In-Depth Review: My Experience

Skinceuticals products from

How many times have you had a skin issue during this pandemic and wished for a virtual face-to-face with an expert, right from the comfort and safety of your own home? Newly launched Wonder Skincare does just that. The brainchild of experienced medical aesthetician Sarah Kurmis, this Ontario-based online business offers online consultations and product recommendations, and is a one-stop shop for well-known medi-spa brands like SkinCeuticals and Colorescience. I was recently invited by Wonder Skincare to try their end-to-end virtual consultation and online retail experience firsthand. So how did it go? All the details after the jump!

Screenshot of virtual skincare consultation in progress between Sarah Kurmis of and beauty and lifestyle blogger Solo Lisa

My virtual consultation

My Wonder Skincare experience began by booking a 30-minute consultation on The process was easy. On the day of, Sarah and I both hopped on the virtual call. I walked her through the products I was using currently (there were so many in my medicine cabinet!) and my current concerns (breakouts on my face and near my hairline, hydration). My biggest takeaways from the call were: 1) I was doing a lot of things right and I knew a lot about different ingredients and products; 2) my routine could do with a lot of simplifying; and 3) the breakouts that I was attributing to maskne were, in fact, likely caused by hormones and allergic reactions to new haircare products.

That third point was the biggest "Aha!" moment of the entire half-hour call. In my case, I had gotten so caught up in "maskne" as a byword and explanation for my breakouts that I was forgetting the basic acne triggers that existed before COVID-19 and continue to exist: stress, hormones, diet, allergies and sensitivities to new products. Even beauty bloggers can get caught up in their own heads trying to diagnose their own skincare issues, so it helps to have an expert third party swoop in and assess the situation. Right after the call ended, I assessed my haircare products and eliminated anything beyond shampoo and conditioner, including a heavily fragranced hair mask and a new dry shampoo. These changes decreased the new breakouts along my hairline.

But that wasn't all. Sarah also promised to send me a new skincare routine to try. A parcel full of Skinceuticals products arrived approximately 2-3 weeks later. Everything was beautifully packed with a zip-up canvas cosmetic case, and accompanied by a handwritten note with instructions for my new AM/PM skincare routine.

Virtual consultations are free, but customers pay for any products purchased. (The skincare products in this post were kindly provided for free for review purposes.) Based on this business model, you'd think Sarah would be pushing products on me like mad and getting me to scrap everything and start from scratch, but that was not my experience. In fact, the new routine accounted for and incorporated products I already owned. Because of this, I really got the sense that she was trying to make thoughtful recommendations based on what I needed versus simply selling.

Although booking the consultation was straightforward, the booked appointment was entered as a $0 purchase transaction on the website. Consequently, while I had the receipt in my email, I had to manually create a calendar reminder for myself so I wouldn't forget when my appointment was. It'd be great if the platform automatically did that for you. Along a similar vein, Wonder Skincare is a very new business (they just launched October 2020). While the online experience is pretty painless and bug-free, they're still working out some kinks with their web developer. In the time between my first and second virtual consultations, they had switched from the booking system to Jane Video, which had a downloadable app. During my first session, I kept accidentally hanging up on the call because of the platform's controls; in the second session, I had lag issues while trying to use Bluetooth ear buds. Despite the technical difficulties, Sarah remained professional and helpful throughout both consultations. What's more, as someone who works in tech, I was heartened to see her noting these issues so she could pass the feedback to development.

Instagram story of Skinceuticals product samples from, freshly unpacked

My new skincare routine

Based on the consultation and the products Sarah selected, this was my new skincare routine for at least the next 4 weeks. My goals were to minimize current breakouts and help them heal while preventing new blemishes, and to boost hydration during the winter months.


  • Cleanse with my current anti-acne salicylic acid cleanser
  • Tone with my current exfoliating toner
  • Apply 4-6 drops of SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Defense serum
  • Apply 4-6 drops of SkinCeuticals H.A. Intensifier serum
  • Apply my current eye cream
  • Apply 1-2 pumps SkinCeuticals Face Cream
  • Apply SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense Sunscreen SPF50


  • Same as above, but omit sunscreen and use my current rosewater toner instead of the exfoliating one.
  • Add my current retinol oil to the SkinCeuticals Face Cream on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

Spending the next month evaluating and using 4 new SkinCeuticals products gave me a lot of time to form opinions. Keep scrolling!

Skinceuticals Blemish + Age Defense Serum from

SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Defense ($110)

The label isn't kidding—this stuff is potent. And yet this serum is so lightweight, clear, and quick-absorbing you'd think it was water except for the nostril-singing odour. The formula includes 2% dioic acid to clear excess sebum, 0.3% LHA (caproloyl salicylic acid) to exfoliate and decongest, 1.5% salicylic acid, 3.5% glycolic acid, and 0.5% citric acid. Because this stuff was so active and chock full of acids and I wanted to minimize sensitivity, I started subbing in the rosewater toner for the exfoliating toner much more often. I felt like this serum worked and started delivering results much faster than a typical anti-acne serum with only salicylic acid as an active; it's a good option for a radical skin reset if you have persistent issues with breakouts, which I have been struggling with for the last couple months. However, the potency of the actives would make me think twice about repurchasing. I'd probably switch to a gentler anti-acne serum for long-term maintenance. The apothecary-style brown dropper bottle made it easy to dispense just the right amount of product each time, especially since the formula was so watery.

Skinceuticals H.A. Intensifier Serum from

SkinCeuticals H.A. Intensifier ($130)

You might be asking yourself, "Why would I pay $100+ for a hyaluronic acid when there are more affordable options out there?" To be quite honest, I'm still on the fence about whether this product is worth it. This hyaluronic acid serum is supposed to be better than others because the secondary ingredients (licorice and purple rice extracts) increase the star ingredient's absorption rate. I liked how soothing and instantly hydrating it felt, especially when applied on top of the Blemish + Age Defense. I liked how the formula—a thick grape-coloured gel straight out of the dropper—absorbed remarkably fast and didn't leave any lingering residue on skin. However, I wasn't crazy about how the formula's consistency made it hard to dispense; somehow I had too much or too little product in the dropper every time.

Skinceuticals Face Cream from

SkinCeuticals Face Cream ($145)

This face cream contains soy isoflavones to stimulate collagen and hyaluronate production, vitamin E for emollient and antioxidant benefits, and silymarin for even more antioxidant protection. I was skeptical that a face cream that felt so lightweight and absorbed so quickly would moisturize sufficiently, particularly in the winter, but I was pleasantly surprised. 1 pump spread in a thin veil across my face and neck was just enough, maybe a small dot more if I was feeling dry (2 pumps felt like too much). I felt like the thin, quick-absorbing textures of this face cream and the serums preceding it helped my retinol oil absorb and work on my skin better and faster, which was really nice. That being said, the biggest downside of this face cream is the price. $145 for a small bottle that lasts about 2 months is a bit steep.

Skinceuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense Sunscreen SPF 50

SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50 ($46)

I'd mentioned to Sarah that I was using a mineral sunscreen I wasn't crazy about, so she sent me the SkinCeuticals tinted mineral sunscreen. This was an SPF I'd tried ages ago and liked, but for some reason never repurchased. Well, the last 4 weeks have been a delightful re-introduction. It truly is a Holy Grail face sunscreen: mineral filters (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide), paraben-free, non-comedogenic, tinted (so no bluish-white cast), and it's such a nice, lightweight, matte-finish fluid that feels like nothing once it's on. Definite re-purchase.

Final takeaway

Overall, I really enjoyed my Wonder Skincare experience. The free virtual consultations turned out to be more valuable than expected. I can see how useful and convenient they'd be, especially during COVID. Even post-pandemic, they'd be a great resource for someone who's pressed for time. My consultation with Sarah also led to me (re)discovering a forever-fave mineral face sunscreen and trying a slew of new-to-me SkinCeuticals products which performed well, so her product recommendations were legit.

After more than a month, what were my two biggest takeaways from this experience, the lessons that I'll be carrying forward with me? One, it's not always maskne. The acne triggers that existed pre-pandemic are still around and just as likely to be culprits. And two, even if I'm not repurchasing the SkinCeuticals serums and moisturizer, I should really look for skincare with thin, quick-absorbing textures to let my retinol absorb and work better.

At my 4-week follow-up virtual appointment, Sarah and I chatted about the improvements I'd seen in my skin (fewer new blemishes, the old blemishes were healing, the retinol was working better). I mentioned that it was taking me less time to do my skincare mornings and evenings because the products absorbed faster and my routine was simpler (bonus!). We also talked about possibly being able to re-introduce a once-weekly exfoliation and a face oil (if it didn't clog pores or trigger breakouts), maybe vitamin C or another antioxidant boost in the future once I was done with the Blemish + Age Defense. After all, one's skin is changing all the time, and knowing that you can turn to someone for an expert opinion whenever you need it—that's priceless.


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