$92 for 30mL), which contains 1% vegan retinol. When Drunk Elephant first came out, retinol was on the list of “dangerous ingredients.” This was highly debated because retinol is one of the most researched ingredients in skincare, and is the ONLY skincare ingredient that is proven to actually work to reduce and prevent the signs of aging. Tiffany Masterson said that she read that retinol can’t be used during pregnancy, so she assumed that the ingredient must be “dangerous” in some way. Fortunately for us, she later did more research and found that retinol can actually be safely used (just not during pregnancy), so here we are with A-Passioni.

Drunk Elephant says that you can use this retinol cream as a booster, with Framboos at night or C-Firma during the day. I don’t necessarily agree with that, because retinol breaks down under sunlight so its just for better efficacy if used at night. Retinol can also sensitize the skin, which means I personally feel like it’s too much if used with glycolic acid. I would lay low on the other actives for the first few weeks while your skin is getting used to the strength of the retinol, and then once your skin is calming down a bit, either alternate with glycolic, or use a stronger peel 1-2x a week and then retinol the remaining nights.

I used this over Sulwhasoo’s First Care Activating Serum Ex and an essence lotion which I used as toner, and underneath moisturizer, at night only. After two straight nights of using this, my skin became super sensitive and red, and I decided to give my skin a 3-night break. On the 6th night, I added a few drops of Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum (an oil) to the A-Passioni and that seemed to help a lot in terms of drying and sensitivity. I still applied moisturizer on top, to maximize the hydration.

If you’re new at retinol, or if you’ve never used retinol of this strength before, I highly recommend taking it easy by either mixing it with an oil (such as DE’s own Marula Oil) or hydrating serum (such as B-Hydra). They do give you a small vial of B-Hydra in the same box as A-Passioni to facilitate those transitioning their skin to retinol. After a week or so, my skin was fully acclimatized to A-Passioni and I can use it alone without mixing with anything else, but always underneath a moisturizer. I highly recommend also picking up Lala Retro to use over A-Passioni.

After two weeks of using this product (not every night), even my mom commented on how bright, even, smooth, and generally healthier my skin looks. I ended up picking one up for her as well, because the results were so good, and I can’t wait to incorporate this into my wedding skincare routine.

The glycolic acid serum that has everyone talking is TLC Framboos Glycolic Night Serum (C$112 for 30mL). This is probably Drunk Elephant’s most popular product (before A-Passioni was released, of course). It contains a potent acid blend, including glycolic acid, tataric acid, lactic acid, citric acid, as well as salicylic acid. I had previously tried Drunk Elephant’s Suraki Babyfacial, which is a acid peel / mask. I quite enjoyed that, so I was looking forward to trying Framboos. It has a really lovely lightweight gel texture that absorbed easily onto my skin with no residue. Compared to other acid serums, I found that this one tingled slightly but didn’t sting, per se. After a week of using this (used separately and during a different period than A-Passioni), I could tell that my skin was smoother and brighter. The effect wasn’t as intense as A-Passioni, but for those with younger skin (early 20s and up), you probably don’t need retinol so this product would be perfect to help rejunvenate the skin.

Next we have C-Firma Day Serum (C$100 for 30mL), a day serum that contains 15% vitamin C in the form of L-Ascorbic Acid, plus ferulic acid, plus 1% vitamin E. Sound familiar? This is the blend for Skinceuticals C E Ferulic, one of the cult favourite vitamin C serums on the market, and 75% more expensive than C-Firma. The Drunk Elephant version also contains pumpkin ferment and pomegranate extract, mild chemical exfoliators, and hyaluronic acid, for hydration. I wrote previously that I really enjoyed using C E Ferulic, and I think I enjoy C-Firma more. The texture is very lightweight, and thinner than C E Ferulic.

The primary “issue” I had with this is I mentioned earlier that I’ve used a travel size of this from my Littles Kit that I purchased late last year, and the texture of the full size and the travel size are different. The travel size is way more watery, and also a darker orange tint, compared to the full size. I have heard that this product is prone to turning in the bottle, so it *could* be that, I am not sure though. Both applied fine on my skin, with the full size version slightly tackier on my skin than the travel sized version (which dried down non-tacky). I really enjoy using this, and even though it is a vitamin C serum, I find it actually hydrating enough to last me through the day with no discomfort. With other vitamin C serums, I tend to have to layer some hydrating serum on top.

An essential in everyone’s skincare kit is B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum (C$65 for 50mL). This is another product that I’ve discovered and fell in love with. I always keep a hydrating serum in my routine for a boost of water. My skin is so dry, so I need it morning and night. I love that this comes in a 50mL bottle because otherwise I’d run through a bottle of this much faster than the other serums I use. Despite it looking like it has a high price tag, most serums come in 30mL bottles so this is really comparable to other products in the C$39 (for 30mL) or so price range. This hydrating serum is so lightweight, absorbs quickly into my skin, but still very hydrating, leaving my skin feeling very comfortable and soothed. This is one of my favourite Drunk Elephant products because my skin just soaks it up. I also love mixing this with Lala Retro or A-Passioni for a boost of moisture.

Lastly, we also have the Dopp Kit (US$18), a super cute train case that was sent to me by Drunk Elephant and housed all of the products they sent. This is part of their Drunk Life collection, which is a range of lifestyle products featuring the Drunk Elephant logo. I’m not sure what Drunk Elephant is planning to do with this, because they are deviating from their skincare background and brand philosophy. I would much rather than focus their efforts on developing skincare. Yes this is a great way to make some extra money, but people see them as a skincare brand, not necessarily a lifestyle brand. More and more skincare brands are doing this, but it just confuses skincare enthusiasts like me. That being said, the Dopp Kit is super cute, very neon, and definitely very on brand with Drunk Elephant’s packaging. I can see myself taking this to the beach or on beach vacations, housing all of my product necessities. It can be a cute lunch box as well, if you’re into that retro look. The quality is not bad for $18, so if you’re looking for a train case like this, it might be worthwhile to check out.

While I didn’t enjoy most of the products in my other Drunk Elephant review post, I saved the best for this post because I honestly recommend all of the skincare items I reviewed here. Depending on what age group you’re in, you might want to take a more targeted approach to building your Drunk Elephant skincare routine:
– Under 20 – B-Hydra Serum, Lala Retro Moisturizer, and Marula Oil
– Between 20 and 30 – TLC Framboos, C-Firm, B-Hydra, Lala Retro, Marula Oil
– Over 30 – A-Passioni, TLC Framboos, C-Firm, B-Hydra, Lala Retro, Marula Oil

Which Drunk Elephant product do you want to try the most?

DRUNK ELEPHANT A-Passioni Retinol Cream, C-Firma Day Serum, TLC Framboos Glycolic Night Serum, and B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum reviews
DRUNK ELEPHANT A-Passioni Retinol Cream, C-Firma Day Serum, TLC Framboos Glycolic Night Serum, and B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum reviews

Products sent for review consideration by PR; all opinions are my own.

SKINCARE | DRUNK ELEPHANT Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser, Shaba Complex Eye Serum, Lala Retro Whipped Cream, Virgin Marula Oil, and Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense Sunscreen (Part 1 of 2 DE reviews)

DRUNK ELEPHANT Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser, Shaba Complex Eye Serum, Lala Retro Whipped Cream, Virgin Marula Oil, and Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense Sunscreen reviews

Today I am so happy to share with you the first of my two part reviews on the Drunk Elephant products I’ve had the pleasure to test out. For this post, I’m going to focus on the products that don’t contain the key active ingredients, i.e. the non-face serum ingredients. I used these products pretty much exclusively for a minimum of 2 weeks before I wrote up this review. Hopefully this will be helpful for those who are considering venturing into this brand.

Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser (C$42 for 150mL) was something I was curious about because I really love the Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser. While this cleanser is super gentle but still effective, I don’t love it. As a personal preference, I like something that is either cream, or super foamy. This cleanser is kind of in the middle – a watery gel that creates a flat foam that feels really watered down. It is very mild, which is great for a morning cleanse or for those with sensitive skin. I will still use this as my morning cleanse, but I wouldn’t be able to replace my everyday cleanser with this. I also find that it doesn’t work well with my FOREO Luna, again because it doesn’t foam up fully. I’d skip this.

Shaba Complex Eye Serum (C$72 for 15mL) is a milky eye serum that you can use alone or underneath the C-Tango Eye Cream. It contains copper peptides, edelweiss stem cell culture, black tea ferment, and sea buckthorn oil, a cocktail that is meant to prevent signs of aging, improve skin texture and radiance, and also hydrate. This was another Drunk Elephant product that I was meh about. I felt like it didn’t quite do anything to help my eye area. It was hydrating for sure, but I didn’t feel like my eye area was brighter, smoother, or firmer.

DRUNK ELEPHANT Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser, Shaba Complex Eye Serum, Lala Retro Whipped Cream, Virgin Marula Oil, and Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense Sunscreen reviews
DRUNK ELEPHANT Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser, Shaba Complex Eye Serum, Lala Retro Whipped Cream, Virgin Marula Oil, and Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense Sunscreen reviews

Lala Retro Whipped Cream (C$75 for 50mL) is one of the two moisturizers that Drunk Elephant offers. This is the more “basic” moisturizer that offers skin hydration and plumping benefits. I LOVE this moisturizer. The texture is incredibly smooth and refined, and feels pretty much like it’s described – a whipped cream. I have dry skin and this moisturizer is great for day and night. It sinks in perfectly, leaving my skin refreshed and plumped, with zero residue or heaviness. I definitely recommend that you pick this up if you are looking for a good moisturizer.

Virgin Marula Facial Oil (C$90 for 30mL) is somewhat of a hot debate item. It contains 100% unrefined marula kernel oil, which is great to help nourish and rejuvenate the skin. The debate isn’t about whether marula oil is good for you, rather, about the price that Drunk Elephant sells theirs at. Technically you can purchase marula oil from brands such as The Ordinary for a fraction of the price. I have my own thoughts about The Ordinary – while I haven’t tried their marula oil, I haven’t had any luck with any of the products I bought from them. I find it to be a waste of money if it isn’t working on your skin, regardless of the price point. That being said, I really like the Drunk Elephant Marula Oil. I find the texture to be lightweight yet still very nourishing on the skin. It’s great for mixing with Lala Retro, or used on top of everything as a last step. I bring the little bottle with me on my travels, and it’s wonderful for relieving airplane-wrecked skin. While I don’t know how this compares to other marula oils, I think everyone can decide for yourself whether the higher price point is worth it for you. I know that this little bottle will last me a loooong time, as a few drops will go a very long way. I also love to mix this with my body lotion for more intense moisture.

Lastly, we have the Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Sunscreen SPF 30 (C$42 for 50mL). This is a physical sunscreen, containing 20% zinc oxide. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that I love my Japanese sunscreens, which wear completely invisible on the skin. Umbra Sheer isn’t quite invisible. It has a relatively thick, almost grainy texture. While it’s not super heavy, it’s also not invisible. I used this on my sunny vacation to Florida, and while I still tanned, I didn’t burn (I burn pretty easily). Also zinc oxide is much more ocean and coral friendly, so it makes this a great sunscreen for vacations.

I received the full size products as PR samples, but I also purchased The Littles Kit (C$110) for my trip to Florida late last year. I love that Drunk Elephant makes that little kit for those who are either new to the brand, or want to bring their entire Drunk Elephant routine with them on vacation. The products in the kit are perfect for 2-3 weeks of use, depending on how much you use each day, which is a good enough time for you to figure out which products you like and which ones you don’t. If you’ve never tried the brand before, I highly recommend picking up one of the Littles Kits to use.

Are there any Drunk Elephant products that catch your eye so far? Which ones have you used and loved?

Products received from PR for review consideration; all opinions are my own.

SKINCARE | AHA/BHA products featuring Neostrata, Drunk Elephant and Omorovicza

Review of Drunk Elephant Sukari Babyfacial, Omorovicza Acid Fix, Omorovicza Silver Skin Savior, Neostrata Enlighten Dual Acid Brightening Peel review Neostrata Enlighten Dual Acid Brightening Peel

Happy New Year! I mentioned earlier that I looove using active ingredients in my skincare during the fall/winter months. Today I’m going to talk about some of the AHA/BHA products that I’ve been using. I generally love using retinol at night, and I prefer not to use retinol and acids during the same routine at night, so I tend to use my acids more as weekly / bi-weekly treatments.

The first one is the product that I cannot stop talking about. The Neostrata Enlighten Dual Acid Brightening Peel is one of my most used products lately, and something that I’ve been recommending to everyone who will listen to me. There are three formulas within the Dual Acid Peel, Brightening is just one of them. The other two are Anti-Aging, which contains peptides, and then Clarifying, which is great for acne-prone skin. This peel does such a great job at gently exfoliating my skin; my skin looks and feels brighter and softer immediately and for the next few days. This product is also incredibly easy to use – I drop 2 full pipettes of liquid onto a cotton pad, swipe all over my face and neck (avoiding the eye area because it does sting a bit), wait 20 minutes and then wash off. It is very easy to wash off too, not like another product that I will talk about in a bit. I use this 2x a week, and it’s pretty much the only exfoliation I do.

The next product was a mask that I was obsessed with before I discovered the Neostrata peel – the Drunk Elephant Sukari Babyfacial (US$80). This mask contains 25% AHAs and 2% BHA, in the form of Glycolic, Tartaric, Lactic, Citric and Salicylic acids. This mask is so potent and the acid levels so high that it can’t even be sold in Canada. It comes in a gooey paste-like texture that you spread on your face and then wash off after 20 minutes. This mask is super effective and definitely does a fantastic job at making my skin looking clear and bright, but I don’t love the texture that much. The texture is sticky and feels a bit messy, but to apply and to wash off. While equally good in terms of efficacy compared to the Neostrata, it’s just not as convenient to use.

Review of Drunk Elephant Sukari Babyfacial, Omorovicza Acid Fix, Omorovicza Silver Skin Savior, Neostrata Enlighten Dual Acid Brightening Peel review Neostrata Enlighten Dual Acid Brightening Peel

Omorovicza was kind to send me two of their newest acid products, the Acid Fix and the Silver Skin Savior. Acid Fix (C$140 for 30mL) is glycolic / salicylic / lactic acid peel is a product that’s layered underneath moisturizer, applied 2-3x a week at night. Of the three products reviewed, this is probably the easiest for anyone to integrate into their existing skincare routine (given that routine doesn’t already have an acid component). I actually find this super gentle on the skin. It’s a great, gentle acid exfoliator that leaves my skin soft and bright, but there isn’t such a wow factor because it’s not a peel. If you have more sensitive skin, this one would be a better match for your skin because it’s not so abrasive.

Silver Skin Savior (C$150 for 50mL) is a salicylic / glycolic acid treatment. Advertised as a treatment for acne-prone skin due to the inclusion of colloidial silver, which is a fantastic anti-bacterial ingredient, I actually use this as an acid peel. The third and fourth ingredients are glycolic acid and niacinamide, which means I am pretty much guaranteed to have a good time. The first time I used this, it stung pretty bad and my skin was a bit red and sensitive after, but the next morning I woke up to the smoothest, most glowy skin. My foundation went on easily and it also wore very well all day. The next few times, my skin reacted less to it, and I haven’t had my skin go red on me again.

My top choice in terms of ease of use, product efficacy, and value is the Neostrata peel. It works so well and is priced just right. While I love Omorovicza Silver Skin Savior, it is on the pricey side and isn’t as easy to use as the Neostrata. I also really enjoy using Acid Fix as it’s very easy to integrate into an existing routine. If I had to choose one as a must-buy, the Neostrata for sure, but if you can afford Silver Skin Savior, definitely look into that one too. I was really in love with Sukari Babyfacial when I first tried it, but I definitely don’t like the texture. Out of all of these, I’d probably say skip the Drunk Elephant.

Neostrata and Omorovicza were sent by PR for review consideration, I purchased the Drunk Elephant myself. All opinions are my own.

 

SKINCARE | La Prairie Skin Caviar Luxe Cream Sheer

La Prairie Skin Caviar Luxe Cream Sheer review

Recently, La Prairie reformulated their Skin Caviar Luxe Cream and Luxe Cream Sheer (C$630 for 50mL) to contain Caviar Premier, their most concentrated and potent form of anti-aging ingredient which includes a blend of seven active ingredients plus Caviar Extract. Not only that, but it also contains AHAs to help gently exfoliate and smooth the skin. This is so important because a lot of anti-aging products on the market only have that anti-aging ingredient or extract, but AHAs are some of the best partners to anti-aging ingredients because it can help slough away the dead skin to help the anti-aging ingredients penetrate deeper into the skin.

I’ve been playing with this Luxe Cream Sheer for a while, using it primarily as a day cream. Compared to their regular Luxe Cream, the Sheer formula is much lighter and more like whipped milk rather than a cream. As a day cream, it sits wonderfully underneath my foundation, keeping my skin feeling hydrated and supple. In the winter, this isn’t moisturizing enough for me to use as a night cream (I’m currently using Creme de la Mer which is very heavy… that’s the type of texture I enjoy at night). Comparing the Luxe Cream and the Sheer, the Sheer formula is definitely better for someone with normal, combo, or oily skin, or if you like a lighter moisturizer that isn’t a cream or a gel. Dry and normal skin types will enjoy the Luxe Cream formula better, as it is a balmy cream that is just beautiful on the skin.

In terms of efficacy after a few weeks, I don’t know if I noticed a huge difference in how my skin looks overall. My skin looks and feels fresh, and comfortable, but not necessarily reflective of the high price tag. That being said, I’ve had experiences with La Prairie products before where your skin looks good and it’s not a huge improvement from before, but once you stop using it and start something else, you notice a huge difference with and without La Prairie, so you really don’t know how good you have it until you lose it.

Another thing to note is that La Prairie Skin Caviar products are all heavily scented. I really enjoy a bit of the Skin Caviar scent, but when it lingers a bit too long, that’s when I start not loving it so much. The Skin Caviar Luxe Cream Sheer does have a bit of that fragrance but I find it dissipates pretty quickly. If you are highly sensitive to fragrances, you might want to avoid this.

I don’t know if anyone really *needs* this. I’m sure there are creams out there at a fraction of the price that is equally or almost equally as good, but if you love the La Prairie experience (scent, packaging, shopping experience, premium ingredients, etc.), you’re getting the full package with the Skin Caviar Luxe Cream Sheer. I personally do love that La Prairie experience, so I’ve saved some of this cream for my wedding skin prep.

You can pick up La Prairie Skin Caviar Luxe Cream Sheer at Holt Renfrew.

Product provided by PR for review consideration; all opinions are my own.

SKINCARE | K-beauty inspired cleansers from Lise Watier

B4ADA62D-8EE4-45C8-91A6-453F388A23A5Lise Watier has released a line of cleansing and toning products inspired by Korean beauty. As a skincare fanatic, and a rose fanatic, this line is the newest thing to excite me in the world of beauty. There are four products targeted at deep cleansing and hydrating your skin. I’m also very excited to see that Lise Watier

First, we have the Lise Watier Deep Cleansing Oil (C$35 for 200mL). This cleansing oil is the first step in your skincare routine, helping to remove makeup, sunscreen, and impurities from your skin. I always do a pre-cleanse with a cleansing oil because I find that this is the best way to remove all traces of makeup from my skin. As with other cleansing oils or balms, you apply this on your dry face with dry hands, massage it in to dissolve makeup, add a bit of water and continue massaging to emulsify, then rinse off.

I really like this – it does a fantastic job at removing my makeup, with enough slip that I don’t need to apply too much and can still get a good massage in. It emulsifies completely, leaving behind almost no trace. My skin feels comfortable after, thanks to the copious amounts of good oils that it contains, such as sweet almond, macademia, green tea, avocado, and coconut. It’s not a bad price, since you get 200mL of product. It also contains trace amount of Panax Ginseng Root Extract, which is the same ingredient used in La Prairie products. It’s probably a waste though, because cleansers just get washed off. I do like this, and would recommend it.

Ingredients: Ethylhexyl Stearate, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Triethylhexanoin, PEG-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate, Hydrogenated Poly(C6-14 Olefin), Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate, 1,2-Hexanediol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Benzotriazolyl Dodecyl P-Cresol, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Seed Oil, Orbignya Oleifera (Babassu) Seed Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Betula Alba Juice, Aqua (Water/Eau), Butylene Glycol, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Parfum (Fragrance), Phenoxyethanol, Disodium EDTA, Ethylhexylglycerin, Citronellol.

The Lise Watier Cooling Cream Foam Cleanser (C$26 for 150mL) is the next step in your skincare routine, after the Deep Cleansing Oil. I don’t believe that you can deeply clean your pores using just one product if you wear makeup, since you’re just massaging the dissolved makeup into your pores as you cleanse, so I always double cleanse with a cleansing foam or gel after my oil.

The cooling cream is a bit of an interesting experience – I actually prefer using this in the morning to help wake me up, but I don’t like using foaming cleansers in the morning because it can be more drying. The cooling sensation is derived from menthol, which can be irritating if it gets anywhere near the eyes. While I enjoy the foamy consistency, I don’t love this cleanser. It does clean but I find it almost a bit too strippy for me. I think it might be better for someone with normal to combo or oily skin. I have dry skin so it’s not the best for my skin type.

Ingredients: Aqua (Water/Eau), Stearic Acid, Myristic Acid, PEG-400, Potassium Hydroxide, Glycerin, Lauric Acid, Lauryl Hydroxysultaine, Methylpropanediol, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Menthol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Amaranthus Caudatus Seed Extract, Ulmus Davidiana (Elm) Root Extract, Butylene Glycol, Polyquaternium-51, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Beta-Glucan, Cynara Scolymus (Artichoke) Leaf Extract, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Pteris Multifida Extract, 1,2-Hexanediol, Parfum (Fragrance), Phenoxyethanol, Disodium EDTA.

The Lise Watier Gentle Rose Petal Scrub (C$26 for 150mL) was one of the two products that I was most looking forward to. This rose sugar scrub has real rose petals in it. Sugar scrubs are much gentler and hydrating on the face than salt scrubs (I would never use a salt scrub on my face, ow!).

It smells amazing and does a great job at exfoliating without overdoing it. The sugar bits melt after you’ve been massaging for a bit, and my skin is left feeling super soft and silky. I don’t really use physical scrubs anymore, preferring chemical peels, but this one I still reach for in place of my glycolic peel because the rose scent is just too much of a delight not to use.

Ingredients: Glycerin, Sucrose, PEG-32, Aqua (Water/Eau), Polyglyceryl-10 Behenate/Eicosadioate, Diglycerin, Polyglyceryl-10 Stearate, Rosa Gallica Flower Powder, Silica, Parfum (Fragrance), Ethylhexylglycerin, Potassium Hydroxide, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Phenoxyethanol.

The Lise Watier Soothing Rose Petal Gel Toner (C$26 for 150mL) was the other of the two products that I was most excited to try. This reminds me of the Fresh rose toner that has the real rose petals floating in it, but this is more of a thicker, gel consistency.

I love this. It’s very hydrating and leaves my skin feeling super plump and happy. I generally prefer to apply this type of thicker toner by patting it on my face, but I feel like the rose petals don’t really dissipate that way, so I use this primarily with a cotton pad at night after cleansing. For a winter toner, this is perfect. It smells amazing too – very fresh and rosy.

Ingredients: Aqua (Water/Eau), Methylpropanediol, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Rosa Gallica Flower Extract, Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Trehalose, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Tromethamine, Allantoin, Ethylhexylglycerin, Parfum (Fragrance), Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Citronellol.

Of the four products, I would say buy for everything except the Cooling Cream Foam Cleanser. There are other drugstore cleansers out there that is more cost effective and works about the same or even better. You can purchase these products directly from Lise Watier, or from London Drugs.

For the holidays, Lise Watier has released a limited edition set (C$69) that contains three out of four products. I’m a bit disappointed to see that the Rose Petal Scrub was not included in the set since it is my favourite product from the line, but this kit does have all the basic products in it to complete the first three basic daily steps of your skincare routine. The kit is amazing value at just $69, so you essentially save $18 or 21% off the purchase of all three products. The Rose Petal Scrub is not super pricey on its own, so it could be an add-on product to the kit.

Product received from PR for review consideration; all opinions are my own.

SKINCARE | Vitamin C serums featuring Skinceuticals, AlumierMD, and Derma E

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Is anyone else like me and love using lots of active ingredients in skincare during the fall / winter months? I tend to go gentle with the active ingredients in the summer because most products make my skin sensitive to the sun, so I will store those products away until later in the year. One of the things I look forward to the most each year is when I break out my retinol and slather it all over my face. Retinol is hands down my favourite skincare ingredient because it makes my skin look and feel so incredible after just one use. In addition to retinol, I also use vitamin C, and AHA/BHAs in my every day skin routine.

Today I wanted to talk about some of the vitamin C serums that I’ve been using lately. Vitamin C is an incredible anti-oxidant to help prevent aging, and also combat against pollution and sun damage. I use vitamin C products during the day (with copious amounts of sunscreen… SPF 50 every day!) as a serum, layered on top of my pre-serum, essence, and underneath moisturizer and sunscreen.

The one I’ve been most frequently reaching for is the ultra-popular, the one everyone knows about – Skinceuticals CE Ferulic (C$175 for 30mL). This is a cult classic product, and for good reason. It contains 15% pure vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid), 1% vitamin E (alpha tocopherol), and 0.5% ferulic acid to help prevent signs of environmental (sun, air) damage. This product is primarily for prevention, so I don’t expect to see massive changes to my skin health. That being said though, I do really enjoy using it and my skin feels comfortable every day.

This product is expensive, and before I received a bottle from PR, I cheaped out and purchased a “dupe” that was just a fraction of the price. There are several dupes on the market that contain a similar blend of vitamins C and E plus ferulic acid, BUT after using both the original and the dupe, I highly recommend just splurging for the original. The original serum is super lightweight, sinks right into my skin with zero stickiness. The L-ascorbic acid grade in Skinceuticals is also much more stable than ones you would find in cheaper dupes, so it didn’t oxidize on me as quickly as the dupe did. I only managed to get 2 months of use out of the dupe before it went completely orange on me, not only in the bottle, but leaving a really ugly orange stain on my skin. The dupe was also noticeably thicker and also left my skin feeling super sticky. I didn’t enjoy the dupe, so even though it was cheaper, I wasn’t reaching for it and it also went bad on me really quickly, so it ended up being a waste of money anyways.

The one thing I don’t particular love about this product is that its in an open dropper. Vitamin C oxidizes easily so I would have preferred it to be in an airless pump.

AlumierMD EverActive C & E (C$179 for 45mL) is a product I’ve just recently been introduced to. Similar to Skinceutricals CE Ferulic, this product contains 15% L-ascorbic acid and vitamin E. It also contains Matrixyl, which is an anti-aging ingredient which targets lines and also improves elasticity in skin. While other products come already pre-blended, the EverActive C & E comes in three separate unblended vials of 15mL each. The L-ascorbic acid powder is stored in a chamber at the top of each bottle, and you need to pop it, and mix it together with the rest of the solution before applying. The purpose of this is so that you get the freshest product possible each time you use it. Each 15mL vial is supposed to last you one month, but I found that this actually lasted me longer than a month. It also makes me feel less guilty if I take my time in finishing my products, since the vials stay fresh for a long time unless you’ve mixed it.

I find the EverActive C & E to be much more moisturizing than other vitamin C serums I’ve used. This makes sense because it is targeted towards a more mature audience with the addition of Matrixyl.

Lastly, we have Derma E Vitamin C Concentrate (C$34 for 60mL). This is a hyaluronic acid serum that contains Vitamin C. It is the most natural of all these products, the most inexpensive, but also the least clinical. The texture is a very lightweight gel that is lightly moisturizing, and also smells very fresh. It doesn’t leave any residue on my face, as it sinks it completely, leaving my skin feeling smooth and plumped. I feel like this is probably a good entry-level vitamin C product, as it is relatively affordable. Over time, I do feel like my skin has gotten brighter with continuous use. You get fantastic value with this product as well, since it comes in a bottle that is double the size of most serums. I am new to Derma E, but its products are generally very natural and contains mostly plant essential oils.

Each of these vitamin C serums have their benefits and drawbacks: Skinceuticals is great for all skin types but is purely an anti-oxidant serum; AlumierMD is great for anti-oxidant and also anti-aging; and Derma E is great for younger skin who want the benefits of vitamin C serum without spending a fortune and can also provide moisturizing benefits. Of the three, my personal favourite is the Skinceuticals, but the Derma E is a close second. I could see someone my mom’s age really enjoying the Alumier, as it will help repair some of that lost collagen in their skin.

I also picked up a small size of the Drunk Elephant C Firma, but I’m waiting to use that still…

You can purchase Skinceuticals from their website, AlumierMD from your skin expert’s office, and Derma E from London Drugs.

What are some of your favourite vitamin C serums?

Products featured were provided by PR for review consideration or as media event gifts; all opinions are my own.