november's skincare mini-haul

'Tis the season of holiday sales.

It's old news, but Sephora debuted their Beauty Insider sale over Veterans Day weekend, and the internet promptly went nuts. 20% off?! Unreal. I gave into the pressure and took advantage of the savings, walking away with some splurge-worthy products I'd been eyeing for a while. Then it was on to my local Kiehl's — because with the holiday weekend, every single store was having some type of sale. And because nearly every product I purchased is new to me, I'm sharing all my thoughts on them below.

But before we dive in, a bit of background.

My skin lies in the "combination" category; oily T-zone, but not too dry on my cheeks. (This will inevitably change when the frigid weather finally shows up.) Right now, my biggest skin concerns are brightening, diminishing my dark under-eye circles, and preventing hormonal breakouts. And with winter on the way, anything to provide some extra moisture would be greatly appreciated.

Keeping these in mind, here's what I brought home with me.


Drunk Elephant's TLC Sukari Babyfacial

Babyfacial is all over my Instagram feed. Users (and reviewers) claim it brightens up the complexion, removes dead skin cells, and improves skin texture. The packaging notifies the user that feeling a tingling sensation is normal during use; it's an acid mask, containing 25% AHA and 2% BHA. (That's alpha and beta hydroxy acids, if you're wondering.) Some of the reviews also mentioned that the mask helped with breakouts, so after much internal debate, I bit the bullet and bought it.

My skin can be sensitive, so I was expecting to really feel the tingle during the first use. But I barely felt anything, save for a tiny, tiny buzz when I first applied the product. I was also expecting to cut the total usage time in half, but found I can leave it on for the full twenty minutes as recommended. I'm also a fan of the pump packaging.

At the moment, I'm only using it once a week; it's become part of my Sunday night skincare routine. I did notice that I broke out after the first two uses, but the product might not be entirely to blame — travel, stress, and hormones can all wreak havoc on my face, so I'm assuming a combination of the three is the culprit. Overall: I like this product a lot. Time will tell if it becomes a "holy grail" or if I'll end up repurchasing it.


Biossance Squalene + Vitamin C Rose Oil

Behold, another product I kept stumbling across via my Instagram feed. Biossance's face oil had rave reviews on Sephora's site, and since I'm still on the hunt for the perfect brightening treatment, it made sense. It's luxurious and moisturizing, perfect for the winter months ahead. I did struggle with applying the proper amount for my skin type (I'm used to serums, whereas this is an actual oil) and at first, my skin was a little greasy. Now that I've got the right dosage locked down, it's been a great addition under my regular moisturizer. Skin looks dewey and hydrated, not slick.

I've been using this product regularly for the past three weeks, and have noticed a significant improvement in my skin's texture. My face feels softer, dark spots have been fading (slowly but surely), and my skintone is evening out and glowing. It takes time to do good work, so I'm eager to see how things look in a month or two.


Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Eye Cream

This is the third eye cream I've purchased from Kiehl's... the first being Eye Alert, and the second being the cult-favorite avocado one. I loved both — and did repurchase the avocado cream — but found that they both had some drawbacks. Eye Alert, my first explicit eye cream purchase, did help with dark circles. Trade off: I needed more moisture around my eyes for winter, and this wasn't doing it. In contrast, the avocado eye cream was too oily; my eye makeup never stays put when I use it during the day, even with a primer, so I've resorted to only using it at night. Midnight Recovery is a nice hybrid between the two: enough moisture, sans oil, and tube packaging that makes application easy.

I use Midnight Recovery in the mornings, and a little does go a long way. While I've accepted that I'll always have dark circles, this has substantially minimized their prominence. Thank you, Kiehl's — you've done it again.


Honorable Mention: Bioderma's Sensibio H2O

Technically I bought this during Amazon's insane Black Friday deal-fest, but it deserves some time in the spotlight. As a girl who likes her eye makeup (read: eyeliner five days a week), but also worries about irritation from makeup wipes, I have a bit of a conundrum with makeup removers. I prefer makeup wipes for their ease of use, though they can dry out my skin if I scrub too hard. My gripe with them may be entirely "operator error," but I digress. Bioderma's Sensibio is a micellar water with some of the best reviews for its market. It's unscented, safe for sensitive skin, can be used around the eyes, and a 16-ounce bottle was $9 on sale. Hello. I have a hunch that purchasing the 16-ounce bottle is more cost-effective than a package of makeup wipes in the long run, but I haven't actually done the math. If anyone wants to get back to me on that, be my guest.

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