#TopTenSeries: Top Ten Skincare Items of 2017

Hello, friends! Welcome to the end of 2017. I’m going to spare all of you the sentimental words, because I think there’s a time & place for that; right now isn’t the time. Right now, let me talk about my top tens.

My “#TopTenSeries,” as I’m calling it, is a collection of my…top ten ____ of 2017; an article for each category, if you will. In this post, you’ll see skincare. Next up, I have some makeup. Then: top albums, top songs…a few other cool things, too. These things will be either made/released in 2017, or heavily used/listened to in 2017. Basically, I’ll try to keep everything as “new” as possible. We don’t need to hear about the five products that I’m currently loving that have been on shelves for 5+ years…however:

I didn’t know much about skin care until late 2016/early 2017. 2017 was the year that I started nailing down a routine that worked (& still does work) best for my skin. Some of these products will not be brand new, because I didn’t always need the latest & greatest to make my skin look better. I made more of an effort to include makeup brand new to 2017, albums made in 2017, songs made in 2017, etc. Skin care is my one exception to this rule. If something has truly switched up my style, my music taste, etc., I will take care to mention it, even if it’s not made right in 2017. Don’t worry, though – I’ll stick to this year as much as possible!

I’ll churn out as much (quality) content as I can these next few weeks. Then, I’m off: back to school again. I’m incredibly excited to do this once again. You can rest assured that I’ll keep writing on here, but the type of content I write might change a little. Maybe more personal pieces/creative nonfiction pieces, which is what I’m choosing to focus my cognate on my last few years of undergrad.

You’ll come to see what’s next – & I’m not even quite sure what’s next myself – but for now, here’s my #TopTenSeries. These are in chronological order, not in the order of “most to least favorite” – for me to choose favorites in this list would be tortorous, truly. I hope you enjoy it

1. Glossier Priming Moisturizer Rich

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Glossier hinted & hinted last holiday season that they had something special for us in January 2017; we were not let down. Priming Moisturizer Rich was Glossier’s first new product release of 2017…& it remains one of my favorite Glossier products of all time. A cult favorite – as in, “I use this every day” kind of cult favorite.

In the dry winter months, I’ll wear PMR (as it’s affectionately nicknamed) twice a day. Glossier has a seeecret “Anti-Redness Complex” & an “Oxygenating Agent” which are the base ingredients of PMR. Add some murumuru & shea butters, lavender (one of my favorite, most relaxing scents in the world), red algea complex, & a few other things, & you have a rich – super rich – face cream that isnt greasy, cuts redness, & wears well by itself or under makeup.

I’m constantly asked to dupe PMR, & the true answer is that I really can’t. The texture, scent, & effect it gives my face is unique – that’s why I continue to fill & refill (& refill) my jars. It’s coming into 2018 with me without a doubt – probably 2019, too. Try to find a more luxurious-feeling face cream for less money than PMR…you can’t. Give this a go; you won’t regret it. Good for dry skin (obviously) & oily skin alike…everything in between, as well. Like I said, this is a daily staple for me – it’s a twice-daily staple for me in the cold dry months, but even in the humid hot summers, I can’t completely let go of PMR.

2. Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial

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This was the first Drunk Elephant product I ever tried. It was the beginning of 2017, I was at a hotel, staying the night because I had some hospital testing in another city, & I’d stopped at a Sephora on the way in to get some samples. When you’re bored in a hotel room, there’s nothing better than trying out the free samples that Sephora employees angrily dole out (seriously, why are they angry when giving you samples? Asking for a friend).

Anyways – thanks to Into The Gloss, I’d heard a lot of buzz about the Drunk Elephant Babyfacial, & I was seeing the #millennialpink packaging on every top shelf I came across on Instagram. I had a few friends who assured me it was worth it, but I was still skeptical. Babyfacial isn’t cheap – as a brand, Drunk Elephant isn’t cheap – so I decided to get a sample, try it out once or twice, then make my call.

I’ll admit: I was scared to give this a go. The words “Drunk Elephant’s dream team blend of glycolic, tartaric, lactic, citric, and salicylic acids” in the product description had me shaking in my shoes. I hadn’t really tried chemical exfoliants before; I was of the (false) opinion that chemical exfoliants would dry out my face & only hurt my skin. In retrospect, I couldn’t have been more off the mark: chemical exfoliants are actually gentler on my face than physical ones (ex: sugar scrub masks, etc.).

I took my tiny sample of Babyfacial, braced myself for the tingle that I was warned I would feel, & started applying. Yes. It burned…but only for about 20 seconds. After that, I felt a slight tingle or two, but nothing major. I didn’t feel as though my skin was peeling off my face. I left it on for 10 minutes, which is recommended if you’re using it for the first time (especially if you have sensitive skin).

Immediately after I took it off, I sighed to myself, because I knew that I’d be buying it for real. My skin did actually feel baby-soft. I showed my mother. I showed my friends. I told the Internet. I told the man passing me by on the street. My skin hadn’t felt this soft in forever – & within a few days, I noticed that my skin looked smoother & brighter, too.

Long story short: it took me a little less than a year to use up one full-size “jar” of Babyfacial. Was it worth it? Yes. Did it change the way I treat my skin? Yes! I focus more on chemical exfoliants, especially AHA/BHA products, like Babyfacial – & Drunk Elephant Framboos serum, which you’ll read about below.

Are there cheaper options/cheaper AHA/BHA products? Absolutely! Try The Ordinary’s AHA peel, aka “the vampire facial.” It’ll run you less than $10, & it gives off a similar effect. I’ve tried a few different “peels,” “masques,” & “facials,” trying to dupe Babyfacial…but the truth is, this one stands on its own. If you want something cheaper, there are many options out there – but if you want the overnight results, Drunk Elephant is the way to go. A good way to spend some Christmas/holiday $$$. Trust me on this one.

3. Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum

IMG_9946Another product that wasn’t developed in 2017 – but a product that changed my life in 2017.

If you’d told me that I’d be religiously using this serum last year, I’d have laughed in your face, & said that no product this expensive was truly worth it.

Well, I’m crawling back now in shame to admit that I was wrong. This product completely switched up my skincare routine. It made my skin clearer, brighter, & it even made my routine shorter. This serum doubled as several things; suddenly, I didn’t need three serums to make a clarifying concoction. This one just did it all.

I use one pump a day – or evening, since it’s a night serum – focusing on the areas of my skin that aren’t too dry – this is an AHA/BHA product, so it’s no good to put it on dry areas of your skin (they’ll just get more irritated). Treat your skin gently – but don’t be afraid of this serum, even if you have dry skin. Coming from someone with extremely dry sensitive skin: this will not kill you. In fact, it’ll revive you.

The AHA/BHA blend is incredible: you have glycolic, lactic, tartaric, citric, and salicylic acids, all blended with raspberry extract (hence the name “Framboos”). This cocktail of acids sounds overwhelming, but it is not. The balance is perfect. It won’t burn your face off; just prepare for a slight tingling if you have sensitive skin, like me. There’s no odor or color to the product. You’ll feel a slight tackiness, but that fades after you’ve put on a cream – plus, the effects of the serum are worth any tackiness you might have on application.

Drunk Elephant says: “This high-tech gel resurfaces dull skin, lifting dead skin cells away by gently dissolving the glue that holds them to the surface. The results are greater clarity and a smoother, more even-looking complexion.” I couldn’t say it better myself. Drunk Elephant doesn’t need to overcompensate while describing its products…simply because they always work – hands-down. The product description of Framboos on Sephora’s site doesn’t quite do this serum justice, but it comes pretty close. Without a doubt – worth your time & money.

4. Origins Original Skin Retexturizing Mask with Rose Clay

IMG_9299.jpegI don’t usually expect my mother to introduce me to skincare products that will become staples on my top shelf – but this is exactly how I came to discover the Origins Rose Clay mask…a mask that I now admittedly cannot live without.

It was another hotel room stay. My mama suggested we do face masks, to relieve the anxiety I was feeling about the next day’s doctor appointment. I didn’t have any in my travel skincare bag, but she had a little 200 point Sephora sample of the Origins Rose Clay mask. I tried it out. I took it off, & I saw softer, smoother skin that had absolutely no redness – even around the areas of my face that are most prone to redness. I felt clean, detoxed, but not dry. Just super soft, clean, & nourished. I saw the sample was still available, so I snapped it up that evening when refilling a sheet mask I needed. By the time I’d squeezed the sample tube empty, I knew that it was time to go full size.

I’ve been through one full tube of the rose clay mask now, & I have another one (one-quarter empty) sitting on my top shelf, staring at me right now. I just did it last night.

This is a clay mask that I feel safe using even in the driest, coldest months of winter. The Mediterranean rose clay & Canadian willow herb are soothing & reduce redness, while the small jojoba beads give the mask its signature exfoliating texture – but don’t worry, it won’t rip your skin apart. Delicately swirl the product across your face with warm water when removing, & the jojoba beads will gently exfoliate without leaving any microabrasions.

It’s a deep cleanse; takes the garbage out of your skin & leaves behind refined pores, super-soft skin, & absolutely no redness – anywhere. It’s a mask that detoxes my face in the stickiest, most humid months of summer – & it’s just great for fall & spring, too. It’s a year-round must-have for me, & it’ll stay this way. That was just the beginning of my love affair with Origins; there are so many products I adore from that brand now…but this one has a special, special place in my heart. Thank you to my mother for putting me on to this one (but I’m still taking the credits for putting her onto Drunk Elephant, okay? Okay!).

5. CLĒ Cosmetics Oxygen Foam Cleanser 

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Ever since I discovered Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser, I was strictly a fan of non-foaming cleansers. After evaluating my routine several times, it wasn’t too difficult to figure out that my skin dried out every single time I switched from a non-foaming to a foaming cleanser.

I was skeptical of CLĒ Cosmetics’ Oxygen Foam Cleanser because of this – in fact, I’d specifically ordered their Melting Cleanser instead, which is a non-foaming cleanser. They happened to include several sample packets of their Oxygen Foam Cleanser. When I was out of town for one night, I grabbed this packet, figuring that one night wouldn’t hurt.

It didn’t – it actually helped. I was in awe of my skin within half an hour of using the cleanser. I applied it as directed: massaging it into my dry skin with circular motions of my fingertips. Wait 30 seconds, & the gooey liquid turns into a foam – it bubbles up on your skin, kind of like the pop rocks of skin care.

Why’s this one work so well for me? I’m not entirely sure, but I don’t question it too much. it quickly oxygenates and forms bubbles, helping to produce collage and elastin to give skin a soft, healthy and youthful appearance. The first time I used it, I gently rinsed off my face, patted it dry, & looked in the mirror (side note: you can also simply wipe this off with a warm damp towel). My brows shot up. The sensitive, red areas around my nose were gone. My pores looked tighter. My face looked bouncier. All that…& not a sign of dryness.

I haven’t fooled around much with other foaming cleansers since then – the other two I’ve tried dry out my skin, too. If you like that bubbly, foaming sensation but do not like the way your skin responds to it afterwards, this is a great product. It’s a foam cleanser that somehow is also incredibly brightening & hydrating. Again – I won’t question it too much. I just keep an extra bottle (or two) on my top shelf. Besides Milky Jelly Cleanser, it’s the cleanser I use most.

If you want a lighter review on the cleanser, check out what I wrote on CLĒ’s blog right here!

6. Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask

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This was new to Sephora this year, & it was abuzz on YouTube in the spring & summer. Every single dry-lipped YouTuber was raving about it: so much product, so effective, good for day or night. It wasn’t expensive, either. After seeing 3+ of my favorite, trusted beauty bloggers sing the praises of Laneige’s Lip Mask, I decided to check it out. At the time, it was online-only – I couldn’t check it out in-store, & where I’m currently located, there still are not any Laneige products at my local Sephora stores. Sad.

Anyways…I took the leap, made the order, & applied it the night it arrived.

Sephora says that the special Laneige “Berry Mix Complex™ offers a nutritiously sweet and fragrant blend of raspberry, strawberry, cranberry, and blueberry extracts,” while the “exclusive Moisture Wrap™ technology boasts hyaluronic acid and minerals to form a protective film over the lips to lock in moisture and active ingredients.” Basically: this lip mask’s formula has an antioxidant blend of “superfoods” that hydrate the lips & strengthen them, too.

I appreciated the way the mask was packed: it has a gloss-like texture (& can be worn as a “glossy balm” during the day to complete a makeup look) & is packaged in a jar. It is not solid; the jar comes with a little spatula (complete with its own little envelope case) that you scoop product out of & apply to the lips – like a lip gloss wand. I liked the sanitary way in which the mask was packaged, & found the texture to be super rich, glossy, & hydrating. Unlike many glossy-ish lip products, this texture didn’t draw moisture out of my lips…it felt like it was sucking moisture in. I struggle with perpetually dry lips – but I woke up with smooth, soft, supple lips.

Now, whenever I feel my lips getting dry again, I usually realize that it’s because I’ve forgotten to apply the lip mask before bedtime. The Lip Sleeping Mask has sat comfortably on my bedside table since I got it, & I reach for it every single evening. Sometimes, I might even wake up to apply it a second time. If you’re a fellow sandpaper lips, give this a go. You probably will feel as though your lips are a part of your face for the first time in what may have felt like forever. Also great to wear while doing your makeup, if you’re prepping your lips for a liquid lip/pencil/drying lipstick. A good, effective, cheap product to have around – & I’ve been using this almost nightly since July & am not halfway through it yet. I apply librally, by the way. Don’t worry. This will work, & it’ll last you forever to boot.

7. Kypris Antioxidant Dew

IMG_7315.jpgI was conflicted about including this product, but the last few days is what pushed me to include the Antioxidant Dew in my top ten.

This past summer, Kypris sent me a very generous box of gifts, including their famous Antioxidant Dew. I was skeptical, because the product looked so lightweight. I put three drops on my face in my morning routine (following toner, before applying serum) & by the afternoon, I could see my face looked brighter. It felt softer. I had little to no texture on my forehead.

I took a break from the Antioxidant Dew these past two months. I tried to dupe it with another product, after a lot of research into botanicals, & which ones would be best for my skin.

After 3+ weeks of testing this product…I tried a few drops of Kypris Antioxidant Dew two days ago, after not using it for nearly a month. By that evening, I could see – no texture, clearer skin, softer skin…it really had made a big difference in my routine.

Kypris is not a cheap brand – & I made that clear in my brand review. I did say, however, that if I had to pick one product to keep purchasing myself, it would be the Antioxidant Dew. After trying it out the whole summer, taking a break to try a dupe or two, & seeing the quick & incredible improvement my skin made in the last two days after starting to use it again, I’ll say it again: this one is worth it. Spend $10 on your toners, spend $18 on your cleansers (hi, Milky Jelly – hi, Thayers Witch Hazel)…but Kypris Antioxidant Dew is worth every single dollar. Oh – & also, less is truly more with this product. Three drops is all I use. Just once a day. The bottle should last you 6 months at least. If that’s not another selling point, I don’t know what is. I’ll probably cry a little when I have to refill, but I still have a ways to go. Three drops a day = enough, which = good skin, which = me not having to buy it too often that it’ll hurt.

8. Thayers Alcohol-Free Lavender Witch Hazel Toner

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“Your skin will think you’re at a Spa,” is the selling phrase on this product’s description page.

Thayers’ toners have been around forever, & they’re no secret to the beauty world; I’d go so far to call them a cult favorite. For whatever reason, I refused to try them. Don’t ask me why. I stuck to my Mario Badescu Facial Spray & just shrugged off my friends’ suggestions to try the (cheaper) Thayers toner. I think it had something to do with the fact that I felt odd putting product on a cotton pad & then applying it to my face. I finally broke in October when I was picking up a prescription at Target & saw a bottle of the Lavender toner. It’s no secret: lavender is probably my favorite scent, & it’s very soothing on my skin. I decided that it would be $11 either well-spent or wasted, but either way, I wasn’t throwing a huge amount of money at a product. I went for it.

Since then, Thayers has released spray bottle versions of their toner – but I’m actually more than happy with the cotton pad method at this point. I “upgraded” my cotton pads (I use the Shiseido ones; they’re worth it – trust me. Just don’t remove your makeup with them. I think that’s a waste) & my skin has been brighter, softer, & clearer since I started using Thayers Lavender. I’m not sure if I’ll try another…scent? Flavor? Whatever you want to call it – I don’t know. I’m not even halfway through my bottle right now, & I use it twice a day. Thank you to Into The Gloss, probably ten of my friends, & all the comments on Instagram urging me to “go for it.” I’m glad I did.

9. Jade Roller 

IMG_7492.jpeg“What’s that green thing?” is probably the most asked question when I’m doing my skincare on Instagram live. I’ve been asked this so many times, in fact, that I wrote a post about jade rollers…called “What’s That Green Thing?” I know; very funny.

Jade rollers aren’t new to the market; they’ve been used for thousands of years – especially in China (where they originated). They’ve broken the mainstream market, thanks to brands like GingerChi, Herbivore Botanicals, & good old Amazon.com. There are even different colored jade rollers now – & now, you can get rose quartz facial rollers, too. Fancy fancy.

Basically, it doesn’t really matter how expensive your roller is. You can get one for $200, sure – you can also get one for $10. The end result will be the same! Vogue says: “This Chinese skincare tool will cool, tighten, & de-puff your face in seconds.” That’s partly because of jade’s ability to stay cool for long periods of time – & even after it’s been warmed up by the heat of your face, set it down for a second, & it’ll cool down to its original temperature (stick it in your fridge for an extra dose of cool).

Jade rollers are tools that assist lymphatic massage: they reduce inflammation by moving – & improving – your skin’s circulation. This means that it’ll eliminate toxins (less breakouts!), tighten the pores (make your skin look younger & more lifted!),  improve blood circulation, elasticity of the skin, & reduce puffiness. For me, that’s especially helpful around my under-eye area. I use the smaller end of my jade roller to gently massage my under-eyes. Although my dark circles are still present, I don’t mind the look of them – I just want to get rid of the puffiness that my on-&-off insomnia gifts me.

All-in-all, it’s a super relaxing tool that you can use morning & evening. For a spa-like treatment, use a facial oil on your face before going in with the roller. It’ll massage all the good ingredients of whichever oil you choose deep into your skin, resulting in healthier, plumper, tighter, & brighter skin. This was a big win for me in 2017!

Check out some jade rollers here – Herbivore Botanicals & GingerChi both have high-quality double-ended ones, if you’re trying to target large & small areas of your face…but Amazon has the $10 ones that work just as well. Trust me – I’ve tried both.

Glossier Body Hero Duo 

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Is this skin care? I don’t know, but I have to say: this was one of Glossier’s 2017 releases that I thought I could live without. After refilling both the cream & the oil wash, I take it all back.

What I love most about the duo is its amazing fragrance, shared by both the Daily Oil Wash & the Daily Perfecting Cream: the “Orange Blossm Neroli Blend,” which is light, but very herbal. I think it’s unisex, & I like the scent of it a lot – a solid perfume of this fragrance would be incredible.

The Oil Wash is probably my favorite between the two – surprising, since I fully expected the cream to be my favorite. I like the Oil Wash because it’s so unique to any other body soap/wash I’ve ever tried. The Oil Wash has 0% water in it; it’s made up of seven oils, which turn into a creamy lather when rubbed into the skin. They attract grime, then melt it away. Thanks to the 0% water, the pH levels of this wash are great, too – so you can use it anywhere on your body without worrying about imbalancing your skin. I suffer from perpetually dry elbows, but this wash helped eradicate that problem. Usually, when I step out the shower, I need to frantically apply moisturizer. My skin will feel dry & cold if I don’t. After using Daily Oil Wash, I step out of the shower feeling super clean – but already very hydrated. That’s because of the lack of detergents in the wash; I step out feeling like I already have a protective hydrating layer over my skin. You’d think that’d be an oily, unpleasant sensation, but it’s not. My skin just feels baby-soft & pampered, even before I’ve applied the cream. Oh – & the stuff is so good, I use it as a shampoo, too (shh). I know…I barely have any hair, but I need a moisturized, well-scented head anyways, okay? Okay.

As for the cream – I can only describe it as though someone decided to put a few drops of those beautiful illuminating CoverFX drops into the body cream, then blended it together. The result is a super glowy, dewy lotion that smells delicious (like its sister) & looks like you have a healthy, magical sheen on your skin. I especially love the way it looks on my neck, collarbones, & shoulders. The consistency is super rich, which I love. It’s a great cream for the cold months, but it’s not sticky or greasy, so it’ll work for the warmer months too. I decided to include this because I was truly surprised at how good it was – I didn’t think this would be one of my favorite Glossier releases of the year. But hey, we all learn something new every day.

That’s all for now, babies! Tell me your top ten skincare items in the comments – or just one, if you wish. Or none at all. Stay tuned for some makeup, music, & other cool top tens. 

Love,

Sofia 

Sleeping Masks – No, Not The Silk Kind!

Up until last year, I thought a sleeping mask was one of those silky things you put over your eyes, like if you're on an airplane. Or, if you're my mama – every night. When I started seeing "sleeping masks" or "overnight masks" pop up on Sephora's site, & then started finding beauty hauls including this type of product, I was confused. Wouldn't leaving something as thick & concentrated as a face mask clog my pores/break me out/dry my skin down to a corn husk?

Actuallyyyyyy….nope! Not at all, in fact. In an online Allure magazine article, Patricia Tortolani set out to figure out what overnight/sleeping masks are all about – & whether they help.

According to Charlotte Cho, who's the cofounder of SokoGlam (a site similar to Peach & Lily), sleeping masks were first most popular in Korea. That's no surprise! Korea is the skin care capital of the world, famous for their 10-step methods, snail creams, essences, & so much more. It makes a lot of sense that the sleeping mask would become popular there, first.

Okay, so now we know where sleeping masks are from…but that doesn't mean they won't break me out, right?

Wrong! Doris Day, a New York City dermatologist, told Allure that "the purpose [of overnight masks] is to create a permeable seal on top of your skin that makes anything underneath it penetrate better." (x)

So: sleeping masks are meant to protect your skin. They're the sunscreens of the night. They protect your face while all those good serums, oils, & creams on your face do their work better than ever before.

"Okay. But: am I still supposed to moisturize if I'm wearing a sleeping mask?" That was one of the first questions that popped up in my head after I started seriously looking into sleeping masks. The answer – for me, at least – is yes. Sleeping masks are generally very lightweight – lighter than a night cream. If you have dry skin, like me, you'll definitely want to use a cream, too. I can't speak for the oily/combo babes out there, but maybe try first just the sleeping mask (oily-skinned people) & maybe apply apply moisturizer in your dry spots & leave the rest up to the mask (combo people).

I was absolutely terrified when I tried my first sleeping mask. I could hardly sleep – I kept thinking about how my skin might look congested & irritated the following morning.

No congestion, no irritation, no breakouts. Just skin! Glowy, glowy, happy skin. I was impressed. Overnight results are hard to come by – & I was seeing one right in front of me! After that first encounter, I started doing some serious hunting for other sleeping mask. I've collected quite a few these past few months – I have also kindly been gifted some, as well! Here's the ones I love most, organized from least to most expensive! I'll have some discount codes for you at the bottom, too.

"One last question. How do I apply a sleeping mask?" Good question! Gently massage it into your face as you would a cream. Let it sink into your skin so that your face doesn't stick to your pillow! Once you feel like you're just wearing a moisturizer, you're good to go. Just know that some sink in better than others. That doesn't make it a bad mask – it's just a different texture. Effects & sensations will vary!

Enjoy browsing my photographs of my favorite overnight masks – & enjoy reading why they're my favorites! I hope you find yourself a good fit.

SEPHORA COLLECTION: Sleeping Mask – $4

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Yup, they're actually that cheap. Well, a little more with tax. & no, there's not a huge amount of product – but oh boy do they work!

The product comes packaged in some kind of little pod. It's sealed; you have to peel open the top like a yogurt cup! That's the one downside to this product – no way to reseal. Storing in a Ziploc bag works just fine, though – that's what I do!

The masks have a gel texture & feel very light & cooling when going onto the skin. They sink in after 20 or so minutes (I've found that that's the case with most sleeping masks) don't feel sticky or oily. There are ten types, which is fun! I've tried Lotus (moisturizing & soothing), Green Tea (mattifying & anti-blemish) Pomegranate (anti-fatigue & energizing) & Pearl (perfecting & brightening).

Because the texture is so lightweight, none of the masks are drying. They're not oily or tacky, either, thanks to the gel texture. All of the "flavors" I've tried have that same gel consistency – Pearl doesn't feel (or look) different from Green Tea, except for colors.

I love all the ones I've tried, but I absolutely adore Pearl. It contains natural white pearl (evens complexion) & sorrel extrac (provides brightening properties). That makes it a filter mask, if you will! Everything's all even, there's less discoloration, & yes…there's defnitely a glow.

My favorite of all time, though…Green Tea. The one I picked up on a whim when I was panicking due to exam stress – & bad skin because of exam stress – & nervously applied right before bed. I woke up the next morning with almost no congestion or inflammation. It almost completely eradicated my bad skin episode in less than 12 hours! For $4, I'll take it. Each mask lasts you two times if you're generous, three if you're a little more careful.

LANEIGE Water Sleeping Mask – $25

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There's been lots of hype over Laneige, lately – KathleenLights mentioned their miraculous lip mask, the line came to Sephora online, & buzz grew. It didn't seem like anything of theirs wasn't amazing. I decided to try a face mask before I tried the lip mask, & I chose this one because 1) water's always great 2) this seemed to be a cooling, refreshing mask – something everyone could use in the summer!

This is a gel mask, so the texture isn't creamy – but it's not runny, either. I love Laneige's packaging – comes sealed, & every order includes a tool with which to apply the mask. In this case, it was a tiny spatulas. I love how hygienic this method is, & I hope more companies start doing it!

The gel texture definitely makes this a great mask for all skin types. It's incredibly hydrating, brightening, & plumping – but it doesn't feel greasy at all. I use a tiny bit of moisturizer first, then go in with the mask. It's as though water is sinking into my skin! Extraordinarily cooling & soothing – & after it has sunk in, my skin feels just as though I have some amazing kind of toner product on. It doesn't feel like a moisturizer at all…but it's incredibly hydrating. Whenever I use this, I wake up with very fresh, wide awake skin – all thanks to the extra H20 my skin recieved overnight.

Origins Drink Up™ Intensive Overnight Mask – $17

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If you've read more than 2 of my posts, you probably know that I adore Origins (especially their rose clay mask) – but believe it or not, my mama put me onto this one! She'd gotten a small 100 point sample at Sephora & was talking about how she used it instead of night cream. I decided to pick the Sephora points sample after she showed it to me, since I was curious. The sample arrived. Within a week, I was sold.

This mask has a very creamy, luxurious texture & sensation – so it's great for those of you who don't like feeling as though there's gle lingering on your face. Essentially, it is a night cream – the directions say only "twice a week or as desired, gently massage onto clean skin at bedtime."

This mask is best for dry skin types – it contains Japanese seaweed, which repair's the skin's barrier so as to prevent further dehydration & the signs of aging that come with it. I agree that it's good for dry skin – it worked wonders for me! – but people with normal or combo skin can most definitely be happy with it. People with oily skin: get a sample first (in fact, we should always get samples of anything new we're considering buying).

Effects? Well, I started using this mask in early March. Early March is no spring picnic where I'm at. It's still very cold, it most definitely might snow, & the wind's chill remains bone-rattling. By this time, I'm tired of being cold, tired of short days & long nights – & my skin is parched from the wind.

I used my Glossier Priming Moisturizer with this mask layered on top in the spring. I still use it in these hot months, too! I just use a tiny dab of cream to moisturize. Then I massage in the mask.

Origins is a great brand with so many different products. I've never tried anything I've hated – & I adore almost everything that I have tried. Just like the rose clay mask, the charcoal mask, & the Super Spot Remover, this product is one that will become an old friend.

If you've read more than 2 of my posts, you probably know that I adore Origins (especially their rose clay mask) – but believe it or not, my mama put me onto this one! She'd gotten a small 100 point sample at Sephora & was talking about how she used it instead of night cream. I decided to pick the Sephora points sample after she showed it to me, since I was curious. The sample arrived. Within a week, I was sold.

This mask has a very creamy, luxurious texture & sensation – so it's great for those of you who don't like feeling as though there's gle lingering on your face. Essentially, it is a night cream – the directions say only "twice a week or as desired, gently massage onto clean skin at bedtime."

This mask is best for dry skin types – it contains Japanese seaweed, which repair's the skin's barrier so as to prevent further dehydration & the signs of aging that come with it. I agree that it's good for dry skin – it worked wonders for me! – but people with normal or combo skin can most definitely be happy with it. People with oily skin: get a sample first (in fact, we should always get samples of anything new we're considering buying).

Effects? Well, I started using this mask in early March. Early March is no spring picnic where I'm at. It's still very cold, it most definitely might snow, & the wind's chill remains bone-rattling. By this time, I'm tired of being cold, tired of short days & long nights – & my skin is parched from the wind.

I used my Glossier Priming Moisturizer with this mask layered on top in the spring. I still use it in these hot months, too! I just use a tiny dab of cream to moisturize. Then I massage in the mask.

Origins is a great brand with so many different products. I've never tried anything I've hated – & I adore almost everything that I have tried. Just like the rose clay mask, the charcoal mask, & the Super Spot Remover, this product is one that will become an old friend. Oh! & they have recently started producing small, inexpensive mask samples – similar to the Sephora brand ones previously mentioned. It's a great way to give a new mask a go. This mask, as well as the rose clay & charcoal, are available in those little containers.

Glossier Moisturizing Moon Mask – $22

Ah, Glossier. You always sneak into my skin care routine somewhere, somehow.

Seriously, though – this mask is a great one. Described as "the most intensly hydrating treatment we could could make," I'd have to agree with that. This mask is probably not for oily-skinned people – at least, not as an overnight mask. This mask also is great to use for a multi mask (clay on cheeks, moon mask on forehead, for example).

Since it's moisturizing, of course the Moon Mask has hyaluronic acid in it. That helps plump your skin – the acid, however, is too lightweight to clog your pores. It just deposits moisture & doesnt leave residue. The mask has some other great stuff like sweet almond oil, honey, aloe, & plant-based squalane.

I have to say: Glossier was ahead of the curve on this particular mask! It seems to me that Sephora is just now amping up their "superfood" section of masks, like the Tatcha C-Radiance mask, the Youth To The People line, & many more.

Squalane has become very popular as of late – it's a healthy hydrator for all skin types, & it smooths out texture over time.

Since there's so many food-derived ingredients in this product, it feels incredible. Super cooling, super soothing, & so, so hydrating. I also get a bright glow after wiping it off with a warm towel – that is apparently all thanks to the liquorice root & lemon extract in the mask, as well.

Since there are so many food-derived ingredients in the Moon Mask, it smells incredible – kind of like the Korres Yoghurt overnight mask. There's no dairy in it, obviously – it just smells fresh, sweet, but also tangy. It's a super relaxing smell – I like using it after a long day, since it's so gentle on the skin & I know I'll just end up feeling more hydrated. Overall? One of my favorites – also one of the first overnight masks I did. I put on wayyyy too much. My pillowcase wasn't happy. But I learned – & my skin improved, too. Pro tip: stick it in the fridge when you're not using it. The cooling sensation will be even better that way.

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LANEIGE Water Sleeping Mask – $25

Laneige has been getting some hype lately thanks to their lip mask – several beauty gurus raved about it, & everyone rushed to grab it (myself included). & yes, it's worth it – but let's focus on this mask.

Laneige is an actual Korean skin care brand – meaning they were founded in Korea, the country from which overnight masks made their way into the U.S. market. Some are great, but this one is truly something special.

First off, you get more than 2 fl oz. of product for only $25 – & you don't need a lot o product, because it's so beautifull concentrated. Yet – even though it is concentrated, & a little goes a long way, it does not feel greasy or heavy on the skin. It feels like a splash of water (I know) on your face – except the sensatoin lingers & lingers.

I have dry skin, like i mentioned, so although this mask is quite concentrated & hydrating, I still like to put a bit of cream underneath my layer of mask – the mask will have more work to do – by locking greature amounts of moisture that will absorb into my skin! Win-win.

I always wake up looking wide awake, dewy, & fresh. It's an amazing mask to have on hand in hot weather – I had a heat rash a month or so ago & this mask made the rash feel better – & leave my body more quickly.

In short, nothing to complain about it here – I am just glad that Laneige is now at Sephora. As far as I am aware, they're online-only at this time – however, what with all the hype over the lip mask, I am sure we'll soon see Laneige products in the K-beauty section, nestled between Too Cool for School & Dr. Jart.

So much product, such a great effect, good on all skin types. To me, that's a good mask. Oh! & cheap, too.

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Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Hydro Sleep Mask – $48

Oh, look at that! Another water-based sleeping mask, made by a Korean brand. Don't be fooled, though – these are actually quite different in texture, although they have extremely similar effects.

Dr. Jart was kind enough to send me their Water Fuse products (a collection that came out earlier this summer) to review, & I have a complete review of the collection coming very soon – but for now, here's the deal with the sleep mask.

This product comes in an air-tight pump – it reminds me a bit of the Drunk Elephant Babyfacial pump. It's definitely thicker & more concentrated than the Laneige mask. It's basically clear, but also has a slight transluscent blue to it. There's no overwhelming scent – it's just fresh, & fades very quickly, which I like. Like I said, it's a more concentrated product – that means it's quite sticky. I pump it onto the back of my hand & massage it in upwards motion across my face – then I'm careful not to put my entire face on the pillow while I sleep!

Seriously, though, this is a very good mask. It's not a life-changer, but it's also not bad – & it's very different than the Laneige mask. With the Laneige, I see a dewy, moisturized effect in the morning. With the Dr. Jart+, I see brighter, more perky skin – a lift, almost. They both provide great amounts of hydration. If you're looking for a sturdier overnight mask, this one is probably great for you – Laneige's sinks in quickly,  this one stays a bit tacky, which probably means it'll appeal to people with more mature, dry, or sensitive skin – it gives just one more punch of hydration; one you know won't break you out.

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Peter Thomas Roth Rose Stem Cell Bio-Repair Gel Mask – $52

Is this a bit excessive for a gel mask? Probably. Could you find a cheaper gel mask? Absolutely. However – I will say that I got this mask around Christmas. I am not even close to being halfway done with it. That's because of how it is used. It's multi-purpose; can be used as a 10-minute mask if you apply a thicker layer. It can be used as an overnight treatment after it is refridgerated, then very thinly applied all over your face.

Like I said – I have sensitive skin. I'm always on the hunt for cooling products. That's why I love the Laneige mask so much! I'd say this one is quite similar. You get a huge boost of hydration – but the one extra thing? Roses. Roses make everything on your skin better (at least, that's what I tell myself). Here, rose stem cells (hence the name) are blended with rose extracts, using new technology. This helps reduce inflammation (& acne) helps with anti-aging, & hydrates & soothes the skin.

With all those rosy ingredients, you'd expect the product to smell like rose. It does! It is not that strong, however. I find it to fade very quickly; the only time I'll catch a whiff is if I am using it as a 10-minute mask.

Would I purchase again? I don't know! It was not a life-changing product, but it does smell incredible & has helped my skin heal quicker when I do use it. I'll have to think about it. Remember, though – less than half has been used!

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Herbivore Botanicals MOON FRUIT Superfruit Night Treatment – $58

Here we are at the finish line, folks! Here is the most expensive sleeping mask I own.

"Here" is the Moon Fruit Superfruit Night Treatment, by Herbivore Botanicals. It's gotten a lot of hype online…probably due to its striking violet shade & buttery texture. Some other pros? Contains AHAs, which exfoliate & resurface while you sleep. The creamy texture ensures that your skin will not tingle – not when applying, not after applying, not when you wake up the next morning. So, it sounded great for those with sensitive skin, or those who simply don't like the sensation of AHA peels/masks/masques. & finally, Herbivore Botanicals is 100% cruelty-free & vegan – & it was the first 100% cruelty-free & vegan brand to land a contract with Sephora.

I have both bought Herbivore products with my own money, as well as recieved some from the company (thank you!) but this product came to me a different way: it was actually given to me by a friend (@platosmuse on Instagram) who didn't like it & offered to send it my way. Why wasn't it liked? I definitely asked before accepting the kind offer, & I got "weird texture, not really that effective." Still – my skin type is dry, while my friend's is oily. I was very curious after hearing that opinion, & I wondered if my dry skin would react more positively (or negatively) to the treatment.

Well, it's true: Moon Fruit has a very, very stiff texture. I had to warm it up in my hands a little before using it. You also have to be careful with sealing the product – it fades if you don't screw the lid on tightly enough.

The stiff texture is a bit off-putting, & so is the purple tinge. Last thing? Scent. I don't know how to describe it, but it is quite powerful – not in a bad way. It's very herbal, very luxurious.

The first time I tried it, I used it overnight (obviously) – & how to use? I just skipped my night cream, & massaged this into my face in lieu of my usual. I:

  • Had trouble working the product into my skin. Don't get me wrong – I love a good facial massaage, but seriously? This one would not sink into my skin, no matter what I did
  • Eventually accepted some residue would stay on my face & went to sleep
  • Woke up with a blue face – & a blue pillow. My mother was seriously frightened because she leaned over & tried to wake me up…she thought something bad had happened!!!
  • Looked in the mirror & didn't see much of a difference

Let's just say that my first attempt was not successful. My skin hadn't broken out, no – there were no actual problems…but my skin didn't look as hydrated as it usually does when I use my normal night cream (Glossier PMR). In fact, it looked a bit duller. & my pillowcase was purple. Boo. I also had issues while applying the treatment: it felt like product was pilling on my face. Sure enough – when I looked closely, there were small rolled-up dark purple balls of product.

I wondered if I was doing it wrong, so I headed to Herbivore's site (their own site, not Sephora) to try & find some tips & tricks. I learned:

  • If your skin is still purple after massaging in the treatment you have used too much.
  • If you see there's too much purple on your face, continue to massage until satisfied. Blot off excess with a towel.
  • Herbivore suggests layering one of the oils they make over top the treatment, for optimal results (& the best moisture lock)
  • I gave it another shot – & I was much happier. I also tried Herbivore's tip to pat a little bit of oil over top the treatment. That makes the treatment seal into your skin & work better.

 

  • I felt dumb for not looking it up before, but I am glad I looked into it instead of brushing it off as a dud product. I also got some tips for applying it – using a jade roller, or just taking a good ten minutes to give your face a massage with the treatment – it is a facial of sorts, after all.

I felt dumb for not looking it up before I used it, but I was happy that I now had some tricks up my sleeves – & I truly wanted to like the product. It looks beautiful, it smells nice, & the ingredients are all wonderful – finding a hydrating yet resurfacing treatment is rare, so, again: I really wanted to like it. I decided to go for a second round a few days later. I applied a little moisturizer this time, just to ensure that the treatment would go on more smoothly, then started massaging in a smaller amount. I used my hands first, then went ham with my jade roller.

Still….not a success. There were patches of purple on my face, & product was still pilling off – it just didn't seem like it was absorbing. After struggling for a while, I decided to go ahead with the oil step. I used an Herbivore oil – the Orchid one, which I adore – & used about 4 drops, first rubbing into my palms, then pressing into my face.

Nope. The product pilled more as I applied the oil, until I wondered if there was even any treatment left. Don't get me wrong – the oil felt amazing anyways (I truly do love that oil) but as for Moon Fruit? It Just Was Not Working.

Moon Fruit, I am sincerely so sorry! I hoped I would love you. Your color, your claims, your 100% cruelty-free, organic, vegan certifications…I love Herbivore products with all my heart, & tried so hard to like this one – but after a third application (once again using a jade roller & an Herbivore oil as recommended), I decided that Moon Fruit & I were just not meant to be. & that makes me really sad…because what on earth sounds bad about an overnight resurfacing treatment that is also hydrating? I guess next time, I'll just use my Herbivore Blue Tansy – another AHA mask (not an overnight one) that actually works incredibly well for me. Then I'll put on my Laneige water mask & drift off.

I wish this product did all that it said, but it didn't. I'm not mad at Herbivore – I still think they're a great brand. They have good policies, good products, & a great philosophy. More brands need to go cruelty-free – & it would be great to see more brands with those "organic" or "vegan" certifications, too.

I just think that there are better sleeping masks/treatments than this one. I have mentioned most of them in my post. I wish it worked, but alas – not everything is peachy-keen. I'm just glad I didn't spend $60 on something that didn't work well! For people curious about Herbivore's line, I recommend you try their Blue Tansy mask, their soap bars, or their oils. Just don't reach for this one!

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Well, that's it, my friends! I hope I gave you a good bit of information about overnight masks if you've never used them before – & if you have used them before, I hope I put you on to a new one, or gave you a new idea to try yourself. It's a bit odd to think of a face mask staying on your face all night; I've found once I got past that initial feeling that it would clog my pores, my fear dissolved as I saw my skin actually start to show overnight results.

As I showed you, there are so many different brands & types of overnight masks, & there are so many affordable, good options out there. Remember – the most expensive product is not necessarily the best.

So – go get yourself a new overnight mask, do a treat yourself evening, & wake up feeling fresh & happy. You're welcome!

Love,

Sof ❤

Interested in the Herbivore products I mentioned, like the Blue Tansy Mask, the Orchid Oil, or any other Herbivore product? Here's 25% off! I especially recommend their oils, their lip scrub, & their Blue Tansy mask – like I have said about 5,000 times by now.

 

July Favorites: A Whole Lot of Hydration (& Silk, Shimmer, Mint, Honey)

Happy Aug – holy shit, it's August??? Summer??? Didn't we just have the Solstice???

I'm panicking too – but I'm also reflecting on some of my favorite products I've used this July. Most of them are brand new & were wonderful surprises – some are old favorites. There should be at least one that fits your budget! I hope you enjoy a little tribute to the month of July. I'm ready to start testing things for August.

Laneige Water Sleeping Mask – $25

I heard about Laneige (the brand) thanks to KathleenLights. She'd been raving about their lip mask in several of their videos. I immediately checked them out on Sephora & was shocked by the low prices – & high ratings. I didn't get the lip mask right away, but I was in need of a sleeping mask – this water one looked amazing, & compared to most overnight masks, this was practically pennies to pay.

I was 100% NOT let down by this product. You get 2.3 fl. oz. for $25, & the jar comes packed full to the brim. It's also sealed air-tight – like a yogurt cup, you have to peel off the top – & includes a little spatula for application. Major points for the hygienic packaging & the large amount of product for the price paid.

The first time I applied it, it sank in very easily, felt extremely cooling & hydrating, but didn't feel tacky or sticky – it also didn't stick to my pillowcase, which is a problem I often have when using sleeping masks. I woke up with extremely glowy, bouncy, hydrated skin that had little to no redness (big problem of mine waking up, especially around the nose area).

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Definite repurchase – & a reminder that KathleenLights always puts me on to good products with low price tags. The success I had with this mask led to my next purchase:

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask -$20

Okay – the success I had with my first Laneige product was a direct cause of my next purchase. Now that I knew that Laneige's other products were good, I was ready to try the lip mask that everyone – Kathleen, Instagram beauty bloggers, & the people reviewing on Sephora – was raving about. This has an almost full 5-star rating on Sephora, which is incredible…so I was excited to see what the hype was about.

Again – massive amount of product compared with other brands like Bite or Dior (both have overnight lip masks). A little product goes a very, very long way; it feels a bit like a gloss, just a little creamier. It could be worn during the day – you'd just get some shine, so if you don't mind that, I'd go right ahead & wear it during the day (I have done it!). It smells like cranberries & strawberries, & the consistency surprised me – I thought it would be a harder, balm-like texture. It's very soft, similar to the Dior Creme de Rose balm if we're looking for comparisons. This also comes sealed & with a spatula – again, major points.

According to Laneige, the mask's "exclusive Moisture Wrap™ technology boasts hyaluronic acid and minerals to form a protective film over the lips to lock in moisture and active ingredients. A generous layer of this soothing mask at bedtime helps reduce flakiness so you can wake up to lips that feel refreshed, supple, and soft to the touch." This includes Vitamin C, antioxidants, & fruits like…you guessed it! Cranberries.

The first night I used this, I didn't exfoliate my lips, I just used this product, & this product alone. I woke up for the first time in months with extremely soft, plump lips. I tried it again the next night, this time using the Herbivore Coco Rose Lip Polish first. The results were even better – lips looked healthy, hydrated, full of color, & plump without looking fake (I hate that look).

As someone who's continually dehydrated (thanks, chronic illness!) it's hard for me to find balms/salves that work really well on my lips. Glossier's Balm Dotcom in Rose (or Birthday if I'm feeling fanc) is my go-to for the day time, but it doesn't always work perfectly as an all-night lip mask. This Laneige mask is now a staple in my night routine – & I think it'll stay that way for a long, long time.

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Lip Balms

Now that we're talking lips, let me share with you the three balms I've been using this past month during the day that have been life-savers.

First off – Fresh Beauty Sugar Sport Treatment Sunscreen SPF 30Sugar Sport Treatment Sunscreen SPF 30 – $25. I know $25 is a lot for a lip balm – but this isn't "just" a lip balm. It can be used on other areas of the face (like the eyelids or cheekbonees or nose) that sunscreen might not settle into so easily. The SPF made a big difference on my lips – protecting them from the sun makes them less chapped, & using this treatment was proof of that. I talked about using this in my post about being at an amusement park for the day, which you can read here, in a lip balm post which you can read here, & also in an SPF post, which you can read here. Just know: it's great. & it is very cute, too.

Secondly – Glossier Birthday Balm Dotcom – $12. This was released in June, but I developed new appreciation for it over the month of July. I've been using it as a balm – of course – a highlight, & a lid gloss. The shimmer in this product makes it very multi-purpose. Think of it as a cream highlight, but cheaper. Yes – this balm is permanent collection! The special Milk Bar sticker it comes with, however, only lasts for the summer…so if you're all about collecting limited edition stickers/pins/products I'd hurry up & buy this, since I do believe the sticker is gone by September. Also – remember that Glossier changed their shipping policy! Now you can buy any 2 items or more & get free shipping. That means that you can get two Balm Dotcoms (which is $24) & still get free shipping. The minimum previously was $30. Good stuff! Oh, I almost forgot. This smells like birthday cake, of course – it also tastes like it. 10/10, will continue to use.

Finally – Caudalíe Lip Conditioner – $12. I also included this in my lip balm post, & I mentioned that it's a great little luxury to have. $12 is practically pennies if we're looking at the price range of most other Caudalíe products, & it's a lovely alternative to Balm Dotcom for those of you who live in areas where Glossier is not yet shipping. This smells like champagne, has a waxy texture – which I personally like – & is a lovely little luxury. It looks chic, works very nicely, & is available internationally! Win win.

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WINKWINK CALM Mask – $40 (*PR-gifted)

WINKWINK is an indie brand that's gotten some attention on Instagram lately! They were kind enough to offer to send me a mask, & asked if I had a preference. I told them my skin type (dry-sensitive) & asked them to pick one for me! They sent me their CALM mask. The key ingredients are olive green clay (helps rebalance oil flow, strengthen skin & aid scar-healing); matcha powder (powerful detoxifier); & peppermint (eases swelling, reduces redness and calms itchiness. Also a source of salicylic acid).

Basically, this is a clay mask that detoxifies – but is gentle enough for dry, sensitive skin. I was a bit apprehensive when I saw a main ingredient was peppermint; my skin doesn't always love that "minty feeling" (I know, I'm weird) & I was worried I might get a rash or something. It's a reaction I had (unfortunately) to Lush's Mask of Magnaminty several years ago. It's a me thing, not a brand thing.

Surprisingly – this was incredible!!!!! Truly…incredible. I've used it three times now, & always feel detoxed & clean. I also feel hydrated & cool – but in a good way. This is probably the only minty mask that I actually love & want to keep using – the results are lovely & it really does feel good, to my surprise & delight! Check out their range – there's some other great detox masks. But especially check out CALM. You won't regret it.

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The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 – $6.80

I spoke about this in my brand review of The Ordinary (read it here) & talked about how I think it's the only serum that can truly be a dupe for a Glossier serum (as of right now, anyway). This one is a hyaluronic acid serum, so it's a dupe for Glossier's Super Bounce Serum. Both have plumping, hydrating, soothing qualities – this one just has those qualities for much less.

I love the cooling sensation of this product,  & my skin has been a lot calmer since I've started using it! Even when I did a bit of a product detox, I made sure to keep this one in my routine. I'm glad I did, because my skin looks & feels more balanced thanks to it. Also – order through Beautylish! Faster shipping, comes with cute stickers – & also, you often will get unexpected samples (ex. I got tiny Bioderma bottles with my last order).

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Farmacy Honey Potion Renewing Antioxidant Hydration Mask with Echinacea GreenEnvy™️ - $56

Okay – expensive, I know. But also – there was a sale when I bought it (a $15 off special & I was curious!) so it wasn't only a good deal when I bought it…it's an old friend.

I used this on & off throughout the winter but didn't really pay it much attention. It was the first "warming" mask I'd ever used, & I was confused on how exactly to use it. I put it in the back of my cabinet & didn't take it out much.

When I was straightening up this month, I found it again, & decided to give it a serious go. The goopy, honey-textured mask (it's called Honey for a reason) is golden-yellow, until you start massaging it into your cheeks. It melts into a creamy white, & warms your skin; not uncomfortably…just right.

The mask contains "honey (a natural humectant used since ancient times), propolis (an antiseptic found in beehives), and amino acid-rich royal jelly. Echinacea GreenEnvy™ is a unique variant of echinacea purpurea, which contains a high concentration of the phytochemical cichoric acid—a potent, natural antioxidant that enhances hydration and the purifying benefits of honey. Glycerin attracts moisture to the skin and provides hydrating effects for a suppler appearance. " Basically, it's a product sourced from honey & derivatives of honey. It's supposed to plump, clarify, hydrate, & renew – all at once.

In my opinion, this mask is a 2-3 day process. In fact, Farmacy recommends you use it 3 times a week. It's detoxing, so you might see some small breakouts the first day after using it. After I used it three times, however, I could see that my skin was clearer & more transluscent. It's not drying, either – so it's great for dry-skinned people. Just be aware that warming masks don't work well with some skin. Patch test a mask like this if you're not sure how you'll react to it!

Personally, I now adore this mask & will be getting a refill – even though this time it'll be more expensive. Farmacy's released a whole honey line since this mask was put out, & it all looks beautiful & worth a try. This mask, however, will be purchased first.

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Dr. Jart Water Fuse Ultimate Hydro Gel – $39 (*PR-gifted)

I don't have many water-based moisturizers or masks. Well, not until this month, anyway! Dr. Jart was kind enough to send me their Hydro collection (this moisturizer as well as an eye gel & sleeping mask) so stay tuned on a complete review of those products.

I do know already, however, that this Hydro Gel is my favorite of the trio (that's why you're seeing it here). I've only tried one other water-based moisturizer, & that was the Sunday Riley CEO. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it – I only had a travel-size, & I definitely didn't feel like it was worth getting a full-size. I felt like I wasn't maintaining hydration; the gel sank in, but was I getting anything out of it?

With this one, I know I am. It's incredibly cooling & soothing – "hydro" is right. It truly feels like a second face wash after I've put this on. I've been using this as a day cream ever since I bought it; it pairs beautifully with my daily sunscreen: Glossier Invisible Shield. Both are incredibly lightweight & invisible.

This product made me reconsider water-based moisturizers! It showed me that they do work; you just need to find the right one. I know that this was gifted, but I will be purchasing this myself if it continues to work so beautifully.

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Milk Makeup Holographic Stick in "Mars" - $28

Milk Makeup's been around the block a few times – but they really started getting hyped after they released their first Holographic Stick: "Supernova," a holographic, purple-y opal highlight that caught the eyes of YouTubers, Refinery29, & beauty blogs amass. Everyone wanted that holographic shade. I never ended up getting it – I own the Anastasia Beverly Hills Moonchild Glow Kit & didn't feel as though another silver-purple highlight was necessary.

My interest in Milk's Holographic Stick became a bit more intense when Milk announced their addition to the collection: the shade "Mars," described as a golden pink. It was said to be universally flattering, great on the deepest & lightest of skin tones.

I looked at the shade online, in videos & photos & decided that this highlight was targeted for those with deeper skin – that's who mainly featured this product, anyhow (I'm not trying to say that marketing is a bad thing; on the contrary I support & try to highlight brands & products that market to all skin tones).

When I swatched it in-store this past month, I decided to take the plunge. It felt very smooth, & I figured I could use a little fun in my life.

Happy ending! The stick is extremely soft, doesn't pull on the face (it might take off foundation if you're applying it directly & have a heavier amount of face makeup) & leaves a duo-tone, peachy-pink sheen. It's not oily, it doesn't smear – it looks dewy yet unique; subtle enough for my cheekbones but cheeky enough for my eyelids. I love this & was shocked on how well it worked on my skin tone – just as beautiful, but very different from some of the swatches I'd seen on deeper skin tones.

I think this is a great product if you're looking for a bit of a fun highlight that's easy to apply, travel with, & can be multi-purpose!

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The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil – $9.80 &Mario Badescu Rose Hips Nourishing Oil – $22

Clearly, I'm on a rosehip oil kick. Why? Well, it's because rosehip oil is one of those oils that works on every skin type – it does a lot of things, & none of them are bad. It reduces redness & inflammation, soothes skin, reduces texture, clears pores (which reduces acne) & a whole lot more. Basically: if you have oily skin, use rosehip oil. If you have normal skin, use rosehip oil. If you have…you get my point.

So, these are the two options I have tried. I first tried out rosehip oil with the Mario Badescu Nourishing Oil. It was good! It reduced redness & cleared pores – it always felt a bit runny, though; hard to pat onto my face or even mix into creams.

This past week, I got The Ordinary's Rosehip Seed Oil…worlds of difference. This oil's vial is UV-protected, so the oil doesn't lose potency over time due to light. This oil is extremely pigmented & rich in texture…just two or three drops is all you need for your face.

The Ordinary's version of rosehip oil is less than half of what the Mario Badescu one costs…& it's been changing my skin in the most positive of ways: more hydrated, less irritated or red, clearer, too! Even though it's only been a week, I know this one's the winner. This is a great example of cheaper product being much more effective than a higher-end product. They're the things we all want & strive to obtain! This is one of them.

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Saturday Skin Featherweight Daily Moisturizing Cream – $47

I have raved about this product before, & for good reason: it's extremely hygienic (similar air-tight packaging to Drunk Elephant's Lala Retro Whipped Cream), extraordinarily hydrating, & beautifully soothing.

This was a cream I used during the day during my skin detox. Only a cleanser, a toner, a serum/oil, & a cream…this was my day cream! Chaology Beauty (the company behind Saturday Skin) has developed a special formula: one that is in every single one of its products. According to Chaology, Saturday Skin's effectiveness is from "the Cha-7 es Complex, an exclusive peptide formula that promotes skin's natural regeneration process…increases collagen and elasticity while reducing melanin production for a flawless, stress-free complexion."

Basically, every Saturday Skin product ever makes you glow, lifts your face, & keeps infections & irritation away. This is how I've felt using this product. It does the job just well enough that absolutely nothing is imbalanced. Definite repurchase, definite old friend.

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Slip Silk Pillowcase in "Pink" – $79 (*PR-gifted)

I know, I know!!!! This is definitely not one of those things you just casually go to pick up. But silk pillowcases are amazing for your skin, hair, & scalp – especially for those with compromised or sensitive skin. Slip was so kind to send me their (very luxurious take) on a silk pillowcase! There are cheaper options (still wonderful, too) on Amazon for those who can't take this kind of purchase plunge.

Hate being that person, but yes: I really do feel more refreshed. My skin is softer & more relaxed – no pillow wrinkles anymore! My scalp is softer but not rubbed to redness – something I might notice more accutely, now that I'm you know…bald. I'm not sure about the anti-aging claims – remember I'm still just 20 – but my skin does feel softer, looks brighter, & feels more pampered. Going to sleep feeling like a king won't hurt your skin – ever.

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That's all for this month! Things were brought back, new things arrived – I was surprised by new & old products, several times! I'm excited to see what August will bring.

What have your July favorites been? Let me know in the comments!

Love,

Sof ❤