Review & Comparison: AveSeena HoneyActive Beauty Mask


Since I declared AveSeena’s HoneyActive Beauty Mask as May Lindstrom Honey Mud’s younger cousin the review and comparison post was inevitable. I’ve been using AveSeena for a few days now and I’m ready to spill the beans.

A uniquely thick, decadently rich beauty treatment, designed to offer natural nourishment leaving the skin looking illuminated and full of vitality. The brand claims, Delicious pure honey-based mask enriched with sublime botanicals smells sumptuous upon application, while gently releases the face from impurities with a sense of creamy smoothness and silky comfort. Based on my experience, I agree with every word in their claim, its honey heaven, decadent and intoxicating smell transcends me to milky smoothness on skin.

Anyway, lets dive in the specifics of the product, packaged in a classic violet miron glass jar. This treat smells very similar to Honey Mud, i.e. cocoa velvetty aroma wrapped around fresh orange blended with beautiful floral. Formula is decadent honey mixed with cocoa absolute, clay, lush oils and botanical extracts. Also the colour of the product is identical to Honey Mud.

Note: Click here for my Review on May Lindstrom The Honey Mud 


For both these masks, the heart of formulation is enzyme rich Honey, purifying clays, moisturizing oils and healing plant oils and botanical extracts. Main differences between the two honey based product reside in texture and consistency due to the choice of ingredients in the formulation. The use of type of clay and oils explain the density of AveSeena’s clay mask. Below I have dissected the formula based on category of ingredient. Also note the order of ingredients is same as well.

Category AveSeena HoneyActive Beauty Mask

May Lindstrom The Honey Mud

Honey Mel (Honey) Raw Honey
Clay Kaolin Clay White Halloysite Clay
Oil Coconut Oil, Castor Seed Oil, Sunflower Seed Oil Macadamia Nut Oil
Other Witch Hazel, Colloidal Silver
Essential Oils


Cocoa Absolute Oil Cacao Absolute Oil

Sweet Orange Oil

Ylang Ylang Oil

Vanilla CO2 Total Essential Oil

Cedarwood Oil

Frakincense Oil

Myrrh Oil


(Fruit & Flower)

Orange Fruit Extract

Orange Peel Extract

Lavender Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract

Cardamom Seed Extract

Gardenia Flower Extract

Apple Fruit Extract

Apricot Fruit Extract Hibiscus

Rose Mallow Extract

Clove Flower Extract

Jasmine Flower/Leaf Extract

Vanilla Fruit Extract

Tuberose Flower Extract

Spiked Ginger Lily Extract

Plumeria Flower Extract

Preservative Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin

Another Major Distinction in the formula is the use of essentials oils versus botanical extracts. AveSeena developers believe the use of essential oils in a formulation wouldn’t allow very sensitive skin types to explore and enjoy this mask. They perform their own extraction on botanicals with their proprietary technology (which they cannot provide deets on). In saying so, Honey Mud has Witch Hazel and Colloidal Silver which helps soothe and purify the skin.

Next up is the comparison on Texture, Performance and Results on skin. 

Category AveSeena HoneyActive Beauty Mask May Lindstrom The Honey Mud
Texture & Consistency Dense, firm, very mildly grainy for very very mild exfoliation

Think of honey based body butter

Air, light, smooth whipped like a pudding.

Airy thick lotion, think meringue mixture.

Mixing with Water Both the masks feels exactly the same on skin once few drops of water is mixed. It spreads and emulsifies nicely. The clays allow the milky emulsification while drawing impurities.
Results SAME – soft, nourished skin, healthy skin




Both these masks can be very versatile in use and can be used multiple ways:

Morning cleanse – Scoop some goodness out of the jar and schmear all over the face. It’s not possible to massage this for long. Take a few drops of water and it starts emulsifying and can be massaged longer. Gently cleanses the skin, wonderful for sensitive skins.

Stand Alone Mask – Same step as above, except leave it on till I finish my other chores. However if you’re lucky and don’t have other chores to do, lay back and wander away in your thoughts. Few minutes later wash it off and skin is plump, hydrated and feels clean. Both masks will not dry on skin where you’d need a chisel to remove.

Boosted Mask – Mix couple of drops of serum for more boosted treatment on skin. AveSeena recommends their own serum however I’ve tailored serum based on skin concern and need.

Mix with other powdered masks – Spoonful of any powdered mask concoction, such as spoonful of May Lindstrom’s The Problem Solver (TBS) or Mahalo Care Pele Mask, or any other powdered mask concoction. Apply the mask with a brush, sit back or do whatever that is therapeutic to your mind while this rockstar couple does magic to your skin. One look at my skin and it radiates, it’s firmer, pores appear tighter, overall texture is calmer.

DIY Mask: Like I mentioned in my Honey Mud post, if you’re hesitant to spend that much or have a limited budget here is an alternative: white kaolin clay powder, 1tbsp raw honey or manuka honey, few drops of witch hazel toner, 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder, a drop of any essential oil (optional). To boost the results, you can also use milk or yoghurt (lactic acid bacteria help with overall radiance).

Personally, I would happily walk past Honey Mud knowing there is another comparable, equally fine performing product with stellar ingredient listing at a competitive price point. Why would I want to fork out additional $23? In addition, for many the formulation differences may also be a deciding factor, i.e. essential oils or botanical extracts for your skin.

Of course it really comes down to personal preference and brand loyalty for some. I have my own thoughts on that, and this is certainly not the post to express that. What are your thoughts?


Disclaimer: I was gifted the AveSeena Honeyactive Mask.

LeahLani Skincare – Edition One


Leah Lani is a Hawaiian brand that has captured vibrant botanicals, skin softening clays, delicious tropical fruits in gorgeous frosted glass jars with lots of love and care. All formulations are blended in small batches in North Shore of Kauai. I’ve tried a number of Leah Lani’s products and each and every product has a vibrant colour and upbeat aroma to the products. Below are some of my early thoughts on the products I’ve tried, tested and enjoyed.


The website claims, a delicate, nutrient dense silken moisture melt that will soften the skin and deeply nourish the complexion. Bless will help to reduce inflammation, strengthen and protect your precious complexion. 

Ingredients: Organic cold pressed argan oil (Argania spinosa), organic cold pressed camellia seed oil (Camellia oleifera), organic Shea butter (Butyrospermum Parkii), organic cocoa butter (Theobroma Cacao), organic cold pressed maracuja passionflower oil (Passiflora Incarnata), organic cold pressed moringa oil (Moringa Oleifera), organic cold pressed marula oil (Sclerocarya Birrea), cymbidium grandiflorum orchid extract, wildcrafted blue tansy oil (Tanacetum annuum), neroli oil (Aurantium Dulcis), organic rosehip fruit (Rosa Moschata), rose clay and LOVE.

While the ingredient listing is lovely, to some the inclusion of Shea Butter may ring bells of a breakout. Personally I haven’t experienced any breakout so far. Like any good respectful balm its free of water, wax and emulsifiers. The delicate soft shade of baby pink comes from Rose Clay and Rose Hip flowers.

In terms of use this product is very versatile, can be used as cleansing balm as well as nourishing last step balm. I tried it both ways and no surprise to regulars I prefer it as the latter method. Just too lovely, to be swiped away with steaming wash cloth. The sensorial pleasure with steaming cloth and delicate floral blend of Passionflower, Moringa, Orchid and Neroli is extraordinarily uplifting.

Upon touch it instantly melts into the skin, and absorbs nicely. Little goes a long way with this wonder, being heavy handed with this balm may result in product just sitting on top of the skin. In my experience, it does help nourish and moisturize the skin, thereby enhancing the skin barrier however it didn’t do much for my inflammation. Overall, a solid basic balm to feed the skin and protect the moisture barrier.


Next up is this gorgeous deep emerald green lush honey mask! Possibly the most raved product. Claims to be made from the soil and nectar of Hawaii, this one product alone will purify, cleanse and soften your skin gently yet effectively. The deep, emerald color comes from two powerhouse superfood ingredients, organic chlorella and organic spirulina.

Spirulina comes from a farm on the pristine coast of Hawaii that draws on the natural resources that surrounds it – abundant warm sunlight, pure deep ocean water and 100% fresh water drawn from a Hawaiian aquifer. The cleanest and most pure source of organic chlorella on the planet, which is grown in outdoor pools under the sunlight and contains cell walls that are “opened” or “cracked” using a specific process that preserves nutrients and increases absorption.

Ingredients – Organic Hawaiian raw honey, organic Hawaiian spirulina (Spirulina Maxima), pure organic chlorella (Chlorella Vulgaris), french green clay, pure sea clay, luminess algae, organic sea buckthorn CO2 (Hippophae Rhamnoides), vanilla CO2 (Vanilla Planifolia), essential oils of: (organic orange (Citrus Aurantium Dulcis), moroccan chamomile (Tanacetum annuum ), roman chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla), bee balm (Monarda fistulosa) , geranium (Pelargonium Graveolens), palmarosa (Cymbopogon martini), lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia), ylang ylang (Canaga Odorata), rose (RoseDamascena), white lotus flower absolute (Nelumbo Nucifera), beeswax absolute (Apies millifera), coriander seed (Coriandrum sativum), and LOVE.

Once again a faultless ingredient listing, and enriched with raw honey absolutely tickles my soul. Tricky one to apply, face needs to be wet and then schmear this all over. Alternatively I gradually heat it in hot water or 10 seconds in microwave (blasphemous I know!) to get the product nicely mixed and moving. Instructions say 15-20mins but given its honey and won’t be drawing moisture from skin, I leave it on for an hour or two. Some times I forget I have a mask on, super comfy feeling on skin. I can appreciate why its highly raved, it does calm my skin, impart a beautiful glow and leaves skin plush soft. The only aspect that puts me off this mask is the application i.e. heat it every time. No spa like application with a brush, it needs to be massaged in on a damp face.


Next honey wonder is Honey Love 3-in-1 cleanser, exfoliator and mask formulated to clarify, oxygenate, hydrate and balance the skin while stimulating cellular renewal. Honestly these are huge claims, and to cut to the chase in my experience this is a basic  nourishing mask and scrub. Infused with superfood Maqui berry, tonifying Hibiscus, anti inflammatory Noni fruit, stimulating rose clay and soothing Lavender and Chamomile flowers all in the base of organic Hawaiian raw honey.

Ingredients: Organic hawaiian raw honey, organic wildcrafted whole maqui berry fruit (Aristotelia chilensis), organic wildcrafted whole noni fruit (Morinda citrifolia), rose clay, organic hibiscus flower (rosa sinensis), organic lavender flower (Lavandula Angustifolia), organic cold pressed jojoba oil, essential oils of:(organic lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia), chamomile (Chamomilla Recutita), Citrus sinensis (organic orange), organic vegetable glycerin, corundum crystals and LOVE.

I absolutely adore the earthy fruity scent of this product, again need water to smooth it all over. Typically I leave it on while I’m brushing and then gently massage it away. However what makes this scrub special is Corundum (aluminum oxide, naturally found) crystals. Corundum microdermabrasion crystals are made from the second hardest mineral known to science. The crystals are ground to a very fine powder and they do not have any jagged edges, so they will not ‘tear’ skin cells like traditional exfoliators. The only problem is these settle at the bottom and the product needs to be stirred thoroughly. Again, it needs to be heated gently so all the crystals settled at the bottom are mixed well. The distinction factor to other manual scrubs is the scrumptious honey with finely powdered crystals.

All in all, Bless Balm, Mermaid Mask and Honey Love are are definite repurchases for me. These products are enriched with some gorgeous ingredients and are fairly priced. Admittedly I took a plunge at Black Friday Sale and I’m so glad I did. As a part of my purchase, Leah Lani kindly and generously added more products for me to try which are Aloha Ambrosia Elixir, Mahina Evening Replenishing Elixir and Kokoleka Ritual Dessert Detox Mask, however need more time to try and test which I will document in edition two. More to come…..


AnnMarie Skincare Anti Aging Facial Oil


AnnMarie Skincare, a brand that wasn’t on my radar at all. Then one fine day, along comes this brand’s rep offering me to try this brand. Quick glance at inci list of their products and I agreed. I chose the Anti Aging Facial Oil…am I’m sooo glad I picked this. I’ve fallen in love with this oil. So the brand claims:

Our facial oil for dry and mature skin was designed to be super moisturizing, and is pure “skin care nutrition.”  – I know the brand recommends for dry and mature skin, but with such powerful antioxidants and wonderful blend of oils I believe it would suit absolutely any skin type.

The result is a combination of healing herbs, antioxidants and moisturizing oils that will diminish fine lines and ensure your complexion is supple and soft. – Without a shadow of doubt, the blend of ingredients speaks volumes about the product. 

This formula is made with a special blend of red raspberry, acai, broccoli, and pomegranate give your skin a powerful antioxidant boost. It also features plantain, a herb that stimulates collagen, and has high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. – I cannot speak to collagen boost to my skin but it has surely soothed my angry skin and moisturized really well.

The Ingredients listing is where its all at:

*Sunflower seed oil, herb infused oil (*jojoba oil, sesame seed oil, *calendula flowers, *comfrey leaves, *comfrey root, *echinacea purpurea, *gingko leaves, *goji berries, *gotu kola leaves, *hibiscus flowers, *lavender flowers, *lemon balm, *licorice root, *life everlasting flowers, *lotus stamen, *plantago leaves, *rhodiola, *rooibos, *rose petals, *rosemary leaves, *green tea leaves, *shavegrass (horsetail herb), *violet leaves, *acai fruit, *amla, *ashwagandha, *frankincense, *milk thistle seed), *hemp seed oil, *rosehip seed oil, *pumpkin seed oil, red raspberry seed oil, *chia seed oil, *carrot seed oil, *broccoli seed oil, *pomegranate seed oil, cranberry seed oil, *black cumin seed oil, *acai berry oil, *buriti fruit oil, sea buckthorn berry extract, non-GMO vitamin E tocopherols, sandalwood oil, vetiver oil, *Moroccan rose absolute, sweet fennel oil, *jasmine sambac absolute, frankincense oil.

*Organic or wildcrafted

It appears like a lot of ingredients but the concoction has resulted in something divine. It smells Incredible (frankincense, sandalwood, vetiver, morroccan rose, sweet fennel and jasmine). It is really soothing and pleasing to my senses. The colour of oil is deep mustardish oil, but consistency is light and easily absorbed by my skin. Noteworthy mention to the absence of pipette in packaging. It’s a Pump!!! These days a Pump makes me Jump. I guess I’m sooo over pipette <rolls eyes>.

Whilst this juice doesn’t come cheap at $3.34 per ml ($49.95 for 15ml), little goes a long way. I use only a pump and half for entire face and neck. Occasionally even mix with MV Skincare Jojoba Oil. The results following morning are nothing short of spectacular.

I did receive a small trial set for normal to combination skin which included:

Aloe Herb Facial Cleanser – beautiful lemoney zingy cleanser with slightest bit of foaming action. Wonderful summer cleanser

Neroli Toning Mist – Winner…after the oil obvs. Light, refreshing and smells amazing.

Repair Serum – now this is tricky one, due to its sample packaging the product barely dispensed and its still sitting on my shelf staring at me hoping for some love. I still think the oil is

Have you tried anything from this line? Your thoughts?



Budget Skincare: USA Drugstore


A mission to curate skincare on a budget, not only in USA but also UK and Australia. I have collaborated with ever so lovely and fabulous Sal aka Ummbaby to find skincare options that don’t burn a hole in our pocket. Below I have a run down on USA drugstore finds, however keep your eyes peeled for UK drugstore/pharmacy/chemist options which Sal will post this week and finally I will post budget skincare options for Australia.

In USA, there are a number of avenues to explore what we call “Drugstore Skincare”. Sold in venues like Walgreens, CVS, RiteAid, Duane Reade, Walmart, Target, etc. Now Ulta may not be technically a drugstore, but it stocks inexpensive options of skincare. This post intends on unraveling all skincare options in a typical skincare routine format. Unfortunately I won’t be talking about each product in detail, this post will aim to provide you with some pointers at certain products and brands. Whilst I have not used every single product mentioned in this post, I have reviewed each ingredient listing. Even if you’re not on a budget and love to mix and match high end and drugstore skincare, this post will help you fill in those gaps.


Some brands will feature repeatedly in each category and some products in these brands are worth a looksie. The brands include, Yes to, Burts Bees, CeraVe, Olay, ROC, Pacifica, Derma E, Shea Moisture, Simple, Garnier, Michael Todd, Soap & Glory, Hada Labo Tokyo, Indeed Labs, Andalou Naturals, Devita, Alba Botanica, Nip+Fab, Acure Organics, S.W.Basics,  Michel Todd (Ulta), Tony Moly (Ulta), Pixi Beauty (Target). There is also The Body Shop, whilst its not technically drugstore, a lot of their skincare it’s at a fab price point.

First Cleanse

Typically a first cleanse is intended to remove the first layer of war paint and debris from face. You want a product that effectively and efficiently shifts and removes the makeup. Micellar water and oils are fuss free, joyless effective options.

Micellar Water: Used on a cotton pad and swiped all over the face to remove makeup. Some love and some hate. Personally its my lazy route to a proper skincare routine. Brands that cater to micellar water connoisseurs at drugstore level include: Simple Micellar Water, Garnier Micellar Water, Pacifica Cactus Water Micellar Water, Boots Botanics All Bright Micellar Cleanser.

Cleansing Oil: The ultimate lazy human’s cleansing Bae! One pump, schmeared all over face and BAM! The war paint melts away and face can be wiped clean with a cotton pad (not recommended or preferred) or Hot Cloth (correct way! IMO). Our lazy bae’s are sold by Burts Bees Cleansing Oil, Mineral Fusion Makeup Removing Oil Cleanser, Shea Moisture Peace Rose Oil Complex Facial Cleansing Oil. There are others like Boots No.07, Neutrogena however they contain Mineral Oil as first ingredient. You can also look into The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Oil.

Second Cleanse

Once makeup and dirt from face is removed, this step is intended to feed, nourish and cleanse the skin. Look for cleansers with decent ingredients that you’d like to ‘feed and nourish and nurture’ your skin with. Removal method is hot cloth (sold in Costco, Target) again!.

Gel Cleanser – There are various options of gel cleansers, such as gel to oil, foaming gels, creamy gels. Options: Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel, Pacifica Quinoa Sensitive Face wash.

Milk and Cream Cleansers – Great for all skin types. Easy to work with and effective at its job. Burts Bees Intense Hydration Cream Cleanser, Yes to Coconut Ultra Hydrating Creme Cleanser, Yes to Cream (all ranges) cleansers, Andalou Naturals Cleanser (Meyer Lemon, Apricot Milk), Burts Bees Brightening Cleanser and Burt’s Bees Sensitive Facial Cleanser.

Balm Cleanser – The Proper Cleansing Product One Should Invest (notice caps, intending emphasis). Enriched with oils and essential oils to feed the skin with goodness and include a aromatherapy-esque massage. Yes to Coconut Melting Gel (Ulta only – says Gel but texture and consistency wise, it’s denser thus in the balm category), Pixi Cleansing Balm, Boots Botanics Hot Cloth Cleansing Balm, The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Butter.

Mud Cleanser – Wonderful for congested skin or skin looking for an ooomph with a cleanse. Or if you’re lazy like me and want a 2in1 step ‘second cleanse and mask’ look no further than Pixi Glow Mud Cleanser (my review, click here).

Face Mask

Masks are intended to address specific concerns of skin in a ‘crash course’ format and of course with continued use you will see noticeable improvements. Generally, clay or mud masks are great for congested, oily, combination skins. Hydration is for dehydrated skins, but sometimes also adds that boost that makes you look alive. Sheet Masks, are obviously an Asian beauty staple and perfect for my multitasking brain, slap it on and continue moping, cleaning, laundry etc.

Clay or Mud Masks – Shea Moisture African Black Soap Problem Skin Face mask, Nip+Fab Kale Fix Clay Mask, Nip+Fab Glycolic Instant Fix mask, S.W. Basics Hibiscus Mask (Target), Yes to Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal Mud Mask, Now Foods Clay Powders (available in Moroccan Red, European Green, Bentonite clay and can be used with ACV, Milk, Water, Honey….dabble in kitchen. My DIY recipes click here).

Hydration – Hada Labo Tokyo Anti Aging Facial Mask, Yes to Coconut Ultra Hydrating Overnight Creme Mask, Derma E Hydrating Mask with Hyaluronic Acid.

Radiance – Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus, Andalou Naturals Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask, Pacifica Future Youth Enzymatic Resurfacing Mask, Yes to Grapefruit Pore Perfection Brightening Peel, Acure Organics cell stimulating facial mask.

Sheet Masks: Yes to Grapefruit Pore Perfection Paper Mask, My Beauty Diary Sheet masks (now sold in Target for under $15).

TIP 1: Sometimes the whole face doesn’t need a specific type of mask, you can apply clay mask on T-zone, while radiance or hydration mask on forehead and cheeks. Listen to what your skin needs and cater accordingly.

TIP 2: You don’t necessarily need to spend money on this category, there are umpteen number of home made options, all you need to do is explore your kitchen cabinets. I have a post on DIY Masks, click here.

Acids for Exfoliation

Regular readers know my LOVE for acids, if you would like to know about more AHA and BHA please refer to a separate post where I explain it’s basics. If  you’ve used highend acid peel pad you will know the pad’s surface is a lot softer on skin and companies invest a bit more in packaging. In the drugstore space, some pads can feel slightly abrasive, some pads don’t feel as well soaked and in some packaging is just meh (basic plastic jars).

Nip+Fab Glycolic Acid and Night Pads Extreme, Alpha Hydrox pads, Clearasil Refreshing Superfruit Pads (Walmart), Shea Moisture Superfruit Renewal Peel Pads (Ulta, my review), Michael Todd Organic Lemon AHA & DMAE Toner (Ulta), Pixi Glow Tonic (Target)


Once you acid exfoliate (where the acids lower skin’s ph 3-5), you need to bring you skin’s ph balance 5.5, still slightly acidic) back to normal/slightly acidic and hydrate skin. If the skin’s ph balance is higher than 5.5 (alkaline) it may result in skin being dry, sensitive and inflamed skin. Chemistry lesson Over!

Personally I wouldn’t spend a lot of mooolah in this category. Basic Rose Water (how to choose right rose water is simplified and explained here).

Yes to Grapefruit and Yes to Cucucmber Toning Mists, Mario Badescu Facial Spray Aloe, Herb and Rosewater, Shea Moisture Black Soap Problem Skin Toner,  Derma E Purifying Toner, Derma E Hydrating Mist with Hyaluronic Acid, Derma E Evenly Radiant Brightening Toner, Firming DMAE Toner, Anti Wrinkle Vitamin A Glycolic Toner, Mario Badescu Alpha Grapefruit Cleansing Lotion, Acure Organics Facial Toner Balancing Rose plus Red Tea, Avalon Organics Vitamin C Facial toner.


Depending on your age and condition of the skin around your eyes, you want to choose an eye cream with specific ingredients. Younglings can get away with basic hydration boosters and soothers. Slightly more mature individuals or individuals looking to prevent early want to look into an eye cream with ingredients like Peptides, Retinol, Skin Hydrators, Niacinamide, Vitamin C and E.

Yes to Cucumbers Eye love Cucumbers Soothing Eye Gel, Boots Botanics Organic Hydrating Eye Cream, Burts Bees Renewal Smoothing Eye Cream, Olay Regenerist Eye Lifting Serum, Indeed labs Eyesilix, Tony Moly Panda’s Dream Eye Patch, Nip+Fab Bee Sting Eye Fix, Shea Moisture SuperFruit Renewal Eye Cream.

Treatment Serum 

This is the only category I would really recommend to reserve a bit more $$$ to splurge on. Whilst drugstore do dish up some decent options, I’d still say identify your particular skin concern and get one serum (moderately priced serum) to really notice a difference in skin. Something to look into – most of Olay products are high in Niacinamide compared to other drugstore brands, and are reasonably priced. If you’re interested I have a separate post on serums based on specific skin concerns and ingredients to look out for each skin concern.

Pixi Overnight Glow Serum, Olay Regenerist, ROC Retinol, Burt’s Bees Renewal Intensive Firming Serum, Alpha Skincare Rejuvenating Serum (super shot of Glycolic Acid), Andalou Naturals Turmeric Enlight Serum, Indeed Labs Hydraluron, Peptabright

Face Oil 

Short cut to thoroughly moisturize your skin. Why I say this? Typical moisturizers have silicones, fillers, emulsifiers etc. However face oils (blend of carrier and essential oils) are 3-4 drops of concentrated moisturizer for skin and fabulous for Every skin type. I have a separate post on why I prefer Oils over Moisturizers, click here. Drugstore do cater to some lovely oils, but make sure its all oils, no other ingredients are added.

Yes to Blueberries Face & Neck Oil, Pixi Rose Oil Blend, Loreal Perfect Glow Renewal Facial Oil, Olay Regenerist Luminous Facial Oil, S.W Basics Oil Serum, Acure Organics, Badger Organics Rose Oil, Mad Hippie (, Boots Botanics Triple Age Renewal Facial Oil


I have limited experience in finding a good moisturizer in drugstore, and I will not pretend and make recommendations. Based on the inci lists I think some of these could be decent options to look into:

Olay Regenerist Luminous Tone Perfecting Cream, Olay Total Effects 7 in 1 Anti Aging Moisturizer, Shea Moisture Superfruit Renewal Facial Moisturizer, Nip+Fab Bee Sting Deluxe Cream, Pixi H2O Skindrink, Burts Bees Intense Hydration Day and Night Creams.


We all need a good lip balm or stick, I’ve been regular with Nuxe Reve de Miel for years however at $20 a pot, its far from an inexpensive options.

Burts Bees would be an alternative to Nuxe Reve de Miel, Smith’s Salve


Generally there would be serums to address your specific skin concerns however sometimes treating your skin to a weekly or bi weekly treatment can make a world of difference. I’ve use Derma E Overnight Peel (click here for my review) and have compared it to Sunday Riley Good Genes too (click here). 

Curated Drugstore Skincare Routine $100 – $120

(depends on your location within USA) 

Skin Type: Normal to Combination, needing a Radiance boost.

First Cleanse – Simple Micellar Water $8 , Shea Moisture Peace Rose Oil Complex Facial Cleansing Oil $9

Second Cleanse Yes to Coconut Melting Gel $10

Mask Now Foods Moroccan Red Clay $6-$9 (depends on your location, can be mixed with water, ACV, Milk, Yogurt, refer to my DIY Mask recipes)

Acid Nip+Fab Glycolic Acid and Night Pads Extreme $15

Toner Mario Badescu Facial Spray Aloe, Herb and Rosewater $7

Eye Boots Botanics Organic Hydrating Eye Cream $15

Serum Pixi Overnight Glow Serum $24

Face Oil Yes to Blueberries Face & Neck Oil $16, Boots Botanics Triple Age Renewal Facial Oil $15

Lips – Burts Bees $3.30

Treatment Derma E Overnight Peel $19 (optional)

Hope you’ve found this useful and informative. To read and explore drugstore/pharmacy/chemist options in UK please keep an eye out for Sal’s Ummbaby’s post on A guide to UK Drugstore skincare. Thank you for taking the time to read.


Darphin Smooth Retexturizing Radiance Cream


Darphin Ideal Resource range focuses on Anti-Aging and Radiance. For skins displaying first signs of aging and loss of radiance, Ideal Resource helps visibly erase wrinkles and imperfections while helping to revive the skin’s radiance.


Darphin Claims: At the heart of this deliciously rich cream, a unique trio of flowers acting in synergy to help rebuild the vital resources of younger-looking skin. Their combined properties have the power to improve skin texture, revive complexion luminosity and smooth away lines.

A very generous team at Darphin sent me this lush pot of goodness. Initially, I was very skeptical of this cream as I am with all creams. Usually I’m a very hard sell on face creams (want to know why, click here). But it’s Darphin and I’ve always loved Darphin’s lush products and was secretly hoping this was no different.

So….What is it? Basically a heavy glass pot of cream with light whipped texture. Smells like an amazing floral, I could bathe in that scent. Moving onto ingredient listing, this is by no means a “clean” formula!


In saying so, there are some lovely ingredients such as Sucrose, St. Pauls’ Wort, Hibiscus, Japanes Knotweed, Fennel Seed, Red Algae, Brown Alga, Barley extract, Hydrocotyl aka Indian Pennywort, Gingko Biloba, Tomato, Caffeine, Squalene, Sodium Hyaluronate and number of emollients, thickeners and preservatives (need a run down on these, click here).

No congestion or breakouts to report, considering it’s not a “clean” formula and there may be some ingredients which some may question. But like I’ve always said, ingredient listing takes you only so far and then its all on performance and end result.

Next up when I use it and how does it perform? This is what we really want to know!

After trial and error, I’ve been loving it as my makeup base, serious radiance, hydration and makeup does not budge (or roll with this as base).

IMG_8895.JPGAbsorbs instantly in the skin and leaves skin overall soft, plump, well moisturized and properly glowy. Not sweaty oily glowy, this is soft focus dim lit glowy (am I making sense?!). Also no silicony feels to this lush pot of cream (silicone texture makes me cringe, like nails on blackboard).

Alternatively, in evening’s, paired with Dr. Dennis Gross Clinical Concentrate Radiance Booster, Major glow (read light bulb glow).

Of course its not cheap as chips, $90 for 50ml is still decent value and this pot will last a while. You need the pea size (literally) amount to schmear all over face and neck. Needless to mention (but I will), if you’ve got larger or smaller area to cover the quantity use will vary.

So what’s next on your Darphin list to try?