For as long as I can remember my shaving routine has always been pretty minimalist and basic. I’ve always thought the options for men have been much more impressive than those for women. They have so many subscription services, new brands, creams and shaving kits to choose from where I feel like the options for me are so limited. When I had the opportunity to try Billie, a shaving subscription service just for women, I jumped at the chance to try it out!
They set me up with the Starter Kit which comes with a Billie Handle (comes in several super cute colors to pick from), two 5-blade razor cartridges, and a magnetic holder you can attach to your shower wall for storage. The kit runs at $9 and they’ll deliver replacement cartridges depending on how frequently you shave as often as you need them. I shave once per week so the system is setup to deliver 4 replacement cartridges every 3 months. Shipping is free for the starter kit and replacements too.
You can also add on a few extras like their Shave Cream or Body Lotion. I’ve put three Billie products to the test and here are my thoughts:
The Billie Razor gives a nice smooth close shave without any razor burn or bumps. There are five blades encased in aloe shave soap around the edges which when wet helps add a buffer to the skin for the shave. I’ve tried this on my legs and under arms and really like how it shaves.
The Billie Shave Cream is a thick creamy shave cream rather than a foaming shave cream. This has a nice smooth feel on the legs and leaves them feeling hydrated. (Full ingredient list is on their website.)
The Dry-Bye Body Lotion is my favorite thing out of all the items I tried. I’m so picky with body lotions formulas because I have sensitive skin and scents can often interfere with my perfume of the day. This one has a nice light citrus smell but the scent fades after a few minutes. It dries down to a nice velvety finish which is going to be perfect for me when the humidity rises here in South Florida.
Overall I’ve been really happy with my Billie Shaving Kit testing! The razor is something I will definitely keep using and if you’re looking for a matte finish or velvety finish lotion with a nice dry down the body lotion is definitely worth checking out! The price point is very good for the quality and design and I’m so excited to finally up my shaving game with this set.
What’s your shaving routine like? I’d love to hear about your favorites!
By popular request I’ve put together a round up of all the lip balms you’ve been asking about. I’ve included thoughts on tinted options, clear ones and a few lip plumper formulas. I know it’s not officially spring yet, but I’m calling this a spring lip balm roundup because seasonal beauty collections launch ahead of the actual season. I put around a dozen formulas to the test. Most of the tinted color options are newer for the season but I also mixed in some clear options that are new to me for those who just want a treatment without color. Formulas covered today:
The Hourglass No. 28 Lip Treatment Oil in the new tinted shades are ones I’ve been getting the most questions about. I have used both the clear and red ones in past years, used them up and didn’t repurchase. The formula is one of the most beautiful luxurious lip oils I’ve tried. It feels like a spa treatment on the lips but doesn’t have a bad taste. I ordered the neutrals sight unseen. I think they’re amazing for the beautiful neutral soft pink tints but on my lips all three look pretty much the same. Bare is a soft beige pink, Cameo is a rose, Adorn is a soft pink. Coverage is on the sheer side and like any oil color won’t be long lasting even if you can still feel the product. I think they’re insanely expensive. I was prepared to be thoroughly disappointed just because of the price but after playing with these I think they’re a really nice splurge. I don’t think you need all the neutrals that I bought, to me they’re really similar, if I had to pick one it would be Bare. (Scroll down for swatches, after the Givenchy bit.)
The Givenchy Le Rose Perfecto is a hydrating lip balm that comes in tinted colors now. The original ones are supposed to be color shifting according to your lip/body chemistry but it didn’t do anything for my lips. I tried it once, wasn’t impressed but kept it for future testing. I swatched some new colors on my hand in store and they looked so pretty I had high hopes. I bought two of the new tinted colors 101 Glazed Beige and 201 Timeless Pink which looked promising but I hate them. It’s rare that I’ll full on hate a product, although there have been plenty of products I’ve given a negative review on the blog. I try to be fair in the sense that my personal preferences don’t always make a product bad (ie sheer isn’t always bad, frosty isn’t bad as some like extra shimmer, super matte also isn’t bad as some want that extra matte look). Sometimes I’ll give something a bad review because I think the color is boring or unflattering, or sometimes I think a product is simply not worth the price tag. I actually hate this formula. It has horrible patchy application, not hydrating and sinks into my fine lines. Even blending doesn’t work to smooth out the color. The only nice thing is the pink packaging and slim style of the tube. All that being said the online reviews are overwhelmingly positive for this formula.
Swatches of the Hourglass and Givenchy shades:
Bobbi Brown Extra Lip Tints are probably the next best option to the classic Dior Addict Lip Glows. Over the years I’ve received a lot of messages from readers who like the concept of the Dior Addict Lip Glows but their body chemistry causes the colors to turn almost fluorescent on their lips which they think is unflattering. I think the Bobbi Brown Extra Lip Tints provide a more subtle tint, but this of course is going to be different on everyone. You can read my review of last year’s options here. These are nice hydrating balmy tints that feel moisturizing without being thick. This year I tried Bare Pink (subtle pink on my lips), Bare Nude (sheer subtle beige flush) and Bare Blackberry (perfect soft berry color, think Clinique Black Honey toned down a few notches).
YSL launched a new addition to their Volupte line with the Volupte Plump in Color. I’ve been sitting on these for months and finally put them to the test. I bought the neutrals which barely show up. I normally don’t mind sheer balms but the two I picked 01 Mad Nude (soft pink) and 07 Furious Gold (shimmery pale gold) aren’t flattering on me. These have a super sharp tingle with the plumping factor. It stung my lips so much so that I could not feel my upper lip after 2 minutes which made me panic. When this happens I usually get an allergic reaction and my face looks like I’ve been stung by a bee. I removed it immediately with makeup remover, washed my face and lip again and then used a cleansing water to make sure it was 100% off. I really loved their Volupte Tint in Balm and prefer the color and formula 100%.
NARS launched another version of the Afterglow Lip Balm in a clear option with SPF 10 called Clean Cut. This is a nice non-irritating lip balm. Since Clean Cut is clear I feel like the Afterglow Lip Balm Orgasm version is more special. It’s a really nice smooth balm. Lips are noticably softer and smoother. I really love the way it feels. I’m not sure I feel it’s worth the price for clear. Formula gets a solid A+ though.
Dior makes some of the best lip plumpers and color transforming balms. No matter how many other brands come out with their own version I think Dior still does it best.
The Lip Maximizers aren’t really lip balms but they had new shades that were launched with new balms so I’ve put them in this roundup. In the past I’ve felt the color lineup of the Lip Maximizers were pretty basic. Not a bad thing necessarily but even the tinted ones didn’t do much except add a lush plumpness to the lips. The new ones are sheer but show up better on my lips. I’m LIVING for the Pink Holographic and Purple Holographic ones. They have noticeable shimmer chunks but it’s 100% smooth and not overly frosted. I also bought Rosewood which is new to me (I’m not entirely sure if it’s new) and it’s a sheer effortless beige pink which I love.
As a Lip Glow Addict Lover I was really interested in trying the new Lip Glow to the Max shimmer/tint swirls. I have such mixed feelings about these. If I have a choice between matte and shimmer, I almost will always want the shimmer. The shimmer in these is a little much for me. It’s not frosty but it has a very metallic look which I don’t think is flattering on me. It’s almost a little too glowy. Lips look super lush and full with the shimmer + tint and I like that they are very pigmented. I prefer the Holo Rose Gold and Holo Pink options or even the classic non-shimmer ones instead.
Clear Balm Options from Drunk Elephant, Lipstick Queen, Sol Janeiro, Laneige and Fresh
Last but not least I have a roundup of some of the clear Lip Balms options I’ve tried over the past few months. Thoughts on how each one performed:
I bought the Drunk Elephant Lippe Balm in a holiday set and was pleasantly pleased. It’s a nice basic hydrating lip balm I think makes for a great unisex option. It’s lightweight and hydrating but does the job at fixing dry patches. It’s a clean formula with avocado, mongongo, cranberry, and marula oils. It’s non-scented and doesn’t have a taste. Finish is semi-matte.
Lipstick Queen came out with a new Lip Restore Balm which is a really nice thick clear option. It has a twist up applicator with a plastic end. I’ve kinda fallen out of love with Lipstick Queen lipsticks over the years as I feel other brands have better colors/formulas, but this was a really nice one. I used it during the day and also over night and think it’s a solid option to try.
The Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Kiss has the cutest fun bright packaging I decided to give it a try and am throughly impressed. It’s on the thick side but very moisturizing with a natural glow. It’s heavily scented but not too overpowering for me. I can’t use their body products because I find the scent too strong for me to handle but the lip balm is better. If you’re sensitive to scents this may be too strong for you. It has cupuacu, açaí, and coconut oils.
Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask came out in a Vanilla option. I asked for thoughts on stories because I feel it’s so heavily hyped. Thoughts and opinions were either extreme love or hate. I can’t use the original berry version, the scent is so strong it nearly knocked me on the floor in the store. I think the Vanilla one is much better in scent. It’s a smooth hydrating lip balm, but I don’t think it’s the best and for me it doesn’t live up to the hype. Bite’s Agave Lip Mask is much much better and more hydrating.
Fresh Sugar Mint Rush is their latest for the lip balm line. It has a nice fresh minty sweet finish that isn’t too strong or sharp. It has a pleasant soothing cooling feel. I left it on overnight and lips were nice and soft in the morning. I feel the Bite is more hydrating and effective for super dry lips.
Best: Best tinted ones are Bobbi Brown and Hourglass and favorite clear options are Drunk Elephant and Sol de Janeiro
Worst: Givenchy, YSL Volupte Plumping (because it’s painful) and I think Laneige is just ok
I still think the By Terry Baume de Rose, Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask and regular Dior Addict Lip Glows are among the best formulas I’ve tried. I love trying new formulas though, especially tinted ones! There are a few formulas and colors that I probably would not have bought to try but so many of you were asking for reviews I did. I hope you found this roundup helpful!
I have a roundup of some of my favorite travel skincare items that I brought with me on our trip that I used. I tend to over pack on some beauty items, especially makeup, but for skin care I feel like I can keep my travel picks edited. We were in California for a full week and out of the items I packed these are the things I used! Most of my trips have been shorter ones so I pack minis with me when I can.
I usually pack a few face masks on trips but this round I brought my Foreo UFO and it was perfect! I reviewed in detail here, you can see a quick video demo here. I brought 10 packets of the different sheet formulas and used it every single day of our trip. I also packed it into my carry on bag to use on the plane. My skin tends to be dry at higher altitudes so this was the perfect tool to help replenish moisture quickly in 90 seconds. The weather in San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco is also noticeably colder compared to Florida. Climate is also a lot more dry. Having this with me was perfect to hydrate and rebalance my skin. It was super convenient and compact to pack into my travel case.
For moisturizers I used two throughout the week. On most days I felt the Glow Recipe Watermelon Juice Moisturizer mini was sufficient for a lightweight moisturizer. The rest of my skin care routine was enough to balance my skin for something like this one. On a few days and night when I needed more I used the Tatcha Travel Silk Cream.
For lips I packed two items, the Tatcha Kissu Lip Mask (it was limited-edition and currently not available but I hope they bring it back!) and Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask in Champagne. I used the Tatcha Kissu at night and kept the Bite Beauty Lip Mask with me in my purse for on-the-go application. Both are excellent options for dry lips.
Two face mists I ended up bringing were the Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist and Omorovicza Queen of Hungary Face Mist. I did not need two but we booked our tickets last minute and I ended up with duplicates with my rush packing job. I ended up using both throughout our travels but found myself reaching more for the Tatcha one. I love that both are travel friendly in size!
Everything was packed up in a few travel pouches including my Away Mini Travel Case (sold out, but hopefully will be back!) and the Truffle Jetset Clarity Case. Both versatile and nice for traveling. I kept a few things to carry on the plane with me but for the most part checked the rest of the liquids in one of our medium suitcases.
There will be a few more packing posts to follow on my travel makeup and more but for now I hope you enjoyed reading about my skincare picks! I think I packed well. I could have skipped was the Baby Facial and packed 1 face mist instead of 2. We were only gone for a week but this was an open ended trip and there was a possibility we were going to be traveling for a while longer. I did feel like I was missing two key things. One was a good eye cream, but I felt my moisturizer did the job for the week. I also did not pack any acne spot treatments, but thankfully I had no breakouts this trip to worry about! I feel the best things I packed for skincare included the Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask and Foreo UFO Smartmask. I now consider those travel essentials and definitely plan on bringing those with me on future trips!
Do you have any favorite travel skincare essentials? Do you tend to pack for shorter trips (1 week or shorter) or longer vacations? Would love to hear about your favorites!
Post sponsored by Foreo. Press samples featured include the Foreo UFO, Tatcha Dewy Skin Mist, Away Travel Case. Other items purchased by me. As always all opinions are my own.
Winter has brought about cool and dry weather and my skincare routine has changed with the season. Even though south Florida is usually warm it’s been significantly colder in the past month or so. Tampa weather is similar to Southern California weather right now! I’m thrilled to be able to wear sweaters and jackets right now. I’ve teamed up with Nordstrom to share a roundup of my favorite winter skin care savers I think are suitable for any skin type.
At home cozy wear: Thermal henley from PJ Salvage, denim by Paige, sandals from Tory Burch (yes, sandals in winter, probably only in Florida! lol the weather does fluctuate quite a bit still), zip pouch from Truffle
I think some of the best skincare sets you can find to treat yourself are from Fresh Beauty. I love their Rose Skincare line because it’s gentle and nourishing. I’ve been a huge fan of their Fresh Rose Floral Toner which also comes in a mini size perfect for travel and in this season’s Rose Skin Care Set. Exfoliation for the skin is key to keeping it smooth and help the regenerating process, I love their Sugar Face Polish – it’s the best gentle face scrub that exfoliates and gently hydrates without being greasy. It’s also in their Great Escape Face Mask set which I think everyone should try. For body I’ve particularly loved their Black Tea Age Delay Body Cream because it’s lightweight in the drydown but still very moisturizing. It’s lightly scented but in a fresh kind of way so it doesn’t interfere with my perfume too much.
I love trying out hand creams. I usually prefer ones with a velvety finish but this time of year I need something stronger. My three favorites right now include the Aesop Resurrection Hand Balm (also comes in a larger pump bottle size) for an aromatic one, Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve is probably my favorite strong moisturizing hand cream and anything from L’Occitane is a no-fail option, I love their Holiday Hand Cream Trio with the Rose, Delightful Tea and Shea Butter in their festive packaging.
There are always some nice set options available during this season. They’re perfect to treat yourself or split up as stocking stuffers. A couple others I’ve tried recently include the Lano Coconutter Hand Cream Intense which is indeed very intense and on the thick side. Once you let it dry/set for a minute it doesn’t feel as thick or sticky. I also splurged on the new La Mer Rejuvenating Hand Serum which is the most I’ve spent on hand cream. I need to test it more before I review it but it feels so nice and it’s silky smooth!
My body has felt the most impact with the dry weather. I always have to switch things up this time of year and I’m so thankful for L’Occitane’s Almond Body Care line. It’s probably the best for irritated or dry skin and I know SO many of you swear by their shower oil. I love the L’Occitane Almond Milk Concentrate because it has an ultra smooth texture that glides on and melts into the skin like a dream. Their Almond Supple Skin Oil is also fantastic. I’ve been living off of minis for a while and decided it was time for the full size again. It comes with a spritzer which I truly appreciate with oils. It makes it so much easier to apply!
Last but not least are a few of my favorite face mists. I’m a huge face mist junkie and I’ve tried dozens. Even in Florida we need extra moisture year round. Outside is often humid and hot, especially in the summer, but we’re still prone to having our skin dry out with the constant air conditioning indoors. Not to mention it’s on during the night when we sleep too! Face mists help add that little bit of moisture throughout the day without ruining makeup. Four I’m loving right now include the Saturday Skin Daily Dew Hydrating Essence Mist, Omorovicza Magic Moisture Mist, Omorovicza Queen of Hungary Mist and the Fresh Rose Floral Toner. All of these have a super fine mist spray and lightweight finish without leaving a film on the skin.
My one favorite is probably the Omorovicza Queen of Hungary Mist but this year they launched a bi-phase version called Magic Moisture that you shake up for more moisture. I think both are equally good. The Fresh option is more of a toner that comes with spray pump but I also use it as a face mist (it’s also alcohol-free).
This wraps up my winter skincare favorites! I picked items I felt would be suitable for a wide range of skin types, even sensitive ones. As always I’d love to hear what your winter favorites are. I know that Florida winter is mild compared to other places so let me know what works best for you! I love reading about the things you use.
You can find all these products at Nordstrom. If you’re shopping online also don’t forget to check out their Gift With Purchase page as they update it regularly. Their Holiday Shipping Deadlines are also listed on their website if you’re doing last minute purchases!
Many thanks to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. Press samples featured include the Sisley Black Rose Oil, Laura Mercier Rose Balm, Laura Mercier Rose Mask, Omorovicza Magic Mist.
Every year around the holiday season, I always gift Molton Brown. For me it’s a no brainer because there is always something for everyone – even those that are hard to shop for!
I’m the biggest fan of their Bath & Shower Gels which have the most refreshing scents. Each year Molton Brown launches a limited-edition scent for the holiday season. This year they introduced the new Muddled Plum Collection which is perfect for those who want something different from the traditional spice or pine scent. I’m thrilled to partner with the brand to give you a peek!
Muddled Plum is a warm and cozy scent with a fruity feel that mixes rum, saffron and plum into one delicious fragrance. They describe it as “a celebratory aroma featuring rich notes of oak-aged rum, saffron and plum” which couldn’t be more perfect because I love anything with sandalwood during this time of year.
Top notes: orange, saffron and elemi. Heart notes: plum, davana and oak-aged rum. Base notes: sandalwood, benzoin and musk.
The Muddled Plum Collection is composed of 6 different products, all great for gifting. Everything is beautifully packaged that looks like a gift in itself. The collection includes Body Lotion ($44 for 10 fl oz) and Bath & Shower Gel ($35 for 10 fl oz). I prefer to use the shower gel as my bubble bath after a long day as it lathers nicely, has a strong scent and leaves my skin feeling soft. The Body Lotion is perfect to apply after a long bath and leaves your skin feeling deeply hydrated.
A perfect stocking stuffer is the Festive Body Wash Bauble ($15 each). This item is shaped like an ornament so you can also hang it from your tree!
The collection also includes an Eau de Toilette ($65 for 1.7 fl oz) which has really good lasting power on the skin. This one makes for a nice warm fall scent with the mix of sweet and a little bit of spice.
My ultimate fave product from the collection has to be the Scented Glitter ($45) which I’ve never seen before! This is such a cute idea – you can sprinkle it on your tree, gifts, your dinner table or letters you send. It’s purple and silver to match the festive plum color theme.
Lastly, from the collection we have the Single Wick Candle ($50). It burns beautifully and fills the entire room within minutes. It has a soft mellow burn so it’s not overpowering.
There are so many gift options for the holidays at multiple price points! The new Muddled Plum Collection is a great option if you’re shopping for the person who already has everything as there’s a good chance they haven’t tried it yet! I typically buy their Hand Creams or one of their Holiday Crackers to give away, but this year they also have an amazing Opulent Infusions Advent Calendar as well!
You can find the Molton Brown Holiday gift sets and Muddled Plum Collection at MoltonBrown.com. The collection is limited-edition for the season and can also be purchased with gorgeous gift box options.
Using natural deodorants is an essential part of my daily beauty routine and one of my favorites is the Kopari Coconut Deodorant. Since exploring clean beauty this year so many of you have expressed interest in me reviewing more in natural beauty products. As a huge fan of Kopari I’m thrilled to partner with them to share more about their Coconut Deodorant – it’s already a favorite and it’s been featured in a number of favorites and shopping recommendation posts along with their Coconut Melt. This particular deodorant is one of three formulas that I’m very loyal to. As I’ve tested some natural beauty products I’ve found that some formulas can be hit or miss performance-wise, but Kopari products have never let me down. I love this deodorant is aluminum- and baking soda-free, keeps odor away and doesn’t dry out. It’s no surprise so many other people love it as well because it really does work!
I’ve always avoided antiperspirants because of their ingredients. From a young age my mother and aunts always told me not to use them. For those not familiar, note that there is a difference between deodorants and antiperspirants. Antiperspirants are products with ingredients such as aluminum, baking soda and added fragrance to prevent sweating while blocking odor. These include chemicals that block pores to prevent the releasing of sweat. This in turn also prevents you from sweating out the toxins while absorbing aluminum into the body. There have been studies that link these issues to causing breast cancer and while there is a lot of debate about these claims and correlations, it’s a risk I don’t want to take. Deodorants on the other hand have ingredients that block odor but still allow you to sweat out the toxins.
Aside from being natural and non-toxic, the main benefit of using the Kopari Coconut Deodorant for me is that it really does work to keep odor away the entire day. It goes on the skin 100% clear and doesn’t stain white clothes or tees. It has an emollient texture that glides on but doesn’t feel sticky afterwards. It won’t have a powdery or matte dry down because of the formula, but it doesn’t feel thick or greasy. Since it doesn’t contain sweat blocking chemicals I still find that I sweat during a workout but it keeps the odor away even after runs or bike rides in the Florida humidity. For other regular day to day indoor activities it does minimize sweating for me.
It smells like sweet coconuts when you first apply it. The scent is strong but doesn’t interfere with perfume or lotion. I also like that I’ve had a Kopari tube for several months and it has never shown any signs of drying out like some of my other deodorants did way before they were even 1/2 used up. It’s maintained the same consistency and freshness since the day I opened it up.
I’ve been focusing on being more healthy and working on building my strength this past year. Steps have been taken to change our diets to live healthier. I’ve also increased activity with more exercise and weight training to build strength. I’ve taken more care of my body to help cope with stress. Having a more active life style combined with the Florida heat makes me prone to sweating more so having a good deodorant that works is absolutely essential.
I particularly love the fact that there is now a mini version available in the Beauty Besties Set at Sephora. The full size is 2 oz/ 57 g while the mini is 0.9 oz/ 26 g. I had been carrying the full-size around with me from home to my bag to places like the beach or in a bag when we go to the bay to run. The mini size is super convenient to have an extra around to keep in a gym bag or beach bag. So far even in outdoor for extended periods of time heat the stick hasn’t melted in my bag!
I’ve used this Kopari Coconut Deodorant formula for months and like it enough to keep using it consistently. There have been a number of formulas I’ve bought in the past that didn’t work and I tossed after a few tries. I’m really happy with this one. Love that it’s non-toxic, vegan, cruelty-free, and formulated without aluminum, baking soda, and silicone.
As always I’d love to hear your thoughts about natural deodorants that you’ve tried. Let me know what worked or what didn’t for you! If there are any other things in natural beauty you’d like to see reviewed please let me know in the comments! You can watch their #TheTruthStinks Video for more information about this new launch. Kopari Coconut Deodorant is available at Sephora and other Kopari retailers. It’s one I highly recommend.
Many thanks to Kopari for partnering to sponsor this post. As always all opinions are my own.
By popular request I’ve compiled a series of posts on my updated skincare routine and testing. Skincare routines are challenging for me to write about as I am frequently testing new things and I like to switch things up on a regular basis. Since moving from California to Florida my skin has had quite a time trying to adjust to new climates and water conditions. My skin has become truly combination as the weather can make me a bit oily outdoors but the water dries out my skin. I’ve always had sensitive skin and that has pretty much remained the same – I usually react immediately if I have any kind of allergic reaction and then it takes at least a full week for my skin to recover. Luckily with cleansers I’ve had no reactions with what I’ve tested and I’m kicking off my skincare series with cleansers and toners.
I have a rather complex cleansing routine and you definitely don’t need to have one this complex. In the mornings I use one cleanser and then follow with one toner. In the afternoons after workouts or in the evening I definitely double cleanse on a regular basis, sometimes I triple cleanse with an exfoliator added to the routine (scrubs and exfoliators will be covered in a separate post). To try and help simplify things I’ve split all my testing this year by category. At the end of the post I’ll list my top picks and recommendations.
Cream and Gel Cleansers
I prefer traditional liquid cleansers because I find they lather best to really clean the skin (vs gels, balms or oils). Ones I’ve been testing this year along with some tried and true favorites:
Sisley Phyto-Blanc Lightening Foaming Cleanser * ($130 for 3.8 oz/108 g) is a creamy gel cleanser that has a foaming quality when you add water. It’s gentle but effective and does help give the skin a more glowing look to it. It removes excess oil without stripping the skin and doesn’t make the face feel tight after rinsing. Key ingredients according to their website includes white mulberry and scutellaria extracts to lighten the complexion, lemon extract to tone and restore radiance, vegetable glycerine to moisturize, lavender essential oil to sooth and balance and marjoram essential oil to soothe.
Kate Somerville cleansers in general are my favorite because they work the best for my skin type and are affordable for the quality and performance. I often have to rotate skincare because my skin gets used to a product and then I find it becomes less effective. This is not the case with Kate Somerville. My husband also uses these and my brother who is in his early 20’s with sensitive skin also loves these as well.
EradiKate Daily Cleanser Acne Treatment ($19 for 1.7 oz/50 ml to $38 for 4 oz/120 ml) is the best for clearing up the skin. It is part of the EradiKate line with sulfur which is their line that helps with acne and blemishes. It’s meant for oily combination skin, but if you’re dry I think it’s still suitable for weekly use or during times you have break outs. Often times anti-acne skincare is too strong for me and ends up stripping my skin so much. This does not dry me out. Ingredients here.
Gentle Daily Wash ($36 for 4 oz/120 ml, also available in a larger 16 oz size with pump at Nordstrom) is the best everyday kind of gentle wash. I use it in the morning frequently and in the evenings as well. This is my brother’s favorite. Ingredients listed here.
Exfolikate Cleanser Daily Foaming Wash ($38 for 4 oz/120 ml) is a exfoliating cleanser but doesn’t feel like a scrub. It has AHAs and natural fruit enzymes to purify the skin. If you’re looking for an exfoliating wash that doesn’t have scrubby particles this is a great one. Regular use for me helped improve texture and glow. Ingredients listed here.
Glamglow SUPERCLEANSE™ Clearing Cream-to-Foam Cleanser * ($32 for 5 oz/150 g) is the new formula and packaging of their Supercleanse Cleanser. I really loved the original version and was really upset to find there was a new one. I still prefer the original version because I found it stronger and better for clarifying and reducing redness. The new one is still good but it’s creamier, a little more gentle and almost feels like it’s hydrating. It has a pore refining triple charcoal complex with three charcoals: coconut, ubame white oak, and gray bamboo, all designed to detox skin. Mediterranean clays absorb oils to mattify skin and restore balance. I just think the original was better. Ingredients listed here.
Omorovicza Moor Cream Cleanser * ($80 for 5.1 oz/150 ml) is one of the most hydrating cleansers I’ve tried. It has a cream feel with a cream finish to the skin. It’s a detoxifying cleanser and almost has a cooling hydrating feel once you rinse it off. Skin is left feeling refreshed and hydrated. If you want to try this in a smaller size you can find it in the Holiday Cracker duo the or on Omorovicza’s site you can create your own custom mini travel trio. I would not recommend this for oily skin. My husband and I like to use this on our triple cleanse days to add moisture. Ingredients listed here.
Saturday Skin Rise + Shine Purifying Cleanser ($26 for 4.05 oz) is something I tried and liked, but didn’t love. I think it’s a good basic purifying cleanser, but there’s not really anything special that it did for my skin. It has apple and peach extracts which are supposed to remove impurities without stripping. It is paraben-free, sulfate-free, synthetic fragrance-free, synthetic color-free if these factors are important to you. It does a good job at cleaning the skin without drying.
L’Occitane Immortelle Divine Foaming Cleansing Cream * ($39 for 4.2 oz) was something I previously reviewed here. Quick recap is that it’s a great cleanser that gentle and soothing on the skin. I’m nearly done with a tube. It does have a soft scent that you find in the Immortelle line but it’s not strong and does not irritate my skin.
Huxley Secret of Sahara Be Clean Be Moist Cleansing Gel ($30 for 6.76 oz) was something I purchased from Nordstrom when they had the Korean Beauty Pop Up. They no longer carry it but you can find it now at Saks Fifth Avenue. This is one of the most gentle gel cleansers I’ve used. It is a hydrating cleanser but doesn’t leave a film on the skin and it leaves the skin feeling very clean. In general I find I don’t really like gel-like cleansers as they don’t lather as well as others. This one is one I used up entirely and liked, but I prefer Kate Somerville and Sisley.
Toners + Cleansing Waters
Finding good toners that don’t cause my entire face to flare up has been a challenge. My three go-to’s below:
Sisley Botanical Floral Toning Lotion * ($103 for 8.4 fl oz/250 ml) is one of the best toners I’ve tried. It’s an alchohol free toner that is designed for dry/sensitive skin, but suitable for my normal combination skin. Since the water here in Florida tends to dry out my skin having a slightly moisturizing toner works well for me as the water strips my face and the toner helps rebalance everything. It has rose extracts, cornflower and witch hazel. The rose scent is super soft and soothing. I’m super picky about rose scents. The By Terry line is excellent but their skincare is often too strong in scent for me (I’m ok with the lip products though). The Sisley toner is soothing and softening. I’ve accumulated minis from GWPs and have been hoarding them.
Bioderma Sensibio Tonic Lotion ($9.90 to $16.90) is the best toner I’ve used under $25. It’s soothing and softly hydrating. I’ve bought several travel-sized options which is still a bit pricey but cheaper than high-end brands. Ingredients online at Beautylish.
La Mer The Tonic ($90 for 6.7 oz) has been one of my favorite toners for years. I can’t recall how many bottles I’ve purchased. It helps to rebalance the skin and make it feel completely refreshed and clean. I hate repurchasing it though because it’s so expensive. It does last a long time but the price is always a huge ouch to the wallet. Ingredients listed here.
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Darphin Intral Toner is another favorite to soothe skin and help with redness. It doesn’t sting even on sensitive days. I’ve actually been a fan of multiple products from the Intral Line including the Sunscreen and Mousse Cleanser.
Cleansing Waters have been in my skincare rotation for years. I find using these in the evenings to remove makeup really help improve clarity of my skin if I use in conjunction with a regular cleanser.
Bioderma makeup removers have been great for gentle makeup removing. I’ve tried multiple formulas that I’ve ordered from Beautylish. I really like that they have small travel sizes which are convenient to pack for short trips. The Sensibio H20 is the most gentle, Hydrabio H20 is for dry skin, Sebium H20 is for oily skin. None of these remove waterproof mascara or eye makeup for me, but they do work nicely to remove face makeup. I still need to do a regular cleanse with a regular cleanser but doing a double cleanse with a cleansing water or oil first really helps to make sure all traces of makeup are washed off and gone. Ingredients are all listed on Beautylish.
La Roche-Posay Micellar Water ($19.99 for 400 ml, available at Dermstore, Ulta, La Roche-Posay) is a great all purpose cleansing water. It does a really good job at removing face makeup – it’s more effective at removing makeup than the Bioderma for me. It’s gentle but effective. It doesn’t leave a film on the skin. It comes in multiple size options. Ingredients at Dermstore.
La Mer The Cleansing Micellar Water ($50 to $90 for 3.4 oz to 6.7 oz) is something I had high hopes for. I ordered mine from Nordstrom and it’s lasted a long time. I think it’s a great cleansing water, but you can get something similar or just as good for a lot less. Still I don’t think you’ll be disappointed if you try it. Ingredients listed here.
Erborian Cleansing Micellar Water ($26 for 6.4 oz/190 ml) is another great cleansing water that I tried. It’s a three-in-one like many other micellar waters to remove makeup, refresh and clean the skin. It feels more fresh than others although performance is very similar to others I’ve tried. Ingredients here.
Cleansing Oils are also fun to use. I like these for the double or triple cleanse to dissolve and remove face makeup before I wash the face. Sometimes I’ll use a cleansing oil, follow with cleansing water + cotton pad and then use a regular cleanser.
Shu Uemura Cleansing Oils * were previously reviewed in this post here. You can find all the details plus a special Shu Uemura promo code for beauty look book readers. Ingredients for all the oils in my original review post.
Tatcha One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil ($48 for 150 ml) has been a long-time go to for years. It has a mix of Camellia and Rice Bran oils and is super gentle with a hydrating finish. It removes all face makeup well. You can find smaller trial/travel sizes in a number of Holiday Gift Sets. Also in a few duos at Sephora. Ingredients at Tatcha.
Sunday Riley C.E.O. C + E Micro-Dissolve Cleansing Oil * ($38 for 3.4 oz/100 ml) is one that I didn’t like for my skin. I found it a bit too drying for my skin type. If you have normal or oily skin you will probably like this. It is very effective and rinses off well without leaving a film. Skin is left smooth and completely clean, just a little too tight for me. Ingredients here.
Cleansing Balms and Solid Cleansers
Balm Cleansers have a melting effect on the skin. They are often solid or thick and once you work it into the face it melts and transforms into a balm or oil. I have mixed feelings about these. I feel like they are better suited for normal to dry skin. They often have a creamy moisturizing finish on the skin, almost like a film of moisture. I often follow with a regular cleanser after to make my skin feel more clean.
Eve Lom Gel Balm Cleanser ($60 for 3.2 fl oz/100 ml) is a new cleanser from Eve Lom similar to their classic Cleanser but in a pump with a hybrid gel-to-balm like finish. This has a similar oil/balm like formula. It has clove oil, Egyptian chamomile oil, grapeseed oil and eucalytus oil. This one has antiseptic properties for healing and protection. It has a rich moisturizing feel with a strong scent, but it’s not irritating. If you have normal to dry skin but found the regular solid Cleanser too rich, give this one a try. Ingredients at Space NK.
Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm * is something I got in a mini. It comes highly rated by online reviews but did not work for me. I found it too rich and oily feeling. I couldn’t get it to rinse off properly with just my hands and after reading the instructions I found you have to use a wash cloth to remove. I tried it with that method and it did come off, I still found it left a film on my skin. For me it was too rich. Ingredients here.
So after this year’s testing so far my favorites have remained my favorite cleansers are from Kate Somerville. I find all the ones I’ve tried to be the most effective yet gentle for my super sensitive skin. They work well to remove dirt, makeup and impurities and keep my skin clear and smooth. I really can’t pick one – every one I’ve tried works well. Still with the heat, humidity, sun, and long-wear makeup a single cleanser can’t remove everything 100%. My favorite cleansing water is still the Lancome Micellar Cleansign Water (I’ve used up two bottles this year) although I’ve really been enjoying La Roche Posay as well. Bioderma is still very good and remains a classic but sometimes it’s nice to try new things. In terms of cleansing oils, I rediscovered the Shu Ueumura ones this year and have been pleasantly surprised. I have reviewed and used up the SK-II Facial Treatment Cleansing Oil which I feel is one of the best ones I’ve tried alongside Tatcha’s. I haven’t repurchased the SK-II as I’m trying to work my way through other formulas. When it comes to balms or solid cleansers I think they are definitely interesting and there are a number of great options – I’m still one that prefers liquid ones instead.
That wraps up Part 1 of my updated skincare routine and testing. I tried to link ingredients where I could find them for each product. I’ll hope to have the rest of my skincare posts up before the end of the month to cover exfoliating scrubs, moisturizers, masks and face mists. If you have any questions let me know in the comments and I’ll try to answer as best as I can.
As always I’d love to hear what your favorite face cleansers are!