Rather than try and squeeze in a post about the skincare I was finishing up before I left Sydney I thought I would do a comparison of my old and new products since just about everything has been changed up since the move. Most of what I was using back home was coming to an end, so either it got finished up or the last dregs were decanted into little pots so I could make do until I got my hands on some new stuff over here. I brought over a few things from my ever-dwindling backups stash but everything else is a new purchase. Also, this post ended up getting waaaay too long because ya girl loves to talk about serums, so I've actually split it up into two parts. This part will go through every step of my skincare routine except for serums, and part 2 will be serums because apparently I had so much to say that it warrants a post of its own.
For oil/balm cleansers, which I use as my first cleanse at night to remove my makeup, I spoke about replacing The Body Shop's Chamomile Cleansing Oil (AU) with the Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm (AU) in my Beauty New & Old post already, as they’re the two cleansers I’ve been using since I’ve been in Canada.
I've finished up one of each of them in the past, so they were both repurchases, which should indicate to you that I think they're great. If you prefer oils in a pump bottle, The Body Shop is probably the best budget option I've tried, but I have to say I'm really enjoying the Clinique one now that I have it again. It's funny how an unscented product in very plain packaging still manages to feel very luxurious, and I put it down to the texture of the balm. It's completely smooth and it melts instantly when you work it into your face. I think the reason I was drawn to repurchase this is because it's my mum's favourite and she continually repurchases it. I wanted to remember what all the fuss was about, and it completely holds up.
As for second cleansers, I was using a mini of the Fresh Soy Face Cleanser (not available AU) before I left but I wasn’t in love with it. It has a thin, jelly-ish texture and although it seems to be really hyped up I just didn’t get it. Once we moved, my boyfriend and I shared a bottle of the La Roche Posay Toleraine Dermo-Cleanser (AU) which I think is great value and a lovely, no-frills cleanser. It’s not life changing but it does the job just fine, but because we were both using it we got through it pretty quickly. As we were coming to the end, I got my hands on my second bottle of the Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser, which is easily one of my favourite cleansers. I don’t think it removes makeup particularly well, but I absolutely love the thick, almost balmy-gel texture and I'll mostly likely just keep buying it while I have access to it since they ship to Canada, but not worldwide. It’s a joy to use and I also think it's really reasonably priced. In terms of micellar water I was using the Garnier (AU) one back home and am still using it now because it's super cheap and does the job perfectly so there's nothing new to report there.
Back home I was using the First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads (AU) which I've used in the past and enjoyed. I took the last little stack of pads away with me in a small zip-lock bag, so the format of them is excellent for travel.
However, I've said in the past that I don't generally go for pre-moistened pads as they're much more expensive per use than a bottle of an exfoliating toner which generally lasts me 4-5 months. I replaced them with The Ordinary's 7% Glycolic Toning Solution and I really have nothing bad to say about it at all. I spoke more about it in my post about The Ordinary so feel free to check that out as well.
I've been using an exfoliating toner on the reg for years now, so I can't say I noticed a miraculous difference, but the main thing is the price. Both products work just as well as each other on my skin, and the same goes for Pixi's Glow Tonic (AU) which I still have a backup of and will be using once this is done. They're all great products but The Ordinary's is by far the best value for money so I'll likely just be buying that one from now on.
For a hydrating facial mist I was using the Heritage Store Rosewater & Glycerin Mist and I think it's all you really need unless you're super passionate about expensive spritzes. I'm happy with something simple and affordable and this did the job. I replaced it with the Mario Badescu Facial Spray (AU) which is another simple rosewater mist with aloe and it also does the job perfectly and is affordable too. I'd used a bottle of this years ago and the spray on it was pretty uneven but either there was something wrong with my old bottle or they've fixed the packaging because my new one sprays out a lovely fine mist and for $7 that's hard to beat.
As I said earlier I wrote a stupid amount about serums so I decided to move all of that into its own post so this one wasn't intimidatingly long, but keep an eye out for that one which will be coming soon. :)
I was finishing up Hylamide's SubQ Eyes (AU) before I left and once it was done I just went without a dedicated eye product for a while. I don't think they're strictly necessary as you can just take your serum around your eye area. Brands all tell you not to do that but I think that's probably a liability thing so they don't get sued, and I'm happy to proceed at my own risk.
Eventually I picked up The Ordinary's Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG because it's so affordable and you get twice as much in the bottle as you would with most other eye products, so I figured why not I'm generally pretty skeptical about caffeine in skincare, because I think a lot of brands just throw it in a product and often it's not at an amount that's going to be effective, but The Ordinary is a brand that I trust to do their best and at that price point I thought it's no great loss if it doesn't blow me away.
The EGCG refers to a green tea extract which, as well as the caffeine, is supposed to reduce the appearance of puffiness and dark circles. I don't believe much can be done for dark circles, but I do feel like using this has reduced the puffiness of my under-eye area slightly.
In saying that, my understanding of caffeine in skincare is that it's a temporary effect, so I'm not expecting that to last any longer than the amount of time I'm regularly using the product. In general, I don't think any eye product is going to be a miracle worker but I'll happily continue using this one for now.
Moisturisers & Oils
I've said before that I don't need my moisturiser to do much other than moisturise my skin, because as you'll see in my upcoming post, I go HAM with my serums. Before I left I was using a 30ml tube of the Dr Jart+ Water Drop Moisturiser (possibly not available AU?) that I got in a Sephora Favourites set and quite enjoyed it. It's a very lightweight gel formula that melts instantly once it hits the skin, it basically feels like water on your face. I found it hydrating enough for my skin and think it's a great option, particularly if you don't like using anything too heavy.
I also finished up the First Aid Beauty Oil-Free Mattifying Gel (AU) which I bought because I'd heard reviews saying it would actually help mattify the skin. I don't usually buy mattifying moisturisers because I consider that to be more of a makeup property and I'm perfectly happy when my skincare does skincare jobs and my makeup does makeup jobs. But when I heard this actually worked I thought I'd give it a try because as an oily girl, I need all the help I can get to make my skin look glowy instead of greasy. Unfortunately I don't think this had any magical mattifying properties, it was just a stock standard moisturising gel. Nice enough and I was happy using it, but I certainly wasn't wowed enough to buy it again or particularly recommend it, because it doesn't do what it says it will.
The next moisturiser I started using was a mini of the Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel (AU). What's funny about this product is that it's really unclear whether this is a moisturiser or a hydrating serum. The texture would usually be a giveaway, but this is a really lightweight gel, so it could go either way. I decided to use it as a moisturiser because that's the product I needed and it worked just fine that way.
It's a nice product but it hasn't blown me away enough to make me want to pick up a full size at $65 CAD + tax ($75 AU) for 50ml. When I compare it to the Glossier Priming Moisturiser which is $27 CAD (+ tax) for the same amount of product, or the Dr Jart+ one which is $45 CAD for 100ml, I'm definitely more likely to repurchase either of those as they do the job just as well.
I did already review the Glossier Priming Moisturiser in a previous post but I think it's an excellent, simple moisturiser. It sinks in to the skin really quickly, making it great to use in the mornings under makeup, especially if you're in a rush and don't have time to wait for your products to sink in.
I like it because it's a basic moisturiser with a traditional cream texture that's on the runny side. As I mentioned, I don't need my moisturisers to jump through hoops to impress me, but this one does get extra points for having such cute packaging. It's hydrating enough for my skin and I can't complain about it at all.
In the evenings if I want some extra hydration I'll reach for an oil. I'm currently using Sunday Riley's Luna which I'll cover in Part II, but for nights when I'm not using Luna and I still want an oil I've also got the Antipodes Joyous Protein-Rich Night Replenish Serum (AU) on rotation as well. They call it a serum but it's most definitely an oil as it's primarily made up of blackcurrant and raspberry seed oils, both of which are good sources of antioxidants. It's lovely and hydrating and if natural/organic beauty is a priority for you then this is definitely a brand to check out. I've used a few smaller bottles of this oil in the past and keep coming back to it as I feel like it helps balance my oily skin as well as hydrate it really well. It's on the lightweight end of the oil spectrum and it doesn't break me out, which is a concern I had when I first started using facial oils.
As for SPF, I brought these two over with me when we first moved because the Mecca Cosmetica SPFs are my favourites. I've now finished up the mini of the SPF 30 and am working on the full sized SPF 50.
While back in Australia briefly at the end of August I picked up a full size of the SPF 30 as I just haven’t found another sunscreen that’s as good as this, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to buy it once I was back in Canada.
I've talked about the Mecca sunscreens a million times before, but both versions work well under makeup, don’t leave my face greasy and they don’t cost the earth.
They’re not exactly super affordable, but if you see SPF as the skincare product that it is, rather than the boring thing you use when you go to the beach, then these are 100% worth the investment.