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

8ACD87DD-5B07-4B8A-8FB9-F73193BF7333

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.

NEW IN SKINCARE | Elizabeth Arden Retinol Capsules, StriVectin Retinol Oil, NeoStrata Brightening Peel, Vichy Aqualia, Clinique Hydrating Jelly, Clarins Pore Control Serum, Bioderma Atoderm Spray

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If you were following along on my Instagram Stories a while back, I joined London Drugs at their annual LD Beauty media event in Whistler. This is my sixth or seventh year attending, ever since the inaugural one. I’ve cherished my relationship working with the London Drugs team, and I always look forward to seeing what’s new at London Drugs every year. You know me, I absolutely love skincare, so when we were at the event, there were several skincare items that really caught my eye.

First, the Elizabeth Arden Retinol Ceramide Capsules Night Serum (C$106 for 60 capsules) is something I’ve been dying to get my hands on. This is an upgraded version of their Ceramide Capsules, and they’ve included retinol in it for maximum anti-aging. The delivery system is still the same as the original version – you use one capsule per application. I love retinol so I was super excited to get to try this. I’m not a huge fan of the texture, it’s quite silicone-y, but I have confidence that over time, the retinol will help smooth my skin.

If you’re not a fan of the silicone-y texture, StriVectin has a new STAR Light Retinol Night Oil that is launching soon in Canada. You can use this as the last step of your night time skincare routine, either mixing it in with your moisturizer or on its own. I haven’t used this yet because I’m still in the process of finishing up another retinol product. I love Sunday Riley Luna, which is a retinoate night oil. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this product will improve my skin texture. Honestly, retinol is one of my favourite ingredients right now to use on my skin because I am trying to prevent aging – I do believe that prevention is key when it comes to lines and wrinkles.

NeoStrata recently revamped their entire line, categorizing their products neatly into different skin concerns, and repackaging everything in colour-coded packaging. I received a bottle of the Enlighten Dual Acid Brightening Peel (C$80 for 50mL) to try out. This product is super easy to use, just use the dropper to apply some product on a cotton pad, swipe over skin, wait 5-20 minutes (depending on how tolerant your skin is to acids) and then rinse off. I literally ripped this one out of its packaging when I first got home, and I have to say it is super easy to use. My skin likes acids (I love the Drunk Elephant Sukari Babyfacial mask that is 25% glycolic), and it loves the 20% AHA/PHA formula of this one. If you’re not used to strong acids, your skin might tingle a bit, but mine was fine. I started only by leaving this on for 5 minutes, and then increased it to 20 minutes after a few uses. Honestly, I love it. Since we don’t have the Drunk Elephant glycolic mask here, this is a perfectly fine substitute, and is actually easier to apply and rinse off compared to the DE one. My skin feels softer and smoother the next morning. I haven’t noticed any brightening benefits yet, but I’m addicted even just for the line-smoothing benefits. It also comes in a Clarifying formula, for pore and oil reduction; as well as Anti-aging, for pure anti-aging benefits.

Vichy Aqualia (C$40 for 50mL) was one of the first moisturizers I purchased for myself in university. They recently reformulated the entire line such that it contains more natural ingredients. They also repackaged so it looks more streamlined and sleek. Almost 10 years later, I still love Aqualia. It is honestly the perfect moisturizer for young, or moisture-lacking skin. The Aqualia Thermal moisturizer comes in light cream, gel cream, and rich cream formulas, so you can choose the one that works the best for your skin. In the winter and at night, I love the rich cream formula. During the day and in the warmer months, I prefer the light cream. Both give me amazing hydration that lasts all day. I also love using this with my Vichy Mineral 89, which is my #1 favourite product from Vichy as it is fantastic at keeping my skin nicely balanced and hydrated, as well as acting as a good base for other skincare products to layer on top.

Similarly, Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel was something that I used in university. I loved this lighter version over the original Lotion. Earlier this year, Clinique launched the Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly (C$36 for 125mL), a 100% transparent clear gel that can be used as a moisturizer for oily / combination skin, or as a serum for those with more dehydrated or dry skin types. This has a very similar texture to Vichy Mineral 89, where it feels almost like a water gel applied on your skin. When I played with this on my hand, it felt pretty hydrating and very light. I personally will use this as a hydrating serum; it layers pretty well over / under other products. Not to mention this is such incredible value – you get 125mL of product for just $36.

Clarins makes one of my favourite face serums – the Clarins Double Serum (reviewed here). Recently they reformulated their Pore Control Serum (C$58 for 30mL), a skin-perfecting serum designed to reduce the look of pores. I understand that the newly reformulated product is good on all skin types, and isn’t particularly mattifying. They wanted to recreate this so that all skin types can use this because not just those with oily skin have concerns with the appearance of pores, so this product was created to be gentler for even the driest or most sensitive skins. My pores aren’t a huge concern of mine, so I haven’t personally tried this product on me. But I did play with it a bit and I like the texture – its very light and isn’t super mattifying, so if I do decide one day that pores are a concern, I could use this.

Lastly, Bioderma is launching a new Atoderm SOS Spray later this year. This product is so interesting because it is an Anti-Itch spray that can be used on dry spots, eczema, insect bites, basically anything that will cause itchiness. I tried this on my boyfriend’s eczema and he is already liking it. If you’re going on a tropical vacation, this is a must have because it will prevent insect bites as well as hydrate the skin.

Which of these products would you want to try?

Everything with the exception of the Clarins Pore Control Serum were provided as gifts from a London Drugs media event. The Clarins Pore Control Serum was provided by their PR for review consideration. all opinions are my own.

NEW IN SKIN | French-Korean skincare brand JOWAÉ, now available in Canada

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I have a new product launch to tell you guys about today. The French-Korean brand JOWAÉ is launching exclusively at Shoppers Drug Mart and beautyboutique.ca soon. French pharmacy skincare is legendary, and JOWAÉ is created in collaboration with a Korean pharma lab which specializes in ancient Korean ingredients such as tea and ginger extracts. I love both French and Korean skincare, so this is a match made in heaven for me.

While I haven’t played with these products long enough to give a full review, I did want to write about these as soon as possible because they are launching at Shoppers soon. We in Canada are the first market in North American to be getting it, which is super exciting. JOWAÉ is a pharma-skincare brand, so you’ll find it along with other French pharma brands such as La Roche-Posay, Vichy, and Bioderma.

The star ingredient in JOWAÉ is Lumiphenols from succulents. This ingredient is antioxidant ingredients that help to brighten and prevent aging. Patent-pending to JOWAÉ, this ingredient is in every product released by the brand, from face care to body care.

In addition to the high functioning ingredients, the line is also formulated for the most sensitive of skins, and is also vegan. The only thing that concern me a bit is that fragrance is pretty high on the ingredients list, but I was assured that whatever fragrance in the products come from natural sources. The products in this brand all contain 80%+ ingredients from natural origins, which is promising.

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Korean skincare routines usually are very long and elaborate, with each step fulfilling a specific purpose. For the modern woman who may not have a lot of time on their hands to do the full routine, JOWAÉ has narrowed it down into just four simple steps.

1. Cleanse – depending on your skin type, there are two different cleansers available. There is a Soothing Cleansing Milk (C$21) for dry to normal skin types, or a Purifying Cleansing Gel (C$20.50) for combination to oily skin types.

2. Tone – there is an incredibly soothing and plumping Hydrating Water Mist (C$19), containing sakura water blossom. This contains 97% ingredients of natural origin, and comes in a convenient continuous spray. It is a fantastic product to help tone your skin, set your makeup, or for touch-ups during the day. The bottle is huge, so it’s not great for travel. I’ve really enjoyed using this, over the Evian water sprays, since this contains way more hydrating ingredients in the same convenient packaging with a super fine mist nozzle. I can see this being a fantastic product to take on the go with you, so I really wish they would eventually release a smaller size!

3. Serum – The Youth Concentrate Complexion Correcting (C$52) serum is a youth-boosting, brightening serum that is great for all skin types. Most brightening products don’t work well on sensitive skin types but even those with the most sensitive skin can use this. It contains white tea extracts to help protect against daily skin aggressors and also treat dark spots.

4. Moisturize – Depending on your skin type, there are three different moisturizers to choose from. The Moisturizing Light Cream (C$30) is a simple hydrating moisturizer that is great for young people who are just starting to get into skincare. The Moisturizing Light Cream contains sakura blossom water to hydrate the skin. There are two Wrinkle Smoothing Creams (C$42), one Light Cream and one Rich Cream. The Wrinkle Smoothing Cream is great for those starting out an anti-aging skin routine, and contains red ginseng, a traditional Korean skincare ingredient. I love the rich, smooth texture of the Rich Cream, and this will probably be the one I will use during the winter months.

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In addition to the four basic skincare products, there is also a Wrinkle Smoothing Eye Serum (C$37), which also contains red ginseng. This eye serum is lightweight and a fantastic starter eye cream to prevent future fine lines and wrinkles. It is great under makeup during the day, as well as in the evenings. I honestly think that everyone should start using eye creams early on because you can’t fix wrinkles once they develop. Especially now in the age of computer and phone screens, your eye area will be more prone to lines.

There are two body care products launching in Canada, the Hand & Nail Nourishing Cream (C$10), which contains camellia oil and 96% ingredients from natural ingredients, as well as a supersized Revitalizing Moisturizing Lotion (C$28) that comes in a massive 400mL bottle with bamboo water and 97% ingredients from natural origins. I tested both of these out at the launch event, and I’m impressed with them. The Revitalizing Moisturizing Lotion is super hydrating, and I can see myself keeping this on my office desk as a hand lotion – I wash my hands nonstop at work so I always love a huge bottle of lotion. The Hand & Nourishing Cream is fantastic for keeping in my handbag. It’s a great size to keep on the go, and I actually really look forward to taking this with me on my next travels.

JOWAÉ is launching exclusively in North America at Shoppers Drug Mart and beautyboutique.ca with these ten products. If the launch does well, we may be seeing more products from the brand very soon.

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

BODYCARE REVIEW | North American Hemp Co. Body Lotion

North American Hemp Co. Body Lotion review

Oh my goodness, the North American Hemp Co. Body Lotion is one moisturizing body lotion. I’ve been using this during the winter, and this is easily one of the heaviest body moisturizers I’ve ever used (even heavier than Body Shop’s Body Butter, yes, it is that heavy). It comes in a tall rectangular bottle with a pump, and two pumps is enough to spread over each of my legs. It is scented of warm coconuts, like the rest of the North American Hemp Co. line, and I absolutely love it after a long day out in the cold.

It is extremely moisturizing (like I repeated many times before), and takes a while for it to absorb – I would have to walk around my room for a few minutes before putting my pajamas on, otherwise it would transfer to my pajamas and I’d lose all of the moisturizing goodness. That is sometimes a bit annoying because it’s cold and I want to get wrapped up in my PJs but I can’t because my body lotion absorbs too slowly (#firstworldproblems).

The North American Hemp Co. Body Lotion features hemp seed oil as the SECOND ingredient on the ingredients list, right after water. In addition, it also ha sunflower oil, sweet almond oil, lime oil, grape seed extract, green tea extract, and so much more awesome ingredients (see the complete list below).

If you are in the market for a body moisturizer, or if you have extremely dry skin and need something that’s more than just silicones, I highly recommend you check out the North American Hemp Co. Body Lotion. It is affordable but extremely effective. You can purchase North American Hemp Co. products at London Drugs and other drugstores.

Ingredients:

North American Hemp Co. Body Lotion review

Product provided by PR; all opinions are my own.

NEW SKINCARE | Anti-aging serums and moisturizers from Estee Lauder, Dior and Clarins

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I am totally obsessed with anti-aging products right now. I’ve getting more and more fine lines under my eyes so I’m really conscious about trying to prevent them from spreading to the rest of my face. Today I have a few brand new anti-aging products to share with you, including four new serums and two new moisturizers. Serums are my favourite part of my skincare routine because you can mix and match your serum to target certain concern areas. Moisturizers are also fun to use because it helps to seal off your serum underneath, and applying that moisturizer can also be a very therapeutic experience as you press and massage the product into your skin.

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The Estee Lauder Perfectionist Pro Rapid Firm + Lift Treatment (C$100 for 30mL) is a patented serum from Estee Lauder that targets your entire face – lifting and firming the jawline, cheeks, and laugh lines. It contains AHAs to help exfoliate your skin, as well as an exclusive peptide Acetyl Hexapeptide-8 that helps to boost the skin’s collagen and elastin production. It has a very light fluid milky gel texture that absorbs really quickly and will immediately smooth the look of fine lines on the skin’s surface. It does have some silicones in its ingredients list, so that it has that immediate smoothing effect. In addition, it contains some ingredients that give you an immediate “glow,” i.e. subtle shimmers, so I’ve been enjoying this more-so during the day than at night.

I really like this serum for its smoothing effect. I have also noticed a bit of firming around my jawline. That being said, I don’t particularly enjoy silicones in my skincare, especially at the serum step, because I find that other products don’t penetrate my skin as well. If you have combination or oily skin, I can actually see this as being a great moisturizer / last step before sunscreen. It is lightly hydrating and is a great option for a daytime summer hydrator for those who don’t need as much hydration.

You can pick up Estee Lauder products at The Bay and Holt Renfrew.

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The Dior Capture Youth Lift Sculptor Age-Delay Lifting Serum (C$120 for 30mL) is one of five serums newly released with the new Capture Youth collection. You can use the Capture Youth Serums alone as a serum, mixed in with the Capture Youth moisturizer, or create your own serum cocktail by mixing and matching with other serums from the line.  The three that I have are the Plump Filler, Glow Booster, and Lift Sculptor.

  • The Lift Sculptor is rich in polyphenols derived from tea. The Lift Sculptor feels kind of like a liquid honey in my hands. It is lightweight but still rich. It feels slightly smoothing but I haven’t felt any obvious lifting.
  • The Plump Filler is a good-ish hyaluronic acid serum. It does its job, albeit with a bit of a silicone-y feel. For a hyaluronic acid serum, it is a bit on the pricey side so I’m not sure I would recommend it. There are many good hyaluronic acid serums on the market that won’t break the bank. That being said, if you are planning to create your own serum cocktail, it may be better to stick with the Capture Youth version because they have been formulated to complement each other.
  • The Glow Booster is pretty amazing – it’s very lightweight and fluid, almost like an essence serum. It soaks into my skin so quickly and doesn’t cause irritation, despite it being an exfoliating serum. I only use this at night, and it feels amazing layered underneath either the Plump Filler or the Lift Sculptor.

The other two serums are Matte Maximizer, a mattifying serum; and Redness Soother, a neutralizing serum for those with skin redness. I actually have quite a bit of redness in my cheeks so I would be interested in trying that one. The Matte Maximizer would be amazing for those with oily skin, or if you are going on vacation in the summer and don’t want to touch up your skincare!

You can pick up Dior products from The Bay and Holt Renfrew.

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Clarins Extra-Firming is one of the world’s top selling anti-aging moisturizers; three creams are sold every minute around the world! For Spring 2018, Clarins has reformulated this cult classic with the addition of the kangaroo flower, a groundbreaking ingredient that increase the skin’s regeneration capacity. The goal is skin that resists stretching, resists pressure, and bounces back into shape.

It comes in Day and Night Creams, each in two formulations – for all skin types or for very dry skin types. You can see below the different textures applied on the back of my hand, from top to bottom: day cream for all skin types, day cream for dry skin, night cream for dry skin, and then night cream for all skin types. The night cream for dry skin is incredibly nourishing and super rich, perfect for when you have heating or air conditioning on at night and need something that packs an extra punch.

I have the “all skin types” version and they work very well for me in this warmer climate. I layer these over a serum, such as one of the Dior Capture Youth Serum, and it gives my skin an amazing boost of hydration and lifting. My feels feels and looks glowy and more plump. I don’t think you necessarily have to purchase both the day and night versions, but of course if you are looking to give your skincare routine an overhaul, Clarins Extra-Firming could be a good option. Of the two, I prefer the Night Cream better in terms of texture because I do love thicker creams.

You can pick up Clarins Extra-Firming products at The Bay and Sephora.

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