Cult Favorite: Drunk Elephant F-Balm Electrolyte Waterfacial

With my recent focus on hydration, the Drunk Elephant F-Balm Electrolyte Waterfacial came at the right time. This new product is an overnight mask that promises to plump, cool, hydrate, and strengthen the skin with a 4-Electrolyte Blend (coconut water, sodium PCA, magnesium PCA, and prickly pear extract), vitamin f, niacinamide, 5-Ceramide Blend, squalane, and quercetin.

Reading the ingredients, it seemed like a nourishing and hydrating cocktail. The balm word in its name, however, sort of scared me. I don’t usually like applying balms on my face as I get easily clogged pores and my face is too oily to handle that kind of texture.

Nevertheless, I gave this a try and I was glad to find out that this doesn’t feel balmy at all. For an overnight mask, this actually feels light. Even in my roster of cream-based moisturizers, this is among the lightest. It is recommended to apply 4-5 pumps. It sits on top of the skin for a few seconds before leaving a silky smooth finish. It also feels nourishing and hydrating, like my skin is drenched from within. The morning after, the results are apparent. My skin is bright, plump, and glowing.

I like using this right after using acids, especially the Babyfacial because the combo just works so well on my skin, providing both nourishment and exfoliation. I would honestly recommend this to anyone looking for hydration and nourishment to the skin. It would also for those with sensitive skin as it is free off essential oils, silicones, fragrance, and PEGs. It’s also vegan and cruelty-free.

The Drunk Elephant F-Balm Electrolyte Waterfacial was provided by @drunkelephant. Available for $52 at drunkelephant.com

Skincare Review: Axis-Y Dark Spot Correcting Glow Serum and Artichoke Intensive Skin Barrier Ampoule

Promising climate-inspired skincare solutions, Axis-Y is a Korean skincare brand that offers products specifically made for humid weather. This really piqued my interest because humidity really gets my skin clogged and dehydrated.

They sent over the Dark Spot Correcting Glow Serum ($22), which contains niacinamide to correct dark spots and improve uneven skin tone and squalene to retain moisture on the skin. My pores get easily clogged and usually get blemishes when my period is about to arrive. I usually vitamin c or niacinamide serums to fight dark spots so I’m familiar as to what this serum could possibly do. What sets this apart is the serum feels light and runny, making it feel suitable for my oily skin. This does lighten dark spots after about a month of continued use. I like how it can be used in the morning and how it feels nourishing to the skin.

Their Artichoke Intensive Skin Barrier Ampoule ($25) aims to deliver anti-oxidants, nutrients, and hydration to heal damaged, irritated skin barriers. It also contains phytonutrients to defend against bacteria and pollutants and prevent future breakouts and irritation. I really like the texture of this one. It’s runny, lightweight, and gentle. It sinks in quickly onto the skin and leaves a bit of dewiness that doesn’t look or feel tacky. I can use this in the morning and it will leave my skin plump and dewy instead of oily and dehydrated. I really enjoy using this because it feels gentle and nourishing to the skin without the heaviness other ampoules bring.

These products are also cruelty-free and do not contain parabens, artificial coloring, essential oil, and mineral oil.

The Axis-Y Dark Spot Correcting Glow Serum and Artichoke Intensive Skin Barrier Ampoule were provided by @axis-y. Available at axis-y.com

Skincare Review: bejbiskin The Line

From the word baby, newly-launched bejbiskin encourages you to be more conscious of what you put into your skin and use only the best products, similar as to how you would treat the skin of a newborn. Their products are vegan, cruelty-free, and are made without alcohol, fragrance, witch hazel, rose water, essential oils, citrus oils.

Promising to soothe, protect, replenish, restore, and hydrate, the Hydrating Spray Toner ($25) contains aloe leaf juice, niacinamide, allantoin, green tea extract, bisabolol, ginkgo biloba extract, hyaluronic acid, pumpkin seed extract, vegetable glycerin, sodium PCA, and sodium lactate. Due to its ingredients, this #facemist hydrates the skin while leaving it refreshed and relaxed. However, for me, this is more of a midday refresher than a face toner as I need a more hydrating toner on my morning and night routines.

The Liquid Exfoliant ($29) contains 10% AHA 2% BHA to break up and remove dead skin cells. It also has aloe leaf juice, great burdock root extract, green tea extract, bisabolol, neem extract, ginkgo biloba extract, glycerin, and sodium PCA to soothe and replenish the skin. I have a lot of trusted liquid exfoliants already so using this was easy for me. I was really excited to use this because of the price point. Unfortunately, instead of experiencing glowing clear skin, this got my skin oilier than usual and it didn’t help with the textures I suddenly got on my forehead. This just didn’t work for me.

After exfoliating, the After Acid Serum ($31) promises to maintain a healthy barrier, and to heal and prevent dehydration using aloe leaf juice, borage seed oil, niacinamide, allantoin, stearyl glycyrrhetinate, bisabolol, flaxseed oil, hyaluronic acid, shea butter, safflower seed oil, chia seed oil, sugar cane squalene, alfalfa extract, vegetable glycerin, wheat germ oil, milk thistle seed oil, raspberry ketone glucoside, palmitoyl tripeptide-1 (and) palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7, saccharide isomerate, hexyldecanol, cetylhydroxyproline palmitamide, stearic acid, rapeseed sterols, ceramide AP, linseed oil, oleic, linoleic, linolenic polyglycerides, and glyceryl stearate. This feels soothing and calming to the skin despite being so lightweight. I like using this after physically or chemically exfoliating as this feels soothing and calming on the skin without the heavy feeling of piling on a thick oil or moisturizer. It also doesn’t make my skin feel and look oily in the morning.

bejbiskin The Line were provided by @bejbiskin for review. Available individually or as a set for $85 at bejbiskin.com

Monthly Favorites: July 2019

Solved Skincare Coconut Oil Cleansing Pads

We all have our doubts with coconut oil. Me especially, because I don’t like eating coconuts and I don’t like smelling it. Then there were countless articles saying how it can cause irritation and block your pores.

So, when Soko Glam sent me the Coconut Oil Cleansing Pads from Solved Skincare. I was hesitant even though I thought that cleansing pads are such a genius innovation. It’s amazing, the thought that you can bring a first cleanser anywhere without worrying if it would spill on your bag or if you will make a mess by the sink.

Anyway back to coconut oil, I looked through the comments at Soko Glam and saw Charlotte Cho replying that coconut oil is good for the skin if it’s formulated right. 95% of the formula of the cleansing pads contain 100% virgin coconut oil while the other 5% consists of natural fatty acids (caprylic/capric triglycerides, PEG-20 glyceryl triisostearate) derived from coconuts to exfoliate and moisturize my skin while melting away makeup without irritation. The product is also vegan, cruelty-free, and is made without parabens, pigment, artificial fragrance, animal ingredients, surfactants, mineral oil, alcohol, and silicone.

I tested it on my hands first, which if worth noting, is something I rarely do. I didn’t get any negative reaction from using it on my hand so I used it on my face after a few days. It smells very coconut-y, which as I have said here before, I am not a fan of. Thankfully, the scent doesn’t last. It honestly feels like most cleansing oils out there. The pads are soaked in oil but it’s not dripping, making is easy to bring around. What I like about this is that the oil is soaked in a pad making it easy to use, especially on the nooks and crannies of my face. It removes impurities and makeup and amazingly feels gentle on the skin. Also, I like how it can easily be washed away with water without leaving any residue. I like reaching for this on days where I do an elaborate eye makeup as it works well with eyeliners and mascaras really well.

The Solved Skincare Coconut Oil Cleansing Pads was provided by @solvedskincare and @sokoglam. Available for $25 at sokoglam.com

Huxley Secret of Sahara Cream: Glow Awakening

I have always been a fan of that distinct Huxley scent so, I was instantly drawn to the Secret of Sahara Cream: Glow Awakening. I have tried the Fresh and More variant and it worked so well with my oily skin . This moisturizer, however, is a bit heavier so I reach for this after I do some deep physical exfoliation and do not want to apply any more products. This is a one and done for me before sleeping.

Even if it has a richer texture and a heavier consistency than the Fresh and More Cream, it doesn’t clog my pores. I only wake up with brighter and healthier-looking skin as it promises to brighten, moisturize, and protect the skin from pollutants and impurities using prickly pear seed oil, niacinamide, odeetox, glutathione, bisabolol, and cs-glucan. This will work for those looking to brighten and moisturize their skin and it can be a go-to winter moisturizer for skin types similar to mine. Those with dry skin, however, would have a field day with this any time of the year.

The Huxley Secret of Sahara Cream: Glow Awakening was provided by @huxley_global

R+Co Control

Hairstyling, to be honest, used to be the most important thing when I was in grade school. I use to have a different style per day, using a variety of products. All that stopped in college and up until I started working. Sleep has become more important and with that, my hair suffered. I just let it down and just let it be – just a bit of shampoo and conditioner and I’m done. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I started to take notice of my hair again. I started caring for it and styling it again.

I usually have a go-to for work – a sleek low-bun. It’s simple, it’s low-maintenance, and it keeps hair off my face when done right. It doesn’t sound as easy as it sounds since I have a lot of baby hairs so I usually need help.

I have been using Control from R+Co, a paste that promises stronghold in a semi-matte finish. This vegan and cruelty-free paste contain aloe barbadensis leaf extract, passionflower extract, mango fruit extract, and ginger root extract to condition, strengthen, soften, smooth, retain moisture, and add shine to the strands.

I associate pastes with something sticky, tacky, and slick but this one is easy to use. It doesn’t feel heavy and doesn’t feel greasy. It provides a soft hold to the hair. It wasn’t able to flatten and hide all my baby hairs but it was able to tame them. I like using this at the ends of my hair to help manage fly-aways and frizziness. When applied at the ends, it leaves my hair with a controlled volume without looking like my hair is being weighed down. It doesn’t make my hair oily even if I leave the product for more than 12 hours and it rinses quickly. So, yes, this definitely provides a soft control to my hair.

The R+Co Control was provided by @randco. Available for $28 at randco.com

Drunk Elephant Pekee Bar and Juju Bar

Today’s routine featuring the Pekee Bar from Drunk Elephant. To be honest, I rarely use bar soaps to cleanse my skin. Even during the time I wasn’t into skincare, I had a cleansing foam. However, I can’t deny the fact that bars are much easier to travel with those cleansers packed in bottles or tubes.

The brand has two kinds – the Pekee Bar which promises to clarify, balance, and moisturize the skin using blueberry extract, marula oil, and honey. I bring this with me when I’m traveling in colder areas because it doesn’t dry out my skin or make it feel tight.

The Juju Bar, on the other hand, aims to cleanse, clarify, brighten, remove dead skin cells, dissolve oil, and refine skin texture, with thermal mud and bamboo powder. This is what I bring to places with warmer climates or when I know I’m going to be spending much of my time under the sun.

Both soaps feel gentle on the skin and not at all stripping. They are also vegan, cruelty-free, and are free of fragrance, essential oils, drying alcohols, silicones, chemical sunscreens, dyes, and SLS.

The Drunk Elephant Pekee Bar and Juju Bar were provided by @drunkelephant and @fullmontyldn. Available at drunkelephant.com

Amore Pacific Youth Revolution Radiance Creme and Masque

I know people like to talk about the overwhelming scent of the Amore Pacific Youth Revolution Radiance Creme and Masque but it reminds me so much of the products my mother used to apply on herself while we’re watching Gilmore Girls when I was younger so, I honestly didn’t mind. It’s strong, yes, but it brings back so many memories for me to be bothered by it. The scent does linger, not a strong as when you apply it, but it’s there.

It leaves a glowy finish which I really like because it doesn’t look tacky on the skin and it doesn’t feel heavy either. I like using this as the last step of my night routine as it is a bit heavy for my oily skin if used during the day. It contains white peony (infused at 60 degrees for a day and purified the extract five times) and green tea polysaccharide, making it feel nourishing and moisturizing to the skin. After one use, I immediately noticed how plump and radiant my skin looked. This is a definite luxury item you might want to indulge in if you want radiant skin as well as protection from environmental aggressors.

The AmorePacific Youth Revolution Radiance Creme and Masque was provided by @amorepacific_us and #OctolyFamily #amorepacific @SEPHORA #YOUTHREVOLUTION

Thayer’s Rose Petal Body Bar

A new favorite is the Rose Petal Body Bar from Thayer’s ($4.99) contains a mix of palm and coconut oils, in addition to witch hazel and aloe vera, to tone, tighten, and moisturize the skin. I really enjoyed using this. It has a slight rosy smell but what I really love is the gentleness of the soap. It soft and smooth to the skin and leaves my skin moisturized and hydrated. My skin doesn’t get dry as easily while I was using this. Also, for the price, this feels luxurious to the skin.

The Thayer’s Rose Petal Body Bar were provided by @thayers and Natural Brand Partners. Available at thayers.com

Monthly Favorites: May 2019

Twice Early Bird and Twilight

I admit to being one of those people who forget to brush their teeth at night. So when Twice sent over their Early Bird and Twilight pastes for me to try, I didn’t deem it as extra. The black and white tubes I got serve as a reminder that oral are should include a twice a day routine.

Both pastes aim to whiten your teeth, remineralize enamel, prevent cavities, and protect against sensitivity with vitamins A, C, E, and plant-based aloe vera. They are gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO, cruelty-free, and are formulated without SLS, PEGs, parabens, sugar, carrageenan, triclosan, sulfates, and alcohol. Twice also provides 10 percent of its profits to GLO Good Foundation, which serves communities in dire need of proper dental care.

Early Bird contains wintergreen and peppermint to give you a wakeup call. Its taste is similar to the everyday toothpaste so it didn’t feel much of a change. On the other hand, Twilight is a blend of peppermint, vanilla, and lavender for nighttime relaxation. This toothpaste tastes sweeter than your normal toothpaste making it feel calming. Both tubes of toothpaste are cleansing and gentle on my teeth. After weeks of use, I noticed that my teeth don’t get as sensitive and, of course, the effect of brushing twice a day has so many benefits – my teeth were brighter and they felt ultimately cleaner.

Twice Early Bird and Twilight were provided by @twice. Available for $17 at smiletwice.com

Sensse Face Contour Definer

I am no stranger to facial rollers but the Face Contour Definer from Sensse is unlike anything I have in my face roller collection.

Promising to be a mini fave workout, the Face Contour Definer is designed to fit the contour of the face to promote blood circulation, stimulate collagen production, and lift and sculpt the face.

I like running this along on my jawline, which, fun fact, I never realized could feel tired until I tried a face roller. While face rollers, for me feels incredibly soothing on the forehead and eye areas, this is the most soothing on the jaw area. This immediately relaxes my muscles, since I tend to either talk a lot or not talk at all. It’s easy to use and the two-prongs soothe both the face and neck area. With its luxe design, using it always makes me feel elegant and the massaging it does feels luxurious as well. I don’t exactly have what other people call a jawline, so the sculpting and lifting part wouldn’t be noticeable but what I really love about this is it made me realize how tense my jaw area is and it greatly helped on that end.

The Sensse Facial Contour Definer was provided by @sensse and @nbpr. Available for £39.99 at senssebeauty.com

Dose Skin Anti Dose

Do you ever notice how your skin looks good in places with clean air? Like you are actually glowing, there is much less dirt when you remove your makeup, and your skin just feels so soft.

That’s what Dose Skin is all about. They want to take action against environmental stressors with their first product, the Anti Dose. It promises to be a “second skin” to prevent and delay the aging effects of polluted air.

It contains ectoin to preserve and strengthen, adaptogenic extracts to delay the effects of oxidative stress, antioxidants like arctic root to diminish visible signs of aging, chia seed extract and biosaccharide gum-4 to form a protective barrier, chaga mushroom to moisturize, white birch to brighten, maral root and rice bran to slow visible signs of skin stress and environmental aggressors, resurrection plant to improve radiance and replenish the moisture barrier, siberian ginseng to soothe and enhance radiance, centella asiatica to soften and soothe dry skin, white tea and reservatrol to replenish tired skin and fight sources of oxidative stress, spinach to soothe, snow algae to repair, and moringa peptide to facilitates the removal of micro-particle pollution from the skin. This product is also free of fragrances, alcohol, essential oil, and menthol.

This has a gel-like texture and feels lightweight. It’s odorless and gentle on the skin as well. I like applying this in the morning before sunscreen. I like that this is full of antioxidants and after more than a month of use, this helped brighten and clear my skin. Getting into skincare made me notice the small things. For example, I easily get dull skin in the middle of the week so I need to exfoliate. I also like using brightening serums every other day to combat it. Using this though, helped make my skin look not so dull anymore. It is a good addition in my routine as it noticeably helps protect my skin and prevent dullness.

The Dose Skin Anti Dose was provided by @doseskin. Available for $60 at doseskin.com

Nuria Defend Skin Shielding Essence

The Defend Skin Shielding Essence from Nuria contains ginseng root, carob, careegan, agar, gold, niacinamide, and glycerin to target environmental toxins, restore skin’s antioxidant capacity, improve skin suppleness, help reduce the look of fine lines and dullness, and shield the skin from fine dust.

First off, this looks cute. The bottle has a few pinks beads and the essence has a few gold flecks in it. I like using this in the morning instead of applying a moisturizer. It light gel-like texture makes my skin look plump and feel bouncy. It offers enough hydration and goes well under my makeup. Using this helped keep my skin from

looking dull especially after being outside for long periods of time.

The Nuria Defend Skin Shielding Essence

These products were provided by @nuriabeauty and @stylehouseco . Available for $48 at nuriabeauty.com

Saint Iris Adriatica Purity Paste

A first in my stash, the Purity Paste from Saint Iris Adriatica is a 3-minute #bodymask to gently exfoliate the skin, improve its texture, and leave it rejuvenated and glowing. Suitable to also be used as a face mask, this contains mediterranean cedar micro-dust, willow bark extract, olive, seaberry, seaweed protein, cherry kernel oil, and 10 essential wildplant oil like borage and rosehip.

This cruelty-free mask is a really gentle exfoliator. I’m really more of a mask person than a scrub person so this was enjoyable for me to apply. The brush that it came with is also so soft and I was able to apply the mask all over my arms and legs evenly and quickly. The mask has a slight tan tint but it didn’t stick to my skin. The rinsing off part was a bit messy though because the tint went straight to my bathroom tiles so this is best used in the tub to avoid staining corners. However, it left my skin soft and kind of smooth without the heavy cream feeling most exfoliators have. I like using this twice a month as part of my selfcare ritual.

The Saint Iris Adriatica Purity Paste was provided by @saintirisadriatica. Available for £48.00 at siadritica.com

Grown Alchemist Detox Toner

There is a lot of talk on the need for a toner, however, for #oilyskin, I like using one to rehydrate my skin after cleansing, remove additional dirt, and ready my face before using actives and other serums.

The Detox Toner from Growth Alchemist uses hydrolyzed algin from kelp, peptide-33, rhodiola rosea extract to remove impurities while noticeably regenerating and repairing damaged skin cells; reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It also has polysaccharides, ginkgo biloba leaf extract, panax ginseng root extract, and reishi mushroom extract to detoxify the skin and stimulate the production of collagen.

This face toner is a literal treat for me because it smells so much like roses. It is watery but it feels like it has some weight to it, making it feel hydrating and moisturizing to the skin. It’s one of the most hydrating toners I’ve tried. So hydrating that it doesn’t aggravate the oiliness of my skin the whole day. It also leaves the skin feeling soft and plump.

The Grown Alchemist Detox Toner was provided by @grownalchemist @materiae and @davidpirottabrands. Available for $58 at materiae.com