2020 Skin Care Favorites

2020 skincare favorites

FTC NOTES: Some products mentioned in this post were originally received in PR (which will be noted with a **).

First, a little bit about my skin! My skin is currently normal-to-oily with a tendency to be dehydrated, and not particularly prone to breaking out except when I have to wear a mask for more than a quick errand thanks to Miss Rona. My main skin concerns are redness/hyperpigmentation, hydration, and anti-aging. I am just about to turn 34 and I do have a few fine lines. These are the skincare products currently keeping my skin bright, clear, and happy.

Cleanser: Friends, I have found a true holy grail cleanser in the First Aid Beauty Pure Skin Cleanser ($21, FAB/Ulta/Sephora). This cleanser helped calm my skin down within just a few uses. It’s so very gentle. What I also appreciate about this cleanser for first-timers is they sell several sizes at varying price points, so you don’t have to dive into a huge tube you aren’t sure you will like.

Exfoliating: For my more regular exfoliating, I go for the Tarte Knockout Tingling Treatment ($39, Tarte/Ulta/Sephora). This product packs a punch at 10% acid complex with both salicylic and lactic acids. It also contains sulfur, niacinamide, and glycerin which help with stuff like fine lines, pores, and evening skin tone/redness. I use this up to 3x/week and it really helps keep my skin clear.

Another exfoliator I love and have purchased many times is Dr. Brandt PoreDermabrasion** ($58, Dr.Brandt/Sephora). I originally got this in PR, but have bought 3 more tubes since then. This is an extremely fine-grit scrub that also contains salicylic acid for that double-whammy of both physical and chemical exfoliation. 1-2x per week (on days when I’m not using the Tarte toner) I mix a glob of this into my First Aid Beauty Cleanser to cushion the scrub (not required, but the Dr. Brandt team recommends this method for sensitive skin). I use it on my whole face, neck, and decolletage.

Moisturizing: I have two favorite moisturizers and they could not be more different. First, I love the CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion ($varies, Target/Ulta/Amazon) – another very gentle product, and like the entire CeraVe line is, packed with ceramides that help calm the skin and build up its natural moisture barrier. It’s great for healing if you accidentally over-exfoliate, or have raw dry skin after a cold. If you have dry skin they also have a heavier formula.

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, we have the Tatcha Water Cream ($68, Tatcha/Sephora). Where the CeraVe moisturizer is rather boring and utilitarian, Tatcha Water Cream is an experience. This product is pure luxury right down to the little golden spatula it comes with that slides conveniently into a slot on the lid. Tatcha Water Cream has numerous essential oils and plant extracts, so if you are sensitive to such things you’ll definitely want to avoid it, but this cream does wonders for my skin when it is dehydrated. It has a lot of hefty claims: balanced skin, more radiant/luminous skin, improved clarity & less obvious pores. I don’t know if it does all of that, but I definitely notice balanced, radiant skin.

Eye Cream: Another product I’ve been using for years is the It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Brightening Eye Cream** ($48, It Cosmetics/Sephora). Despite the name, the brightening aspect is not why I love this eye cream. I love the texture, how hydrating it is, and how it lessens puffiness. I don’t have a tremendous problem with dark under-eye circles, so I can’t really say how well it handles those. All I know is when I don’t use this and try using a different eye cream, I miss this. It also wears beautifully under concealer, so I never have to worry about a bad makeup day. My fine lines haven’t gotten any worse since I started using this either, which is a bonus. I got my first jar of this in PR, but I have repurchased it twice since.

Here are a few extras that aren’t necessarily in my everyday routine, but that I use frequently and recommend.

COSRX Acne Patches ($6, Ulta/other prices elsewhere) are little hydrocolloid patches that help draw out all of the yucky junk in a zit. Just slap one on overnight after your usual acne treatment and that sucker is usually much smaller and more manageable in the morning.

The Creme Shop Sooper Soothe Sheet Mask ($4, The Creme Shop) are my quick fix for dehydrated or mildly irritated skin (not intensely irritated or reactive situations). This mask contains rice water, green tea, and snail goop (which is actually good for your skin, who knew). It’s a lovely soothing, moisturizing treat. And to think I originally tried this to hit free shipping at some point…

Ole Henriksen Truth Serum ($50, Ole Henriksen/Sephora) is my current go-to Vitamin C serum. I’m on my third bottle of this bad boy as well. It’s very gentle, and also contains aloe, collagen, and various plant and fruit extracts claiming hydration, anti-aging, and brightening. The effects of topical collagen are still kind of debatable, but I like this serum for its hydrating and brightening effects.

Fourth Ray Beauty Rainfall 2% Hyaluronic Acid Serum ($16, Colourpop/Ulta) is one of only 2 products I’ve tried and liked from the Fourth Ray line (the other one I’m still kind of testing out so it’s not a favorite yet). It is nice for extra hydration when needed, and smells like cucumbers (which I love). I’ve repurchased this once as well.

I feel kind of bad about loving the Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Ultra-Fine Mist ($28, Glow Recipe/Sephora) as much as I do. I talked so much sh*t when this was launched about how no face mist was worth $28, even if the mister is one of the best. Well, I eat my words. This mist is fantastic. I’ve purchased it not once, but twice now and I REGRET NOTHING. It’s hydrating and definitely adds a noticeable luminosity to the skin. And the mister is great.

Remember when Shiseido Facial Cottons were the must-have product for like all of YouTube? Yeah. I got sucked into paying $12 for cotton too. It’s okay. They’re great! But $12 for cotton is insane no matter how nice they are. Enter: Daiso Fresh Cotton ($1.50, Daiso). They are every bit as soft and lovely as the Shiseido Facial Cottons, but you get more and for a fraction of the price. It’s a no-brainer. If you live near a Daiso, scoop some of these up. If you do not live near a Daiso, Ulta Ultra Soft Square Cotton Pads are also a great dupe for Shiseido. Not as much of a price break, but Ulta brand stuff goes on BOGO sale a lot.

So that’s it…those are what products are keeping my skin looking as best as it can lately. What are you loving for your skin?

Products I’ve Repurchased


I always find it interesting to know what products people have repurchased time and again. It truly says something when even beauty addicts, who are consistently trying new things, return to old favorites. So why not return to blogging with some tried and true faves of my own? I’m breaking them down into categories.


I definitely have the most repurchased items in the skincare category, so let’s start there.

Neutrogena Acne Stress Control Triple-Action Toner ($8.49, Ulta)
I couldn’t even tell you how many bottles I’ve gone through of this stuff, but it’s several. I love that this product is so good, even though it’s really inexpensive. The price is really great considering you get a huge 8 oz bottle. The active ingredient is 2% salicylic acid, which helps keep breakouts and clogged pores at bay, but since it is in a formula with camellia and cucumber, it isn’t irritating or stingy on my face. If you have very sensitive skin this may cause a little irritation because it does contain alcohol, but it has worked out fine for me.

Pixi Glow Tonic ($15, Target)
Another fantastic, inexpensive skincare find that I have purchased more than once. This is another acid toner (generally I would use this in the daytime and the Neutrogena toner at night). Pixi Glow Tonic contains 5% glycolic acid in a very gentle alcohol-free formula with aloe and ginseng. I experience no stinging, no redness, and no irritation, and I’m about 2/3 of the way through my second bottle. This toner is designed to keep your skin looking even and radiant. I definitely notice a difference!

Murad Acne Spot Treatment ($18, Sephora)
Murad has two acne spot treatment products. This one is not to be confused with their “fast fix” product, which is a benzoyl peroxide-based product. The one I’m in love with is simply called acne spot treatment and it is a 3% sulphur active ingredient treatment. There are only a few different actives that treat acne, and for me I prefer sulphur treatments to benzoyl peroxide. It’s way less drying and irritating. I only see a teeny bit of drying with this product, whereas benzoyl peroxide has more than once given me itchy dry patches. Not cute. Anyway, I am on my third tube of this handy stuff, which is great at helping to reduce the inflammation of breakouts, which is ultimately what causes them to be so painful (and noticeable!) and also what causes scarring. A little bit goes a long way, so in order to get through multiple tubes I have been using this product for years.

MAC Cleanse-Off Oil ($32 & free shipping, Nordstrom)
When I’m wearing makeup and/or sunscreen, I prefer to double cleanse. I use MAC Cleanse-Off Oil as my first cleanse. It’s great at removing even the heaviest makeup (even waterproof mascara or bits of lash glue). This cleanser emulsifies with water, so you don’t even really need to do a second cleanse if you don’t want to. If you have dry skin, you may not feel the need. The oil is formulated with no mineral oil, and contains soothing oils like olive, evening primrose, and jojoba. If you’re at all acne or clog prone, you may want to follow up with a second cleanser. I do just because I like to be extra squeaky clean, and because my skin has been more normal-to-oily than dry lately. As an added bonus for this product, you can recycle the packaging with Back 2 MAC.

Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel ($14, Ulta)
For a cleanser with chemically exfoliating actives in it, this cleanser is so very gentle. I think it would work well for just about any skin type. This cleanser exfoliates with hydroxy acids from papaya and grapefruit extracts. It’s gentle enough that I have even used it with cleansing devices like the Foreo Luna or Clarisonic and had no irritation. If you have dry skin that is prone to clogged pores, this will help to keep them clear without irritating your skin. I love that the packaging is no-nonsense and without any frills that would drive up the price, too. I’m on my second bottle, and still loving it!

Garnier SkinActive Moisture Rescue Refreshing Gel-Cream for Dry Skin ($8.99, Ulta)
Do you think this moisturizer has a long enough name? Because I’m not sure. This moisturizer is sold in a dry skin formula and a normal skin formula and I have tried both. Though Garnier says the dry skin version has 2x more moisturizing agents, I don’t notice a huge difference. This moisturizer is better for people who have normal to slightly dry skin rather than those who have very dry skin. I think it actually works great for skin that is dehydrated and producing too much oil to compensate, because it is so very light weight. The name says gel-cream, but it is very much a gel texture. It’s not going to give you a heavy night cream feeling at all. I think it wears very well under makeup, and on days when I need even more hydration I just use a serum first.

Hair Products

Hair products are another area where I am pretty settled into a routine and I know what I like.

Psssst! Dry Shampoo ($6.99, Ulta)
I wait ’til this stuff goes on sale and buy them a couple at a time. This is a very basic, yet well-performing dry shampoo. I have bangs–dry shampoo is a necessity. I flip my head over and spray it at the roots, or spray it into my bangs and then comb through and sort of “fluff” them out for refreshed hair.

Alterna CAVIAR Anti-Aging Replenishing Moisture Shampoo & Conditioner ($32 each, Sephora online)
Once upon a time several years ago, the good folks at Alterna sent me a PR package with these two products in it, and thus began my love affair with really pricey haircare. I used both bottles up and then totally willingly forked over the cashola for my own more than once because this stuff is amazing. I have fine, color-treated hair. It tends to be on the dry side vs. oily, and I also heat style with a blow dryer and flat iron very regularly. I try to take very good care of my hair because if you’re going to pay $100+ to color it, you want to preserve that color or it’s throwing money away. These products are luxurious and sulfate-free, and make my hair feel oh so silky. Even the ends of my hair are in great shape and I believe I owe it to Alterna! It’s tough to swallow paying $64 for your hair care, so I do sometimes stray with L’Oreal’s sulfate free products, and I stock up on Alterna during events like Sephora’s annual VIB 20% off sale.


Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup ($40, Sephora)
I’ve purchased this bad boy twice, even though it is far from cheap. The shade range is pretty extensive, and shade 0.5 matches me very well. It is described as a radiant finish, and looks very skin-like. The coverage is medium, and somewhat buildable. If you are looking for something to even out your skintone and wear well without looking like a mask, you’ll probably like this. If you have extremely oily skin or a lot to cover up, probably not as much. I loved this the most when my skin was normal to dry.

L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte 24HR Foundation ($12.99, Ulta)
As my skin became more normal to oily, I wanted a more matte foundation. The hype was huge surrounding this foundation’s launch, and for good reason. I love this foundation, possibly even more than the Urban Decay. It has easy, hygienic packaging that is travel friendly, a decent shade range (I wear 101 Classic Ivory), and wears very well throughout the day. The coverage is medium to high medium and buildable. Though it says matte, it’s not a dry or flat looking matte. It’s like your skin but better. At the end of the day I can feel oil on my t-zone, but the foundation doesn’t break up or smear, etc. It may require a bit of touching up around hour 12-13, so I raise my eyebrow at the 24HR claim, but you should never really wear foundation for 24 solid hours anyway. For less than half the price of Urban Decay, I am sold!

Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer ($28, Sephora)
While the Urban Decay foundation has been replaced in my go-to lineup for the moment, the accompanying concealer remains a favorite. This concealer does wonders for brightening up my under eye area and inner corners of my eyes. It blends out nicely and the fact that it is light enough to brighten even on my pale complexion is impressive. I wear shade Fair Neutral.

Maybelline Volum’ Express The Rocket Mascara ($6.99, Ulta)
I’ve repurchased this mascara easily 3 to 4 times. I love that it not only volumizes, but also lengthens. Most recently, I’ve been trying out the waterproof version of this (picked it up when I went on a cruise), and it is VERY waterproof.

Sedona Lace Synthetic Round Top Brush (480) ($18.95, Sedona Lace)
Simply put, my favorite foundation brush. It’s so dense, so soft, and blends foundation out like a dream. It also washes very well, and looks freaking adorable with the pink and black ombre bristles. They do not bleed or shed. Awesome all-around brush. I love it so much I needed a second one in my arsenal so I never have to be without it, even when one of them is drying from being washed.

Sedona Lace Synthetic Small Round Dome Brush (217) ($16.95, Sedona Lace)
My favorite concealer blending brush ever. It’s pretty much a smaller, less dense version of the 480. It’s a small, compact fluffy brush that blends concealer out even better than my fingers. Worth every penny, and I just had to get another one.


What are some beauty products you love so much that you’ve purchased them more than once?

Real Life Skin Care Routine

skin care routine

I’ve been getting heaps of comments and questions about my skin lately. I hesitate to tell you all my routine because it’s NOT a routine really. I’ve read tons of these and watched tons of skin care routines. They usually have so many steps and so many products. Am I the only one who thinks “I ain’t got time for that!” ?? So lets talk about my skin care routine. The products I use, exactly how I actually use them.

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Lancome Tonique Radiance Review

A while back during Lancome’s Friends & Family sale I decided to bite the bullet and buy Vissionaire. I’m in love with that stuff. Seriously. And with that purchase I got a deluxe GWP size sample of this toner, Lancome Tonique Radiance.

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Neaclear Skin Care Review

I discovered Neaclear while doing one of my periodic perusals of the offerings at Ulta. It intrigued me, having heard so much about oxygen and skincare. The reviews on the Ulta website sing the praises of these products, so eventually I picked up a couple to try during a BOGO 1/2 off sale. I grabbed the Liquid Oxygen Facial Toner and Liquid Oxygen Facial Cleanser. Ulta only carries the most basic of the products (6 in all), but the line is actually much larger and has everything from mouthwash to hair care (check out Neaclear’s website for the whole line).

The packaging is pretty unassuming. Clear plastic bottles (however, I gotta say that I am stoked that the pumps LOCK. Makes traveling MUCH easier!!!) with clear product inside. No frills. Next to each other the bottles look pretty much identical, save the labels of “cleanser” and “toner”.

Neaclear Liquid Oxygen Facial Cleanser
Like I said, it’s clear. It’s a thin gel consistency and lathers pretty nicely. Neaclear says this cleanser will improve skin’s hydration up to 35%. I was intrigued by a gel cleanser that claims to be so hydrating. Usually hydrating cleansers have creamier textures. The formula contains vitamins A, C, D, and E in addition to aloe vera. The “liquid oxygen” is purified water infused with oxygen. It’s fragrance free and hypoallergenic. It has barely any scent at all, and it’s not even really describable. It’s very gentle on skin, but they do recommend you avoid contact with your eyes, so use a separate eye makeup remover first. I’ve used it to remove very minimal eye makeup in the shower, but better safe than sorry. ;)

I don’t really have any way of measuring if my skin is “up to 35%” hydrated, but it’s definitely not stripped or dry afterward. Many cleansers have that effect on my dry skin. Overall, it’s a pleasant cleansing experience and I like using it. I haven’t worn much heavy makeup lately, so I’m not sure how well it would eat up heavy foundations and concealers, but for my purposes it has been working great to remove tinted moisturizer and/or powder.

Neaclear Liquid Oxygen Facial Toner
Since the cleanser was so mild and practically scentless I was expecting the toner to be as well, similar to Sana Easy Peel or some of the other Asian toners I’ve used that basically feel like water on your skin. Not so much! It has all of the same great ingredients as the cleanser, but also has sage, rosemary, MINT, and peppermint oil! The mint is very…for lack of a better word, zingy and if you like a product to wake you up with a perky scent that’ll definitely do the trick! It’s also extremely cooling and feels wonderful! It makes my skin feel refreshed and soft, and I’m not sure if it’s just me but I feel like my moisturizer absorbs better. Again, not at all tightening or drying on my skin. Love it!

I think both products are worth trying out and complement each other. They also fit nicely into my skincare routine and work well with the moisturizers I like from The Body Shop. I will say if you’re only interested in one to grab the toner first. The cleanser is nice but fairly unremarkable used on its own. Both of these retail for $12.99 each at Ulta, but you can always save some cash by using coupons (it’s not a prestige product) and/or waiting for BOGOs.

My bare skin isn’t 100% perfect but I’m pretty happy with it! I don’t mind freckles. ;)

H20 Plus Sea Pure Skin Care Collection

H20 plus is one of those brands I’d seen around, but for some reason never tried. What I usually would see is the spa products carried by my local Ulta. I never really paid it much attention because when it comes to bath & body stuff, like I’ve said many times– Bath & Body Works owns my heart.

As you may or may not have noticed I now blog for BeautyStat, and when I got the opportunity to try out h20 plus’ skin care line, my curiosity peaked. I have tried the full Sea Pure regimen, which is their anti-aging line. I’m 24, so that’s not too early to start with anti-aging skincare.

Sea Pure Creamy Facial Cleanser

As you might have guessed, the Sea Pure line contains ingredients sourced from the ocean, such as marine-sourced amino acids, and sea moss. The 96% natural creamy facial cleanser also contains citrus oils and amino acids derived from apples. It has a refreshing citrus scent, which I was happy about because other marine-sourced products I’ve tried did not smell good haha. It’s definitely very creamy and pleasant on the skin. I was afraid it would be too heavy for my normal-to-oily skin. Most anti-aging stuff I’ve tried is too moisturizing. However, I really liked how this worked for me. It was cleansing without stripping. It is said to be able to remove makeup but I generally use MAC Cleanse-Off Oil as a makeup remover before cleansing. This cleanser would also work beautifully with a Clarisonic brush. It is recommended for all skin types. I would recommend it for anyone except those who are extremely oily. Sea Pure Creamy Cleanser is 4 oz for $20.
Sea Pure Gentle Refining Polish

The Gentle Refining Polish is the exfoliator in the Sea Pure line. This is a physical exfoliant; it contains bamboo extract as the scrubby granules suspended in a creamy base formula. They’re not harsh at all. The scrub also contains sea moss and marine amino acids like the cleanser. I liked this scrub as it was scrubby without being too harsh, but it’s not ideal. Even rinsing and using a wash cloth, I had trouble getting all of the bamboo grains off of my face. They did not want to budge and I had a bit of a time trying to rinse my face clean. I think this scrub would work better in the shower when you can rinse it off a lot easier by just standing under the water. Other than the rinsing issue, this was a fair product. This is recommended for all skin types, and like the cleanser I think it would be fine for anyone except the very very oily. It’s kind of expensive though, at $30 for 2.5 oz.
Sea Pure Renewing Prep Tonic

This toner was actually my favorite part of the Sea Pure line. It’s alcohol free, making it good for sensitive skin. It helps to remove any remaining cleanser or dirt on the skin (it helped remove bamboo that wouldn’t come off after using the refining polish). This toner contains, you guessed it– sea moss and marine amino acids. However it also contains lactic acid, a natural alpha hydroxy acid. Lactic acid helps to smooth the skin’s surface and even out skin tone for a brighter looking complexion. Happily, this toner does not leave a residue or leave my face feeling stripped/sticky. It absorbs really well. It’s too soon to tell if it has brightened up my skintone, but because I’m already happy with it I will continue using it, and I recommend it. I think this product actually could be used by all skin types. It’s also the most economically priced piece of the collection at $18 for 7 oz.

Sea Pure Deep Moisture Cream

I’m going to preface this review by saying that I did not actually use it on my face. But here’s why: it’s way too heavy and too oily. I would not recommend this for anyone except those with quite dry skin. I tested this out on my hands. It’s very rich, and for those with dry skin I think it would be great. It has a lot of nourishing ingredients along with the marine amino acids that the rest of the Sea Pure line has. It’s just completely wrong for my skintype and I think labeling this as for all skin types will leave some people disappointed. It’s deceiving because the texture is very light and almost runny, but it’s very rich and oily; jojoba oil is the 3rd ingredient, which is a pretty high amount of jojoba. There’s also coconut oil, shea butter, glycerin, meadowfoam oil, orange oil, and the list goes on. I’m not saying oil in and of itself is bad for skin, or even bad for those with oily skin. The right oils can be magnificent for any skintype. I’m just saying that in this product, the result is something too heavy to be used on my skin and I completely disagree with saying it’s for all skin types. The moisturizer is 1.7 oz for $40, so it’s definitely on the pricey side. 
Sea Pure Perfecting Eye Cream

As far as eye creams go, I really don’t expect them to do much. I have pretty basic needs– moisturize without causing milia around my eyes. I do have some tiny fine lines under my lower lashes, but they’re minute, and I’ve had them since I was about 10 or 11 so I don’t stress about them too much. I don’t expect an eye cream to make me look like Brooklyn Decker or something. I just want my eye area to be moisturized and look healthy. With that said, this eye cream does do that. It’s also supposed to help diminish wrinkles. For first thing in the morning I like the caffeine I get from using 100% Pure’s coffee eye cream, but for hydrating and just generally feeling refreshed, this is pretty nice. I’ve been using Clinique All About Eyes (the regular one; the rich version gives me milia, ew), which is slightly cheaper. I would recommend this eye cream to those who perhaps have more concerns about their eye area than I do, haha. Before I make any decisions about which eye cream to stick with, I’m going to use this on one eye and the AAE on the other for a while and see if I can distinguish a difference. Look for that follow-up review. ;) This eye cream is .5 oz for $32.
Samples provided for editorial purposes.

Zensation Deep Purifying Toner First Impressions

Usually I wait longer before reviewing beauty products, especially skincare. So this is just kind of a “first impressions” type review. I haven’t been using this very long but I’m really liking it so far so I wanted to share it with you!

I was completely unfamiliar with Zensation until I was contacted by their PR to ask if I wanted to review this toner. I’m always interested in trying new brands, so of course I wanted to try it. By the way, click the link to their website at your own risk; I find their website highly annoying hahaha. It plays music and is all in Flash. Blarg. Whatever, I’m a web design snob. ;)

Anyway, they are a luxury skincare brand out of Switzerland. The line is based around plant and fruit extracts, and natural oils. They claim to be anti-aging and anti-stress. Here’s a long list of things you won’t find in Zensation products:

– Alcohol
– Colorant/Dyes
– Synthetic Fragrance
– Animal-Derived Ingredients
– Mineral Oils
– Parabens

In going with the ‘zen’ theme and being a luxury skincare brand, the Zensation packaging is honestly gorgeous. The toner I tried is in a heavy frosted glass bottle with a cute floral design:

It’s just girly enough to be called pretty without being twee. I just really like it. It looks nice sitting on the counter in the bathroom. Since my bathroom is also the house’s guest bathroom, that matters to me haha. This toner is pricey at $35/4.2 oz, so I want it to have really nice packaging that doesn’t make it look or feel cheap. 
Deep Purifying Toner is formulated for oily/combination/acne-prone skin. It contains essential oils of thyme, sage, lavender, and mint as well as tea tree oil. The result is a really calming and herbal aroma that I really like.  But aside from smelling nice, those ingredients are naturally antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, which will help soothe blemishes and redness in troubled skin. 
Even after using my clarisonic brush I can tell that this toner is getting my skin extra clean, because I can see residue on my cotton pad. It does leave a slightly sticky residue, but that sinks in and dries in a matter of minutes and then my skin is completely matte. I know the thought of putting all those oils on your skin might be scary, but I took a leap of faith and I am glad! Toner is usually a product I can just take or leave, but Zensation has done a great job of creating what they want to accomplish– a toner that cleans without stripping the skin, helps to balance combination skin, and soothes.
Available from www.zensationbeaute.com.

100% Pure Peppermint Green Tea Facial Toner

Some time not so long ago SkincareRx had a nifty promo that involved yours truly getting a $20 gift certificate for their site. Win! What was even more full of win was that GC was good for their partner sites, Apothica and Skin Botanica. Skin Botanica carries the lovely organic line 100% Pure.

I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for anything with green tea in it. I love the stuff. It’s tasty, smells nice, and my skin seems to really like it too. It’s soothing and chock full of antioxidants. So when I saw a peppermint green tea toner from one of my favorite organic brands I was immediately interested. The peppermint green tea toner is recommended for all skin types. It claims to “hydrate, soothe, and refresh”. Sounds lovely doesn’t it? I’ve yet to be disappointed with a product from 100% Pure, so I thought I’d take the plunge. The bottle is a generous 8 oz and retail is $15, so with my GC I spent about $2 on it after shipping. For $2 it was certainly worth looking in to.
Now, there’s no water or added colorants or anything in this toner. So, the dark brownish greeny color is a little offputting, but just trust me here– this is ok to put on your face. lol. The organic tea is infused with peppermint, citrus, and berries. Sounds good enough to drink, but don’t. What I noticed immediately on using it (I just dripped a little onto a cotton pad and swiped it on my face) is how cooling and refreshing the mint feels. It really feels great, especially first thing in the morning when you’re still kind of sleepy. It does a great job of balancing my skin. I’m not oily or dry after using it. I just feel refreshed and my skin looks better. I’ve been having a little bit of dryness and/or irritation lately due to doing another course of retinols on my face, and this toner really saves the day.
Organic Infusions of Green Tea, Peppermint,Spearmint, Eucalyptus, Pomegranate, Lemon and Orange Peels, Vitamin C (Calcium Ascorbate), Vitamin E (A-Tocopherol) extracts of raspberry, blueberry, blackberry, strawberry and grapefruit seed, Peppermint Essential Oil, Natural Food Preservatives from Cranberries and Salt (less than 0.1% of Sodium Benzoate,Potassium Sorbate)

Homemade Toner Experiment

Okay, okay! The long-awaited reveal (I’ve been teasing this on Twitter for over a week!) for my homemade toner is here!

I made a toner of my own and then tested it on myself. The results I saw were:
– clearer/minimized pores
– less redness (noticeable right after use!)
– acne “life-cycle” sped up (thus breakouts heal faster!)
All of that happened with this as my only treatment. Sounds pretty awesome, no?
Here’s what I did…
I started with a 6 oz bottle. I dropped 3 uncoated aspirin tablets into the bottom of the bottle, and then added approximately 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground sea salt. I filled up the bottle most of the way (so about 5 oz, or 5.5 oz) with hot water. I then closed the bottle tightly and shook the mixture like crazy. The aspirin dissolved, and the sea salt broke down significantly. I then put the mixture in the fridge for a few hours. After chilling the mixture, I squirted about 1/2 a teaspoon of aloe vera gel (100% pure gel, no colors or additives) into the mixture and shook it again, vigorously.
To use the toner, I shake first (because the remaining undissolved particles will have settled to the bottom). When the toner is cloudy from shaking, I’m ready to use it. I squirt out a generous amount onto a cotton pad and apply all over my face (avoiding the eyes) and allow to air dry. My face feels balanced without feeling stripped, and over a few days I saw the changes I mentioned above. I used the toner morning and night.
So there you go…a really awesome toner with no harsh chemicals, parabens, dyes, etc. And it is completely non-toxic to humans. I wouldn’t recommend drinking it though. The only drawback I have noticed is it doesn’t smell too great. But the smell doesn’t linger on the skin after using. :) I am thinking of creating future versions that contain some green tea (one of my favorite skin care ingredients) and adjusting the amount of aloe for more soothing effects.
I will keep everyone updated on my skin’s progress with the toner! I’ve used about a third of my mixture so far. If any of you try it out, be sure to let me know!
Disclaimer: This toner works for me. If you have any allergies to the above ingredients, do not try this. If any irritation or negative reaction occurs stop using it. I am not a dermatologist or any other kind of doctor, so take this toner with a grain of salt. ;) Literally. I’m not responsible if you use it and your face turns purple and your arm falls off, etc.