Today I spent all day cooking [Tuesday is my meal prep day]. After I was done, I sat down at my computer desk with a cup of tea, and just couldn’t decide what I should write about. I had no blog posts planned, and the ideas just weren’t coming. Here I am, surrounded by lots of pretty things, surely there is something worth mentioning among them, right? I googled some blog post ideas [no shame in that, gotta do what you gotta do] and found one that spoke to me. I’ve never done one of these before, but I’ve seen other bloggers talk about products they are trying right now, and thought maybe I would just tell you guys about some of the things currently occupying my testing tray. Yep, that thing really exists!
Pretty much all of these still have a lot of testing time to go before I can give you my final verdict, so this is more of a first impressions roundup. Frankly, I rarely change my opinion about beauty products, and usually my first impressions persist until the bottle is empty.
There have been some interesting drugstore launches lately. While I am not showing you all I have [I’ve got a lot of new makeup that still needs to be swatched], I will say that PIXI’s latest collaboration with influential beauty bloggers is definitely one of the most anticipated collections.
I am super happy for all the bloggers that got to work with the cult British brand, but I am personally fangirling over Pixi+Caroline Hirons Double Cleanse. Caroline is an acclaimed aesthetician and her expertise has influenced a great deal of skincare blogs as we know them. She is considered by many to be among the most influential people in the beauty blogging world. If she decided to put her name on a product, then I have no doubt it will be amazing. So far I am very impressed, in fact, impressed is an understatement. The balm cleanser melted off my waterproof and long-lasting makeup with such ease that I didn’t even need to use the second cleanser. I still did though, and it was just as sublime: this creamy wonder is unscented, non-irritating, and non-drying. I think Double Cleanse might become PIXI’s next cult product, along with Glow Tonic and their amazing eyeliners.
Another drugstore brand that I like is is derma e. They recently got a facelift so the website and product packaging now reflects the company’s new airy and chic aesthetic. Simplifying the packaging and cutting back on additional colors in the color palette did wonders for the brand image! The products look totally Instagram-worthy, and I’ve seen them popping up in lots of #shelfie posts lately. I have several things lined up for testing, some of which I am probably going to gift because they don’t work for my skin type, but I’ve been using derma e Hydrating Serum on and off, and I think it’s very lovely. The serum contains Hyaluronic Acid and does a great job quenching the skin with moisture. I currently use a bunch of hydrating serums [more on that later], and can’t wait until I finish one of them to fully incorporate this one into my daily routine.
Now here’s a brand that I was surprised to find at Target, but I guess it makes sense, since their formulas are on-point and the prices are very much affordable for the everyday woman. Created by the founder of Rodial, Nip+Fab products are new-to-me, even though I’ve seen them around. I’ve been trying a few over the past several weeks, and so far there are two standouts. Nip+Fab Soften Kale Fix Clay Mask is one of those clay masks that gets the gunk out of my pores without turning dry and cracked. The clay stays fairly flexible until it’s time to wash it off, so it doesn’t irritate the skin. Nip+Fab Bust Fix Night is a nighttime moisturizer for your girls, plain and simple. It’s not quite up to par with my all-time favorite LUSH Lovely Jubblies, but it does the job and does it well. I think there’s even some firming action going on, but obviously, more testing is needed. I will say, however, that if you are well-endowed, this is probably not the best investment, as the tube is quite small.
I would say, department store brands make up the majority of my skincare stash. While I am open to trying products from just about any category, this is where I end up finding most of my favorites. I think the reason is because there is a lot of research that goes into bringing brand new products to the market, and department store brands are usually the first ones to come up with innovations and groundbreaking new ingredients. What that said, ironically, department store skincare currently represents the smallest portion of my try list.
There are only two high end products I am actively testing. One of them is the new StriVectin Multi-Action Active Infusion Youth Serum, that promises to deliver smoother, firmer, more radiant skin with its patented blend of NIA114 beads suspended in potent serum. The formula features some nice skin-loving ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid, peptides, and botanical extracts. The serum is lightweight, but my skin feels like it’s thoroughly moisturized, and I believe this particular formulation is StriVectin’s most effective brightening serum yet. StriVectin makes a lot of great products, but this is the first time I noticed results after just 10 days of use. Time will tell if my experience persists, but so far so good.
Another product that deserves a mention is Jan Marini Hyla3D HA Activating Complex, which is the latest addition to the brand’s extensive lineup of anti-aging skin solutions. What I always respected about Jan Marini is their marketing approach. You won’t see overblown statements on the packaging or overly inflated promises that will claim to take 15 years off your face. Just honest facts supported by honest research. This serum combines the powers of three different types of Hyaluronic Acid to provide deeply penetrating, long-lasting hydration, and a nice cocktail of peptides and antioxidants to promote collagen and elastin production. Dehydration is precisely what my skin is currently suffering from, and I find this serum to be an absolute treat. One-two pumps quenches even the driest spots thoroughly, and yet it doesn’t clog the pores or cause any breakouts. I think this is another winner that will eventually take a permanent spot in my routine.
It’s no secret that Korean skincare is my jam, I may love it more than chocolate marzipan logs, and god knows I’m obsessed with those logs! There are a lot of Korean products I’ve been trying lately, and more lined up for testing as I write this. It may take me a while to give everything a try, so I will only mention the ones I am using right now.
First of all we’ve got Yuripibu Cellum Amaid Essence, which I’ve already used a third of and still can’t decide if I like it or not. I bought it at Glow Recipe during the Black Friday sale, but it was sitting in the box for a few months before I had a chance to finally try it. The serum has clean ingredients that all show 1 for safety on CosDNA, which is quite impressive. The formula boasts Centella Asiatica extract, that has soothing properties and is often used for treatment of troubled and irritated skin; Galactomyces Filtrate, which is the same texture-smoothing ingredient as the one in the famous Missha and SK-II essences; and Niacinamide, that is used in skincare for brightening discolorations, such as acne scars and sun spots. While it’s too soon to say anything, I already doubt I’ll repurchase, but we’ll see.
I also bought Mizon AHA 8% Peeling Serum, and I’ve only used it twice so far. I read a lot of rave reviews about this one, and I thought it would work well as a follow-up after Paula’s Choice BHA Liquid. Too early to tell if it makes any difference, but so far it hasn’t given me any irritations, and that’s a good thing with acids. This is really kind of a straightforward product, more for utility than skintertainment, so I doubt I will do a review on it. If you see it in my future routine posts, then you’ll know it’s working 🙂
I was recently sent three lotions from Erborian, a brand that I’ve been eyeing since they launched at Sephora. The company is actually owned by L’Occitane, but the products are made in South Korea, using Korean ingredients with Easten skincare philosophy. I’ve been testing one lotion per week, so the ones I tried so far are Bamboo Matte Lotion and Eau Ginseng. Both are what we would consider toners in the West, runny liquids that are applied to the skin with a cotton round after cleansing. The bamboo lotion has a mild astringent effect and is meant to help with the appearance of enlarged pores and to balance the oil production. The ginseng lotion is a hydrating treatment that I found very comforting, and right now it’s my favorite of the two. I’ve been using it after acid treatments to soothe the skin, and may even repurchase when I run out. I still haven’t tried the Yuza Double Lotion, which will be going in rotation next week, but it looks very interesting!
Lastly, I received a very pretty package from Memebox featuring their latest addition: nooni Ultimate Skin Reset Set. I’ve written about one of nooni moisturizers in my previous skincare wardrobe post, so I was excited to try more from the brand. While the bundle includes several products, so far I only got around to trying nooni Deep Sea Water from the East Sea Ceramide Facial Cream, which has a ridiculously long name, haha! 🙂 The ingredients look great for my combination skin type: magnesium-rich deep sea water, ceramides, hyaluronic acid, witch hazel, and tea tree oil are all helpful to combat dehydration, while keeping the breakout-prone skin in check. The consistency looks like a gel-cream in the jar, but on the skin it melts into a liquid essence. The fragrance is light and pleasant, it reminds me of lilacs and cucumbers.
I’ve been more interested in smaller, indie beauty brands lately. It’s always great when a company has a strong mission, and their products are made in small batches, ensuring the highest level of quality and attention to detail. My goal for 2017 is to highlight more of these smaller, niche brands that you guys might have otherwise overlooked. With that said, I want to introduce you to Lovetica, who currently makes only two products: lip balms, and a natural Be Gone Natural Unisex Deodorant. I have a feature on natural alimunum-free deodorants coming up within the next few weeks, so I will get into more detail there, but I’m going to give you a little sneak peek. This. Deodorant. Blew. My. Socks. Off! It’s as effective at keeping my underarms dry and odor-free as my old antiperspirants, and it’s all-natural! How even?? I’m seriously in love with this thing :O
I actually blogged about MIYU De-Stress Mi Beauty Essence many years ago when this blog first launched, so it was exciting to revisit the brand after all this time. I must say, I still love their products as much as I did back then. The website and packaging design is so intricately feminine that I want to photograph these products among pretty peonies, petals, and freshly-made tea in paper-thin porcelain cups. Inspired by Asian skincare philosophy, MIYU packaged their essences in spray form on purpose. Rather than adding an extra step to your routine, MIYU’s essence allows you to skip one, effectively replacing your toner and serum. Alcohol-free formula includes dandelion, ginger, licorice and honeysuckle extracts that brighten the skin and soothe inflammation, while peppermint provides uplifting and mood-boosting aromatherapy properties. I don’t think it’s a beauty necessity, kind of like bath bombs or candles, it’s more of a wellness item that promotes well-being and a relaxed state of mind, while offering real skincare benefits. Sounds good enough for me!
Lastly, I literally just got this big package from Sky Organics a couple days ago, and already dipped my grabby hands into their luscious Mango Butter from India. Mango butter is not as thick as shea and cocoa butters, so it was much easier to apply. Naturally, my skin loved it! The package also included a generous bottle of sweet almond oil, and orange essential oil, prompting me to try a DIY skincare project to make Deep Moisturizing Sweet Orange Body Butter. As natural beauty products are rising in popularity, at-home beauty DIY projects like this one will soon be commonplace, I think.
What new beauty products have you tried recently? Did anything stand out from the crowd? Let me know in the comments below!
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