Solely Skincare Roundup: What I’m Loving

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It’s been quite busy around here, hence the lag in my writing: planning my wedding, prepping to move, working a full-time day job, doing 2-3 freelance jobs on the side, and just going about regular life. As usual, I’ve got a million products I’m hoarding trying out but in particular, there have been a lot of skincare products I’ve really been enjoying lately. Brace yourself, this might be a bit long… Here’s what I’ve been testing, liking, and using regularly:

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~Cleansers~
La Mav Orange Foaming Cleanser*: Like any product junkie, I have a few daily cleansers that I switch between depending on how my skin is feeling. (That’s only normal, right?!) When my skin begs for a gentle and mild cleanser, I reach for this sweet smelling one by Australian brand, La Mav. This emollient, creamy cleanser promptly soothes and cools skin and is very moisturizing. The cleanser, which has more of a soft, gel texture and becomes milky when mixed with water, is very refreshing and deeply cleanses the skin without much effort.

Fresh and fruity smelling, this cleanser features highly nourishing and purifying organic ingredients like bilberry, ginseng, rosemary, green tea, sugar cane and papaya extracts. This cleaner is great for a quick and easy cleanse and provides gentle nourishment to my sensitive skin. I think La Mav does a great job of effective, gentle formulations and I’ve been loving all the products I’ve tried so far. $26.95, La Mav (Free U.S. shipping with orders over $99.)

Nalia Organics Kerala Kakadu Plum Vitamin C Rich Facial Cleanser: Another great Australian skincare discovery, Kerala uses many natural plant extracts that unique and native to Australia, like kakadu plum and lemon myrtle. The Kakadu Plum cleanser is something I really enjoy using daily. I love that it is mild yet extremely moisturizing and lathers into a light foam. The fresh scent is very soothing and the formulation deeply cleanses my skin. Organic kakadu plum contains high levels of vitamin C protecting against free radicals, rosehip oil deeply nourishes skin, olive leaf extract is rich in antoxidants, while other organic ingredients like witch hazel, avocado, and evening primrose oil clarifies and rejuvenates the skin’s complexion.  You also only need a little bit of this cleanser to effectively clean the entire face. I love that a little bit goes a long way. If I’m wearing light makeup, this cleanser does a great job of removing the makeup and any other dirt on my skin. It never leaves my skin feeling dry or irritated. I also love how convenient the packaging is: a soap-pump top that easily dispenses the perfect amount of cleanser without the mess. $29.99, Nala Organics (Ships from Australia.)

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100% Pure Organic Argan Oil Creamy Cleanser*: It seems to me that 100% Pure skincare products get overlooked a majority of the time, maybe because their packaging and design decisions aren’t as sexy or in-your-face as other newer brands, or maybe because they don’t need all the fancy marketing schemes that other brands do. But I think 100% Pure is one of those brands that you can count on time and time again for solid and pure formulations that are effective and simplistic. Their products speak for themselves. I went into trying to this cleanser not expecting much, but I have to say that I really loved it.

Gentle, mild, and fresh, this lightweight product deep cleanses while not stripping the skin. The creamy, gel cleanser can be used all year-round but I think the light texture and non-greasy formula makes it especially lovely to use in warmer months when less-hassle, one-and-done products are key. This leaves my skin feeling very clean and moisturized while also effectively removes all my makeup. 100% Pure offer a variety of cleansers but I love that the Argan Oil Creamy Cleanser leaves my skin moisturized, soft, and non-irritated while providing a deep clean. There’s not much to say except I wouldn’t overlook this cleanser again, in fact I’m looking to purchase a new tube as I’ve depended on this cleanser daily. $25, Ariva.com. Out of stock at 100% Pure at time of print.

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Pai Skincare Kukui & Jojoba Bead Skin Brightening Exfoliator: This came with my purchase during Pai Skincare‘s amazing Black Friday deal this year and I have been loving it since. (I hope to do a more in-depth review of everything I got during the promo soon.) In my opinion, this exfoliator is very unique in that it has more of a gel texture with jojoba beads mixed in, rather than the usual powder or cream-based exfoliators I’m used to. The texture initially reminded me of honey: viscous and thick but not terribly weighty nor sticky which makes it gentle to use on my sensitive skin. But let me tell you the best part: adding some water and scrubbing gently to remove the product transforms the gel into a silky, milk-like texture and melts away the jojoba beads. Kukui is a unique ingredient as well, a blend of Omega 3 & 6, while considered a “exotic Hawaiian oil [to] nourish the skin and protect its important moisture barrier.”

I’ve never tried any other exfoliant like this one! Not only is it hydrating and nourishing, this product is super gentle, lightweight, and in my opinion less of a mess to use. I like the nourishing layer it leaves behind on my skin. Plus, that gel-to-liquid magic is addicting! I like using this all-in-one exfoliator/cleanser (not daily of course) since I’m quite lazy when it comes to all the mixing, spreading, and cleaning up involved with normal exfoliators.  I definitely recommend trying this! I’m even more convinced Pai Skincare can do not wrong. $37, Spirit Beauty Lounge

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~Serums/Moisturizers~
Wonderland Organics Balance Serum*: This formulation is so simple yet really effective. Created specifically for oil-prone, combination, and acne-prone skin, I love how this lightweight serum also keeps my dry skin very moisturized and is quickly absorbing. Another great thing to note: the serum not only sinks in quickly, it dries matte on my face though my skin feels extremely hydrated all day long. Great for use during the day and at night, I definitely noticed a lack of redness and blemishes on my face after using this serum continuously. After initial use, the Balance Serum leaves my face looking refreshed and feeling soft. Formulated with organic ingredients like apricot kernel oil, kukui oil, argan oil, tamanu, sea buckthorn oil, and, sweet orange oil, this serum is chock-full of skin-benefiting nutrients.

I had to get used to this serum’s scent at first, which is a bit on the strong herbal side. However after a few uses, I don’t notice it too much. (My family would argue otherwise though.) If stronger scents bother you, in my opinion the Soothe Serum has the least herbal scent out of the Wonderland Organics serums I’ve tried. It has a more neutral, lavender scent. Plus, aren’t the brand’s fun Alice in Wonderland themed-designs cute too? The brand’s founder, Alice Lin based her company’s name and designs after Lewis Caroll’s book and her namesake. $39.99, Wonderland Organics

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Odacite Pure Elements Facial Serums*, Beautiful Day Moisturizer: Honestly, I’ve been hooked on anything from Odacite but the Pure Elements serums are something everyone needs to try. The Pure Elements line features 18 skin remedies formulated to target different skin issues using a variety of specific ingredients. Odacite cleverly organizes these remedies into a specialized Periodic Table, according to skin type, specific skin issues, and ingredient-type.

The Detox Market sent me the Peach Cypress Serum* (Pe + C) and I instantly fell in love. The scent is out-of-this-world delicious and the serum is lightweight, moisturizing, instantly brightened my face, and keeps my skin hydrated and happy. After I finished that one, I purchased the Papaya Geranium (Pa + G) one as it helps in hyper-pigmentation. I oddly didn’t notice as much of a difference as I did with the Pe + G serum but I still enjoyed the moisturizing, lightweight formula. My only complaint is that I really wish Odacite would increase the product size of these serums. The brand advertises these 5ml products as enough for a month-long treatment, however I always find myself running out of product way before a month. Product abuse? Maybe more like product obsession. It’s pretty pricey for such a small product but I really can’t get enough of these serums.

I love using Odacite’s Beautiful Day Moisturizer because it’s lightweight, moisturizing, and matte and pairing it with the Pure Elements Serums definitely benefits my skin exponentially. The Serums add an extra boost of nourishment. I purchased the moisturizer before any of these serums and still recommend it to anyone as a stand alone daily cream, but I’ve really enjoyed mixing it with one of these serums for added skin-benefitting effects. The only thing I dislike about the Beautiful Day Moisturizer is the packaging: it’s tall, made of plastic, and you can’t see how much product is inside. The packaging makes it difficult to travel with or carry around, so I’ve resorted to decanting it into small cream jars I recycled from skincare samples. $32 for Pe + C Serum, $39 for Pa + G, $75 for Beautiful Day Moisturizer, all from The Detox Market

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Sibu Beauty Sea Buckthorn Seed Oil: I’d been curious about this oil because I was looking for more affordable alternatives to my favorite Pai Rosehip Oil. Sea buckthorn is known for helping to diminish dark spots, wrinkles, and restore damaged skin. There are a lot of natural healing bioactive compounds within sea buckthorn seed oil and I like that Sibu Beauty’s formulas feature premium, cruelty-free wildcrafted sea buckthron harvested in Tibet under fair trade agreements. In short, this facial oil is amazing. It is very moisturizing and a bit heavy so it’s best to use in the evenings. From the first time I used it, I noticed an immediate change in the dark spots on my face and rapid improvement in the texture of my skin overtime.

I like using this oil as a treatment before bed as the formula can be a bit on the greasy side, very moisturizing. The only thing I do not love about this facial oil is the smell. It’s definitely something you get used to but the sea buckthorn scent is really strong; almost salty and just not pleasant to my nose. I don’t notice the scent as much as I continue to use this product but I’d say that if you have a sensitive nose, beware of the scent because you might not be able to stand it. If you’re looking for a fast acting night treatment oil at an affordable price, you can’t beat trying this well-known product from Sibu Beauty. $12.76, Vitacost

Nourish Organic Renewing + Cooling Eye Treatment*: I love the idea of eye creams, I’m just the laziest person ever and always seem to forget that step in my skincare routine. It goes more like: clean face, apply toner and serum, fall into bed exhausted from a super long day only to forget to apply eye cream. Not only did the interesting packaging of Nourish Organic’s  Eye Treatment intrigue me, the organic ingredients featuring nourishing avocado and argan oils sounded really lovely. The squeeze-tube packaging makes this eye treatment very easy to use and the mess-free application encourages me to use this more. I love the cooling, zinc applicator because it instantly soothes puffiness and lessens dark circles under my eyes. The formula is a moisturizing, non-greasy cream formula that really keeps my under-eyes very hydrated and less tired looking. This product is also versatile in that you can use it for a quick, cooling boost in the morning or during the day, and for a renewing, nourishing addition to an evening skincare routine.  Now available for a discounted price: $16.99 $19.99, Nourish Organic

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~Body~
Acure Organics Ultra-Hydrating Body Lotion: There are a few types of body lotions from Acure Organics but I love the Ultra-Hydrating lotion because it’s fragrance free and really effective for dry skin (and really, every skin type). I used to hate body lotions because my dry skin would result in more flakey skin. The Ultra-Hydrating Body Lotion was the first organic lotion I tried that left my skin super soft and well, ultra-hydrated. I haven’t had flakey skin since! Formulated with fair trade organic olive oil, cocoa butter, evening primrose and CoQ10, this body lotion is the one of the best, more affordable body creams out there. I like that it is fragrance free (it still smells delightfully fresh and sweet to me), super hydrating and absorbs quickly. I love using this lotion in the summer because not only does it keep my skin moisturized and soft, it’s lightweight and not greasy. The convenient packaging also makes it easy to bring along anywhere. $9.99, The Choosy Chick 
*Acure Organics recently updated their product designs since I bought this last tube of lotion and I definitely think the new designs are much sexier.

La Mav Nourish Body Moisturiser: My other favorite from La Mav is their body lotion. Creamy and lightweight, the Nourish Body Moisturiser helped soothe and hydrate my dry skin all winter. I used this moisturizer until I had to scrape out the last bits from the bottle, it’s that good! Like I said before, I used to be wary of creamy body lotions because I noticed they’d only make my dry skin flakier. After discovering body oils, I never thought I’d use body lotion again but La Mav’s hydrating, creamy, gentle lotion made me a believer again. La Mav uses organic ingredients like jojoba oil, shea butter, sweet almond Oil, macadamia oil and aloe vera leaf juice in this lotion to nourish and replenish dry skin and these ingredients also act to restore and improve overall skin tone. As usual, the pump packaging really helps dispense the perfect amount of product and provides less mess when applying. $29.95, La Mav (Free shipping to the U.S. with orders over $99.)

Weleda Sea Buckthorn Replenishing Body Lotion: The Sea Buckthorn line from Weleda is my favorite from their variety of collections especially because it’s targeted for replenishing dry skin. The Sea Buckthorn Replenishing Body Lotion has been a favorite of mine for a while. It’s lightweight, sweet-smelling and really hydrating. I especially love using this body lotion in the warmer months because the texture is so light and airy and fast absorbing providing all-over, lasting moisturized skin at the blink of an eye. I also love that you can pick this up at most drugstores and more specifically at local Target stores nationwide. $12.79, Vitacost

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~Other~
The Japanese Konjac Sponge*: There are so many of these natural, exfoliating konjac sponges out there on the market now but I really love these ones from The Japanese Konjac Sponge, the original Japanese brand. If you haven’t gotten into the konjac sponge trend yet, these all-natural, biodegradable sponges are made from the Eastern Asian plant fiber, konjac. Not only is konjac a gentle and all-natural exfoliator, the plant is also rich in protein, vitamins, fatty acids, zinc, iron, and other nutrients. By using these sponges, you’re not only clearing your skin, you’re also feeding them with healthy, natural nutrients at the same time. The best part is that there are a variety of konnjac sponges with added beneficial ingredients like green tea, citrus extract, and pink clay targeting different skin issues for facial use as well as for all-over body use. I’ve really seen a difference in my skin when using Konjac sponges and love the gentle exfoliation. Japanese Konjac Sponge also offers bundle packs of sponges if you prefer to buy more than one together.

Specifically, my face is clearer, less red, and has looks more even in skintone. I also notice less whiteheads and regular blemishes. My sister loves the bamboo charcoal sponges, which targets oily and acneic skin. She reported that she’s definitely noticed an improvement in her skin and enjoys using the sponge.  I’ve also tried the ones from Dr. Sponge which I like as well and which you can find more widely online at stores like at Eco Diva Beauty. My favorite Dr. Sponge varieties are the Original (for all skin types), Pearl Powder (to even-out and brighten complexion) and Green Tea (for dry and normal skin). The Japanese Konjac Sponge from $11.50 to $13.90, The Japanese Konjac Company. Dr. Sponge from $8.50 to $11.50, Eco Diva Beauty. Note: because konjac sponges are popular these days, make sure to look into the exact ingredients and ingredient sourcing of the product before purchasing. There are tons of dirt-cheap and “fake” konjac sponges on the market that claim to be made of organic and natural konjac but really are not.

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Have you tried any of these products? What new skincare products have you discovered?

 

*Indicates products provided for consideration. As always, these are my own and honest options.
**Post contains some affiliate links.

8 Comments

  1. Kyung May 18, 2015

    Wow, thanks for such a thorough review. I definitely see some products I’d like to try and it’s such a good mix in terms of price range. I love Odacite’s Pa + G, I’ll have to give the Pe + C a try. I’ll also be taking a look at Wonderland. Congratulations on your upcoming wedding:)

    Reply
    • Kasey May 19, 2015

      Thanks Kyung! I’m so excited about my wedding but definitely a lot of things to do! 🙂 Yes if you love Odacite’s Pa + G, I highly recommend you try Pe + C. Did you notice any improvement to your skin with Pa + G? Thanks for reading!

      Reply
  2. Sounds like you are extremely busy! Great products here, I particularly love the Pai exfoliant Xx

    Reply
    • Kasey May 19, 2015

      It’s been quite hectic but I’m trying to make it all work! 😉 I can’t get enough of the Pai exfoliator either and really, let’s be honest what can’t Pai create that isn’t going to be amazing?! 🙂 Thanks for reading, Ana!

      Reply
  3. Wonderland Organics May 18, 2015

    Love your review of Wonderland Organics Kasey! Thank you so much, I’m grateful that you love using the Balance Serum 🙂

    Reply
    • Kasey May 19, 2015

      Thank YOU for making great products! It was my pleasure to try out Wonderland Organics products and I’m glad they worked well with my skin 🙂

      Reply
  4. Christa May 21, 2015

    Thank you for always including affordable, effective products in your reviews and recommendations Kasey! It’s what makes your blog a must-read for me.

    Reply
    • Kasey May 24, 2015

      Your comment made me smile Christa, I’m so glad you are enjoying my posts! I love luxury beauty & skincare but of course, I always make sure to include affordable products that are just as beautiful and effective as those that are more expensive. I love discovering and sharing about products that won’t break the bank and things I actually use myself 🙂 Thank you for reading!

      Reply

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