Winter Roundup: My Fave Products So Far in 2021!

Hey y’all!

So, as some of you may remember from what feels, honestly, ages ago (even though it’s only been a few months — has COVID really messed up anyone else’s internal timeline or is it just me?) I used to share two weekly posts on my blog page — a post on Sunday, and a post on Thursday (ever-so-creatively dubbed “Thursday Favourites”) where I highlighted one of my personal favourite makeup or skincare product in a segment each week, going into detail about what it was about each product that I loved so much.

These segments were something I came up with when I first started my blog (back when I used to post THREE times a week……. I honestly don’t know how I did it). At the time, I didn’t really know where I was going with my blog, what kinds of posts I wanted to make, or really — what I was even doing. I grew attached to my little segment — it felt like my own little gimmick — even though I found it challenging to write out long, thoughtful and creative reviews on new products every week.

Then, later on, as most of you know — I started falling behind on my posts. Writing out a review to share every week started to feel like a chore — there was absolutely nothing enjoyable about it anymore, it was just a task I had to complete each week. Eventually, the stress of falling behind and the pressure I was putting on myself surrounding my blog simply became too much, and resulted in me going straight up radio silence for almost two months. It wasn’t an intentional break — I just couldn’t do it anymore.

When I finally took the time to recuperate and make my return to blogging, I knew that (at least temporarily), the weekly reviews had to go — they were the part of blogging I had found to be the most grating over the months leading up to my hiatus. I thought that the segment was something I still wanted to keep up with, so my original intention was to delay sharing them until I had built up enough of a backlog that I wouldn’t have to stress about falling behind anymore. However, once I got back into blogging 100%, I started to realize the VERY distinct difference in how I felt writing out my regular posts, compared to how I felt writing out reviews. Honestly? There wasn’t really anything fun about it. What’s more — it often took a lot more time and energy than my regular Sunday posts, as I always wanted to take and edit my own original photos of each product I was sharing each week.

After spending some time writing out only my Sunday posts and seeing my love of blogging slowly begin to return, I realized it was time to bring the Thursday Favourites segment to an end. I thought I would be sad to see it go, but honestly it’s been a bit of a relief. That being said, I still want to share my favourite products with you all — so I’ve come to a bit of a compromise. Similarly to how I’ve shared annual round-ups of all my favourite products of the year in the past, I’m now going to be doing seasonal round-ups of both new favourite products of mine, or old returning favourites I had yet to share. This way, I’m hoping I’ll still be able to share all the products I’ve been loving with you all — without the stress of writing out lengthy, blog-length reviews each week.

So, basically, we’ll see how this goes. That’s the great thing about having my own blog is that at the end of the day, what I share is ultimately up to me (and there’s no reason I should feel the need to share posts that exhaust me just because I’ve decided I’m “supposed to”). Anyway, without further ado — here’s seven of my most favourite products that I’ve tried and loved since my last Thursday Favourites update!

Sulwhasoo’s Bloomstay Vitalizing Eye Cream

My under-eye area has pretty much always been the bane of my existence. I’ve definitely mentioned this before (many, many times) on my blog, but to summarize for those of you who don’t know — for whatever reason, my under-eye area has always had seemingly perpetual dark circles which no amount of sleep or skincare ever seemed to fix. As well, the skin under my eyes has always been very delicate and has always maintained heavy creasing — basically making me look like I’m constantly exhausted (even in the best-rested, most relaxed time of my life). As well, years of trying to aggressively fix these problems basically just ended up with me clogging up all my pores under my eyes, leaving me with seemingly permanent milia (verrryyyy tiny clogged pores, for those of you lucky enough not to know. Essentially, you can’t pop them — you have to solve them with proper skincare). I wasn’t even aware that my skincare routine was causing the milia under my eyes — I thought it was just something that was permanently a part of my face.

I tried out a couple of eye creams over the years, but honestly, I never found what I was looking for. A lot of the eye creams I tried had seemingly no effect — I honestly couldn’t tell what, exactly, I was spending all this money for. However, I finally found one that was worth it. This eye cream has actually made noticeable changes to my under eye area — since trying this cream, my dark circles have mostly vanished, my skin has firmed up, and while I’m still struggling to be 100% rid of all my old milia — this product hasn’t done anything to add to the issue. (It’s taking a while to resolve, but I’m getting there!). Anyway, this stuff is expensive but it really is the best — I’m pretty sure I’ve found my forever eye cream here.

If this sounds like the product you’ve been missing in your life, check it out at Sephora!

Glow Recipe’s Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops

I won’t lie — this product was a bit of an impulse purchase that I was pretty certain I was going to regret, but ended up obsessed with. When this product first launched, all the posts I saw about it and it’s natural, makeup-free highlighting abilities really sold me — but immediately after I purchased it, I began worrying about whether or not it was something I really, truly needed. I figured, ultimately, that I would give it a try and I could always end up returning it if it turned out to be something that was unnecessary (which isn’t something I normally do, ever, because it can be pretty wasteful). However, when I actually got this product and tried it out, all my worries washed away. (I don’t even know why I was stressed — Glow Recipe has never done me wrong). This product has so many uses — it’s hydrating, adds a glow to your skin naturally, and can be worn with makeup to give your skin a little extra boost. As well, niacinamide acts to remove any hyperpigmentation and scarring from the skin — which I ended up loving, since it’s not a skincare ingredient I had used before. Ultimately, this has made a fantastic addition to my morning skincare routine — it leaves me looking fresh, awake, and glow — while also serving a purpose in my skincare. I was so nervous that this product was going to be something that I wouldn’t use or need, but it honestly gives me something new to look forward to every morning when I wash my face.

If this sounds like the product you’ve been missing in your life, check it out at Sephora!

Biossance’s Squalane + Tea Tree Detox Mask

This mask has got to be one of my all-time faves. Before trying this mask out, I’d been going years using harsh charcoal and clay masks to unclog my pores — which can be super useful, but harsh on sensitive skin. While I do love charcoal masks for occasional use, I was really needing something solid help unclog my pores regularly without being too harsh or stripping the oils from my face. For anyone else out there who feels the same way, and has sensitive skin like me — you need to try this mask out for yourself. As the name suggests, it’s purpose is to detox your pores, but it does it without being too harsh — in fact, it actually hydrates your skin as you use it! I always can feel AND see a noticeable difference in my skin after using this mask. Seriously, it’s like I have baby skin after. 10/10, would recommend.

If this sounds like the product you’ve been missing in your life, check it out at Sephora!

Laneige’s Lip Glowy Balm

Laneige is a brand I’m pretty new to, but have been absolutely loving. I already use and love their overnight lip mask, and I’ve tried out a sample of their overnight hydration mask (which I adored). So when I was in need of a new lip balm, I figured — why not give this one a shot? When it comes to lip balms, I often find there are two kinds — ones that double as a gloss, and ones that actually work. This is, honestly, the first lip balm I’ve ever tried that does both. This lip balm has a glossy-like sheen to it, but isn’t sticky or gross. It actually lasts, too — unlike so many lip balms that need constant reapplication. It’s pretty thick, however, that type of thing doesn’t really bother me with balms (and it definitely isn’t the heaviest lip balm I’ve ever tried). Most importantly, though — it always leaves me lips feeling softer after I use it.

If this sounds like the product you’ve been missing in your life, check it out at Sephora!

Glow Recipe’s Avocado Melt Retinol Sleeping Mask

This is another face mask I’ve tried in the last year that’s definitely made it into my permanent collection. Retinol is a pretty renowned ingredient in skincare nowadays, and for a lot of good reasons. There’s all kinds of cool benefits to using it — the main ones being preventing (and minimizing existing) wrinkles, brightening and exfoliating the skin at a cellular level by increasing cell turnover rates, help regulate oily skin, prevent breakouts and even help with hyperpigmentation. Which is a lot of benefits! However, it definitely has some downsides too — it can be pretty intense on the skin, and overuse can lead to redness and peeling, as well — it does tend to make your skin more sensitive to the sun. I’m always nervous about trying out hardcore active ingredients in my skincare routine, but I decided to give this mask a shot. This mask is PERFECT for people with sensitive skin, or who are looking to give retinol a go and want to dip their toes in. Not only can it be used as frequently or infrequently as you need, but it can also be used as a wash off OR overnight mask, depending on your needs. Personally, I use this mask as a wash-off, but it’s totally fine to wear it overnight as well — Glow Recipe has a special retinol recipe that helps it release slowly overnight, so it won’t be damaging your skin or anything. No matter what, it definitely can take your skin some time to adjust to retinol — but the benefits really do seem worth it. If you’re new to retinol, though, this mask is 100% the perfect place to start.

If this sounds like the product you’ve been missing in your life, check it out at Sephora!

ColourPop’s Super Shock Highlighter

I recently tried ColourPop for the first time ever, and I have to say, I’m obsessed. All of their makeup has impressed me so far (especially considering the price), but none of them blew me away the same way their Super Shock highlighter has. This highlighter is INSANE. It creates a look that’s so dewy and dimensional — they describe it on their website as “bouncy”, and they definitely aren’t wrong. This stuff is PIGMENTED, and the colour is absolutely stunning. I know I’m definitely going to be buying more in the future — because this really may be the best highlighter I’ve ever used (and that says a lot, coming from a highlighter enthusiast such as myself).

If this sounds like the product you’ve been missing in your life, check it out at ColourPop!

ColourPop Glitterally Obsessed Glitter Gel

This was another one of ColourPop’s products I tried in my recent haul that really blew me away. I absolutely LOVE glitter, but using it in makeup can be a real pain. Loose glitter is nearly impossible to apply well, and you often end up needing special glue or other products to apply it right and make it stay. This gel, however, totally takes all the stress out of glitter — while it may look super pink, the gel itself is actually clear — so you can simply dab this glitter on wherever you’re feeling it. And that’s it! It stays SO well. While I guess I really don’t have many opportunities to wear glitter out lately with COVID and all (this stuff would be PERFECT for festival season), I’m definitely going to find ways to work it into my makeup looks because I just adore it.

If this sounds like the product you’ve been missing in your life, check it out at ColourPop!

Happy Sunday everyone, and happy Valentine’s Day! No matter what you ended up doing today, or who you spent the day with — I hope you all had a great day. Holidays don’t have to be big and over-the-top to be special, after all — I had a great day today, and all I did was treat myself to some bubble tea and watch the latest episode of my favourite show.

I hope you guys enjoyed this post — I’m hoping that this segment ends up working out, and helps me to share my favourite products with you in a way that’s stress-free and enjoyable to me! I’d love to hear your thoughts on the format, so drop a comment below and let me know what you thought!

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