This is going to sound awful coming from a beauty blogger, but I've pretty much given up on wearing makeup recently. It doesn't make any sense to do so between crazy work deadlines that have me chained to a computer Monday to Friday; an on-and-off cold that has me swiping Saje Immune across my forehead, sinuses, throat, and chest and blowing my nose; and barre classes after the office most weekdays, where I'd have to remove my makeup pre-workout or sweat it off. Instead I've just been relying on good skin and skincare habits to carry the day. The last time I did one of these skincare round-ups sharing tweaks to my regimen, it was all about my pre-wedding radiance-boosting game plan. This winter the products I'm adding to the mix are all about one thing: hydration, hydration, hydration. Oh, and did I mention hydration?
As you can see from the photo below, they all have the most incredible rich textures.
Clockwise from top left:
The Face Shop Mango Seed Cleansing Butter
I found myself drawn to The Face Shop Mango Seed Cleansing Butter and its novel texture during a recent PR-sponsored shopping spree at The Face Shop. A cleansing butter? The name alone promises richness and indulgence, and when I swiped the tester across my hand and felt how it positively melted into skin that really sealed the deal.
The Face Shop Mango Seed Cleansing Butter promises to remove makeup and deeply cleanse while leaving skin feeling moisturized; in theory, you just massage it into the face and wipe away the excess with a tissue. In practice though, I don't like the slippery, rich, moisturizing film it leaves behind and I always wipe it away with a warm damp washcloth. And despite the fact that it melts away makeup effectively, I still prefer the double-cleanse to really sweep away traces of makeup and cleansing butter film.
For a Korean beauty product, this cleansing butter is relatively lightly scented (a plus for me)—it's not really mango so much as a non-descript "natural fruit" fragrance. In fact, despite the heavy emphasis the packaging and branding place on mango seed, I'd say this product is more "nature-inspired" than natural/green/organic: The first two ingredients on the list are water and mineral oil, and mango seed butter doesn't appear until a third of the way down.
If you're willing to look beyond the ingredients and focus on performance alone, this cleansing butter is pretty perfect for mornings when you might not need the heavy-duty power of a deep cleanser, but you're looking for something gentle and moisturizing.
Estee Lauder Nutritious Vitality8 Night Creme/Mask
One side of me thinks the branding, packaging, and promises behind Estee Lauder Nutritious Vitality8 Night Creme/Mask ($79) were all designed to appeal to the Chinese market: the claims of "radiant vitality"; the red packaging; the emphasis on the number 8. This do-it-all product bridges the gap between night cream and sleep mask and delivers hydrated, radiant, nourished skin through its Pomegranate8 Complex, with results in as little as 8 days.
I've been using the Vitality8 Night Creme/Mask as the last step of my nighttime routine, applying a thin layer on top of serum and face oil to lock in all the products and provide a final hydration boost. The texture is like that of an ultra-rich night creme and slightly tacky; its stickiness is noticeable for the first 1-2 hours post-application, but by the morning everything is fully absorbed and my complexion is soft with no dehydration lines. Like The Face Shop Mango Seed Cleansing Butter, it has a light, non-descript "natural fruit" fragrance.
Fresh Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask
I mentioned Fresh Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask ($112) briefly in yesterday's post as my go-to, twice-weekly mask for the last month and so far I really like it. The velvety whipped texture has to be seen and felt to be believed: rich yet light, smooth and cooling to the touch. The formula contains antioxidant-rich black tea ferment, collagen-supporting lychee seed extract, firming polysaccharides, and hydrating jicima root.
I have a pretty good complexion to begin with and am a skincare junkie, so while the mask feels great and is a delight to use, I didn't think it was doing that much for me. Then one day, I noticed my husband (who never uses moisturizer or cleanser) had fine dehydration lines and an ashy grey cast to his face. After convincing him to exfoliate, I applied this mask to his face and followed up with a face oil, and voilà: he instantly looked 5 years younger and the benefits lingered for the next 3 days. (I now think that whenever I'm skeptical of a product's efficacy, he might be my control group test.)
Shop the post