Skincare Review: Then I Met You The Skin Balancing Duo

I’ve always described Then I Met You products as thoughtful and nourishing. The Skin Balancing Duo, their newest offerings, are no different.

Promising to be hydrating and exfoliating, the Birch Milk Refining Toner using birch juice, marshmallow root, squalene, glycolic and lactic acids, and gluconolactone.

The watery toner is something you would have expected if you have tried other Then I Met You products – gentle and nourishing. It’s good for daily use and it leaves the skin hydrated and soothed after application. As for exfoliating, it’s not as quick nor as harsh as the other exfoliating toners in the market but it gets the job done. This would work for those with sensitive skin. For me, I like it as a hydrating toner that offers additional brightening benefits while nourishing my skin.

I have developed my love for essences when I got into K-Beauty. They just help plump and nourish my skin without the thickness of moisturizers that offer the same promises. A new addition to my stash is The Giving Essence, which aims to hydrate and brighten the skin while providing antioxidants using black chokeberry, galactomyces, ellagic acid, red algae, and polyglutamic acid.

Similar to most essences, this is watery with a bit of weight to it. The essences has a bit of tackiness but it sinks in quickly to the skin and leaves it looking and feeling plump and soft. It’s, of course, nourishing and hydrating to the skin. It does help brighten the skin a bit and this, conjunction with the toner, just provides a soothing and calming feeling to the skin.

I have long believed that there are no products suited for all skin types but Then I Met You made me eat my words. Their vegan and cruelty-free products help hydrate my oily skin without any tackiness nor does it leave my skin begging for more. Their products are just right when you need nourishment and hydration. If you are looking to protect you skin and improve its overall health, these products are for you.

The Then I Met You The Skin Balancing Duo was provided by @thenimetyou. Available as a set for $78 or individually (toner for $32 and essence for $50) at

Brand Overview: Instytutum

Founded by Natalia Derkach, Ph.D., Instytutum promises to offer results-driven skincare products developed in their Swiss R&D laboratory. They have recently updated their packaging and their formulas to help us achieve flawless skin. Their products are also formulated without parabens, sulfates, mineral oil, synthetic dyes, and SLES/SLS.

The rich balm of the Transforming Melting Cleanser ($45) aims to dissolve and remove makeup, impurities, pore-clogging debris, and micro-pollution without drying the skin or leaving it tight. It contains the benefits of retinol to refine skin texture, hyaluronic acid to improve moisture and elasticity, and vitamin e, pro-vitamin b5 and allantoin to calm, soothe, and strengthen barrier function.

This gel-type cleanser feels a bit heavy and really needs to be massaged into the skin to dissolve. It’s kind of like a paste in terms of its weight and sturdiness. It was able to easily remove makeup, though. Just a few motions will remove my eyebrow and eye makeup. Because of its density, removing it requires more effort than other cleansing balms. It left the face with a feeling of a thick film above it but it was easily removed with a foaming cleanser. On the plus side, it left the face plump and moisturized afterward. I use this to remove heavy makeup that’s been on my face for a long period as this effectively removes everything without stripping my skin.

Promising to transform the skin’s texture and tone, the Triple Action Resurfacing Peel ($79) contains glycolic and salicylic acids, papaya enzyme and micro-polishing beads. It has a fresh scent and the actual product is full of microbeads.

It honestly feels a bit rough on the skin so I was careful not to over exfoliate my cheek area. For my t-zone, though, this works really well in smoothing rough areas and improving texture. Once rinsed, my face felt tight and a bit stripped so this is best followed with hydrating serums and a creamy moisturizer. I use this once every two weeks on to refresh my skin and get a smooth and glowing complexion. I would recommend this to those who are looking for a hardworking exfoliator that resurfaces the skin.

There are a lot of toners in the market that contain glycolic acid, promising to resurface glowing healthy skin. They set their Resurfacing Glow Toner ($55) apart from the others by formulating it with 6% glycolic acid and 2% niacinamide. The formulation promises to improve the look of fine lines, wrinkles, pores, and uneven skin tone. It also helps reduce oil and impurities, sooth and calm the skin, and keep the complexion plump and hydrated using allantoin, chamomile, pro-vitamin b5, and hyaluronic acid.

Upon application, I fell in love. It has a gel-like texture that immediately turns watery once applied to the skin. I thought for sure this would feel tacky but it sunk so quickly into my skin. It just left the skin feeling smooth and plump. It covers my favorite benefits in a skincare routine – hydration and exfoliation. It has helped soften, brighten, and smooth my skin without drying it out. Instead, it leaves my skin plump and hydrated after every use. I like using it at night especially after a long day when I just can’t be bothered with a laborious routine. I can just do my first and second cleanse, apply this #facetoner , and put on a moisturizer to end the day. Most day, I support this with antioxidants and a nourishing sleeping mask and trust that I would always wake up without a hydrated and nourished skin that looks bright and healthy. I feel like this would work for a lot of people who have oily skin or those looking to shorten their existing makeup routine using this multitasker.

What I was most excited to try in this lineup is the Anti-Wrinkle Brightening C-erum ($89) as it is formulated with 15% vitamin c and 3% niacinamide. These ingredients are designed to stimulate collagen production, brighten the appearance of the skin, and diminish dark spots and discoloration. It also contains multi-molecular HA complex to hydrate, squalane yo prevent moisture loss, bark extract, and oleanolic acid to reduce excess oil, tripeptide-5 to boost collagen production, and vitamin e to fight aging.

This is a lightweight vitamin c cream. I really like the watery texture as it feels really light on the skin. It absorbs quickly, which is also a plus, especially since I like using this in the morning. It dries matte but leaves a certain tackiness to it, like a moisturizer. It’s a bit difficult to explain but it feels like my skin is covered by a thin cream. It’s not bothersome, it actually feels protective somehow and it also makes my skin feel plump and soft. I also like that this sits in well under makeup and doesn’t make my skin oilier, which is a problem for me with most vitamin c serums. Within two weeks of use, I can already see its brightening benefits. I had a few pigmentations and this helped fade them in about a month.

The Truly Transforming Brightening Eye Cream ($69) works to hydrate, plump, and smooth the eye area using multi-molecular HA and raspberry stem cells. It also has caffeine to detoxify, silk tree bark extract and st. paul’s worth to lift the upper eyelids, and a blend of ash bark extract, vitamin pp, coffee cell extract, tripeptide-5, biopolymers, bisabolol, and shea butter to brighten, tighten and reduce fine lines and crow‘s feet.

It has a gel-like texture, more of a serum feel than a moisturizer, but incredibly creamy. I have been using this every night since I got it and even though it wasn’t able to remove my under-eye circles, it helped brighten the overall eye area. I have a few lines on my eye area and even if this didn’t completely eliminate them, this has helped plump and lift them. They don’t look as deep as they were. I also like how moisturized this makes my eye area that I can still feel it after I wake up.

I thoroughly enjoyed reviewing this product and have found a few favorites, the Triple Action Resurfacing Peel, the Resurfacing Glow Toner, and the Anti-Wrinkle Brightening C-erum. These products are worth a try especially if you want to do something with your fine lines and dark spots.

*These products were provided by @instytutum and @bluewheelmedia for review. Want 20% to try these products? Use the code skin20 at

Cult Favorite: Pixi Glow Tonic

To be honest, I have only recently tried the Glow Tonic from Pixi Beauty, only late last year to be exact. I know, I know, people have been raving about it since forever but I never got around to trying it. First off, I didn’t know if this already existed when I was experiencing severe breakouts in my teen years during the last 90s. Second, when I found its existence I was already doing fine with the exfoliating toners I have and I didn’t feel the need to replace them. Now, I regret it. This toner should’ve been in my stash a long time ago.

The Pixi Glow Tonic promises to exfoliate the skin and clean pores by sweeping away excess oil and impurities. The alcohol-free toner contains 5% glycolic acid to remove impurities, aloe vera to soothe and hydrate, and red ginseng to protect and energize the skin.

It’s watery with a certain viscosity to it and the past few months I’ve been trying this gave me the clearest and most glowing complexion I’ve had. The past few months have actually been great for my skin. The products I’ve been using have been working so well, this included. I’ve read that this helped those with skin battling with acne and though I cannot attest to that because my skin has cleared up, save for some bumps here and there, what I can share is the effects of this cruelty-free toner on oily and aging skin.

I use this exfoliating toner thrice a week, on days I want to focus on brightening and softening my skin as this works well under my cream products. Nowadays, I use this when I want to take a break from my stronger exfoliating toner, before using a hydrating toner and following with my other products. I didn’t know my skin was looking for glycolic acid so much as a month after I used this, I noticed how bright and glowing my skin looked. Compared to my other toners, this is the only one that can revitalize and soften and brighten my skin. Love, love!

The Pixi Glow Tonic was provided by @pixibeauty. Available for $29 (250ml) or $15ml (100ml) at