HAUL | Winter 2016 Skin Care Haul featuring Dior, Arcona, Kiehl's, and more!

It is officially winter, even in Southern California! I have been feeling bored of my skin care routine lately, so I figured it was time for a complete overhaul with 2017 right around the horizon. My skin's progress has been steady in terms of clarity, but maintaining hydration and elasticity can be a struggle when it starts to get cold and windy. My friends and I were at Nordstrom picking out beanies and fedoras when I was hit with the skin care bug. We ended up walking around to every counter to examine all the new releases, so here's everything that came home with me!

The Dior Capture Totale DreamSkin 1-Minute Mask is my favorite new mask because it gently exfoliates and improves skin texture. It really works! I noticed a difference as soon as I rinsed it off the first time and when I woke up the next morning, my skin looked positively smoother. As much as I love a sheet mask, sometimes sitting with one for twenty minutes can be inconvenient. Now I can use this right after I hop out of the shower and rinse it off after I've applied my body lotion and put on my clothes.

I also tried it on Tammy and Brian, and they were surprised at how well it worked considering how quick and easy it is to use. It's pretty fun because it comes out of the tube in a pale pink gel form and then immediately transforms into a lush foamy creme. I plan to use this 2-3 a week for a clearer, more luminous complexion.

I noticed that Dior has reinvented and repackaged their latest skin care bestseller, so I wanted to give it a try since I fell in love with their cushion. The Dior Capture Totale DreamSkin Advanced is more like a pearlescent primer than anything else in my eyes. The sales associate told me that it is meant to be used after moisturizer but before sunscreen, since it is formulated to help push in and boost the performance of the skin care applied before it. I don't necessarily believe the claims, but I like the way it makes my feel skin and look. I can't see how it will refine my skin's texture, unlike the new 1-minute mask.

DreamSkin Advanced (top) and DreamSkin Mask (bottom)
My DreamSkin Cushion, however, applies a bit more smoothly over DreamSkin Advanced. I wouldn't say it's is a must-have given the price, especially since I never categorize tinted products as true skin care.  I do love the peachy pink tint though. The directions say that this DreamSkin Advanced can be used alone so I will test that for a week and update you with results. Also worth noting: I asked for the 1 oz bottle initially, but Dior is offering 1.7 oz refills which is why I ended up with the larger bottle. If I become a fan, I would purchase a refill next to save a little money!

The Arcona brand has caught my eye lately, and Nordstrom just launched them in stores as well as online. I was visiting my friends in San Diego and am so glad they had a counter in the store for me to browse! I went in specifically for Arcona's Cranberry Toner because it looked beautiful online, but it looks even more interesting in real life. It has a very fluid, somewhat lava lamp-like look and the silvery swirls are more apparent when shaken.

The formula is reminiscent of the cult classic Clarins peach cleansing water which I have repurchased multiple times. Arcona's Cranberry toner has a bright not-too-artificial fragrance but it lingers too long for me to tolerate when used as a toner. I use this as a cleanser in the mornings and follow up with a different toner after. This product's performance, however, is applause worthy. It makes my skin feel supple, my pores look smaller. It's the first efficacious cleanser/toner I've tried that leaves a velvety finish that isn't drying whatsoever. Arcona also makes Nordstrom exclusive Triad Toner Pads that are similar in formula to this Cranberry Toner, so I'll try those next.

Since I was able to touch and sniff the entire Arcona lineup, I decided to pick up a couple other products. The packaging of these is very unisex and feels cheaply made, but the Mandarin Brightening Peel and PM Blemish Lotion caught my eye. I was breaking out from stress a couple weeks ago, and my skin has also been struggling with dullness due to the frigid weather, so I picked the Peel and Lotion based on those two criteria.

Arcona offers several peels, all of which I would like to try eventually, but I thought the Mandarin Brightening Peel was best suited for my needs. I absolutely love how natural it smells! It looks similar to the Fresh Rose Mask although more orange in color and without as much "stuff" suspended in the gel. It also adheres better to my face. By the six minute mark, my skin started to tingle but in the most pleasant way. If I see results after I finish this bottle, I would repurchase.

My break outs are considered rare and mostly stress or environment-related lately, but I'm always looking for something to help with blackhead control around my nose and on my chin. I plan to use the PM Blemish Lotion as a spot treatment on my acne scars too since the texture isn't watery. It feels like a gel-cream hybrid, reminiscent of the PCASKIN Clarity Retinol that I adore. This has retinol in the ingredient list, so use it at night only and reapply sunscreen during the day. It isn't exactly a lotion since it feels more dense, so the naming is a bit confusing but it makes most blemishes smaller overnight. I approve!

Blemish Lotion (top) Brightening Peel (bottom)
The Kiehl's Cucumber Herbal Alcohol-Free Toner isn't something I thought I needed since I bought the Arcona Cranberry toner, but I've always been a fan of exploring any and all beauty options. Since the Arcona turned out to be a better cleanser than toner, I have decided to use this green machine as my full-time toner.

I wouldn't recommend this particular toner for very sensitive skin because of all the dyes and since it is mildly astringent as advertised, but it effectively removes any residue post-cleansing. The herbal fragrance is more pronounced in the bottle than on my skin. Although I like it a lot, I'm fairly certain I won't be repurchasing this one. Kiehl's offers ten toner formulas, but my favorites are the original Ultra Facial and now this Cucumber Herbal. I find that their moisturizers are the best and most memorable!

The Kiehl's Clearly Corrective Brightening and Smoothing Moisture Treatment is the reason I stopped by Kiehl's in the first place. This is a brand new moisturizer that is intended to help with discolorations and rough texture. I keep talking about the acne scarring on my left cheek because improvements in that area for the past couple months have been minimal. I'm hoping this Kiehl's moisturizer will help to reduce the redness in that area hence making the imperfections less noticeable. It looks like a translucent gel and absorbs easily, and it works best on bare skin like the directions suggest.

It smells a little funny (almost medicinal), but I appreciate how deeply hydrating it is despite the glycolic acid in the formula. It does feel oily to the touch after application, so keep any bangs pinned back. Now the truth about acne scarring is that regular deep exfoliation with professional dermaplaning or chemical peels is required. Also imperative is the diligent use of moisturizing skin care and sunscreen to strengthen the skin and keep it plump. It's a ton of effort and work to find a product that is actually effective on scars, so I have high hopes for this one!

I mentioned I had ordered the Shiseido Future Solution LX Universal Defense Broad Spectrum SPF50+ a couple weeks ago. It's not  dewy in finish like Eve Lom's, but it is water resistant for forty minutes. The satin finish looks supremely natural. Sadly, both of these Holy Grail sunscreens are expensive, although you get a little more of the Shiseido for the same price. Since sunscreen is the number one most important step in preventing aging and wrinkles, however, I think it's worth the cost! I never ever skimp when it comes to a good SPF because of the retinols and intense skin care products I test which make my skin more sensitive and prone to spots and damage.

A lot of my friends have asked me for more affordable sunscreen options lately, but the only less expensive one that I love and recommend is the PCASKIN Weightless SPF 45. It's almost impossible to find an SPF that doesn't feel thick and chalky or affect my makeup. This new Shiseido sunscreen has a mix of chemical and physical sunscreen ingredients, so it offers a wide range of protection and does not leave a white cast on the skin. Eve Lom's Daily Protection SPF 50 Sunscreen can be used alone as a moisturizer or over your moisturizer, but Shiseido's is strictly a sunscreen. The Future Solution LX Sunscreen feels thinner than Eve Lom's, which is best suited for normal to dry skin or winter weather, so I'm glad I will be able to use the Shiseido all year round.

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