1. The #skincarecommunity
It is hard to explain to those who are outside this tight knit group how much joy the #skincarecommunity on Instagram has brought me this year! It’s a group of incredibly supportive women and men, of all ages, from all over the world that share a passion…skincare. This group has to be my top (and best) discovery of 2017. I have met so many fascinating, very intelligent people on this platform that may share a love for skin and the products we put on, but have very differing views on the subject. Which in my opinion is what makes the community so valuable. There have been so many nuggets of advice, information, and tips that I have learned. With each individual person contributing their own expertise, whether they believe it or not.
I was an IG stalker for a few months before I built up the confidence to actually add my two cents to the community. Now look at me..I can’t shut up! There were so many brands and products that I had never heard of when I first started in early 2017, but I felt like I could bring my knowledge that I had about the brands I had been loyal to over the years, Paula’s Choice, Drunk Elephant and Deciem (NIOD, Hylamide, and The Ordinary.) In return I discovered so many great products and amazing people who I now consider friends.
When I say supportive, it isn’t an exaggeration. There is absolutely no tolerance for catiness or drama, like I have witnessed in the IG makeup community. It isn’t a community that is trying to out-compete each other or that lets jealousy cloud reason. One individual’s success is celebrated by others. Quite an amazing feat if you ask me! On a daily basis I find joy, happiness, laughter, thought provoking posts and sheer entertainment in this community. So if you are even a little bit interested in skincare, definitely check out the #skincarecommunity on Instagram…you’ll be hooked!
The reason I started with the intro to the #skincarecommunity is not only because it is my #1 discovery, but because it is solely the reason I have made all of these discoveries this year! Particulary when it comes to Indie Brands. The very helpful aspect of the community is to have a perspective of a product before you purchase. However, the detriment is that you want to buy all the things! I feel like pre-Instagram I was living under a rock, so sheltered and limited in my scope of skincare products. Discovering brands I had never heard about before opened my eyes to a whole new world! Brands like Jordan Samuel Skin, Stratia Skin, Indie Lee, JKosmmune, Skin Deva and Biossance are only a few that have become favorites of mine this year. But I haven’t only discovered skincare brands on IG, I have found amazing products from Intrinsics Naturally, earrings from Nickel & Suede, and jewelry from Baublebar that seem to make it into a lot of my IG photos! I have been Influenced, which has been a positive experience for everything except my wallet!
Jordan Samuel Skin
If you scroll through a few posts within the #skincarecommunity, you won’t go far before you see products with the familiar black and white label of Jordan Samuel Skin. There’s good reason why everyone who has tried these products sing their praises…they are perfection. I haven’t met a JSS product that I don’t
like love, and I’m not the only one! I can’t even tell you which product is my favorite, because they all are really that good! When I read the first few reviews about Jordan’s products, based on the ingredients and formulations I was convinced that they would probably be expensive. If you want quality that good, you’re gonna pay for it. However, when I finally surfed through the JSS website I was pleasantly surprised to find the price point is shockingly affordable, especially for the quality.
Jordan Samuel Skin is a rising star. I feel like the only way to go from here is up. Besides the founder, Jordan, being such an endearing person that replies to every comment and post that contains JSS products, the products themselves work for all skin types. They are fragrance free and loaded with scientifically proven ingredients. Hydrate Serum is a product every person with skin should own, seriously people of all ages. It’s a hyaluronic acid serum to deeply hydrate skin, but in a different way than a moisturizer hydrates. It is a lightweight gel that oily or combo skin will appreciate and is easily layered for those with dry skin. At $29 per bottle…what a steal! The newest product to the range is After Show Cleansing Balm, which is a buttery pot of goodness that destroys all makeup, sunscreen and grime from the day. It has such a unique texture and has a light cucumber scent. The product that I have a seriously committed relationship with is his étOILe with Retinol. It is an oil that contains 0.2% pure Retinol in a blend of plant oils that feels so nice on my skin. I was using it nightly until about a month ago when I started testing some other retinol options, but I love it so much and would recommend it to anyone. It helped tremendously eliminate annoying texture I had on my cheeks, and overall made my skin look and feel better.
Again because of the #skincarecommunity, I have discovered products that I probably wouldn’t have on my own, this time from the Green Beauty niche. I am by no means an expert in this space, but I very much enjoy the products I have trialed thus far! Products from brands like Maya Chia Beauty, de Mamiel, and Josh Rosebrook are a few I have tried and loved. I also tried the Tata Harper Purifying Cleanser, but it wasn’t my cup of tea and passed it on to a friend. Maybe in 2018 I will find a TH product that I love, I know everyone raves about the brand. Josh Rosebrook’s Hydrating Accelerator is the mist that started my facial mist obsession. If you have never tried using a facial mist or think it is an unnecessary step, try Hydrating Accelerator, you’ll be hooked! I hope to explore more Josh Rosebrook products in 2018. Maya Chia The Super Couple is a beautiful oil that is packed with the powerful antioxidant, astaxanthin in a base of chia seed oil. I wrote more about it here. While on the subject of Green Beauty, I feel compelled to share another discovery, The Detox Market. Detox Market has so many green brands, and oh so many products that I hope to try in the coming months.
Oh de Mamiel, I love thee so! The two products that I have purchased so far from the brand have been so luxurious. Pure Calm Cleansing Dew made it in my list of Top Cleansers for 2017, it is a treat for your skin and your soul. The Dewy Facial Mist is equally intoxicating and quickly becomes addictive. The aroma of de Mamiel products is so spa-like and soothing, there is just something about ‘Green’ cleansers that tick all of the boxes for me!
Allies of Skin
I had never heard of this brand before Instagram, but I am so, so happy to have their products in my arsenal! They make the most incredible all-in-one products, like their 1A All Day Mask (they also make a night time version, the Overnight Mask.) I wrote more about All Day Mask here. It is my morning staple that never changes. The product I am most impressed with, perhaps my product of the year, is their Bright Future Overnight Facial. It really is a facial in a bottle and not for the faint of heart! It is pricey, but worth every penny! After using for the recommended 3 nights in a row, my skin was softer, smoother, and brighter than it has been in years! I’m not a huge fan of their mist, the Molecular Saviour, as I just personally don’t like the smell. However, I have recently added their Fresh Slate Brightening Cleanser + Masque to my collection and I am really enjoying it so far! Hopefully more Allies of Skin products are in my future!
The excellent thing about Allies of Skin, besides their amazing products, is they are now sold at DermStore and can be purchased with DermStore rewards dollars and discount codes!
The Josh Rosebrook Hydrating Accelerator started this whole obsession, and now I have found myself on a mission to add as many mists as possible to my collection! jk. I just gravitate toward facial mists now. They’re so easy and refreshing. I have an entire wishlist of just facial mists that I have been lusting over. It’s possibly ridiculous, what can I say? I just enjoy them. Some stand out mists for me this year are NIOD SDSM, Omorovicza Queen of Hungary, Hydrating Accelerator, de Mamiel Dewy Skin Mist, Paula’s Choice Refreshing Moisture Mist, Colleen Rothschild Beauty Water and iS Clinical Copper Firming Mist. I hope to add a facial mist ‘database,’ if you will, in the new year and compare different options at different price points. Until then, @goalstogetglowing has an excellent spreadsheet of facial mists if you are in the market or just curious about a certain mist. She is the Queen of Spreadsheets! It can be found on her blog here, seriously it is fantastic!
I feel if I didn’t mention Deciem products in my yearly round up, it would be negligent! Especially since my IG feed is full of their products! Even though I didn’t discover NIOD in 2017, I really explored the range this year! I ended the year with 12 NIOD products in my collection and have found some real gems, diamonds in the rough. The science may be complex, but the results and protection I have achieved from some of NIOD’s products have all been worth it. NIOD is a substantial price difference from their counterpart, The Ordinary. However, the science and the elegant formulas are light years ahead. I have recently been loving Re:Pigment as it is an unconventional approach to treating hyperpigmentation…and it works! NIOD SDSM2 may just be my favorite mist of the year and offers antioxidant protection like an advanced serum can. I have a review of Re:Pigment here and an overview of 3 of my favorite NIOD products here.
As far as The Ordinary is concerned, I cannot pick favorites! They have some of the best ‘dupes’ on the skincare market and are the products that I gift family members that are young and just starting to take care of their skin. Part 1 of my top The Ordinary products can be found here. A few favorites include the Glycolic Acid Toning Solution, Buffet, Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, Retinol 0.5% in Squalane, and Lactic Acid 10%. Oh and I love their Coverage Foundation. Another exciting development is that The Ordinary is now available online at Sephora! You can now earn Beauty Insider points and utilize Sephora’s fast, Flash shipping, which is always a plus!
iS Clinical is a brand I discovered via Victoria Health’s monthly newsletters, which I absolutely recommend reading. The Copper Firming Mist was an absolute savior for my skin during the hot, humid Oklahoma summer months! I also enjoyed using their Cleansing Complex which is an excellent low pH, gel cleanser that gently exfoliates and is perfect for acne prone skin. I was dedicated to Cleansing Complex until their re-release of the Warming Honey Cleanser. It is absolutely one of my favorite cleansers of all time, easily. The texture and sensorial experience of this cleanser reminds me more of a ‘Green’ cleanser and not something you would expect of a clinical brand like iS Clinical. I wrote an entire review of the Warming Honey Cleanser here.
Even as I explore the exciting world of Green Beauty, nothing is more effective than advanced science when it comes to skincare. While I love plant extracts and natural, organic products, there’s only so far those ingredients can go with my skin. Research proven ingredients that benefit skin in multiple ways is a language I can understand. . Acids, Retinol, Niacinamide, Peptides, and now Growth Factors make a big impact when putting together an “anti-aging” routine.
I am extremely grateful to have been sent two products from a company called Cellese, the AnteAge System. I have been intrigued this past year about the use of Growth Factors in skincare products, but had no idea what to look for, or how to choose a product. The AnteAge System consists of two products, GF Serum and GF Accelerator. I have been testing for the past 6 weeks and have experienced a more taut, lifted effect on my skin, especially around my jawline. I wrote a longer update on Instagram, and will write a more in-depth post about these products soon on the blog. I just have to say, I love the GF Serum so much it is one of my top products of the year! I would absolutely purchase with my own money, and look forward to hopefully more amazing results with continued use!
Luxury Skincare & Beauty
I’m a girl who loves a good deal. Why pay full price if you can do a little research and find a promo code?! I have purchased expensive skincare products in the past, like Drunk Elephant TLC Glycolic Night Serum and Skinceuticals Retinol 1.0. However this year, I went a little overboard (for me.) It seems like every product that was added to my wish list was not only expensive, but luxury. A prime example is my discovery of Colleen Rothschild products. Another IG find (thanks @antiagingamber 😉 their Radiant Cleansing Balm became a fast favorite. Colleen Rothschild products are all brilliantly formulated, laced between a luxury, spa-like experience and effective formulations. The Mandelic Acid Radiance Serum is an excellent option for sensitive skin that may not get along with Glycolic acid. I wrote a Brand Overview here.
As far as makeup goes, I have a wish list a mile long…on the very top is Charlotte Tilbury. Her lipsticks look so gorgeous, especially the nudes. Swoon worthy! I added my first Tom Ford product to my makeup collection this year, the Sheer Highlighting Duo in Reflect Gilt. I also dove into Dior makeup and found some real gems! My go-to concealer at the moment is the Dior Undercover Concealer.
I only have two products from Biossance in my collection, but I love them both and use them daily (which is saying a lot considering!) Biossance is a new brand that started being sold at Sephora earlier this year. Once I read the ingredients list of their Squalane + Antioxidant Cleansing Oil, I had to try it! It also made my Top Cleansers list of 2017. I reach for it often, especially when wearing heavy makeup. If you are looking for an oil cleanser that isn’t extortionately expensive, this is definitely worth consideration. I wrote more about this cleanser here. The second Biossance addition is their Squalane + Peptide Eye Gel. This is a lightweight gel, obvs, that is still hydrating enough for my dry under eye area. It contains peptides, a derivative of Vitamin C (THD,) hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, argireline, Squalane, and caffeine to reduce puffiness. All in an aloe vera base that feels cooling and refreshing when applied. I love the packaging, as I personally prefer pump style eye products. I would say that if you don’t have any major under eye concerns yet, this eye gel is for you. It isn’t heavy, which I appreciate being able to use underneath makeup without piling problems.
Paula’s Choice is well known for their leave on chemical exfoliants, and this year they have been killing it with new release after new release. High quality products too. No one creates acids quite like Paula’s Choice. Two outstanding new releases are the Resist Advanced Pore-Refining Treatment 4% BHA, which cannot be kept in stock, and the Resist Advanced Smoothing Treatment 10% AHA. Full review of the 4% BHA here, I call it the ‘Pore Plunger!’ Both are very powerful exfoliants, yet gentle at the same time. I have been waiting for PC to create an acid blend, and they finally achieved it with the Resist 10% AHA. It contains Lactic, Malic, Tartaric, Salicylic, and Glycolic acids. Talk about a powerhouse! The texture of each is dreamy, they have never caused any irritation or sensitivity for me, and both keep my pores small and unclogged. Love them. I can’t wait to see what Paula’s Choice has in store for 2018!
Intrinsics is yet another company I discovered through Instagram, they make one time use products for spas, dermatologists and plastic surgeons. Their most famous product that I know of is the Large Silken Wipes, which are the softest, sturdiest cotton I have ever used to apply toner, acids, and other liquids to my skin. SO dreamy. They were kind enough to send me an entire box full of their products, which I did not realize they had such a huge variety. I will be doing a blog post about the different options and where to purchase soon. Once you try Intrinsics Silken Wipes you will never want to use another cotton pad on your face again…promise!
What a year! I hope you all had a wonderful and eventful 2017! I have challenged myself in the New Year to try new things, to step out of my comfort zone! I also want to try a facial treatment next year, IPL? Microdermabrasion? Botox?! I don’t know! But it will be scary/fun/exciting! Starting my Instagram page and subsequenty my blog was a huge step out of my comfort zone, but it has brought me nothing but joy and fulfillment. So thank YOU for reading, making all of this possible and joining me on this journey! I value each and every one of you! Much love and well wishes for the New Year!
Stay Happy & Beautiful,