Holiday Gift Guide #2: Skin Care Edition!

Hey friends!

I hope the last few days of November are treating you all well! With December now just around the corner, holiday season is starting to get into full swing. When winter holidays are so soon, it can be hard not to stress about gift giving — after all, it’s looking a little different this year. In order to save you from worrying about how you’re going to handle online shopping for gifts this year, I’ve made a compilation of what I consider to be some of the greatest gifts you can give so you can sit back and enjoy the holidays! Feel free to check out my segment from last week on Self-Care Gift Ideas for some extra inspo as well!

Skin care is one of my favourite things in life and, when done right, can make a fantastic gift. Of course, it can be difficult to gift if you don’t know where to start — many people already have their favourite staples, or special skin concerns that may not be compatible with certain products. However, I’ve gone out of my way to compile a list solely of items that won’t interfere with staples and are good for all skin types. As well, I adore all of these products, and my skin is super sensitive — so you shouldn’t have to worry about these products being too harsh on your family/friends/SO’s skin!

With such a wide range of products, there’s a gift here for everyone on your list from the skincare guru to the newbie looking to try something new in 2021. Hopefully, with the help of this list you’ll find something great for even the hardest people on your list to gift for!

Fresh Face Masks

These masks have been a staple in my skincare line-up for years now — so I can certifiably tell you they’d make a fantastic gift. Both of these masks are gentle on the skin and have a visible effect on your skin after just one use. The Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask has a smoothing effect on the skin — it really lives up to it’s “instant perfecting” name — while also leaving your skin feeling soft and moisturized. The Rose Face Mask, on the other hand, helps to moisturize and smooth your skin (and if you’re unsure about a person’s skin type and sensitivities, would probably make the safer gift). Either way, however, both of these masks are of the BEST face masks I’ve ever tried and will absolutely, visibly, change your skin for the better.

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out the Rose Face Mask and the Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask online at Sephora!

Grace & Stella Eye Masks

As someone who tends to struggle a lot with under eye bags, there’s nothing I love more than a good eye mask. These eye masks, which come in sets of 12 and only cost $16.00, making them a pretty solid deal. They have a lovely cooling effect on your under eyes, and come loaded with caffeine to help you look more awake and alert. Basically, these are a gift that’s great for anyone who’s ever had a rough morning and could use a little boost to look like they’re 100% — even if they aren’t (and really, haven’t we all been there before?).

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at Amazon!

Glow Recipe Papaya Sorbet Enzyme Cleansing Balm

This is a pretty new product that I tried recently and absolutely fell in love with. Glow Recipe was one of the brands I was most excited to try in 2020, and to be honest, it’s one of the best things to happen to me so far this year. Basically, all of their products are amazing, but if you know anyone who’s specifically looking to jump in on the new cleansing balm trend for removing makeup and cleansing your skin, this would make the perfect gift. I’ve tried samples of other cleansing balms, but they just don’t measure up. This product smells amazing and it WORKS. 10/10, would make a fantastic gift.

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at Sephora!

Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask

This was the first product from Glow Recipe that I tried, and arguably their best known. From the first time I used it, I knew it was love. This mask leaves your skin feeling instantly softer and plumper and leaves your complexion looking moisturized and bright. Even though this mask uses AHAs to exfoliate, it’s incredibly gentle — and if you gift it to someone who has sensitive skin (like me) they don’t have to use it as an overnight mask — 10 minutes is enough to see results.

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at Sephora!

Peter Thomas Roth FirmX Peeling Gel Exfoliator

Exfoliating is a super important aspect of skincare that is so often overlooked. This exfoliator has been a staple for me for years now — it’s so easy to use and works so effectively. All you have to do with this product is gentled rub it over dry skin and watch all your dead cells be wiped away. It’s gentle, never caused me irritation, and is quick and satisfying to use. Do I need to say any more?

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at Sephora!

Shiseido Full Lash Serum

I’d absolutely recommend this lash serum for anyone in your life looking for longer lashes. This is one of the few lash serums I’ve used that actually gave me visible results, and the doe foot applicator makes it easy to apply to brows as well. For anyone in your life who’s been wanting longer lashes or fuller brows (and who doesn’t want those things?), this serum makes the perfect gift.

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at Sephora!

Biossance Squalene + Tea Tree Detox Mask

This mask is another one of my all-time faves. Biossance has been one of my favourite brands ever since I first tried their Squalene + Vitamin C Rose Oil, and their products have never done me wrong. I absolutely love this mask, because to me it’s like a gentler version of a charcoal mask. I’ve never been able to find a decent charcoal mask that a) has a visible effect and b) doesn’t irritate my skin, so this mask has kind of been a lifesaver. It does a great job of purifying my pores, and rather than irritating my skin it actually softens it significantly. While charcoal masks may seem like a great gift as they are universally popular, if you know someone with sensitive skin looking for a good purifying mask — this is it.

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at Sephora!

Dr. Jart+ Cryo Rubber Single-Use Rubber Masks

These are hands-down my favourite single-use face masks of all time. They’ve recently rebranded these masks a little, but Dr. Jart+ makes some of the greatest sheet masks I’ve ever come across so even if they’re a little different, I’m not concerned (however, I’m pretty sure they’re exactly the same). These masks come with ampoule and a rubber sheet mask to lock in the product for the duration you choose to wear it for. It’s a great way to treat someone when they’re needing a little self-care night — these masks are definitely on the pricier side for single use masks, but the results make them oh-so-worth it.

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at Sephora!

Herbivore Rose Quartz Facial Roller

If you’re worried about not knowing someone’s skin type before buying them a skincare related gift, a rose quartz facial roller is pretty much the perfect way to go. Facial rolling has all sorts of benefits, such as de-puffing, treating fine lines, soothing your skin. It really helps push all the skincare products you use into your skin as well, making sure you reap all the benefits. It really doesn’t matter what age, skin type or routine the person you’re gifting for has — this will be a perfect addition to their skincare collection!

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at Sephora!

Mount Lai Rose Quartz Gua Sha Tool

This skincare tool is also the perfection addition to any skincare lover’s collection — regardless of skin type. Unlike facial rollers, gua shas held to massage and brighten the skin, as well as sculpt the face. On top of that, they really help to boost circulation and can help stimulate your lymphatic drainage, boosting skin clarity and making your skin glow. Gua shas are simple to use and, like facial rollers, really work well for absolutely everyone — making them a fantastic gift.

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at Sephora!

Mount Lai Jade Textured Facial Roller

And finally, for anyone who’s really been needing a way to massage out their face in 2020, Mount Lai’s textured jade roller is the exact gift they’ve been needing. This jade roller is covered in tiny little bumps to help massage out every little knot on your face, leaving your skin feeling beyond pampered and brand new. Even if you’re looking to gift to someone who (gasp) doesn’t really care much about skincare — I think we can all agree we’ve been needing a good massage after this year. Plus, same as all the other facial tools, this product works for all skin types.

Sound like the perfect gift? Check out this product online at Sephora!

I hope you’ve all been having a great week! It’s crazy how close we’re getting to the end of the year — this year has really been simultaneously the longest AND shortest year of my life. It’s definitely going to be a weird holiday season this year — I’m curious, how do you all plan to spend it? Are you going 100% virtual for the holidays this year, or do you have a plan with your bubble in order to be able to spend some time in person? Whatever it is — I hope you’re all staying safe while still enjoying the holiday season as best you can!

If you’re still looking for some gift ideas, stay tuned for next week’s segment where I outline some of my favourite lifestyle gift ideas for the 2020 holiday season! I hope you guys are all enjoying my gift guide series so far, as well — it took me a lot of effort to put this all together, and all of your comments, reads and shares mean so much to me! So, basically, thank you all for your support — it means a lot.

Much love,

Meredith

My Skincare Routine!

Hey y’all!

At this point, I don’t think I even need to tell you guys how much I love skincare. I’ve been sharing my favourite products, tips and techniques with you all for over a year now — and honestly, if you’re looking for suggestions to build your own routine, it’s pretty fair to be overwhelmed by it all. Skincare is not something that you learn overnight — it takes years of trial and error, learning ingredients, and knowing your skin type to master it. The one problem with skincare is that there is no magic solution, no “one size fits all”. Everyone is different. Some people benefit from the simplest of routines and products, whereas some may need more complex and multitasking products to achieve clear skin. Some people may love their oils, or serums, face masks or creams that other people found to be incompatible with their skin type. And of course — some people are blessed with naturally perfect skin, whereas some people may require help from aestheticians and dermatologists to put them on the right track. (And if you’ve really been struggling — consider seeing a dermatologist! They’re really the most knowledgeable people out there on the subject).

My skincare routine was not something that I came by easily — it honestly took me years to land on staples for the basics alone. From there, I added in different products, with different ingredients to target different things and experimented with how they worked for me. Some products I totally hated, whereas some were almost what I needed — but I had to search through different brands to find the perfect match for my needs.

I’m sharing my routine with you guys not so you can copy it down step by step and and replicate it perfectly (unless you want to, then by all means do!) as because what works for me will not work for everyone. I just wanted to show you all not only the type of products I use and how frequently I use them, and how each product benefits my own skin. As well, I wanted to show the trial and error that went into creating this routine, and how I discovered what worked for me. For reference, my skin is dry/combo — so if you have a similar skin type a lot of these products may work for you as well!

One last little tip — while I am familiar with my skin type and the products that benefit it, it’s not the only important aspects of skincare. We all have specific concerns we try to target that differ between us all, no matter what skin type we have. For those of you who may be starting from scratch — I think what matters most is finding staples that benefit your skin type, and then adding steps in that target your specific concerns. For instance, your face wash, toner, and moisturizer (the three most basic steps) should focus on complimenting your skin type — whether it be oily, dry, normal, or combination. From there, if you have specific concerns, you can try adding in serums, face masks, eye creams, or oils that target these specifically. In terms of my own specific concerns, I buy products that focus on fixing my puffy/dark/hollow under eye area, my dry skin, balancing my t-zone and dry areas, and keeping my skin firm and bright. However, this one is really up to you — it’s really where skincare becomes the most tailored to you personally.

Step #1: Exfoliation

Product: Peter Thomas Roth’s FirmX Peeling Gel Exfoliant

Skin Type: Normal

Use: 1-2 times per week

This product has been my go-to exfoliator for over a year now, and I’m still impressed by it every time. I personally prefer enzyme peel exfoliators to physical exfoliators when it comes to my face — they feel gentler and more effective to me. This exfoliator is my fave because of how easy it is — you just rub it onto your dry face and all your dead skin just rubs away! I’ve never found it irritating, either — it leaves my skin feeling soft and fresh every time.

Buy it at Sephora!

Step #2: Oil Cleanser

Product: Shu Uemera’s Anti/Oxi Skin Refining Cleansing Oil

Skin Type: Good for all skin types

Use: Night

This was a recent addition to my line up — but I already can’t really imagine my routine without it. This oil-based cleanser helps to remove any makeup and impurities from my skin, and I’ve noticed how much cleaner my skin feels ever since I began double-cleansing. Oil-based cleansers can remove pollution-based and other unwanted grime that water-based cleansers cannot — which is why it’s important to use both daily.

Buy it at Sephora!

Step #3: Gel Cleanser

Product: Tula’s Purifying Face Cleanser

Skin Type: Oily, Normal and Dry

Use: Night

This water-based cleanser has been my holy grail face wash for over a year now. Not only is it super effective in terms of removing impurities, it’s gentle and worked well to help clear up my combination skin. Plus, the probiotic element definitely worked wonders on my skin’s natural balance. It’s a bit of a pain to get your hands on in Canada, but the bottle is so large it lasts at least a year.

Buy it at Tula’s Online Store or Nordstrom!

Step #4: Face Masks

Products: Dr Jart+’s Shake and Shot Rubber Masks, Dr Jart+’s Lover Rubber Masks, Glow Recipe’s Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask, Fresh’s Rose Face Mask, Fresh’s Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask

Use: Night

I’ve included a whole bunch of my favourite masks here, so I’ll keep this short and sweet to help keep this as clear as possible. The two Dr Jart+ masks are single use and come in a wide variety of formulations — meaning you can choose whichever one sounds best for you based on your own skincare concerns. Glow Recipe’s mask aims to refine pores and provide light exfoliation while combating dryness and oiliness, leaving skin plump and soft. Fresh’s Rose Face mask is a fantastic and speedy hydration mask — as well, it would work well on sensitive skin, IMO. The other mask by Fresh — their Black Tea Instant Perfecting mask — helps maintain skin’s youthfulness, adds glow and evens out skin textures. All of these face masks work with all skin types, so it just comes down to choosing what you want based on your personal skin concerns. As well, there’s many fantastic masks out there that I have yet to try — masks really are one of the best ways to personalize your skincare and tackle issues that other products don’t address, so experiment and find what works best for you!

Buy it at Sephora! Dr. Jart+ Shake and Shot | Dr. Jart+ Lover Rubber | Glow Recipe | Fresh Rose | Fresh Instant Perfecting

Step #5: Hydrating Toner

Product: Fresh’s Rose Deep Hydration Facial Toner (Original review here!)

Skin Type: Normal, Dry, Combination and Oily

Use: Day and Night

This toner is absolutely fantastic if you’re looking for a non-drying, alcohol-free product to add to your skincare routine. You have to be kind of careful with toners as they can often be sort of drying — but this one definitely has a solid hydration aspect that really helps my skin feel soft and smooth after use. It does a good just of wiping away any excess product or impurities, leaving my skin perfectly clean each night.

Buy it at Sephora!

Step #6: Brightening Toner

Product: Caudalie’s Beauty Elixir

Skin Type: Normal, Oily, Combination and Sensitive

Use: Day and Night

I won’t lie, when I first starting starting using this product I wasn’t really aware it was a toner — hence why I use two! Two toners isn’t at all essential to a good skincare routine, but these have both improved my skin and using them together has made my skin super soft and glowy. At this point, I’m so used to using two toners that I’m just sticking with it — I can’t imagine giving one up because they both help me so much! Plus, neither of these really add much time to my skincare routine so it doesn’t matter much either way.

Buy it at Sephora!

Step #7: Collagen Serum

Product: Murad’s Rapid Collagen Infusion

Skin Type: Normal, Oily, Dry and Combination

Use: Day and Night

I’ve only been using this serum for a few months, but I’m already obsessed. I’ve actually just purchased my second bottle, because I (tragically) have run out of this product already. Not only is this stuff great at anti-aging, but it smells fantastic and keeps my skin looking fresh. Plus, it’s cream formulation makes it easy to apply morning and night without leaving behind any weird residues or messing with my makeup.

Buy it at Sephora!

Step #8: Moisturizer

Product: Clinique’s Moisture Surge 72-Hour Auto-Replenishing Hydrator (Original review here!)

Skin Type: Normal, Dry, Combination and Oily

Use: Night

This has been my holy grail moisturizer for as long as I can remember. I just love everything about it — it’s light, non-greasy, leaves behind no residue but still packs a crazy amount of moisture. I love the gel formulation — it just feels so much better than heavy cream-based moisturizers IMO. I really feel like this product is the true definition of “works for all skin types” — I really can’t imagine this moisturizer NOT working well for someone.

Buy it at Sephora!

Step #9: SPF Moisturizer

Product: Origin’s A Perfect World™ SPF 40 Age-Defense Moisturizer with White Tea

Skin Type: Normal, Dry, Combination and Oily

Use: Day

It’s universally true that everyone should be wearing SPF every day. Whether you’re outside all day or not, certain UV rays can still filter inside and cause unseen damage. Better to wear sunscreen now than to pay the price down the road, am I right? This is a great morning moisturizer due to it’s high SPF content, so it’s become a staple for me. I have, with time, found it a little to heavy for my skin, which sometimes leaves it irritated — so I’m probably going to be branching out to new brands in the future. But in the mean time, this is a pretty solid product that adds necessary sun protection to my skin!

Buy it at Sephora!

Step #10: Eye Cream

Product: Glow Recipe’s Avocado Melt Retinol Eye Sleeping Mask

Skin Type: Normal, Dry, Combination, and Oily

Use: Night

Eye cream is super important to my routine, as my under eye area is my biggest area of concern for myself and my skin. I’ve yet to find the perfect eye cream for me, sadly, but this one is overall a pretty great product. I don’t know that I really need to be using retinol on my skin just yet, so it’s not for me, but if retinol is something you’re looking to try I couldn’t recommend it more.

Buy it at Sephora!

Step #11: Lash & Brow Serum

Product: Shiseido’s Full Lash and Brow Serum

Use: Night

Lash serums are another product that I’ve never really found a solid holy-grail product to use consistently over the years — but I finally think I’ve found the one. I’ve actually noticed CRAZY growth in my lashes and brows in the month that I’ve been using this product — for the first time ever, my lashes look really long and healthy, and my brows look nice and full. Plus, the applicator for this product — a doe-foot appliactor — seems a little weird at first, but actually makes applying the product sooooo much easier. I’m worried that I’m going to burn through this product fast since the package is awfully small, but I still think it seems 100% worth it and I’ll definitely be repurchasing.

Buy it at Sephora!

Step #12: Balancing Oil

Product: Herbivore Botanical’s Lapis Balancing Oil

Skin Type: Normal, Oily and Combination

Use: Night

Ugh, I am absolutely obsessed with this stuff. I’ve been using it for a while now, but I still look forward to applying it every night. It’s really helped “cure” my combination skin and has helped eliminate the redness from my complexion. Seriously, if this sounds like the kind of product you need you should give it a go!

Buy it at Sephora!

Step #13: Brightening and Firming Oil

Product: Biossance’s Squalene + Vitamin C Rose Oil (Original review here!)

Skin Type: Normal and Dry

Use: Night

And finally, the last part of my routine — my favourite, holy-grail Vitamin C + Rose Oil. This product really was a game-changer for me. It’s really helped to firm up and brighten my complexion, as well as rebuild my skin’s natural barrier. My incidence rate of zits and blemishes PLUMMETED after I started using this product. If you don’t already have a way to incorporate squalene into your routine, I’d really recommend it — it really changed my skin exceptionally for the better. If this exact product doesn’t sound like what you’re looking for, every product in Biossance’s line includes squalene — so you can take your pick from a crazy range of skincare products!

Buy it at Sephora!

Final Steps

Use: Night

Finally, after I’m done with all my skincare, I finish up for the night with a handful of final steps — I moisturize my body and hands, apply my usual hair oil, rub on a thick coat of lip balm and slick castor oil over my lashes. This way, I can guarantee that not just my face, but my whole body is hydrated and cared for — which leaves me looking and feeling my best.

And there you have it! My skincare routine is rather extensive, I’ll admit — I’m pretty high maintenance. However, that doesn’t mean that you need as complex of a routine to achieve clear skin! Some people honestly benefit most from simplicity — it really just depends. However, I hope you all got a little inspo from this post, or learned something new about skincare! To me, skincare is the ultimate beauty tool and self-care ritual, so I’m really happy to finally be sharing my whole routine with you all.

What do your skincare routines look like? I’d love to hear about all of your all-time fave products, as well as if any of the products mentioned above are part of your day-to-day routine! While I do love my routine, I’m always open to suggestions — so I’d love to hear which products you couldn’t live without!

Have a lovely week, babes! Sending good vibes all of your ways — hopefully everything goes amazing!

Much love,

Meredith

Tuesday Favourites: September 10th

Fresh Rose Face Mask

Hey everyone! Welcome back!

This Tuesday is going to have a little sequel next week! I wanted to share with you all two of my all-time favourite face masks that I absolutely swear by. My skin tends to air on the drier side, so I always ensure to add a little extra moisture through serums and face masks.

I love spending time on self care, as you all know. However, life gets busy with work, school and other obligations, especially in the fall. Sometimes, you just have to take care of your skin as quickly as possible. Which brings me to this Tuesday’s product: the Fresh Rose Face Mask!

One of the reasons I love both this week and next weeks products is that not only are they fantastic, but they only take about 5 minutes to show an impact. Both can be worn for up to 10 minutes, so if you have the time to spare you can spend a little more time to sit back and relax — but if you’re tired and just don’t have the time, 5 minutes will do.

This mask feels SO natural and lightweight — while still packing a lot of hydration. I’ve tried a whole range of hydration masks in my skincare journey; from heavy creams to lightweight gels that can take anywhere from three to thirty minutes to take effect. This mask incorporates the best of both. It may not be the quickest face mask I’ve ever tried, but a lot of fast hydration masks are usually heavy creams that just leave my face feeling heavy and coated afterwards, instead of hydrated.

This lightweight formula includes rose water to soothe the skin and cucumber and aloe to calm your pores. What really makes this mask special, however, is the ingredient Porphyridium Creuntum, a “smart algae” that helps your skin reach optimal moisture. As a result, your skin never feels greasy or heavy afterwards, but perfectly balanced and hydrated. In just five minutes it can completely reawaken your skin after a long day and help you go to bed feeling fresh. As well, this lightweight and fast-acting formula means you could even incorporate it into your morning skincare routine!

If this sounds like the face mask you’ve been waiting for, be sure to check it out at Sephora here! And what’s next week’s product, you may be wondering? Well, you’re just going to have to stay tuned to find out!

Much love,

Meredith