“Where Do I Start???” – How To Build A Skincare Routine

Oftentimes, I get wrapped up in talking about new beauty or skincare products – wrapped up enough that I’ll forget: some people are still figuring out how to build a basic skincare routine.

No shame in starting from scratch, & no such thing as a dumb question…so, after a few requests, here’s a very simple routine/top shelfie that you can use for guidance. Let’s do it!

First, let me just make it clear: my skin type is dry/sensitive. Products that work really well for my skin type may not work as well for someone with oily or combo skin. It’s hard to accurately determine your skin type online – always best to go to a dermatologist – but if you can’t make it to one, try this skin type quiz by Soko Glam, an online K-Beauty retailer. Remember: online quizzes won’t give you the most accurate results, but they can be a good place to start.

With that in mind, let me outline a simple 3-step routine. If you don’t want to spend a lot of time on your skin, but want to see some improvement, it’s a good place to start.

  1. Cleanse
  2. Tone
  3. Moisturize

At the end of the day (or beginning), it really comes down to these three steps. Cleanse your face to refresh/remove dirt, oil, & other “bad stuff.” Tone to brighten, hydrate, & purify. Moisturize to keep your skin soft & hydrated all day or all night. Remember, even if you have oily skin, you should be moisturizing. Not moisturizing the skin can cause dehydration – dehydrated skin usually leads to micro-abrasions, which can let in bacteria. This leads to breakouts & acne. So – no matter what skin type you have, make sure you’re moisturizing!

Some of you might already know the three step routine, & that’s great – but you might not know when or how to use serums & oils. Here’s how the three step routine would look plus serums & oils. Remember: you don’t have to use serums or oils; they’re a great way to up your skin care game if you’re not completely happy with how your skin is looking or feeling, but they’re not the must-haves (in my opinion).

  1. Cleanse
  2. Tone
  3. Serums – if you’re using several, work your way from most “watery” to most “gel-like.” In my experience, watery serums will sink in faster & easier if you put them right after a toner. Gel-like serums take a little longer to sink in, so they could use a little extra time…after you’ve finished with the watery serum(s)
  4. Oil – just like with serums, work your way from most diluted to most rich. Any oil will have a different texture & consistency than a serum; that’s why they’re categorized differently
  5. Moisturize

So that’s how you “up” your skin care game, if you’re already used to the three step method.

Without further ado, here are some of the products I use most often (as well as a few new ones). Almost all of them are under $30; there are two exceptions. Remember that you can get effective & affordable skin care products – these two qualities are not mutually exclusive!

Cleansers Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser, CLĒ Cosmetics Oxygen Foam Cleanser

On the left: Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser. On the right: CLĒ Cosmetics Oxygen Foam Cleanser

As you can see by the rather banged-up bottles, these are the two cleansers I reach for most often. Let’s start with Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser, a product I’ve been using (& loving) for almost two years now. I love MJC because it’s such an effective non-foaming cleanser. Most foaming cleansers dry out my skin; Milky Jelly doesn’t lather up, but it does get rid of dirt & oil, just like any other cleanser would. The delicate floral scent is amazing, too. I like to use two pumps of it on dry skin in the morning, making sure to massage my face as I work the cleanser across my skin. It’s like a mini spa treatment – every single morning – & it only takes 2 minutes. I rinse off with luke-warm water, then move on to toner. Read my #MiniReview on Milky Jelly here!

As a bonus, here are some other options for non-foaming cleansers – for those of you who live in countries that Glossier doesn’t ship to, or for those of you who just aren’t interested in Milky Jelly:

Next up: CLĒ Cosmetics Oxygen Foam Cleanser: this is probably (okay, definitely) the only foaming cleanser I can use regularly without worrying about my skin drying out. I like to use this best in the evening – it does an amazing job of getting rid of any leftover makeup that my micellar water might have missed, & it’s admittedly very fun to use. When pushing down on the pump, a goopy substance similar in texture to Milky Jelly comes out (no scent!). Massage that over your face, & it quickly foams up. Leave on for 30-ish seconds, then wipe off with a damp towel, or rinse off with water (I prefer the latter). Most definitely the only foaming cleanser I can use without worrying about drying out my skin, even in the cold dry winter months. This cleanser is magic. Read my review of Oxygen Foam on CLĒ Cosmetic’s blog right here!


On the left: Glossier Solution. On the right: Thayer’s Witch Hazel Alcohol-Free Lavender Witch Hazel Toner 

For a few years, I religiously used the Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs, & Rosewater – yup, the one that everyone used (& still uses). Although I’ve seen a lot of people complain about it online (not pure, makes them break out) I’ve never had an issue with it – I just eventually encountered options that were more my style. It took me a while to convert to “cotton pad toners,” as I like to call them (as opposed to a spray, like Mario Badescu) but the one that sold me was Thayers Alcohol-Free Lavender Witch Hazel Toner. I got it at Target for $11 in October – & I’m still on my first bottle. The alcohol-free option is really nice if you have sensitive skin, & lavender is especially soothing on my skin, so I was really happy when I saw that this was one of the few options left on the shelf. Witch hazel is a natural astringent, so it clarifies the skin – but it also soothes & reduces any inflammation that might be present. Also in the formula: aloe vera, plain old water, & glycerin – all calming & soothing for the skin. If you’re hyper-sensitive, Thayers has a non-scented version of their toner. If you still prefer spritz toners to cotton pad toners, Thayers now has a lot of their toners in spray bottle packaging – check them out here. Read my #MiniReview of this toner here!

(Side note: When using a cotton pad toner, I use Shiseido cotton pads. I know, I know – fancy…but seriously, they’re worth it. Even better, they’re actually quite affordable if you do it my way: cut them in half! Use one half for your morning routine & the other half for your evening routine. This way, you cut the cost in half, & you still feel all the benefits of using the Shiseido Facial Cotton (these truly are a huge upgrade from drugstore cotton rounds…trust me). If you have sensitive skin & feel like a lot of cotton pads/rounds are scratchy on your skin, these are for you. 

Another “toner” I’ve been incorporating into my routine: the latest from Glossier: Glossier Solution. This is the brand’s first release of 2018, & it’s been getting a lot of attention – it’s one of the first Glossier products that really focuses on clearing & brightening skin, as well as reducing acne/hormonal breakouts. Solution is a chemical exfoliant, meant to be used once a day in replacement of a toner. The AHA/BHA/PHA blend dissolves dead skin cells, brightens, softens, & refreshes skin, as well as reducing redness, acne, & breakouts. Read the full scoop here; first, though, let me say this: if you’re using Solution – or any other chemical exfoliant – wear sunscreen! When using any kind of chemical exfoliant (this one included) your skin is more sensitive to the sun. You should wear sunscreen no matter what, but if you’ve been guiltily ignoring that, it’s time to start protecting yourself – especially if you’re using a chemical exfoliant. I’ll give you some of my favorite options in a moment. Stay tuned.

Heritage Store Rosewater & Glycerin

Finally – I mentioned that my first toner was a spritzer (by Mario Badescu). Here’s one that I’ve revisited & been really loving lately: the Heritage Store Rosewater & Glycerin. Think of it as the Mario Badescu Facial Spray…but make it purer. There are three ingredients in this: purified water, pure rose oil, & natural vegetable glycerin. If you’re worried about a cloying scent, worry no more. This has a very delicate, floral scent – similar to that of Glossier Milky Jelly. It’s described as “multi-purpose,” because it is. Use it for your hair, use it as a toner, use it as a setting spray, use it as a refresher when 3 pm hits & you still have a few hours to go (but your skin isn’t feeling it) – face, body, hair…go ham. Just don’t drink it. I haven’t used this for a minute, but I’ve been revisiting it – & I’ve appreciated it as a toner, a refresher, & a setting spray this past month. Oh – & it’s only $10. Find it online, in some Whole Foods, some Urban Outfitters, & perhaps even some Targets, if you’re lucky.


From left to right: Glossier Super Pure Serum, The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%, & Valjean Labs Hydrate Serum

Like I mentioned when talking about how to build up your skin care routine to something more complex or “fancy” – serums aren’t necessary, but they can be great ways to really improve the texture, tone, & even the health of your skin. I typically don’t wear more than two serums at once – because too much of anything is a bad thing – & I usually wear different serums at night than I do in the day. I won’t delve into that, because this is just about how to build a simple routine – so here are a few serums that I’ve been enjoying. Some are old favorites, others are new discoveries – but they’re all under $30, which is great. Let me start with the Valjean Hydrate Serum – I have a #MiniReview on this, which I’ll link here. If you’re just looking for a super quick review, though, here are my two cents on it: I liked the texture of Glossier’s Super Bounce Serum (another hyaluronic acid serum), but wasn’t seeing results that made the $28 price tag worth it to me. I tried The Ordinary’s Hyaluronic Acid serum (way cheaper) but like a bunch of their other serums, this one was tacky, dried down oddly, & I didn’t even feel like it was hydrating. Stumped, I kept hunting. I saw “Valjean Labs” pop up across a few photos on Instagram before I asked some friends about the serums, & I heard only good things. I got the Hydrate serum first – followed by Glow & Firm. I like Firm – it’s a hydrating & plumping serum that contains ferulic acid & Vitamin E – but I’m not a fan of Glow (a Vitamin C serum). It just didn’t really seem to do anything. So: Hydrate remains my favorite serum from Valjean. It’s a thin, watery texture, but doesn’t dry down tacky. It’s cooling & soothing – really helps reduce redness – & it feels like a cool drink of water for my skin. I use it morning & night. It layers under other serums/moisturizers really nicely, too. Pick it up for $15 at Urban Outfitters, or keep your eyes peeled at your local TJ Maxx – Valjean serums go for $4.99 at TJ.

Next up: an old favorite; an old friend: Glossier Super Pure Serum. The Glossier Supers hold a special place in my heart; Super Glow was the first serum I ever put on my face when the trio launched in fall of 2016. I’ve hopped back & forth between Super Pure & Super Glow as my favorites, but at this point I can confidently say that Super Pure is my favorite. This is a serum that is, in fact, worth the $28 price tag (for me). It calms redness & inflammation in the short-term; long-term, it reduces breakouts & just clarifies the skin overall. The water-gel consistency is not sticky or tacky; it doesn’t pill; it wears beautifully under makeup/moisturizers…I have no bad things to say. Check out my longer review here

Finally – a brand-new addition to my routine: The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%. It’s so new, in fact, that I’ve only used it twice so far. Before purchasing, I snooped around for some opinions, & immediately got some “NOOOO! IT IS SO SCRATCHY!” comments. Naturally, I was a bit scared when it arrived – but I’m glad I had that “background knowledge” of the texture of the serum before giving it a go myself, because it influenced the way in which I applied it. Obviously, I can’t give that big of a review, because I’ve only used it twice, but here are my first impressions: definitely the “oddest” serum I’ve used yet, mainly because it’s “water-free” – that means that it looks like a cream; maybe a runny moisturizer. The “scratchiness” comes from “dehydrated spheres” of hyaluronic acid, which “offer visible surface smoothing.” I wouldn’t call it scratchy; it doesn’t feel like a sugar/salt scrub; it feels more like someone put sand into a light moisturizer (I know that sounds odd). There’s no denying that it’s a bit abrasive, especially if I were to rub it into my face – but thanks to everyone’s warnings, I was able to avoid that situation. When applying, I put some on my fingertips, then gently press it into my skin. Wait a few minutes, & sure enough – the “dehydrated spheres” melted into my skin. Then, it’s simple: apply moisturizer, & be at peace. There’s no denying that it’s one of the oddest products I’ve tried so far, but I’m intrigued. The Ordinary has great prices, & it’s even more accessible, now that it’s being carried (online) at Sephora. I’ll be sure to keep you all posted.


The Ordinary 100% Cold-Pressed Organic Rose Hip Seed Oil – good for all skin types 

I’m a fan of facial oils, but I’m not the biggest fan – basically, creams > oils in my opinion (& keep in mind: everyone’s skin is different). While creams are my priority, I found oils to be way more confusing, especially when first thinking about using one. Won’t it just make my skin greasy? Will I break out more? Why would you put oil on your face…?

The answer to the last question: there are many reasons for putting oil on your face, & if you remember that you’re not putting vegetable oil or bacon grease on your face – you’re putting rosehip oil, tea tree oil, marula oil & so on (all of which have their benefits) – the fear of breaking out or looking greasy will soon fade. Oils won’t make your face greasy – you just have to choose the right one. That depends on your skin type, & since I can’t tell every single one of you what your skin type is, I’d leave the serious oil recommendations to someone more qualified (ask a skin care consultant at Sephora, or go to your dermatologist, or just do some reading after you know a little more about your skin type), but I can tell you one oil that works really well for all skin types: rosehip!

Rosehip oil calms redness, reduces inflammation, & hydrates – of course. It’s lightweight, doesn’t feel heavy, sticky, or greasy, & it wears well under a cream. You can also put a little more on & forget a cream all together. One of the cheapest options out there is The Ordinary’s 100% Cold-Pressed Organic Rose Hip Seed Oil. Described as “a daily support formula for all skin types,” this oil is rich in various vitamins & fatty acids, all of which plumpen, hydrate, & boost skin’s circulation. It smells slightly floral, but I can hardly detect a scent. It’s not the highest-quality oil, but it’s under $10, I wouldn’t call it bad, & it’s a great way to experiment with facial oils without dropping a lot of money. Next on my list of things to try: Pai Skincare’s Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil, which has rave reviews on many platforms. It’s a step up from the $10, but from what I’ve seen, it looks to be worth it.


On the left: Dr Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Cream. On the right: Glossier Priming Moisturizer Rich

Currently, I’m using two moisturizers: a day cream & a night cream. If you use one & your skin is happy – great! My dry/sensitive skin gets a little finicky, especially when it comes to hydration, so my skin most definitely appreciates the two different moisturizers I use.

For daytime, I use the Dr Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass CreamI held off for a very long time on buying this, mainly because I looked at the amount of product in the tube & rolled my eyes. I wouldn’t be forking over that amount for this little tube of cream…but then, I got it as a free sample with a Sephora order I made over winter break, & when I tried it out, I finally understood. This is an extremely dense cream; it’s almost like an ointment. This was worrying to me, at first: would it feel greasy? Would it clog my pores? The answer to both of these questions: nope! It most definitely doesn’t feel greasy, it certainly doesn’t clog my pores, & I’m glad I chose this sample, because by the time I ran out of the baby version, I was convinced that the full-size was truly worth it.

You need the tiniest amount – the tube looks like a tube of toothpaste, & that’s just about how much I use for my face: imagine that you’re putting a smear of toothpaste onto your toothbrush, & that should just about cover it for your whole face. I put the ointment between my fingertips to let it warm up a little, then gently press it into my skin. If I have the time, I’ll follow that up with a quick facial massage with my jade roller. If I don’t – I’m still good. The cream has really helped reduce any redness, which is something I struggle with (especially in the winter time). I would constantly complain about the dry area under my nose – not after a week of using this cream, though. January is one of the hardest months on my skin…& this year, I have zero dryness/irritation in my usual dry patches, my skin is relatively redness-free, & I get to use a very cool toothpaste-y product that smells like freshly-mown grass. Worth it? Definitely.

For night time, I use Glossier Priming Moisturizer Rich – a product I’ve been religiously using & refilling since Glossier put it up for sale in January 2017. Basically: I’ll never stop screaming about this (screaming in a good way). I’ve been through a few jars, but I don’t go through it outrageously quickly, because it truly is “rich.” “Rich,” yes. Oily? Not even a little bit. I have dry skin & love it; I know people with oily skin who love it equally. People in the middle? Yup, PMR has your back, too. Red algae reduces redness, lavender makes you feel like you’re in an aromatherapy session, & the cream has this incredible buttercream texture that’s addicting. Every night, I smooth a little spoonful (I use the NIOD Stainless Steel Spoon to keep my creams sanitary) into my skin, I massage my face with my hands &/or my jade roller, & then I sink into my pillows with a sigh of relief. It’s the perfect way for me to end my day.


On the left: Glossier Invisible Shield. On the right: Dr. Jart+ Every Sun Day UV Sunscreen 

One of the most important – but one of the most ignored – steps in a skincare routine is protecting your face from the sun. Even if you don’t work outside…even if you’re not going for a long walk…even if you live in a country where you don’t see much sunlight during the winter…you should still be wearing sunscreen. UV rays cause long-term damage, & you might not ever feel a sunburn – but you may still be at risk for skin cancer if you don’t take the proper steps to protect yourself. That sounds like a threat, but it’s just me saying be careful! You can greatly reduce the risk of skin cancer simply by throwing on some sunscreen every single day.

The two I swear by are Glossier Invisible Shield (SPF 35) & Dr. Jart+ Every Sun Day UV Sunscreen Broad Spectrum (SPF 50). These products are quite different from one another, though ultimately, they both do a good job of protecting your skin from harmful sun exposure.

What’s the difference? The Glossier sunscreen is a chemical sunscreen; the Dr. Jart+ sunscreen is a physical sunscreen. “Chemical” sounds scary in most situations, but just as is the case with “chemical exfoliation,” “chemical sunscreen” is not dangerous or harmful for your skin. It just operates in a different way than “physical sunscreen.”

Chemical sunscreens contain organic, carbon-based compounds which create a chemical (hence the name) reaction, changing UV rays into heat, then releasing that heat from the skin. No – you won’t get burned, & no – it doesn’t feel hot upon application. Don’t worry.

Physical sunscreens like the Dr. Jart+ one contain active mineral ingredients, also referred to as physical blockers (again – hence the name). Most commonly, the physical blockers are titanium dioxide or zinc dioxide – that’s what gives physical sunscreen its famous (or, if you’re like me, infamous) scent. These blockers sit on top of the skin, deflecting & scattering UV rays away from the skin.

So – which do I prefer? Personally, after I tried a chemical sunscreen, I heavily lean towards that side of the spectrum. Most physical sunscreens feel very sticky & heavy on my skin & I’ve broken out from quite a few. Most don’t wear very well under makeup for me, either. I prefer the gel-like texture of a chemical sunscreen. Also – it’s much easier to reapply, since you don’t have to massage it into the face as intensely as you might have to with a physical sunscreen – chemical sunscreens leave no white cast on the skin, which is another bonus.

Still, I really like the Dr. Jart+ one. After I started taking immunosuppressive drugs that make my skin even more sensitive to sun, my mama & I panicked & looked for the most powerful & best sunscreen out there. SPF 50 is pretty much as high as you can get, & this Dr. Jart+ option is probably my favorite physical sunscreen. It’s very lightweight, it lacks that odd scent that so many physical sunscreens have, & it doesn’t feel greasy or sticky – doesn’t break me out, either. If you’re not into chemical sunscreens, this is a physical sunscreen that I truly do like. The price isn’t half bad, either – especially for a Dr. Jart+ product.

As for the Glossier Invisible Shield – like I said, I now prefer chemical sunscreens, after having tried both, & this one is a great choice. Recently, Glossier reduced the price to $25, which I feel is a much fairer price than the original $34. In my opinion, there isn’t enough product in the Invisible Shield bottle to justify spending $34 on it; now, with the adjusted price, I can give Invisible Shield 5 stars without feeling like it’s just a biiiit too expensive to rate so highly. I use about 3-4 pumps, & gently swipe the gel over my face after I’ve finished moisturizing (but before I’ve applied makeup). I let it sit for a few moments; it has a cooling sensation which is really soothing. I like the citrus-y scent, too.

A lot of people ask what the best amount of SPF is. Most dermatologists agree that anything between SPF 30 & SPF 50 is going to give you the same results. SPF 50 isn’t really going to give you more protection than SPF 30 – in fact, some people get less protection even while wearing SPF 50, since they feel like they don’t need to apply as much product. No matter what, be sure to reapply sunscreen if you’re spending periods of time outside, & don’t stress about SPF 50 working better (or worse) than SPF 35 or SPF 40. In the end, as long as it’s over 30, you’re good. Stay protected!!!

Spot Treatments 


Oh – almost forgot about this very important category. For a while, I was a non-believer. It seemed as though everyone swore by the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion; I’d given it a few goes & hadn’t seen anything special. Overnight results? Sounded unrealistic…& I never got that from the Drying Lotion.

For the past 7-8 months, I’ve been using & loving the Origins Super Spot Remover. It’s a clear gel spot treatment, which is nice – it sinks into the skin instead of rubbing off on your pillowcase (sound familiar?). It can also be worn under makeup, which, again: something the Drying Lotion cannot do.

When I ran out of my second little tube of the Origins treatment, I headed to grab a refill – only to see that it was sold out both online & in store. A Sephora employee redirected me to the Tarte Blemish Bully Acne Spot Treatment – same consistency, same texture, same end results. The formula seems to be essentially the same; I did notice that the Tarte formula contains caffeine, though, which is nice – it aids in depuffing whatever area you’re trying to target. I’ve been using it for about a week now, & have no complaints thus far. It seems to work just as well as the Origins treatment, & you get a little more product for the same amount, too. I’ll see how this one lasts in the long run, but for now…I’m liking it. Side note: the Origins spot treatment is now back in stock on Sephora’s website. 

Sometimes, one product just doesn’t work – if I’m really having a problem blemish (or two) I’ll layer two products: first, a thin layer of the gel spot treatment – in the past, Origins; currently, Tarte. After the gel has dried down, I’ll pat a small amount of Mario Badescu Drying Cream on top. That’s right – cream, not lotion. They are two different products. The Drying Lotion is the one you see most often: the pink sediment at the bottom of a vial of clear liquid. The Drying Cream is a yellow-beige paste that comes in a little jar. Described as “a unique spot treatment featuring sulfur,” the Drying Cream is ideal for under-the-surface bumps as well as good old blemishes. Sulfur & zinc oxide draw out impurities, but ingredients like aloe vera & Vitamin E ensure that you won’t wake up with a painful dry patch of skin where your blemish used to be. This does transfer, so if you wear it overnight, just be aware that some might rub off on your pillowcase. It’s worth it, though – I can’t say that this combo always works overnight, but it comes pretty damn close.

Well – that’s the finale! If you’re new to skincare, I hope I helped you figure things out a little more; maybe you have something to work with now. It can be very overwhelming when starting to be “serious” about skincare or makeup, simply because there are so many products. I can’t say that all of these will work as well for you as they do for me, but I hope I help at least a few of you. What’re some of your holy grail skincare items – whether you’re new or old to the skincare game?

Catch you next time! Let’s talk about face masks next, shall we?


Sofia ❤

Good News, Brits: Glossier Has ARRIVED

By the time you’re reading this, Glossier is – or very, nearly, almost is – shipping to the UK. Congratulations; finally, right?

Glossier has been promising international shipping to customers for quite a while; we saw these promises in action when they did a few pop-ups (Los Angeles, Portland, Chicago, & Toronto) – then released this announcement on Into The Gloss, entitled “Glossier Is Launching Internationally.”

Coco Baudelle (one of the brand’s first “it girls”) going international – with her Glossier package

In this post, Into The Gloss (aka Glossier) said that it would first be launching in Canada (already done!). Then, they said “we’ll be bringing our talents to the UK! This one’s also near and dear to our hearts….We’ll be opening a small office in London in due time. And finally, we’re happy to say that France is getting Glossier, too—in 2018. Those French lessons are really coming in handy. À bientôt!”

What’s next? We don’t really know! All we know for now is that 1) Glossier is indeed available in the UK, starting today. It’s also available for sale (in person) in France, at the shop Collette.

There’s no information on other parts of Europe or Asia yet; same goes for those Down Under. However – Glossier’s moved quite fast this summer. I expect to see many more countries added very soon (that’s just my own personal opinion, not based off any information I was given).

Before Glossier announced their UK site, they hosted a pop-up in London: here’s some peeks below.

“The Pink Room” – at Glossier’s London pop-up (courtesy Glossier’s Instagram)
Although there aren’t any photos of the London pop-up setup, this is a photo of the Toronto, Canada pop-up. Setups were similar! (courtesy Glossier’s Instagram)

Okay, this is all very pretty – but Glossier doesn’t have an official showroom in the U.K. (yet). For now, it’s all online.

So – U.K. Glossier babes, what do you want most from Glossier, now that it’s at your very fingertips?

Here are my favorite Glossier products (& shades). Some of it is makeup, some of it is skincare. I think there will be at least one product on here that will appeal to everyone.  I have some fun photographs, too – ones of my own this time – as well as some tips for newbies. Let’s get started, shall we?


Boy Brow 

Glossier: “Inspired by moustache wax, Cara Delevingne, and the idea that the best brows are the ones are the brows you were born with.” It had a 10,000 person wait list (that took 4 months to take care of) when it first launched

#BoyBrow – the product that every single person who, when asked which Glossier product they would recommend first, says: “Boy Brow. No question.” I’m with them on that.

Boy Brow, as most of you know, is like a hair pomade – it fluffs your brows; it keeps them in place – but it doesn’t make them feel stiff or crunchy (like a hairspray might feel). The shades I use are Brown & Clear. I use Brown when I want some extra drama; I use Clear on an everyday basis, especially as my brows are thicker than usual at the moment. The result? Fluffy brows that stay in place the way you want them to – & it takes less than 15 seconds to do.

Boy Brow in Brown

Generation G Matte Lipstick

My two favorite fall shades of Generation G

Just yesterday, I was asked by someone which Generation G lipsticks would be suitable for the fall. I thought it’d be perfect to incorporate that question into this post.

Generation G is a lipstick – a sheer lipstick, but a lipstick nonetheless. It applies like a smooth balm, & leaves a sheer, blotted finish (without you actually having to blot it). There are a bunch of shades – & you’ll be able to see swatches of all of them on all skin types on Glossier’s site – but my two favorites for fall are Zip & Jam.

Jam was one of the four original. Two others were added earlier this year; there are now six shades of Generation G lipsticks.

Quick shade rundown, thanks to Glossier’s site: “Zip, Leo, Crush, and Jam, along with the super subtle Cake and Like….give some oomph to lighter lip tones.” Glossier also says that the lipsticks will “appear a bit different on everyone as your natural lip color shows through.” That’s not to say they’re buildable – they are, trust me! Still, I love how different (& how good) all the Generation G shades look on every skin tone.

Why Zip & Jam for fall? Well, because although the lip shades are sheer, they’re also buildable. Zip, a beautiful “poppy red” can be just lightly dotted onto the lips for the slightest hint of color. It can be used over a lip liner for a little extra pigment (& hydration) it can be slathered on as you run to work, school, or your night out. You don’t need a mirror for this red lipstick – that’s a huge plus. Also, the name is cute. Don’t lie to yourself!

Jam, “a deep berry magenta” also looks beautiful on all skin tones. I’ve worn this for casual looks (bare face, nothing but Jam) as well as for performances (with a lip gloss over top). There is something about the effortless finish that the Generation G lipsticks have that give them dimension & beauty – yet require no extra effort. These two are winners – trust me.

Jam is on “top,” Zip is underneath

Milky Jelly Cleanser 


If you really want to see me drool over Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser, you can read an in-depth review here. I’ll keep it short, though. Just know: this cleanser is suitable for all skin types. Essentially, it’s a “jellified micellar water” (described by Glossier CEO Emily Weiss) & has a formula based around the poloxamer, the cleansing ingredient used in contact lens solutions. That means that it’s safe to use as an eye makeup remover & that it is extremely, extremely gentle. Throw in some Vitamin B (a powerful, natural moisturizer), comfrey root extract (heals dry, stressed skin), rosewater (gives the product its signature delicate floral scent), & you’ve got a winner. I can’t recommend this enough; neither can my friends. I have friends who use MJC – some have oily skin, some have normal, some have combo, & some have dry – but they all love Milky Jelly. So do I – & I’m betting you will, too.


Wowder Brush

I have nothing against Wowder – I like it when I use it – but it’s not in my top list of Glossier products I love. That’s nothing against the powder, it’s just my dry skin talking. When I do use it, I prefer to moisturize heavily, then use Wowder as a “blurring” face product. But let’s talk about the Wowder Brush.

Dense yet soft bristles – the Wowder Brush

I was very pleasantly surprised by the quality of this brush. This costs less than a MAC brush, it’s extremely dense, it has a nice angle, & oh boy is it sturdy! There are no signs of loose parts, a bad glue job, & the brush doesn’t shed, either. I also love the hygienic little pouch it comes in.

Doubles as a pencil case/lip-liner case

Do I use this for Wowder? Sometimes – but I’ve been using it to highlight, too! In fact, that’s the main tool I’ve been using to highlight (if I’m using a powder highlight) ever since I got the brush. I’ve used this on subtle highlights & over-the-top highlights. The angle makes it easy to place the glow just where it needs to be. The silvery-pink color of the brush handle makes it fun to use (it’s just so pretty) & it really does a great job. Wowder isn’t in my “top ten” but the brush most definitely is. If you’re looking for a good-quality synthetic brush that is multi-purpose, this is a good option.


Haloscope in Quartz 

There are three shades of Haloscope: Moonstone “an opalescent glaze,” Quartz, “a universally flattering, pearlescent highlight,” & Topaz, “a healthy, sun-kissed glow.”

I love all three Haloscope shades, but I decided to actually show photos of Quartz, as it’s literally described as “universally flattering.”


If you don’t know the scoop on Haloscope, it’s described as a face highlighter (in a cream stick form/formula) that is a dual-delivery formula: “the outer halo is infused with genuine crystal extracts for all-day enlightenment, with a solid oil core of vitamin-rich moisturizers for a hydrated, dewy finish.” Don’t get scared by the word “oil” – this will not break you out (at least, it didn’t break me out). It doesn’t slip & slide, & I know that I’m dry-skinned (maybe it slips on oily skin) but I haven’t had a problem ever. If you’re more on the oily side, try setting it with a powder or just a setting spray.

A peek at the inner & outer “cores” of Haloscope

This is definitely the highlight shade that I know will work well on all skin tones. Although it has a bit of that champagne/gold in it, it has the pearlescent reflects – meaning that it’ll work on cool & warm undertones. It’s also extremely versatile; use it as an eyeshadow, an inner corner highlight, or tap it on the cheekbones. For a super over-the-top look, apply Haloscope on the high points of your face – then layer a powder highlight over that. The results? Blinding.


Read more about Haloscope here – or just start shopping.

Mask Duo

Mega Greens Galaxy Pack mask on the left; Moisturizing Moon Mask on the right

This little mask duo is heaven-sent for people with all skin types. Combo skin? Apply the Moisturizing Moon Mask & the Mega Greens Galaxy Pack Mask at the same time – just in different areas. Dry skin? Moon Mask will save your life this winter (I know it did mine). Just want a detox? No matter what your skin type, Mega Greens has your back – & it does some serious work at reducing redness/inflammation.

Mega Greens Galaxy Pack….
…..& Moisturizing Moon

So – Glossier says that their masks are “designed to work in harmony to hit the reset button on your skin. One detoxifies, while the other hydrates.” That’s definitely true. But they work just as well on their own, too. The Mask Duo is amazing – but if you know you won’t need one, just pick the one that speaks most to you. It’s hard for me to pick one, since they’ve both helped my skin out in such different ways – but they’re both good. Either way, I think you’ll have made a good choice (if you have to pick one).

Super Pure Serum

My vial of liquid gold 

There’s a few Glossier skin care products that I treat like Boy Brow. Aka – cannot be without it/skin would look worse without it. Super Pure is one of those holy grails. I love it so much, I did a mini review on it. I love it so much, I tried out The Ordinary’s zinc/niacinamide serum to see if it was a dupe (similar, but definitely not a dupe). I love it so much, I can see a difference in my skin if I’ve gone a few days without applying it.

The Supers Pack is a great option for those new to serums – & it’s a good deal if you know you’re going to use all three – but the one I recommend across the board is Super Pure – always Super Pure. “It gets troubled skin in check and flushes out impurities, including excess sebum that builds up inside pores. The light, water-gel formula quickly absorbs into skin,” Glossier says.

Almost empty; time for another!

It’s the water-gel formula that makes this serum so special. Not drying, not tingling, not oily – it’s just the perfect consistency for every skin type. No need to worry about clogging your pores; no need to worry about being dried out. This serum will keep you clear. It’ll also keep dryness at bay. I don’t know how many vials of this I’ve been through, but I’ll keep going until the end of time. I’ve said enough. If you want a true, good-quality review, here’s my #MiniReview on Super Pure.

Lip Gloss

Do you badly want one of the #glossierpink pouches, a sticker sheet, & a product…but you’re just not sure what to get? Or: are you on a low budget? I think Lip Gloss has your back here.


Glossier Lip Gloss was first introduced as a limited-edition holiday collection: the Black Tie Set (read about it here), which included a Haloscope highlight in Moonstone (now also permanent), a #glossierpink nail polish (no longer available), a pretty black ribbon, an eyeliner – called the No. 1 Eyeliner in Graphite (hopefully will make a comeback) &, of course, the Lip Gloss.

Lip Gloss was officially released as a permanent item spring of this year – so it’s here to stay. It’s incredibly hydrating (I use it as an overnight lip mask sometimes), isn’t sticky (okay, every gloss is a little sticky, but as far as lip glosses go, it’s not STICKY), & has a surprisingly long wear time.


Any more info? Well, it has a doe-foot applicator – just a standard one, like most lip glosses/liquid lipsticks do. You won’t have to worry about it drying out your lips as it wears off, thanks to one of the key ingredients: Vitamin E. That’s what makes it so hydrating.

Yes – as you may have already noticed, it does look slightly pink in the tube (which I love) but it applies crystal-clear. It gives me a transparent shine – yet it has sparkles…but there are no sparkles in it. Glossier describes it better than I can: “cushiony, crystal clear shine, no stickiness, no grittiness, no glitter…a comfortable, glassy finish that won’t disappear after an hour (oooh yeeeah). Shine on, friend.”


Cute. It’s also the perfect size to throw in your bag – big enough to find, small enough to make it easy to carry. & the bubbles that form in the tube when you take out the applicator remind me of a lava lamp. I call it “the lava lamp of lip glosses.” Truly – shine on!

Cloud Paint Cream Blush


Scared of blush? Me too – the only one I would ever use (& that was rare) was NARS Orgasm. When Glossier released their Cloud Paint Blushes in the spring, I was really scared. I knew I’d give one a go, because at least one would appeal to me. I picked the pinkest shade: Puff.

Time went on, & I ended up collecting all four. Do you want to know the best part? The colors that look best on me are the ones I would have never expected to look good on me. That is: Haze, a dark fuschia berry shade, similar to Generation G Lipstick in Jam; & Beam, an orangey-coral that ended up selling out because it was so popular (I get why).

My two favorites (I think Haze will be perfect for fall)

There are a lot of great things about Cloud Paint. First of all – it last forever. You need a tiny dot of pigment (especially if you’re very fair like me) to do the job. Secondly: Cloud Paint is a cream – that means that they move with your face, not on top of your face. This makes your makeup look more natural; more you. Finally: every single shade looks good on all skin tones. There is no “ugly” shade of Cloud Paint for me. Sure – I like two more than the others, but I can’t complain about any of them. Glossier’s also made a Cloud Paint Duo – that’s where you choose your own two colors (& save some money to boot). I find this nice, because Cloud Paints look just as good when used together (blended) rather than by themselves.

A bit of a throwback – longer hair, but the blush is the same: Cloud Paint in Beam

Some hacks: blend a little Cloud Paint on the bridge of your nose. It’ll give you a flushed, sun-kissed look without the sun damage or sunburn. It’ll also make the blush on your cheeks look more natural. As for swatches – I have one for you, but be sure to check out the mini videos on Glossier’s Cloud Paint page – you’ll see a lot of good tips on how to apply them, as well as how they look on different skin tones.

Hand swatches of Cloud Paint. From bottom to top: Haze, Dusk, Beam, Puff

I never thought I’d say it, but I own an orangey-coral blush – & it looks good on me! Leave it to Glossier to convert me.

Body Hero Duo

I don’t have a lot to say about this, except that 1) I use the Daily Oil Wash as a shampoo, too 2) The Daily Perfecting Cream is like a highlight, except for your body. It smells amazing. I want it in a candle form. Stay tuned for my opinion on how long it lasts after a month has gone by (we’re almost there) but as of right now, I’m going with: it’s worth it, you’ll smell amazing, & you’ll have glowy collarbones, legs, & shoulders – plus, you’ll get a cute, cheeky sticker. The duo really is a shower upgrade, but if you have to get one, get the cream – read why right here.

A pretty pair

Priming Moisturizer Rich

I saved one of my favorite products of all time for last. Priming Moisturizer Rich is one of the most exciting Glossier products to me – that’s because it is perfect – & I mean perfect – for dry, sensitive skin.

The “sister” of the original Priming Moisturizer was released in January 2017. I immediately bought it, & I have not stopped using it since I started. Okay…I have – just a couple times. Every time I’ve stopped, I’ve seen my skin dry out; I’ve had it feel more sensitive, & the ever-hated redness/sensitivity around my nose area gets worse. I switch back to PMR (as I affectionately call it) & boom – problem solved. My skin only gets better with PMR.


This cream is rich in ceramides & fatty acids – “fatty acids” doesn’t sound very glamorous (& doesn’t even sound that great for your skin) but trust me: they help protect your skin’s moisture barrier, allowing hydration to stick around for longer periods of time. This is not a water cream – but it won’t clog your pores. It contains “Five Key Fatty Acids” – this all comes from kukui oil. It provides palmitic, stearic, oleic, linoleic and linolenic acids which help lock in moisture. It contains a (secret?) “Anti-Redness Complex” which…reduces redness, yes, & also soothes the skin. It contains an oxygenating agent, too, which improves your skin tone & texture. Just like the original, it’s okay to wear under makeup – it won’t slide off!

Murumuru butter is a hard, dense butter that Glossier combined with shea butter; it’s this combination that puts the “Rich” in Priming Moisturizer Rich. Somehow, it still doesn’t feel heavy or greasy or oily…can you tell I’m in love with this yet?

My favorite thing of all: lavender oil is a main ingredient. Lavender is an anti-oxidant known for its healing properties; it’s also one of my favorite scents of all time, especially before bed. The lavender oil is what gives PMR its signature scent: herbal, but not spicy; a little floral, but not too fresh. The cream’s scent very much reminds me of an essential oil you’d rub onto those special points on your face & body. It’s an extremely calming scent; perfect for bedtime. On the other hand, it’s an amazing product to wear during the day, too – at least, it is for dry skin. I use this as a night cream only during the summer; as it starts getting colder, PMR will be my day & night cream. I can’t say enough good things about this cream, so I’ll stop after I say four things about it: “Intense Hydration. Redness Reducing. Nourishing. Oxygenating.”


If that doesn’t speak to those with dry, sensitive skin – I don’t know what will. Just trust me. It’s that good – just as good (better) than more expensive creams out there. It’s one of my top four products as a rep, & when I said Priming Moisturizer Rich makes me feel like a queen, I meant it. Another golden product worth its weight.

Well – that’s about all I’ve got! Congratulations, Brits – you’re part of the Glossier family now. I hope this gives you some guidance on what to grab first. Tell me what you got or are planning to get in the comments below!

Oh – I almost forgot. Balm Dotcom is amazing. It’s amazing in every flavor, but especially in Rose, Birthday Cake (doubles as a highlight) & Cherry. Make sure you pick up a few of those. You can never have too much lip balm, right?


Sof ❤

Deals (make sure to convert over to your currency):

  • Boy Brow + Haloscope Duo = $30 – Haloscope Highlighter in the shade of your choice, Boy Brow in the shade of your choice, free shipping, & save $8. Lasts until this Friday (October 6)
  • Cloud Paint Duo = $30 – two cloud paints of your choice, save $6, & free shipping. Permanent deal!
  • Body Hero Duo = $35 – Daily Oil Wash, Daily Perfecting Cream, “BODY HERO” sticker, & X-tra large #glossierpink pouch. Save $5, & free shipping. Permanent deal!
  • Wowder Duo = $35 – Wowder + Wowder Brush (including the pouch). Save $7, free shipping. Permanent deal!
  • Mask Duo = $40 – Mega Greens Galaxy Pack Mask + Moisturizing Moon Mask. Save $4, free shipping. Permanent deal!
  • Balm Dotcom Trio = $30 – three Balm Dotcoms in the shades/flavors of your choice (yes, you can pick three of the same one!). Save $6, free shipping. Permanent deal!
  • The Super Pack = $65 – the trio of the Glossier Super Serums. Super Glow, Super Pure, Super Bounce. Save $19, free shipping. Permanent deal! Just make sure you’ll be using all of them! It’s a good deal if you use them all. Otherwise, just get the one you think will be best (I personally vote Super Pure, then Super Glow)
  • Glossier Phase 1 Set = $40 – includes Milky Jelly Cleanser, Priming Moisturizer, & the Balm Dotcom flavor/shade of your choice. Save $10, free shipping. Permanent deal!
  • Glossier Phase 2 Set = $40 – includes Stretch Concealer in the shade of your choice, Boy Brow in the shade of your choice, & Generation G in the shade of your choice. Save $12, free shipping. Permanent deal!

Back To Basics: Morning Edition

“Okay. This past month, I’ve been trying to cut back on the variety of products I use. I tend to want to try the latest & greatest of everything; that often results in finding amazing products, yes! It also results in my skin getting confused – more & more, as time goes on. That is: I try so many new things that if my skin doesn’t like something new, it can take me forever to get the bad product out of my system, since I have to sift through so many other options. I’ll probably make a more detailed post on this to come – but yes, I’m trying to simplify my routine. Doesn’t mean I won’t have lots to say on here, don’t worry! I’m not going to stop trying new things. Skin can always look better (i my opinion) & I’m always open to new options. Over these past few months, especially after starting my site, I’ve learned that it’s just good to have some solid, staple products always in my back pocket – or my top shelf.”

Well, I mentioned this in my August Favorites post –  & now you’re getting the “more detailed post,” as promised. However, since I tend to overdo everything, I figured that I’d split my “Back To Basics” skin care products into two posts: one for the morning, one for the evening. Because – I’ll admit it – my morning & night routines are still different. I wouldn’t call that cheating, though – my skin does need different products at different times of the day, & I could always use an extra layer of hydration in the evening. Let’s call this splitting decision a good one, alright? Plus, you get two articles to read! By me!

What is my “Back To Basics” thing all about?

Well….I am a skin care hoarder. I own too many serums, masks, & other products. I am the first to acknowlege that I don’t need it all – some of it I give to my family or donate.

However…I’m always pulled in by a new campaign’s promises & sneak peeks (I see you Fenty Beauty!). That results in me spending more money on a product I might only use once or twice – I might not even like it.

Even if I do like the product, I have to remember – using 10 serums that all work really well on me isn’t necessarily good for my skin. Sure, it’s good to use a hydrating or brightening serum – it amps up your routine a bit & sometimes is that last thing you needed to achieve your “skin goals.”

I came to realize that I was skipping around products too fast; too soon. If I ever had some sort of reaction, it’d take me weeks to figure out which product was doing that – if any at all. I decided to narrow down my routine & keep it a bit more consistent.

So! I sat down in front of my top shelf, I made some hard cuts, & I came up with a much simpler, quicker skin care routine. I allowed myself to layer some serums & oils – but like I said, I narrowed it down & simplified it. I gave myself one pass: I would do whichever face masks I thought necessary. No limits on masks! Everything else, though…cut!

I have been doing this routine for about 10-14 days now, & have been loving how my skin looks. Brighter, fresher, more awake – even though I’m actually working a “real” job now! Gasp!

Now: let me get to work. Here are the products I’ve been using every morning for the past 10-14 days. Photos & mini reviews included, as always!

Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser 


I’ve raved enough about this cleanser for you all to know how much I love it – & why I love it. If you don’t know, here’s a piece I wrote all about it. Anyways: this cleanser is soft & gentle on my face in the morning, feels like a nice floral massage when I use my hands to cleanse, & when I pat my face dry, it doesn’t feel tight or painful. Most other cleansers make my skin feel this way; that’s one of the reasons why I love Milky Jelly so much. There are many more, too. Trust me.

Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs, & Rosewater

I have been using this for years & have loved it; it’s the simplest, easiest toner out there, in my opinion. I know a lot of people have complained about this product in the past, saying that there’s better out there, but I like what I get with the price. Still – I’ll be switching up, soon. I’ve been recommended the Heritage Store Rosewater & Glycerin Spray – people say it’s the Mario Badescu one, but better; there’s more actual rose in there. I like that; my skin loves rose (though I know not all skin does) so I think upping the percentage of “real” rosewater will further help calm redness & sensitivity. Still, it’s Mario for now – til I run out!

Kypris Antioxidant Dew


This stuff is liquid gold. Truly! The only other “high-end” brand I’ve seen such instant results with is Drunk Elephant’s Babyfacial/Framboos Serum. The Kypris Antioxidant Dew contains a bunch of herbal antioxidants, as well as Vitamins A & C (for moisture & brightness) & “an array of botanicals.”

This is quite a combination, & this product has quite the price tag…but I assure you, it’s worth it. For sensitive-skinned people looking for a clarifying, brightening product, this will be perfect for you.

The Dew is a very lightweight texture; no stickiness, tackiness, or goopiness. It looks a little like almond milk, just a little bit more substantial in consistency. I use only two drops: into my palm, pat hands together, pat on the face. Done. Kypris advises that this product be used as a lightweight moisture layer – & that’s exactly what I do with it.

Aromatica Damask Rose Soothing Gel

Described as a lightweight moisturizer for “the face & body,” my face would be way too dry if I used this alone to moisturize! I layer it as a hydrating serum-type product

Sorry – I just realized that most of these products were in my August favorites; that’s okay, though…at least you know what I’m really using! This gel has essentially been used as another lightweigh, soothing layer of moisture for my skin. I’d hardly call it a serum as it’s 95% water; it’s more like a gel-consistency toner that sinks into the face. I use a dime-size amount for my whole face. It’s very cooling, soothing, & leaves my face refreshed & feeling even cleaner.

Glossier Super Pure 

My vials (one empty, one full & ready to use) of Super Pure 

I’ve said over & over that if I had to pick one Glossier Super Serum for the rest of my life, it would be Super Pure. This has an amazing water-gel consistency that doesn’t dry down tacky; it soothes redness & calms the skin in general – but it also keeps breakouts at bay. It’s a serum that does several things at once; to me, those are the products that are most worth it if you’re trying to narrow things down. You’ll only be applying one thing; many things, however, will be happening to your skin. In a good way.

Embryolisse Lâit Creme Concentre


A quite affordable, French pharmacy product now much more easily available to acquire in the U.S., thanks to shops like Beautylish & Dermstore. It’s described as a “moisturizer, make-up primer, & moisturizing mask.” That was super exciting to see! I’ve been trying to find a cheap leave-on mask, ever since I drooled over Delilah Parillo using a Sisley Black Rose Cream Mask – also a leave-on mask, except it’s over $200. That obviously wasn’t in the budget, so it was a nice surprise when I read the label before purchasing it.

I’d been asking for some good day creams that weren’t too expensive; although some swear they can’t tell, my skin hasn’t taken well to the higher amount of retinol in Glossier’s Priming Moisturizer (formula was changed for some reason; I don’t know why) & I needed something similar in consistency but not too expensive. A bunch of people recommended this cream to me; Jane Birkin used it, apparently, which was a selling point for me.

I was not disappointed when this product arrived. It’s very lightweight, but it’s still very possible to feel the hydrating effect this has throughout the day. I use a primer over it anyway if I really want to do something nice with my face, but it feels amazing on a “no makeup makeup” day. It feels amazing every other day, too. It’s just really good, okay? I love my French drugstore skin care.

Glossier Invisible Shield Daily Sunscreen


Because everyone needs their SPF. I like this one because it’s lightweight, not sticky, & leaves no white case, since it’s transluscent. When I wear makeup, I use products with SPF in them (CC creams, etc.) but when I’m not, I make sure to apply some sunscreen – just over top my moisturizer.

I won’t lie: I usually use this even if I’m layering another product containing SPF in it, anyway. I just am that careful.

Yes – this one is on the pricy side, but I love gel-consistency sunscreens, & at the moment, Lagom’s famous Sun Gel is sold out (yet again, no surprise) on all the sites that carry it (in the U.S. at least). So, until I’m able to snag a bottle of that (much cheaper) Lagom sunscreen, it’s Invisible Shield for me.

Well: that’s all – for now! I hope you’ve found some products that sound appealing, whether or not you’re trying to make a simpler, more concrete routine. These are all products I have loved since I started using them – that’s why I included them in my back to basics, of course!

What are the products you wouldn’t be able to leave out of a skin care routine? Let me know in the comments if you like!

Because I love overdoing things, I also made a YouTube video where I did this exact skin care routine (excluding sunscreen). Check it out here!


Sof ❤

Mini Review: Glossier Super Pure Serum

Welcome to something new I thought I’d start doing: mini reviews. I tend to go overboard with the writing so I thought it’d be fun to focus on one product, say what I love (& why) & post it up! Less work to read, but just as much of an opinion. More to come soon!

I try to be as forthright as I can about the Glossier products I do & do not like. I’m a rep, so I know some people are suspicious as to whether I’m being honest; I get that! That’s why I’ve done articles comparing The Ordinary’s serums to the Glossier Supers (serums).

In many previous posts, I’ve mentioned how well Super Pure works for me. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something in this little crystal-blue vial that works in mysterious & wonderful ways.


I bought The Ordinary’s Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% Serum, which is supposed to be the closest thing to Glossier’s Super Pure – they both have main ingredients of zinc & niacinamide.

But. But! The two do not work exactly alike. Like I’ve mentioned before, a lot of The Ordinary’s serums are tacky/sticky, & tend to dry down rather uncomfortably. This isn’t an issue with their Hyaluronic Acid, or their Ascorbyl Glucoside 12%, or even their Lactic Acid 5% (which I adore) – but for some reason, the consistency of the Niacinamide + Zinc serum makes me shiver.

What do these ingredients do? Well, niacinamide brightens & clarifies, & reduces blemishes & congestion in the skin. Zinc helps balance the skin, getting rid of excess sebum. That’s the point of both the Glossier & The Ordinary serums with these ingredients: clarifying, balancing.


Like I said, though – these two are not the same. The Ordinary’s dries down tacky & often dries out my skin if used for too many days in a row. Super Pure has a water-gel consistency that dries down without a hint of tackiness. There’s no tingle, no burn – it’s incredible for sensitive skin. & yes, it manages to keep my skin clear – that’s its first purpose, of course. It also keeps my skin hydrated, reduces redness (especially under my nose) & works incredibly well in the mornings to reduce inflammation or breakouts that are already there. Plus – there’s no fragrance, so if any of you are sensitive to scents (including chemical ones) you may have found a really good fit.

My point? Some things can be duped, & some cannot. In my opinion, it’s impossible to dupe Super Pure – & while it’s about 4.5 times more expensive than The Ordinary serum, I’m willing to pay the price. I have other products I can dupe, but this just isn’t one of them.

How do I use Super Pure? One dropper-full patted into my face every morning – never more than once a day. This regular, every-day usage results in me having to replace it every month & a half or so. But again – I don’t mind. It works, I have no problems with it, & it continues to be replaced. I even have a backup – & when I have backups, I know it’s good. Really good.

FullSizeRender.jpg-23FullSizeRender.jpg-21Glossier’s Supers were the first serums I ever tried. I had always been confused as to what to do with them – or how to use them. Face masks are easy, right? Find one for your skin type, slather it on, leave for 20 minutes, rinse, then go on with life. Not so with serums. They’re not so user-friendly, & it can take some real research to find ones that work for your skin type.

Glossier made serums easy & accessible for me – & while I’ve found dupes for two of the Supers, Super Pure continues to remain a favorite, & I will stand by it loyally until someting better comes along…& honestly? I doubt that anything will.


Get the Super Pack for $65 & save $19 here…or just try Super Pure on its own here. Or – get none of them! Your choice. 

What’s your favorite serum (or serums)?



The Ordinary: Are They Dupes? Are They Not? Are They Good? Here’s My Thoughts:

“Have you tried it?” “Does it work?” “So cheap!” “There are dupes for everything!!!

The things being said in the opening questions are most likely about the line called The Ordinary. You’ve probably heard of it in the past half year or so, right?

DECIEM, a larger brand that carries several lines – all have different prices & effects. DECIEM by itself is described as “The Abnormal Beauty Company.” They carry one called Foundation & White RX, to name a few. Their most popular, however, is The Ordinary.

If you haven’t heard of The Ordinary by now, I might be a little surprised. I’m not quite sure how DECIEM pulled this off, but with virtually zero online/paper advertisements, The Ordinary became a cult-favorite line in the skin care community. Serums for $5! Oils for $7! DECIEM “Monkeys” (customer service employees) help you map out a personalized skin routine over email – for free. No one could figure out the catch. It seems that there is none. It’s good for beginners; good for old-timers, too.

I was introduced to The Ordinary thanks to an anonymous message on my Tumblr, telling me I should check out the brand’s prices. I was intrigued, of course – who can resist claims of $5 serums?! – but skeptical. I kept my distance for a while – but everyone else was way ahead of me. I watched the photos of these little bottles whisk down my Instagram feed. I tried to figure out what their “Advanced Retinoid” meant. Then…I started to hear that some products carried by The Ordinary contained some of the same (almost exact) ingredients as the Glossier Supers (Glossier’s famous trio of serums released last September).

Look – I love Glossier! (Duh) & I love using their products. But…no one can ever say no to trying a dupe that might be better than the real…right?

Still, I balked. I just didn’t feel like it. & then I got some Sephora sample rewards one day, & discovered Sunday Riley’s Good Genes. I was (obviously) floored…the results were incredible & an overnight difference was evident.

Buttt…Good Genes is over $100 for a not-very-big-bottle. I don’t have $100+ to spend on a single product. I wish I did! But I don’t. So, I started doing my research. I figured out what lactic acid was, what it did, & what it didn’t do.

A few months later, I was doing my nightly routine, browsing online as I waited for a mask to finish… & I came across (& read a review) of the Lactic Acid 5% on Into The Gloss – a serum I’d been happily using for over 2 months!

When ITG says it’s good, it’s good. When the Lactic Acid 5% got the ITG stamp of approval, I decided to give some others a go. I decided to get the Super Pure & Super Bounce “dupes” – as well as something completely unique.

Without further ado, here’s the list of products by The Ordinary that I already own; I’ll include a small wish list at the bottom & explain why each would be a good choice for my skin

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5%+ HA 2% /Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2%

I first bought the Lactic Acid because of my sad inability to regularly purchase something like Sunday Riley Good Genes. I quickly became grateful I’d found out about this product – even if I knew nothing about Good Genes.

The serums are either light yellow or a dusty brown rose color; the 5% is paler because it is less concentrated. Both have a gel-like consistency – not watery at all. It’s something I like putting between my hands then gently patting into my skin, kind of like an essence.

The serum smells rather odd – plastic-y yet sweet? – & has a tacky consistency even after it’s dried. That’s the only thing I don’t like about the serum(s); bad smells don’t matter to me – as long as a product works, it’s fine!

I noticed brighter, fresher skin & fading dark spots & scars. This got better as time went on. As with all acidic products, I take extra time to ensure that my face (& body) are protected. Remember – AHAs & other peeling products make your face more sun-sensitive!!!

After I used about 3/4 of the 5% serum, I decided to go for the stronger one to see if it would make a difference. I should say: I don’t think it does. The 10% is slightly more jelly-like in texture, & is a darker color. It might tingle a bit more, too The end result, however, is exactly the same as I have seen using my 5%.

I’ve gotten many questions as to whether the 5% vs 10% have different/better results. I’d have to go with no. perhaps, if your skin is less sensitive or oily-type, you could go for the 10% to start off – it might penetrate more easily. For me, however, I saw no difference in the strengths, & next time I refill, I’ll probably go with 5% again. It feels the same, is gentler on my skin, & I can’t notice a difference in results. All good!

The two Lactic Acids. Excellent – but one is not better than the other

The AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution/ “The Vampire Facial”

 Described as a “10-minute peeling solution,” you may have seen this on various Instagram stories – more as a joke, since it’s hard to take an attractive selfie with this stuff on your face; you’ll end up looking like you were in battle.

Despite all the blood/vampire jokes (seriously, make sure you’re wearing something you don’t mind getting stained, just in case) this stuff works. It may be a great introduction to those curious about products like the Herbivore Blue Tansy Mask, or the Drunk Elephant Babyfacial – but those who don’t want to spend $40-80 just out of curiousity.

If you’re looking for a cheap, effective resurfacing masque, this one might be the one for you.

I will say it feels more intense on the skin as opposed to the Herbivore or Drunk Elephant products – & the results aren’t necessarily as good. Still – when I use this, I look & feel brighter/softer in the following days. I just have to be careful to leave it on for only ten minutes (the stuff burns) & to wash all of it off. When using this masque, I only find it necessary to use once a week. It’s that tingly! It can also be a bit drying. If you have dry/sensitive skin, I wouldn’t say it’s a product that gets a hard “no” – I’d just say tread carefully!

This product has barely any scent to it, & the liquid, although thick & gel-like in texture, dries down on the face very quickly. The only two things truly noticeable about the product are its color – & its burning (yet) effective sensation.

I said “vampire”….
….& I meant it. If you are squeamish to blood…this one may not be for you. Still, don’t worry – only needs to stay on 10 minutes

 Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5

This was what everyone was telling me to get as a replacement to my Glossier Super Bounce. I’ll admit it – I was doubtful at first. Eventually, however, curiosity took the better of me & I ordered a vial about 2 weeks ago.

Firstly: oh boy, is it great!!!

Secondly: I feel like a fool not to have purchased this earlier.

This serum is truly great – probably my favorite thing by The Ordinary that I’ve tried. It has no scent to it – it’s just cooling, hydrating, soothing – I could go on. It has a slight tackiness when it dries down, but I’ve found this to be the case with most (if not all) Ordinary products I’ve tried.

I had a bit of a reaction on my face last week & I cut my routine down to the essentials…I added this on, however. I’m convinced my face calmed & cooled down more quickly because of this product. If a Glossier Super can be duped, this is the dupe for Super Bounce Serum. Good product, good quantity, low pricetag.

Cooling, scentless, & hydrating – worth every (less-than-$7) penny

 Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

Again, I was told, another perfect Glossier dupe – this time for Super Pure Serum. Some of you may know that Glossier’s Super Pure Serum is something I use every day, no matter what – it’s a holy grail for me, it’s improved my skin exponentially – so I was doubtful when someone told me that this serum was a dupe for it. I was also curious. Super Pure is $28, right? If a $6.80 serum felt the same as Super Pure, & had the same results, I’d certainly be reconsidering my favorites. So – I got it. & I used it for a week straight.

First impressions: same texture as super pure: a watery gel. There was no strong scent to it; no overpowering chemical scent. It feels very cooling & refreshing when first applied.

Then – & this is what I don’t like about the serum – it dries down tacky.

This is the big difference between Super Pure & Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%. Yes, they contain an extremely similar list of ingredients. But the Ordinary’s “dupe” dries down tacky, & doesn’t reduce inflammation or redness as well as Super Pure does, in my opinion. It’s also slightly drying – Super Pure never dries out my skin. That was another thing to consider. While this is a great clarifying serum, it is more drying than Glossier Super Pure & it does not reduce redness as well. I think by itself, it’s a good serum…but it’s not close enough to the Glossier Super Pure to be called a dupe. Dupes are supposed to perform almost identically to the original product. In my opinion, this one does not. If you want a dupe for a Glossier Super, go for The Ordinary’s Hyaluronic Acid – it’s a great dupe for Super Bounce.

So…let’s go back to the question I’ve been getting all the time lately: “What do you think of The Ordinary?”

I think they’re an amazing company. They’ve grown exponentially in a very short time. They’ve kept their prices lowest of the low. This allows “skin care newbies” to feel comfortable. It’s very intimidating when you’re new to skin care & only see talk about products that are over $40. The Ordinary is a great source for those new to the skin care scene because of their inexpensive yet effective products.

The supposed Glossier Super Pure “dupe” – good, but different. I’m sticking with Super Pure – might add this one in, though

It’s also great for people who’ve been “into” skin care forever. Who can say no to a bottle of 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oilfor less than ten dollars?

 I would recommend The Ordinary as a brand to anyone – & I often do just that. I would, however, advise you to regard The Ordinary as their own brand. Might you find some dupes for more expensive products? Absolutely! But don’t expect everything to be a copy. I think The Ordinary is very focused on its own message. You don’t to be looking for a dupe to shop their products. They will provide you with quality skin care (& customer service) no matter what. They’ll help you come up with your first-time skin care regimen…or help you refine/add to it. It’s just a great, affordable brand that’s been getting a lot of buzz – for very, very good reason.

What’s on my wish list for The Ordinary?

Well, as I type this, I am adding The Ordinary’s Rose Hip Seed Oil – the Marula Oil is also on my eye…as soon as it’s back in stock. Those are the two I have my eye on…especially the Marula. Drunk Elephant sells one for $70 – The Ordinary’s is under $10…which is why it’s always out of stock. A girl can dream, though!

Rose Hip Seed Oil reduces redness & calms inflammation – a great thing to have on any top shelf! I’m was using a Mario Badescu rosehip oil that was much more expensive than The Ordinary’s. I can’t wait to give this cheaper one a go – my sources say it’s incredible.

Like I said – I have absolutely nothing bad to say about The Ordinary! They provide quality service & products; they make everything easy to read/learn about on their site; they give good recommendations. They keep rolling out new products: their foundation drops were all the buzz about a month ago, & they’re coming out with some very cool-looking Vitamin C products that I’m very excited for. Because of all this buzz, shipping can be slow – especially when a new product drops. It can take up to two weeks to get a product.

Once I noticed Beautylish was carrying The Ordinary, I started shopping that brand through Beautylish. Shipping is slightly faster – but my favorite thing about Beautylish x The Ordinary? The stickers that come with every order (as seen in cover image). A small sheet contains labels like “1” “2” or “3.” Some say “Niacinamide” or “Vitamin C.” It’s great for someone trying to build a regimen who has trouble keeping track of the steps to their skin care. It’s great for me too – I’m a Glossier aficionado, after all. Who doesn’t like free stickers with a skin care order?


Sof ❤

What Ordinary products have you tried? What are you thinking of trying? Are there any favorites – or hates? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!