Last year I posted about my battle with hormonal acne (spoiler alert: switching to natural skincare and beauty products helped – a lot.) Since then, I’ve found a few new favorite products that really work well for me and my sensitive skin, so I figured I’d share them, along with a few discount codes, in time for a little self care this Black Friday. Brands or products with an * are offering discount codes so keep your eyes peeled!
In my previous post I confessed to using CeraVe hydrating cleanser because my dermatologist recommended it – I scanned the label to to my untrained eye it seemed OK, and I’d read on some vegan beauty blogs that it was OK. But later I saw some chatter online about there being animal-derived ingredients lurking inside, so I thought it would be best to look elsewhere.
I’ve tried a new vegan, natural cleansers since then and never thought enough of any of them to really claim one as my favorite until I tried OSEA’s Ocean Cleanser. At about $7 per ounce, it’s not the cheapest cleanser on the block – but cheap is’t a great attribute in something you’re planning on rubbing all over your body’s largest organ 1-2 times a day.
If you read the product description there is lots of talk of algae and re-mineralizing and whatnot, but all you need to know is it will remove your makeup, and clean your face without stripping it of it’s natural moisture. So your skin will feel soft and will be stronger and healthier.
I’m borderline Amy Winehouse with my black eyeliner, so I go through eye make up remover like it’s nothing. I also was blessed with my mother’s oily eyelids, which means I have blocked eyelash follicles and inflamed eyelids all the time (sorry boys, I’m taken!) I tried We Love Eyes’ Tea Tree Make Up Remover* and saw the light – literally.
Why is this eye make up remover worth $18? Well, it’s made with just three ingredients – jojoba oil grape seed oil and tea tree oil, so it’s super gentle and natural. Could you mix those up yourself at home? Um, maybe, but I’m pretty anti-DIY when it comes to my eyeballs, and this stuff was formulated by an optometrist, so I trust her. It removes every trace of my gothy eye makeup, plus, I’ve noticed that my eyelids are less puffy, and I’ve had fewer blocked follicles since I’ve started using it.
*Save 10% until 2017 when you enter bakeanddestroy
American Botanics* makes a few products I really love, but in the cleansing arena their SuperC+ Skin Perfecting Tonic with Brightening Complex is a stand-out. The scrubby little pads are soaked in fruit extract glycolic acid with aloe vera juice, bilberry, lemon peel and sugar cane, a mixture that polishes, brightens, fades sun spots and age spots, and fights fine lines and wrinkles.
I wash my face at night to remove my makeup, but in the morning I just rinse it with water to remove residue from my night cream, so I like to use these after my shower to refresh before I go pile on more makeup. The company recommends using them 1-2 times per week, or daily depending on your needs and preferences.
*Save 20% until 2017 when you enter HOLIDAY20
Serum and Moisturizer
I admit I’ve always been a little confused by serums. So, you clean your face, then you put oil on your face, then you put moisturizer on top of that? …why tho? I’ve tried tons, and I could never tell if they were “working,” and never wanted to spend anywhere from $40 to $100 on something that didn’t thrill me. Do you understand how many ColourPop lip sticks I could buy with $100? (The answer is 20.)
Then, I tried The Hero Oil by Poetic Blends*. This oil is billed as a multi-purpose oil – you can use it on your face, your hair, your nails, you can shave with it – but for $50 an ounce I was not about to do any of those things. I was going to put it on my beautiful, precious face. And I did. And I loved it.
I really like this oil for two reasons. One, it’s a “dry oil,” meaning it absorbs very quickly, so you don’t feel like an oil slick and your bangs won’t stick to your forehead all night. I also really like the inclusion of calendula oil in the ingredients, because it’s antibacterial, so it fights inflammation and kills germs. It’s nice to know when you’re on the verge of a major chin zit that your moisturizing serum is actively fighting zit-causing bacteria.
*Keep your eyes peeled for Poetic Blends’ Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales!
Another American Botanics* product that’s become a regular part of my routine is their SuperA+ Sleep Tight Radiance Cream. Prickly pear and Retinol combine with other natural, calming, regenerative ingredients to make a lightweight, but deeply penetrating night cream for firmer, younger-looking skin in the morning. Bonus: it smells delicious. Not bonus: that makes my dog lick my face. Bonus again: my dog is really cute.
*Save 20% until 2017 when you enter HOLIDAY20
In the morning, pre-makeup, I use Pacifica’s Dreamy Youth Day & Night Face Cream. I use a ton of Pacifica products because they’re all vegan and cruelty, and they’re priced really reasonably. This cream is super lightweight, so it’s perfect under makeup – and it’s in a pump dispenser so you can keep your grubby hands out of the product.
Masks and Treatments
In my previous skincare post I sang the praises of Thesis Beauty’s* Smoothing Hydrating Brightening Strawberry Dessert Mask and that one is still in regular rotation. It’s about $23 for a jar, but don’t let that freak you out because you only need a teaspoon to whip up a mask so it will last you FOREVER. This mask will give you visible results – for real. Your skin will be brighter, and if you’re sensitive like me, you’ll notice a calming effect on angry spots. Plus it’s pink, and it gets dry and crackly when it’s time to wash it off, so it’s fun.
*Save 10% until 2017 when you enter BAKE10
I did not love Pacifica’s Future Youth Enzymatic Resurfacing Mask when I first opened the jar. It’s a clear gel, and it smells like kale (because it’s made with kale) and it’s pretty much the opposite of the pink, sweetly-scented, crackly fun of the Thesis mask I love. This mask, however, taught me not to judge a book by its cover.
After spreading a thin layer on, you’ll feel this mask tingling away – you might even notice a flush in your cheeks if you’re particularly sensitive. After 5-20 minutes, wipe it away to reveal decongested pores, and a fresh complexion due to it’s peel-like properties. It’s perfect for those of you who get dull, dry patches, and like all of Pacifica’s products, it’s a great price.
A lot of the products I’ve already covered do double duty as anti-aging products – anything that hydrates, plumps and brightens pretty much fits that bill. But, I’ve tried a few that helped with some particularly annoying signs of aging.
Juice Beauty’s Stem Cellular Anti-wrinkle Booster Serum is a quick-absorbing, lightweight gel. There’s a whole crazy list of ingredients and what they do, but the reason I really like it is that it instantly plumps your skin – so fine lines go bye-bye. It also doubles as a makeup primer, which helps the $75 price tag feel slightly less painful.
If you’d like to try this serum at a lower price, plus get your hands on a few other really nice anti-aging products from Juice Beauty, I recommend the Stem Cellular Anti-Wrinkle Solutions Kit for $49. This will allow you to try three products from this collection (a $100 value), including another favorite of mine, the Stem Cellular Anti-Wrinkle Eye Treatment. This is the ONLY product I’ve ever tried that actually reduced the appearance of my chronic dark eye circles, plus helped diminish some fine lines.
Finally, this isn’t so much a product recommendation as a discovery tool recommendation, but I was able to try most of these products in my Petit Vour subscription box. I really like Petit Vour, because it’s always heavy on the skincare products, and the brands tend to be high-end. So for $15 a month (US price, Canadian and global options are also available) you can try an $80 night cream, a $65 serum, and a $32 cleanser and see for yourself if they’re worth it or not. Plus, you can earn loyalty points on your purchases through Petit Vour, so you can earn money off the things you really love.
What are your favorite vegan skincare products? What other vegan non-edibles are you interested in? Hair care? Pet care? You tell me and I’ll work on a post!
Honesty alert: This is not a sponsored post, and I paid for these products, so these are my honest opinions. Some of the links are affiliate links, which means I could receive compensation if you make a purchase after clicking them.