Thursday, February 8, 2018

TOP 10 | Best of 2017 Skin + Hair



Even though we are well into February already — yikes  I wanted to share my favorite skin and hair care from 2017 because some of these products were truly life changing.  Since my skin was so problematic last year I didn't wear much makeup and experimented more with hair care and gentle skin care products.  It gave me time to really appreciate the value of great basics and reevaluate what I consider holy grail material!



I have been a fan of 111SKIN since I tried a sample of their eye gel from a SpaceNK promotion.  I think this brand rules the beauty industry when it comes to gel textures because this Y Theorem Repair Serum Nac Y2 is the most powerful, most reparative hydrator I have ever tried.  It is lightweight and fast absorbing without clogging my very sensitive pores, which are easily irritated.  This 111SKIN serum saved my skin in bone chilling winds in Paris and Vancouver and Boston throughout 2017.  It's so expensive that I used it quite sparingly, mostly during my travels to ward off dehydration and fine lines but I wish I could bathe in it year round.  If there's any skin care product other than sunscreen that keeps me looking more youthful than the 29 I (nearly) am, then it would positively be this!  You need it.


You've probably heard me rave about Christophe Robin's Rose Shampoo, Conditioner, and Instant Volumizing Mist trio too many times to count, but my favorite of these is the mist.  My boyfriend and I both adore the subtle delicious fragrance of rose petals that lasts all day in my locks without drying out my hair.  I avoid back-combing and all sticky/tacky volume products because I want to protect the health of my growing hair so the mist provides a little touchable residue-free lift at the roots!

And I've used PCASKIN sunscreens over the last two years, but my top pick is their Protecting Hydrator SPF 30 as it is ideal for use under makeup.  Of all the sunscreen products I've tried in the last decade, this is the best non-oily SPF without excess use of silicones.  No pilling no greasiness no nonsense.  I'm going to branch out and try other brands this year, but PCASKIN reigns supreme for now and I'll be back to it during hot and humid days.


Kevin Murphy is a brand I randomly discovered through my friend Dayna, but I decided to try it because of my new hair stylist.  I don't think the Leave-In Repair is anything spectacular on its own but when she mixed it with the Young.Again Immortelle Oil, the elixir transformed my hair!  It spreads like luxurious melted butter through my coarse ends, tames fly aways, and softens my hair unlike any other treatment I've ever tried.  My hair looks shiny and feels healthy, and I have to remind myself to stop running my fingers through it.  Of course there are more affordable oils on the market lately, but I mix 3 pumps of the Young.Again with one pump of the Leave-In to conserve some money, stretch out my dollar a bit!


This one is tricky because I didn't really fall in love with Chantecaille until 2017.  I never cared about natural or organic beauty because I feel it is more important to use what works well for you, no matter the brand label or marketing strategy.  Chantecaille's Healing Emulsion boasts hydrating botanicals that visibly reduce my red acne scarring — not 'change my life' lot but I splurged on the bottle after trying a sample since I like pump packaging.  It's a slightly denser lotion. Travel friendly.

I decided to try the Jasmine and Lily Healing Mask since the moisturizer didn't irritate my acne.  My skin was really struggling with flaking and dehydration the last time I visited Portland, so my friend Dayna generously bought the mask for me.  I like to slather this on after toner and let it work its magic overnight or sponge it off with warm water after 20 minutes, depending on my mood.  I definitely prefer this to the emulsion, and I use it once a week or as a moisturizer whenever I'm flying.  Chantecaille says the mask also serves as an ideal solution for wind-chapped skin which I would agree with although I wish it didn't have the subtle cooling effect. 


Now we have the most affordable skin care gem that I have used on and off for years.  I love First Aid Beauty because the brand churns out skin care that works incredibly well for sensitive skin.  I can mix this multi-purpose Ultra Repair Cream with a few drops of oil, or I can use it straight out of the jar on my ashy elbows and legs and even on my face.  The colloidal oatmeal formula is perfect for irritated skin; it never burns or stings when applied.  It is fragrance-free and not too rich with a whipped texture that feels more luxurious than the price tag.  It makes my skin feel smooth and comfortable.  It doesn't leave a sexy glossy sheen the way Kiehl's Creme de Corps does but at least I can put pants on right after application! 


The REN Perfect Canvas wins most interesting primer award which is pretty impressive because a ridiculous amount of primers were launched in 2017.  As technology improves, we are finally seeing improvements in these cosmetic hybrids.  Perfect Canvas is memorable because the formula is silicone-free, one of the few touted as skincare that actually feels good and performs well!  I can't explain the science behind it but it grips foundation well without affecting my foundation.  It lifts the skin and creates the illusion of smaller pores which is difficult to achieve without silicone.  I still don't use primer daily, but this is the only one I'll reach for.





My love affair with toner ended a couple years ago, mostly out of laziness.  Toner, however, really does clean and prep the skin for serums, which is why little steps like that have prevented my skin from experiencing deep permanent damage from my cystic break outs.  I feel very lucky that I had healthy skin, strong enough to withstand the hormonal damage!  I experimented with and tested almost the whole Arcona range in 2017, but what stood out to me were the Triad Pads.  They are gentle yet effective, not too heavily fragranced like the Cranberry Toner, hydrating without leaving a film behind.  No  uncomfortable tingling.  I don't actually recommend them for makeup removal; they're ideal for use after thoroughly washing your face for glowing refreshed skin.  


The Tata Harper Clarifying Mask probably saved me from making my insane breakout cycle worse, so that's why this is the only new mask to make it into this Top 10 lineup.  It smells herbacious which is not for everyone, but you only have to leave the mask on for 20 minutes to reap the benefits.  I kind of love that it is a froggy hued green because it is fun to scare my neighbors and family with.  More importantly, though, the Clarifying Mask is one of the few masks that actually seems to reduce the inflammation of my cystic break outs and gently pulls the acne to the surface so it can start healing.  Unlike most clarifying masks that target acne, it does not leave my skin parched, and the texture is slightly tacky but it adheres well to the skin!  I generally prefer face mask sheets but this mask is a game changer for easily congested skin.


Last but not least is my favorite facial product of 2017, the SkinCeuticals Metacell Renewal B3 which is one of the fastest absorbing formulas I've ever tried.  It was introduced to me by my dermatologist and it has been a miracle skin-saver, especially because of the dryness I've experienced with my regular topical acne treatment usage.  Two pumps covers my entire face and neck.  It is a surprisingly thin formula which feels like a watery serum when I rub it in, but it is holy grail material because it makes my skin feel silky soft and balanced without clogging my pores or reacting adversely with my acne regimen.  If you're looking for a corrective product that revitalizes and firms the complexion while reducing fine lines and targeting hyperpigmentation, give this a try.  Best money I've ever spent on a facial moisturizer, I swear!
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