Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm: I have been using this cleansing balm (not this exact one, I might have actually gone through 4 of these) for almost two years, and I never seize to be impressed. It takes off makeup and sunscreen (including the waterproof kinds) without being harsh or drying out my skin. After use my skin feels really cleansed, but not tight, hydrated but not greasy, just comfortable. This was my first introduction to cleansing balms, I later went on to try the Emma Hardie one, but found that it was unimpressive for being so hyped and expensive. I imagine this cleansing balm would work for all skin types, because it has no fragrance, essential oils, and while it can be quite greasy once applied, it rinses off without leaving any residue. I also love the fact that in comparison to other cleansing balms, the Clinique one is very accessible, you can get it online, at Sephora, or any department store. While it’s not inexpensive, I think that $29 is not bad for such a workhorse product, one of these usually lasts me 5-6 months when I just use it to remove sunscreen and/or makeup.
The only con is the packaging, it’s not flight friendly. I hope Clinique will do a travel version that comes in a 2-3oz tube.
Merle Norman Delicate Balance Calming Cleanser (now called Gentle Solutions Cleanser): I liked this cream cleanser, it didn’t make my skin feel dry, but it wasn’t exceptional either. I certainly would not recommend it for makeup removal. I am always trying out new cleansers, and there are only a few that I stick to religiously. This isn’t one that I would immediately repurchase, but I have made a mental note to pick it up the next time I stop by a Merle Norman counter. Sadly, you can only get this at a Merle Norman store, and those are hard to come by as it is.
I would recommend this product to people with all skin types, who are looking for a cleanser that doesn’t foam. I’m not so sure that this would work for people with sensitive skin, because it stings a little if you get it in your eyes.
Andalou Naturals Clementine + C Illuminating Toner: I can’t say that this toner has done anything particularly special for my skin, but I have repurchased it, and will continue to, because I love to spray it on after cleansing to moisten my skin. I apply eye cream, and then serum immediately after on my still damp skin to trap in the hydrating ingredients in the toner. This toner has really good ingredients like aloe juice, panthenol, vitamin C, and white tea extract, I also love that the spray cuts my toner application time by more than half because I don’t have to use cotton pads. The spray nozzle is of great quality, it doesn’t clog up, it sprays a fine mist instead of a stream, and works until the product is all gone. Overall, it’s a good value for money, however, I would mostly recommend it to people with normal to oily skin. I don’t find it to be hydrating enough for excessively dry skin, and the essential oils might be irritating to sensitive skins.
Bioelements Calmitude Hydrating Solution: This toner has some really good ingredients for calming inflamed skin like licorice root extract, and allantoin. It also contains white tea leaf extract, which is an antioxidant, and glycerin, which is a humectant.
Despite this being a well formulated toner, I was disappointed by this product because it did nothing for my skin, it basically gave the same effect as if I had sprayed water onto my skin, which is not ideal, because it costs $25 for only 4 fl oz (120ml). I think this might work for people who have very sensitive skin, although, I found that it stung a little if I accidentally got the product in my eyes. The spray pump is not great either, once I got a little past halfway through the toner, the pump would get stuck, and it would spray out like a stream instead of a mist. I would not repurchase.
Derma e Soothing Toner: Loved this toner, I used it after chemically exfoliating, and it did a good job of calming the tingling. It contains hydrating and soothing ingredients like: glycerin, panthenol, allantion, green tea, and aloe leaf extracts. This is another one of those products that I imagine would be good for all skin types including sensitive because it’s really gentle, free of alcohol, fragrance, and other irritating plant oils. It’s hydrating without being greasy, which is good for people with oily skin. Also a really good value for money. I only wish it was more widely available, I believe that this toner is currently only available online.
Derma e Hydrating Serum: This is a lightweight serum that hydrates the skin without adding any greasiness. Because it is oil-free, and has a light texture, I like to use it in the morning, under makeup. It also works great as a nighttime serum when I’m dealing with comedogenic breakouts, because it really hydrates without making the breakout worse.
I think this is a serum that will work well for people with all skin types (with maybe the exception of the extremes) because it has good hydrating ingredients, also, ingredients that help the skin retain water like glycerin, sodium hyaluronate, amino acids (alanine, leucine, tyrosine, glycine, valine), also, allantoin, which is an anti-irritant, but the light texture prevents it from making the skin feel greasy. Serums are usually 1 fl. oz (30ml), but I love that this one has 2 fl. oz (60ml) of product for about the price of a serum from a low to mid range skincare line.
The only thing that takes this product down a notch is that it contains fragrance, the fragrance doesn’t bother me because it is the last ingredient, and it’s not a bad smell (neither cloying nor repulsive). It hasn’t irritated my skin, but someone with sensitive skin might have issues with it. Overall, I loved this serum, and I would definitely repurchase.
Dermstore Lip Quench: Fun fact: I’ve never actually paid for this lip balm. I first got this as a free full size sample when I ordered something from Dermstore, and then I kept getting them as samples every time I bought something from the site. When I first tried this lip balm, I didn’t expect much, it was free, I was quite happy with my Rosebud strawberry lip balm, and if I wasn’t impressed, I could go back to what I liked. As it turns out, I ended up loving this product.
The balm has a pink tint and shimmer that aren’t obvious on the lips. The consistency is quite thick and sticky, which is why I only use it before bed. At first, I thought the consistency was off putting, but after a few uses, I found that the thickness and stickiness helps the balm to stay on longer, and my lips never feel dry/flaky when I wake up.
A few cons: $12 is a bit pricey for lip balm, however, it lasts a long time. Dermstore has also reformulated it, and a few reviewers have said that the new formula is not as good. Someone on Amazon is charging $30 for the original formula. I will be trying out (and reviewing) the new formula at some point, but for now, I will use up the two backups that I have.