Late in 2016 I started really focusing a lot more on skincare, mostly spurred on by the discovery of affordable and effective K-beauty products on Amazon. I really need to do a longer, larger post on my skincare routine (I get asked about it a lot) but the last couple of months I've been really focused on using up products before purchasing new ones. Here's the products I finished up in the last two months, and some mini reviews on them!
This is a LONG post! I'll probably stick to doing these monthly if I have this many products in the future. Items are ranked out of 4 stars, and I've included prices and purchase links when available. I tend to shop at Amazon, but I've included alternate sources where possible as I know not everyone is aboard the Prime train.
$9 - Did not repurchase (yet)
This cleanser lasted me months of near daily use - just a small amount foamed up nicely and the green tea smell was pleasant but dissipated quickly. I would probably buy this again in the future, but I'm trying a cheaper product right now.
Buy: Innisfree US, Amazon*
$25 - Will not repurchase
I used up this sample from my now-cancelled Ipsy subscription back in May. It's a basic cleanser - does its job, but fairly boring. It contains hyaluronic acid which is meant to plump skin and make wrinkles or fine lines less noticeable, but since you're washing it off that won't do much. No noticeable fragrance and not drying, so probably good for sensitive skin, but definitely not worth the price tag.
Purchase: JMsolution US
$3.50-6 - Will not repurchase
I try to keep a stash of makeup removing wipes on hand for when I'm too lazy to fully wash my face. I don't have sensitive skin but for some reason makeup wipes always feel harsh - and these left my skin stinging and red after use. One positive is that they are available in most drugstores.
Purchase: Target, Walgreens, Amazon*
$16 - Will not repurchase
I went through two of these since I use a vitamin c serum every morning - I WANTED to like this. It has a really pleasant citrus scent, sunk in quickly and didn't leave my skin feeling greasy... but after two bottles I could clearly tell it wasn't as effective as the previous serum I used. I'm currently testing another brand hoping for better results.
$25 - Will not repurchase
This unequivocally works! It's a powerhouse serum containing 20% vitamin C, 2.5% niacinamide, 2.5% retinol, 5% hyaluronic acid and 2% salicylic acid along with several natural oils. It did wonders for my breakout-prone skin while evening my skintone - the ONLY reason I did not repurchase is because I found an alternative that's almost the same formulation for half the cost (see below).
$15-16 - Repurchased!
When I went to repurchase the TruSkin Naturals serum, I was annoyed to find that it was almost twice the price I originally paid for it! In the reviews, someone else mentioned that the Eva Naturals serum was essentially the same formula at a lower cost. I gave it a shot, found that it was true, and now this is a must-have in my skin care routine. Not sure which company got ripped off, but Eva Naturals seems a little more established and I use this daily so I'll gladly save the money. As a bonus, this version also has nicer packaging!
Purchase: Eva Naturals, Amazon*
Moisturizers, Masks & SUNSCREEN
Appears to be unavailable in the US ☹️
My eye area is by far the most dry & senitive part of my face so I like to load up on eye creams at night. I used this as a final layer over another cream to really hydrate around my eyes and I loved it! It was thick without feeling gross or gloopy, and when I woke up my eyes would stay really moisturized all day, even in dry Chicago winter air. The only problem is, I bought this a while ago and it seems to have disappeared from everywhere except eBay, including the Mizon World website. I'm looking for alternatives, but would repurchase if it becomes available again for sure.
$13 for two - Will not repurchase
One of the most affordable skincare products I've ever purchased, I know a lot of people love this lightweight gel moisturizer. Unfortunately it just doesn't do much for me - even though I have combo skin, it wasn't hydrating enough to use overnight, but was too heavy under my makeup during the day. I went through two of these tubes but probably won't buy this again.
$18-22 - May repurchase in the future
Snail mucin is a common ingredient in K-beauty products, and while some people find it gross, it's fantastic for healing and soothing skin. I used this religiously as a last step during the winter months, and it kept me from feeling dry even though I use some tough products to combat breakouts. The only qualm I have is that the consistency is fairly unpleasant (slimy!) and scooping it out of a jar makes it doubly gross. For some reason lots of snail AIOs come in jars, though. I've got another brand to try out before I come back to this one.
Purchase: Ulta, Amazon*
$14-16 - Repurchased!
This is one of my favorite products of all time! It was one of my first K-beauty purchases back in 2016, and since then I have gone through two of them and just reordered my third. It's super lightweight, sinks in quickly, provides good hydration and helps brighten and even out my skin. I can use it at any time of year without feeling greasy, and as a bonus, they switched the packaging recently from a jar (yuck) to a tube. This is an essential for me and great for those with oily or combo skin!
Purchase: BeautyTap, Amazon*
$17 - Formula changed, probably won't repurchase the new one
I wear sunscreen almost every day, regardless of what I'm doing, so finding one I love is crucial. This is my favorite sunscreen of all time, but they unfortunately changed the formulation after 2016. I've linked to the old version but obviously that won't last forever, so I'm on the hunt for an alternative. Doesn't make me greasy, sinks in quickly, works well under makeup. Great for oily/combo skin in a humid environment.
Body & Hair
$24 - Will not repurchase
I was recommended by my dermatologist to use a body wash with AHA to combat irritation from shaving - and naturally they conveniently happened to offer one for sale! I did actually like this body wash and felt that it did a good job combatting ingrown hairs and irritation, but it was way too expensive and barely lasted me a month before running out. I was able to find an alternative with a higher AHA percentage for a lower cost.
Purchase: Chicago Dermatology + Aesthetics
$4 - Will repurchase
I grabbed this on a whim one day while grocery shopping, and I'll repurchase once I've used up my stash of body lotions. It's nothing fancy, but it's a good value for the price, comes in a nice pump bottle, and provides good moisture while sinking in quickly (I hate putting on lotion when you stay sticky afterwards)!
Purchase: Available at any Trader Joe's!
$45 - Repurchased!
As my skin has improved I haven't felt the need to wear full-coverage foundation every day, and I reach for this tinted moisturizer for the most part. I think I'm on my fourth tube already actually. It gives sheer-medium coverage and adds a little moisture, plus it's SPF30 - I don't rely on it for sun protection but it's nice to have! The only reason I wouldn't give it four stars is that it requires some help (setting powder + spray) to last all day on my combo skin. They also unfortunately do not carry a super wide range of shades for darker skin.
Purchase: NARS, Sephora
$24 - Repurchased!
I've been using this for years and have repurchased several times - without it, my eyeshadow creases almost immediately so it's a must have. I've tried a few variations and they all seem to work exactly the same, so I started purchasing the anti-aging version exclusively - I don't really have fine lines on my eyes yet but it can't hurt, right?
Purchase: Urban Decay, Sephora