Sephora Haul & First Impressions: Skincare

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Last week I did a very naughty thing… Breaking with my pact to not spend any money on beauty bits for a month, I casually dropped by my local Sephora to pick up a brand new NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer. Though I tried to live without it, my love and obsession with the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer got the best of me. What was supposed to be a quick trip to purchase one item turned into an hour-long “grab everything you can” rampage through Sephora. My shopping spree got so out of hand that once I got to the cash register I had to take a few minutes to sort through my shopping basket in order to get rid of some items I really didn’t need. Thankfully the Sephora cashier was patient, funny, and even helped me with my last-minute reshuffle. If you follow me on Instagram you’ve already seen some of these items (and photos), but today I thought I’d discuss my first impressions! Since this ended up being such a long post, I broke it up into two parts. Today I’m discussing skincare, Thursday I’ll discuss the makeup bits.

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Fresh Beauty Rose Deep Hydration Facial Toner

A new toner was on my mind, though I wasn’t sure what brand or which kind of toner to buy. If you’ve noticed, I only have two toners in my collection at the moment: Pixi Glow Tonic and Thayers Natural Witch Hazel. You’re all certainly getting bored of seeing them on here. I know I am! I knew I wanted to try a new skincare brand but I also didn’t want to spend too much. I settled on this Fresh Beauty Rose Deep Hydration Facial Toner, which I had seen multiple times on Instagram feeds. At $44 this was definitely over my budget but I was tempted by the promise of a hydrating toner. Besides, I’d heard good things about it and wondered whether spending the extra $20-30 on a higher-end toner would be worth it.

Let me start out by fawning over the gorgeous bottle. I mean, let’s just appreciate for a moment how cool the floating *real* rose petals are? Gimmicky? Of course! But I can’t help but be a sucker for little details like that. I also like that the bottle is not glass, as I assumed from the photos online, but plastic. Glass packaging on skincare products may make for a luxurious item but it’s not as practical or as durable. I worry about dropping and shattering glass products, something I’ve done many times in the past.

The toner itself has a slight orange tinge to it. It’s a little thicker than my Thayers Witch Hazel or Pixi Glow Tonic, which are runnier. If you’re someone who is sensitive to or is avoiding fragrance, I would avoid this. I personally adore the warm powdery rose scent so much that if Fresh Beauty ever brought out this exact fragrance in perfume form, I’d drop everything and buy it. It’s not too overwhelming, but it is noticeable.

After just four uses, I can already boldly say that this toner is on its way to becoming a holy grail item. I’m in love! My skin is noticeably softer, clearer and brighter. Before adding this to my morning and evening routine, my skin was having a bad week. It was rough to the touch, dull, uneven and irritated. Pimples were popping up every day. Nothing I used helped reverse the situation. I’m convinced my skin issues were caused by over exfoliating and using too many different products on rotation. This did a fab job at not only calming my skin but making sure it wasn’t stripped of any moisture. My skin is no longer irritated!

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Korres Wild Rose Brightening Eye Treatment

It’s becoming clear to me that I’m slowly but surely creating a rose-infused skincare collection… Didn’t plan that!

Like toner, eye cream was on my shopping list. Since running out of my Kiehl’s Creamy Avocado and my Origins GinZing eye creams recently, I’m down to only my ROC Retinol Eye Cream, which is only OK. I didn’t want to exceed the $40 mark so I picked up the Korres Wild Rose Brightening Eye Treatment.

Perhaps I should have done a bit of research to at least see what the general consensus is on this, but I bought it without a shred of knowledge. I’d heard good things about this Wild Rose range by Korres so I figured this might be good. The reviews online are mixed. Upon further inspection, it looks like most have issues with this burning or stinging their under eye area. Thankfully, I’ve had absolutely no issues with that! In fact, after a couple of uses, I’m digging this eye cream. I doubt its brightening capabilities because no eye cream has ever transformed or hidden my dark under eyes. However, I do enjoy using this in the morning. It’s on the thicker, creamier side of the eye cream spectrum but this absorbs into my skin within seconds leaving my under eyes looking semi-matte without any greasiness. This means that makeup sits well on top. No creasing, dryness or pilling! One thing that does bother me is the rose scent. It’s not the scent itself but more having scent in the eye cream. There’s no reason to put fragrance in eye cream!

Drunk Elephant NightBright Duo

Two years ago the beauty world went wild for Drunk Elephant, a relatively new luxury skincare brand. The day and night serums, in particular, got rave reviews. A couple of their products received Allure awards. The hype is still going strong. However, the brand’s astronomical price tags were enough to dissuade me from testing their products out. Thankfully Sephora now has a couple of mini duo sets at a fraction of their usual price. I picked the NightBright Duo because I was most excited to try the T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum. This also came with the Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil, which I hadn’t heard anything about, but I’m always game to try a new facial oil.

I’m impressed with the facial oil! For the past three nights, I’ve religiously applied this thick oil all over my face and neck. In the morning, I wake up with deeply nourished and soothed skin. I’m having fewer issues with irritation, acne and uneven skin. I will say that this oil is the thickest I’ve tried. It’s difficult to massage this in without pulling at my skin so I find it best to just pat it in after warming it up in my hands. A little goes a long way, too! I’m not sure this is worth the price tag yet. It’s nice but I don’t think it beats my Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate or my Pixi Rose Oil.

The serum gets five stars! I’m obsessed with this! It’s rare to find a product that instantly transforms your skin and this overnight serum does just that. It has a thin, watery consistency. This sinks into my skin almost immediately, making it ideal for layering products on top. This is a gentle chemical exfoliant that is supposed to leave skin bright and smooth with less texture and pores. I had no issues with irritation. This felt like a normal lightweight serum. I used this once and my skin transformed overnight. I woke up to baby soft skin that continued to glow throughout the day. I couldn’t believe how smooth and soft it was! I couldn’t stop touching my face. I plan on using this once or twice a week to keep my face nice and smooth.

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Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask

My poor chapped, bleeding winter lips… Their continuously sad state is causing lots of issues. Mainly I struggle to wear lipstick for longer than an hour. Even creamy satin lipsticks can’t hide my flaky, peeling lips. All the lip balms I tried just don’t do the trick. Trust me, I’ve tried a lot! Burt’s Bees, EOS, Rosebud Salve, Carmex, etc… Some work better than others. My EOS and old Rosebud Salve do a good job at keeping the dryness at bay. That being said, the dryness is chronic. The lip balms I use don’t help reverse the dryness, they sort of act like a band-aid to cover up the issue temporarily. The next day, or even sometimes within a few hours, my lips are back to looking cracked. I’m not sure if I more permanent solution is possible! If you have the same issue and have a product that works, let me know in the comments!

I snapped up the Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask in the original clear formula to combat my perpetually dry lips. It’s one of those products the beauty community just can’t stop talking about! For years I’ve heard nothing but praises for this lip mask. I’d been putting off buying it because at $26 this was pricey. With the blog, I feel, for better or worse, empowered to buy all these beauty products that have been on my wishlist for years. This lip mask is extra thick to the point where it’s a bit of challenge to get it out of the tube and spread on your lips. Once it’s on it warms up and feels creamy. So far, I’m loving this! My lips are so plump and juicy when I have this on. Since the texture of this mask is so thick, I prefer to put this on before bed. I wake up to plump, hydrated lips instead of cracked, peeling lips. I also love that it tastes like sugar. I hate lip balms that taste like Vaseline! My one concern is that when I’m not wearing this my lips go back to the way they were. I have zero issues with peeling lips anymore, BUT my lips feel dehydrated. Now I’m making sure to add a regular lip balm during the day to keep the moisture going. So I’m not sure this is going to completely get rid of the dryness like I want it to, but, as I said, maybe nothing can do that! I still enjoy using this.

*UPDATE* I ended up returning my Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask a few days ago. The dryness issue persisted, which shouldn’t happen with a good lip balm. Again, zero issues with peeling or flaky lips. This lip mask resolved that issue. However, I noticed my lips were feeling tight and dehydrated when I wasn’t wearing this. They even started to get a bit rashy along the outside of my lips. There were patches of dry skin that wouldn’t go away. I’m now using my new Lanolips 101 Ointment and my lips are feeling much better.

Boscia MakeUp-BreakUp Cool Cleansing Oil

My experience with cleansing oil is limited to two products: Burt’s Bees and The Body Shop Chamomile Cleansing Oils. I found two cleansing oils that worked for me years ago and stopped searching for others. (Actually, I did test out the Vichy cleansing oil a month ago, but I didn’t get on with it.) I was long overdue for a new cleansing oil!

I found this Boscia MakeUp-BreakUp Cool Cleansing Oil mini in the checkout line, also known as the worst place in Sephora. It’s where they keep all the travel or mini size products that I inevitably grab while waiting because who can say no to a mini? I’ve used this a couple of times and I am in love! It’s thick and oily, which I like because it’s easier to massage into my skin. It’s not lying when it says “cool.” This gives a nice cooling sensation as you massage it in. The scent is fresh and a bit minty. This will be perfect in the summer! It did a good job at removing makeup. My mascara lingered, but I don’t mind. I always follow up with micellar water to get rid of that anyways.

That’s all I have for today! Overall, this haul was successful. I discovered so many new products and brands. Stay tuned for the makeup part of the haul on Thursday!

4 Comments

  1. Colleen

    I have similar lip dryness issues, and I really love the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask! It’s still a little pricey at $20, but the consistency is more hydrating than the Bite Beauty balm in my opinion. There’s a ton of product for the money and it smells incredible!

    Liked by 1 person

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