I absolutely love mini products, they’re my favourite way to try something new - not only are they easier to finish, but they’re often free as a gift with purchase, and they’re super cute too. I’m not really the type to have 8 full sized moisturisers on the go at the same time, but I’ll happily bring minis into rotation to keep things interesting while I work away at one or two full sized products. So I thought I’d put together some mini reviews and talk about whether or not I’d consider buying these products after giving them a try.
I don’t really expect much from a cleanser other than it removing everything from my face without leaving it feeling stripped or dried out. So I don’t tend to take too much notice of what else a product claims to do, because ultimately it’s going to be washed down the drain. I’m far more likely to rely on products that will be staying on my skin for a longer period of time to provide the anti-ageing ingredients I look for.
So judging this cleanser on its ability to cleanse my skin and remove makeup alone, the Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm (AU) does an excellent job. It has a lovely, smooth texture that melts as you move it around your face. It breaks down makeup easily and doesn’t sting my eyes, and doesn’t leave a residue when I remove it with a cloth.
I don’t care one way or another about my products being “green” and I fundamentally disagree with the whole “chemicals are toxic and evil” rhetoric that we find all through the beauty world these days, so the “clean” aspect of the brand doesn’t mean anything to me. At $44C for 90ml it’s a little pricier than some comparable products (i.e. Clinique’s Take The Day Off Balm, which I love), but I did enjoy my mini and would definitely consider buying a full size at some point just because it’s nice to have some variety.
I’ve also been using minis of two REN masks recently, once of which I’ve used in the past, while the other was new to me. It had been a long time since I’d used the REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask (AU) which was a total blogger favourite back in the day, and it was one of the first products I bought when I started really taking skincare seriously.
I did a post all about masks a while back and spoke about the Fresh Vibrancy Boosting Face Mask (now-rebranded as the Vitamin C Glow Face Mask) and mentioned that I don’t really need an exfoliating mask in my routine because I exfoliate pretty regularly with other products. I gave the Fresh mask a generally favourable review in that post, but after trying the REN mask again, I noticed that it gave significantly better results than the Fresh one.
I got two uses out of this teeny tiny tube, and both times it seriously smoothed out my skin’s texture and left my face feeling plump at the same time, and it made me remember what all the fuss was about back in the day. I’m probably not going to buy an exfoliating mask anytime soon, but between the two of these I would definitely choose the REN one, and I still think it holds up all these years later.
The REN Evercalm Ultra Comforting Rescue Mask (AU) isn’t something I’ve heard anyone talk about, so I didn’t even know if this would be a hydrating mask or a clarifying, clay-based one before trying it (it’s hydrating, FYI), but I have to say I was pretty impressed. It’s a lovely, thick, creamy mask that really plumps up the skin and leaves it feeling very soft and hydrated. They market it as a “rescue mask” for skin that’s irritated, dry, sunburned, stressed, jet-lagged, etc. So basically it’s perfect for use during a long-haul flight, if you’ve accidentally caught too much sun, have over-exfoliated your skin, or just feel like it needs something soothing. It doesn’t contain anything overly “active” that might compromise already irritated skin, and it’s the sort of thing that sinks into the skin so you don’t have to wash it off, making it great for travel or as an overnight moisturiser. I’m not in the market to buy a new hydrating mask right now, but if I were this is definitely a nice one, particularly if you have sensitive or easily-irritated skin, and I’m really pleased with my little sample.
A product that got an intense amount of hype a few years back is the Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist (AU). I never really considered buying this - not only it is incredibly expensive for a face mist, but because of my oily skin I don’t have a need for something like this in my routine. It’s marketed as a spray-on moisturiser, although the most popular way to use this (at least on YouTube) seemed to be spritzing it over makeup to “set” the face and give it some extra glow. Let me tell you – a super dewy spray over the top of my makeup is the absolute last thing my skin needs, so I was never the target market for this. In any case, I got this as part of a Sephora Favourites set and thought I’d give it a try.
I tend to use it in my skincare routine after my serums and before my moisturiser, which isn’t a step I normally take except that’s where this product seemed to fit for me. I didn’t want to use it for my normal hydrating toner stage as I tend to stick to water-based formulas so they don’t interfere or get in the way of my serums (which are the most important step in my eyes).
The first thing I noticed when using this is that it has the most awful smell – something along the lines of a really salty, warm soup. I don’t really know how to describe it, but I have to hold my breath when I use it because I find it so unpleasant. I’m astounded that (at least in my memory) the only other person to complain about the smell is sweet angel Tenniel. If you have super dry skin and the idea of this would work in your routine (and you can stand the smell) then you might love it, but it’s a hard no for me.
Although I do enjoy using facial oils, because I don’t have dry skin, I don’t live and die for them, and I don’t feel the need to use them every day. I tend to use them only at night, a few times a week and I generally get really good results from them, but I’m definitely too oily to use them during the daytime. The Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil (AU) is quite an investment for a product that has just one ingredient, but if you love your luxury facial oils I don’t think you would be disappointed by the texture and experience of using this. It’s lovely and lightweight - I was surprised at how thin it feels on the face, and it gives me an extra boost of hydration that I expect from an oil. Because oils aren’t completely essential to my routine, I don’t feel the need to purchase this, but I do think it’s great that they offer a few different size options, so if you’re curious you can try it out without having to commit to the full size. If you’re on a budget and aren’t opposed to buying from Deciem, they also sell a Marula Oil for a fraction of the price.
Not too long ago I had a minor skin flare-up on my face. It was the first time I’d ever experienced anything like that (followed by even more minor second and third occurrences). Although thankfully it was hardly noticeable to anyone but me, and I managed to get rid of it within a few days, I still found it really stressful, and I dealt with it by stripping back my routine and slowly adding products in one by one. It didn’t make sense since I hadn’t tried anything new, and most of the products in my routine were at least half-empty so I had been using them consistently for weeks, if not months. I don’t know for sure, but I think perhaps one product may have gone bad (very quickly, mind you) and my skin has been fine ever since removing it from my lineup. In any case, while my skin was having a tantrum, I wanted to make sure I only used very simple, soothing products on it, so I whipped the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream (AU) out of my backup drawer and gave it a whirl.
This is marketed as a “head to toe” product and although I typically wouldn’t use the same products on my face and body, but after checking through the ingredients I was happy enough to go ahead with this one, and I’m really glad that I had it on hand when I needed it. It contains Colloidal Oatmeal which is a soothing ingredient used for treating skin issues like eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis, as well as simple hydrators like glycerin, shea butter and squalene. It’s also fragrance free, although they have a Vanilla Citron variation which I would probably only use on the body. Ultimately it’s a very basic moisturiser that soothes skin without adding fuel to the fire, and I was really grateful for it at the time.
You could look at this as either a pretty pricey body lotion, or a very affordable moisturiser for the face. I’m sure there are lots of similar options available at the drugstore, but if you like products that feel a bit more luxurious, or if you have sensitive skin that flares up easily then this would be a good option to have around. The full size comes in a giant tub, but they also sell a 60ml tube for $15, so again, expensive for the body, but very reasonable for the face. Sephora had minis as a 100 point perk recently and I picked up two backups because I want to always have this on hand for just in case. Thankfully it hasn’t happened yet, but if I were to experience some kind of irritation on my body or face again (be it sunburn or an insect bite or whatever) this is what I’d reach for.
Despite the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask (AU) having “mask” in the name, it definitely doesn’t have the kind of texture I usually expect from masks. Laneige are a South Korean company, so the very thin, lightweight “watery” texture actually makes a lot of sense since that kind of technology is very big in Korean skincare, and the product has water in the name. I feel like this got a lot of hype at one point, but since there are so many water cream type products on the market now this isn’t as unique as it once was.
I personally didn’t find this to be any more hydrating than a normal moisturiser, which makes me think it wouldn’t be life changing for someone with dry skin. It’s got hyaluronic acid pretty early on in the ingredients list, so I don’t doubt that it’s hydrating, it just didn’t seem like anything special to me. It also contains fragrance and colouring (the product is blue) which doesn’t particularly bother me, but colouring in particular really doesn’t need to be in skincare so it does lose another point for that. I was pretty curious to try this but it didn’t really live up to the hype for me and I think if you're in need of a hydrating mask there are better products out there.