Empties? Yup, I’ve got ’em.
1. La Roche-Posay – SEROZINC
I have a lot to say on this one. First and foremost, it’s a cult classic. Notorious for being near-impossible to get ahold of if you don’t live in France. This is essentially an astringent aerosol toner. I’m not sure why people have dubbed this a “hydrating toner”, because there is NOTHING hydrating about it. At all. It only has 3 ingredients – water, salt, and zinc sulphate (and I do believe nitrogen is used here as a propellant). Water, when applied topically to the skin, is not hydrating. Salt (on the INCI as sodium chloride) is definitely not hydrating. You add salt to things to draw water/moisture OUT of them! So if you are buying this product hoping it will hydrate your skin post-acidic toner, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Serozinc is exceptional at quelling shaving irritation, though. I always use this post-shave and find it extremely effective at soothing the skin. This product cannot be purchased in Canada, and you can’t purchase it online from Europe because aerosol products cannot be shipped internationally. The few cans of this stuff I’ve gone through have been gifts from friends. Until I’m able to buy it in Canada, I won’t go out of my way to acquire it, as I find Caudalie’s Grape Water aerosol is just as good, if not better.
2. La Prairie – SKIN CAVIAR LUXE CREAM
Holy smokes. I got a 10 mL deluxe sample jar as part of a swap with my friend Dana (@bijousmere on Instagram) and nursed it ’til the bitter end. The full size (50 mL) product is $600 in Canada — you read that right, SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS. I think it’s safe to say that an expense like this just isn’t possible for most people. But this cream was so damn good – from scent, to texture, to results — that if I *could* afford it, I *would* pay the full price for it. *grinds teeth*
3. La Prairie – WHITE CAVIAR ILLUMINATING CREAM
Same notes as above apply here. La Prairie knows what they’re doing. End of.
4. Clarins – ULTRA MATTE REBALANCING LOTION
A lotion-texture moisturizer that has a dry-touch/powdery finish after the initial stickiness subsides. This had a lot of potential, but it’s major downfall is that if you touch your face after applying this lotion, it peels right off. Grrr. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s products that ball up and peel off (be wary of anything that says mattifying, tightening, and firming, because these products often have film-formers that will create that gross rolling effect). Unfortunately this is a total miss from Clarins.
5. Clean & Clear – PERSA-GEL 5
This 5% w/w benzoyl peroxide gel-cream is only effective on certain types of blemishes. It won’t have any effect on whiteheads or cystic blemishes. I’ve had this tube for almost 3 years and it’s still half-full. It’s just time for it to go. For the types of blemishes I get (and I seldom do these days, but I digress), acids clear them up much better.
6. Clarins – DAILY ENERGIZER WAKE-UP BOOSTER
This no-rinse cleanser has a thin gel consistency (imagine a watery aloe vera gel). It is meant to be used with a cotton pad in the morning as a “quick cleanse”. I don’t believe in quick cleansing, but if that’s your thing, you will love this. It smells incredible — like peaches! Teenagers, especially oily-skinned ones, would probably love this post-cleanse as it hydrates the skin beautifully without feeling tacky, heavy, or gross. If I found myself trying to fill such a void in my routine, I *would* buy it – but for now, I have enough hydrating toners.
7. Avène – HYDRANCE OPTIMALE HYDRATING SERUM
An incredibly basic hydrating serum. I must say, I was surprised when I read the ingredients list on this product, because it has a lot of junk in it (alcohol, film-formers, and a shocking absence of hyaluronic acid). The strange thing is, it feels great on the skin! I’ve used better serums, though, so I won’t be repurchasing.
8. L’Oréal Paris – ELNETT SATIN HAIRSPRAY (STRONG HOLD)
A product that needs no introduction or explanation. It was backstage on all the runway shows before Oribe was. Just a stunning hairspray for all hair lengths – gives great hold, but not a crunchy, disgusting hold. Smells like the bottom of an old lady’s handbag (which I love). Brushes out effortlessly and washes out easily. No product build-up. Will repurchase forever. It is also great at killing spiders that decide to terrorize you from the ceiling.
9. Clarins – SUPER RESTORATIVE NIGHT CREAM
Perfection. This one ticks all the boxes (Clarins rarely makes mistakes, let’s be honest). Probably the most beautifully fragranced night cream I’ve ever smelled – it smells like the most expensive perfume on Earth. It’s stupidly expensive, but I will repurchase.
10. Neal’s Yard Remedies – NOURISHING ORANGE FLOWER FACIAL WASH
A thin lotion cleanser. Smells like authentic orange blossoms. I tried using it with the hot cloth method, my preferred method of cleansing, and as a wash, and it works beautifully both ways. It doesn’t foam, but it rinses completely clean. This would be great for sensitive skin, and as one’s first foray into Neal’s Yard products.
11. Estée Lauder – ADVANCED NIGHT REPAIR SYNCHRONIZED RECOVERY COMPLEX II
Another cult classic. No matter how high-tech skin serums become, this one will always have the biggest following. Trust me. Why? Because it works. This is a thin gel serum that smells kind of like Coca Cola that’s been left sitting in a glass on a kitchen counter for a week. Don’t ask me where I’m drawing from to get that reference. But if you agree with me, comment below!
12. Kate Somerville – AGE ARREST ANTI-WRINKLE CREAM
Amazing. A thick, but not too thick, white cream that feels incredibly silky on the skin. A little goes a long way — pea-size only here, people. Smells like oranges and spearmint, which is odd, but somehow it works. I will probably repurchase this in the future.
13. The Body Shop – COCONUT BODY SCRUB
Coconut takes me to Nirvana. This creamy body scrub smells great and is really gritty. It rinses away clean, which leaves the skin feeling super fresh. The olive body scrub from The Body Shop is also great, although not as scrubby as the coconut one. They all probably have different degrees of scrubbiness. I would buy this, or one from another range, again. I love a good scrub.