I was introduced to Drunk Elephant when viewers at TINTED kept asking me to review the line, known for its non-toxic ingredients and clean packaging. I was taken aback at how well my skin was reacting to my new regimen, which included cleansing with their Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser, C-Firma Day Serum, T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum, followed by their Marula Oil. My skin was glistening by the end of two weeks. Considering the price points though (the least expensive of the ones mentioned here is $34), it’s not the most inexpensive line. Worth the investment? If you have the means, absolutely. But if you had to choose one luxury item from their collection, I have to tell you about their T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial.
DE Sukari Babyfacial
THIS has, IMO, made the biggest difference in my skin. My skin type is normal/combination with occasional breakouts (usually hormonal), and is vulnerable to scarring afterward. **IF YOU HAVE sensitive skin, please do a patch test. The formula is said to be compatible with every skin type but you’ll see why I say this in a second.
For starters, this is a chemical peel, so think of it as an at-home facial that contains several acids like glycolic, tartaric, lactic, citric, and salicylic to gently resurface. The result? It removes dead skin cells and effectively exfoliates. They also combined antioxidants like matcha tea and plant oils to help restore moisture so you’re not raw. Essentially, it helps smoothe the skin, which is what I found it did for me.
HOW TO USE IT:
*The suggested use is once a week — I use this at minimum once a month, at most, twice a month to help brighten and smooth my skin.
Just take a couple pumps, enough to apply a light layer to clean, dry skin. Leave on for 20 minutes (DO not overdo this part because it could start burning). Also note, this part is not the most comfortable — slight stinging is normal. Finally, rinse with warm water and apply a moisturizer of your choice immediately after.
THINGS TO KNOW:
My skin is usually a little pink after washing this off. Your skin is resurfacing, so this is normal. I also try to do this before bed, so I’m able to apply a balmy moisturizer that really locks in moisture (one of my favorites is Farmacy Sleep Tight), or I’ll use their Marula oil because it’s pretty heavy as well. I always notice my skin is brighter, and my scars are less noticeable after using this which is why it’s one of my favorite peels.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what products to start our banter with and TBH, skincare has been my latest obsession. Gone are the days I can be frivolous about which products I use, and trust me, my skin went through hell and back when I moved to LA. I feel like I’ve learned a lot about what works for me, and I’ve been in good hands by getting occasional treatments by Dr. Nadia (her PRP facials have changed my skin — more on that later!). The hardest part about skin-related topics are the obvious disclaimer: everyone’s skin is different. My skin is pretty combination, that veers dry in the winter (even in LA!). Since there are so many I’m loving lately though, I figured I’d start with cleansers.
First, one thing I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older is my skin can use all the moisture it can get, so I try not to go crazy and overdo the cleansing (hence, stripping my skin of the oils it needs). I’ll usually skip a morning cleanse and use a micellar water if anything (more on that in a sec). But generally, this is what I find has been working best for me:
This is a little pricey as far as cleansers go, but there’s few that I’ve come across feel as good as this one does. It keeps my skin in check, and gets all the dirt out with the power of three different charcoals. A little goes a long way to remove all my makeup at the end of the day. It also has licorice and AHAs to help keep skin bright and encourage cellular renewal. I’ve even had friends stay over and use it, and notice the brilliance of this from the first go.
If you feel your skin can use a little more of a deep clean, and you’re not looking to spend $30 on a face wash, I’ve been using and really liking Soap & Glory’s Vitamin C Wash. First of all, the bottle is massive — for 11.8 oz, it might as well be your body wash. In fact, I keep it in the shower so I can use it on my face and my upper back too after a workout. It has tiny exfoliating beads that helps get a deeper clean in, and it has mint and chamomile so your skin actually feels refreshed after using it. Vitamin c is also one of my favorite skin brighteners — which is also notoriously hard to stabilize, so I can’t speak to how effective it can be in this gel form, but it does make my skin feel clean without feeling tight or dry after.
I haven’t used this one in a minute because I’ve been so happy with the two I’ve already mentioned, BUT I’m always asked about gentle, drugstore cleansers, and CeraVe has always been my favorite no-frills cleanser. My favorite thing about this one is it has ceramides, which helps protect the skin. If your skin is breakout-prone, you may also want to consider their SA cleanser that has ceramides AND salicylic acid.
I don’t use this every day, but on days I need a little extra, I’ll go over my face after cleansing with micellar water. Micellar water helps to cleanse the skin and leaves good-for-you ingredients (like peptides and skin softeners) behind so your skin benefits as well. This one from It Cosmetics is gentle and helps get every last bit of grime out before I go to sleep. It’s, again, a little on the high end as far as toners go, so if you’re looking for a good drugstore alternative, I also really like Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water ($7). I keep their makeup wipes next to my bed on the days I’m feeling extra lazy and just want to do a quick clean. Otherwise, I use toners sparingly, and mostly if I have a lot of makeup on that day.
I’ll have more AM and PM routines to come, and what products have been working for me to come! What have you been using that you love? Leave me a comment below!
If you look at my bathroom sink area, it’s pretty much an assembly line of everything I’m immediately testing before bed and in the shower. If it doesn’t work, it’s quickly removed and replaced. Since it’s prime real estate for my product testing, it’s really the best place to check out what I’m loving. Currently:
Essenza soap, Neutrogena’s newest cleansing oil, and Philips Sonicare DiamondClean
1) Essenza Hand Soaps. On the quest to upgrade the small details in a equally small NY apartment, I added Essenza soaps to our bathroom. Well, kinda — although they look fancy with their saturated colors of blues and reds you can find them at the drugstore for less than $4. They are full of pure essential oils, shea butter, aloe, and mild cleansers. The Pomegranate Acai and South Pacific Water (pictured here) smells so good, even our guests have commented on it.
2) Neutrogena Ultra Light Cleansing Oil. This hasn’t technically hit stores yet (it rolls out in July), but since I got an advance sample, I’ve been using it every day and night. I’ve tried cleansing oils before, sadly not with the best experience. The ones I’ve used were too heavy and actually felt like it was exacerbating some of my skin issues. So I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about this one. I’ve been using it for the past week, and I’m so pleasantly surprised on how much I really love it. I apply it to dry skin first, and massage it through and then use water to wipe it off. When you add water, it sort of emulsifies to a milky consistency and rinses off dirt and makeup. I know it seems counterintuitive to use oils if your face is oily (mine is combo), but the oil attracts oil, and I feel like this has been softening my skin without making it feel dry and tight afterwards. Double pluses for not irritating my eyes, AND smelling something like peaches. Note: it’s still a gentle oil, so all this said about how I love it for everyday, it’s not super heavy duty. So if it’s one of those nights you went OD on makeup, try double cleansing (i.e. use this oil first just to get the superficial dirt off, and then follow up with your go-to face wash)
3) Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Tooth Brush. Update on my dental health: I just went in for a cleaning and zero cavities *happy dance*. THIS mechanical toothbrush has been the best one I’ve used in years. The one I had previously was sleek looking (and expensive) but was so rough on my teeth/gums. This one has five cleaning modes (including Gum Care, Polish, and White) that lets you customize it to your liking. And its beyond its years as far as features. Like a glass charging station (meaning you literally have to put it in a glass near its plugged charger instead of hooking the charger up to it directly) and a travel case that you can hook a USB up to charge the brush. Yes, your laptop can charge my toothbrush. Besides all that fancy stuff, it removes 5x more plaque than a regular toothbrush.
What’s made it to your sink lately?
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It’s not easy testing skin products. Besides it taking time and a million other variables, sometimes you just don’t know what’s making your skin behave (or not). But one thing I have noticed is once I began adding some vitamin C to my skin routine, it unearthed a glow I haven’t seen in a while. Ole Henriksen’s Truth Serum used to be the only one I would turn to but I recently discovered Obagi System Professional-C 20% Vitamin C Serum. It’s now my new favorite serum from the bunch. Just a little morning and night made my skin glow which I noticed in a just a couple of weeks.
Vitamin C oils
To extend the life of the Obagi serum though, I started trying new ones to use in between. Jouer Daily Repair Treatment Oil is a little heavier (probably not best for already oily skin types — I use it sparingly). This one doesn’t have straight L-ascorbic acid (the fancy name for vitamin c), but offers its derivative in the form of rose hip oil that helps against hyper pigmentation and stimulates collagen production. It also has a proprietary retinoid that helps fight against wrinkles.
The last one which practically measures up to Obagi’s to me is DermaDoctor’s Kakadu C serum. This one is also the most expensive one from the three, but it does have a lot of skin benefits with its potent does of antioxidants from the from the kakadu plum. A lot of skin products can say they contain vitamin C but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s stabilized. Vitamin C is actually quite unstable, oxidizing once exposed to air. Studies though show that once it’s mixed with ferulic acid (which this one is), it helps to stabilize the vitamin C so you know you’re really reaping the benefits of the ingredient.
If you’re new to serums and oil and not at the point where you’re ready to shell out $50-$100 bucks on a 1 oz serum (like the ones I just mentioned), I just came across some more affordable options. Oil Essentials is a brand I recently was introduced that has lightweight oils that cost only $10.
Their Nourish Seabuckthorn Berry & Borage has vitamin A, C, and E as well as linolenic acid which softens skin. I’ve also been using theirRevitalize Omega 3, 6, 9 when my skin is feeling particularly dry. Its evening primrose oil can be used to reduce skin blemishes. They absorbs quickly in the skin and can be layered over easily with makeup without leaving an oily mess. I definitely still rely on my Obagi and DermaDoctor serums, but these are good baby steps if you’re getting used to the idea of adding serums and oils to your routine.
Do any of have a favorite oil or serum? Which ones are you loving right now?
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Neutrogena‘s doing their part to help conserve water: they partnered with Kristen Bell and The Nature Conservancy for a new #WipeForWater campaign. For seven days, Bell has pledged to only clean her face using Neutrogena Naturals wipes [she’s their brand ambassador], saving 35 gallons of water in the process.
The wipes are really gentle (I tried it for the first time last night and it even powered through waterproof eyeliner).
The day after a shoot -- some serious de-caking happening
You can pledge too using #WipeForWater and here’s why you should at least make the effort: for every pledge, Neutrogena Naturals will contribute to the Nature Conservancy to support water conservancy.
Are you going to pledge?
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We’re basically walking around in the Arctic here in NYC. I think my eardrum froze yesterday. It’s bad. I’ve been loading up on these moisturizers though, so although I’m partially deaf and afraid that even my soul is frozen, at least you can’t tell on my skin.
Winter time saviors
1) Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream, $15 – This is like a tall glass of water for your skin. Almost literally, though: this is a water-based gel that’s super lightweight and not sticky. Plus it has skin-plumping hyaluronic acid that gives moisture back to the skin. The olive extract helps protect the skin from moisture loss. It basically locks moisture in your skin. It’s a great first-thing-in-the-morning moisturizer.
2) Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream, $17 – I think I’ve sang my praises for this to all my friends by now. And I always say the same thing: the medicinal scent is not for everyone (I personally hate it) BUT. BUT. This is the best moisturizer I’ve found for my skin, hands-down. That’s why it’s always in my bag. Before flights, before bed, under my eyes, on my lips, elbows, everywhere. If my skin is ever acting up, I apply this before bed, and my skin is so much softer in the morning. It’s a thicker, gel-based cream that is a tad greasy, and glycerin-ey, but it hydrates my skin like no other.
3) Dove Quench Absolute Shampoo and Conditioner, $7 each – Sooo this is specially formulated for the curly haired — therefore not me, my hair is wavy — but that didn’t stop me from stealing a page from their book. The line is so nourishing for dried out locks, and it smells beautiful — like coconut and happiness.
4) BareMinerals Complexion Rescue Gel Cream, $29 – I already wrote how much I love this tinted BB/CC cream just the other day here, but this is seriously the only thing I’ll wear in the winter and it lets my skin show but also hydrates it so it looks like I’m wearing nothing.
5) Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair, $92 – This is a repair serum that helps fight signs of aging and just a little goes a long way. I recently re-discovered this, and apply a little under my cream at night. It also has skin plumping hyaluronic acid, and algae extracts which helps repairs cells. In their studies, 83 percent of women felt their skin looked healthier and more rested in just 4 weeks (*raises hand).
6) Aquaphor, $5 – If you want just one, affordable, heavy duty cream to ease your winter woes, then Aquaphor. This is another little tube I keep with me to use on my lips or under my eyes to protect against the blistery cold. Also great to apply to chapped heels or even as a hand balm/cuticle saver.
7) Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Nighttime Miracle Moisturizer, $39 – Seeing how much I love the original Eight Hour Cream, I had to try Elizabeth Arden’s Nighttime Miracle Moisturizer. The good news is they added a little lavender to this so it smells better than the original. It’s a thicker situation than the original as well so I only use it sparingly since it can be overpowering. I’ve been using a little under my eyes and on ares prone to turn patchy with the colder weather.
8 ) 100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Eye Cream, $21 – I’ve loved this small brand ever since I tried their brightening pineapple enzyme peel mask. This eye cream has anti-inflammatory green tea, and the coffee helps reduce puffy under eyes and dark circles. And true to the brand’s ethos, it’s made only with 100% pure ingredients (also every single person who tested it said it improved skin hydration and moisturization).