Happy New Year everyone! It’s that time of year again! There’s a lot to go through, so get comfy folks!

My Skincare Faves of 2016

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Beauty Reflections’ Skincare Faves of 2016

Cleansers

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I love Tatcha Pure One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil($58) to remove sunscreen and makeup. It takes off everything, including mascara and doesn’t irritate my eyes. Of all the cleansing oils I’ve tried, this one emulsifies the best and rinses off the best as well, leaving no oily residue at all. My skin feels soft and clean after using it, and sometimes I don’t even feel the need to double cleanse to remove any leftovers. It’s never, ever broken me out either. Will definitely repurchase this for sure!

BriAA’s Genesis Cleansing Gel is new for me. BriAA is an Israeli Company that is launching in the USA. They are a leading skincare manufacturer with international reputation of more than 38 years in the skincare industry, specializing in natural cosmetics and skin rejuvenation technologies. They sent me a couple of products to try, and WOW-I LOVE this gel cleanser a lot! It smells like green tea and is so light and refreshing. Without a doubt, it’s probably the best foaming, gentle, gel cleanser I’ve ever tried. It cleanses gently, and leaves my skin feeling so GOOD and soft. LOVE IT. Look out for this company, their products are pretty awesome from what I’ve tried.

Hylamide Hydra-Density Mist($18)

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Love this mist after cleansing! It has some marine extracts with a higher water-retaining capacity than hyaluronic acid to hydrate skin. There’s also Green Tea Polyphenols, Golden Eye Grass Root, and Tasmanian Pepperberry to soothe skin and reduce redness. It’s a meaty spray which I love and works well. Good stuff!

AmorePacific Treatment Enzyme Peel
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I didn’t use this for a few months as I was testing out so much skincare this year, and I missed it SO SO MUCH. I’m so glad to be using it again and so is my skin haha. Within a week, my skin looked brighter, better, calmer, less flaky, and less breakouts. See my original review here on how it changed my skin. It now has the dubious distinction of being the one skincare product that I’ve been using for over 2 years now and that’s something when you’re a blogger!

Hylamide and Deciem The Ordinary 
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The Hylamide Booster C25($38) is back again this year as a fave. It’s just solidly good stuff and my skin loves this 25% concentrated and completely stable 25% Ethylated Vitamin C booster. I should really do a more in-depth review of The Ordinary serums and that skincare line, which you can find here. I don’t know how they do it, but their prices are outrageously affordable and from what I’ve tried-REALLY GOOD TOO. The Ordinary Buffet($14.80) is a Multi-Technology Peptide Serum, with Matrixyl 3000 being the main proven anti-aging peptide. The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 ($6.80) is an awesome hydrating serum and did you see that frickin’ price? HOW. The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2% costs $6.50 and it’s SO GOOD you guys. Lactic Acid is for me at least, the one exfoliating HA that doesn’t break me out. This one smells good too, not overpowering at all, but has a nice gentle scent. It works so well, leaving skin smooth as silk. I use it every other night and love it. They have a 10% concentration as well, and that’s the next one I’m picking up for sure.

It’s hard to see in that pic, but Consonant HydrEXTREME ($72 for 10ml) is on my faves list again. It’s seriously the BEST hydrating serum I’ve ever used. Click on that link to read all about it.

Yuri Pibu Artichoke Power Essence($38)
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Here’s comes some of the Korean Skincare I’ve been using and loving this year. Yuri Pibu Artichoke Power Essence contains 60% artichoke extract to hydrate, nourish and smooth skin and it also helps to tighten the appearance of pores. It’s waterless, which I find amazing and has no silicones, no parabens or other not good for your skin ingredients. It’s an essence, so that means it’s a lotion-y serum. It absorbs quickly, and I swear my pores are looking smoother too. You can find it at Glow Recipe, although it’s sold out at the moment.

J.One Jelly Pack($42) and J.One Hana Cream($30)
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This Korean Skincare line is created by a popular actress and these two products are AWESOME. J.One Jelly Pack firms, hydrates and is a primer for makeup too. It’s a weird texture, a kind of sticky gel that seems a bit hard to rub on, but don’t worry, it does finally sink in and when it does WOWZA. I swear my face loses like 10 pounds when I use this stuff haha! It firms and lifts up everything, smooths over pores, and is a great primer too.
The J.One Hana Cream is a capsule cream which is SO COOL.

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Each little sphere is perfectly portioned so you get the right amount every time you use it. I love this idea! It’s full of ingredients that brighten, firm, blur, and plumps up the skin. You can find both of these products at Sephora in the USA right now, and I’m hoping they make their way across the border soon. Otherwise, you can order them from Glow Recipe which ships to Canada in 2-3 days. So worth it!

Moisturizers

 photo SAM_5408Beauty Reflections' Skincare Faves of 2016Belif The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb($38) is Korean as well, and you can find the line at The Face Shop across Canada, and at Sephora in the USA. It’s such a good moisturizer if you have really dry skin. It’s a kind of bouncy cream that gives instant moisture. You know when people say it feels like your skin just drank a big glass of water? That’s exactly what this feels like.

Live Clean Fresh Face Soothing Daily Moisturizer is probably the best drugstore moisturizer I’ve tried, and it made my list this year again. So affordable at around $14 for a massive tube-it’s 5 oz. Who in the heck makes a face moisturizer that size these days? Live Clean, that’s who! No bad for your skin ingredients at all, it’s a solid moisturizer that I love to use and never interferes with makeup at all.

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Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment SPF 30($52) is another Korean skincare brand, and again I’m so sorry, but this one isn’t in Canada either. The other Tiger Grass cream is, but because this one has SPF it’s not here. Maybe soon. But I love using this one on no makeup days.

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The green-beige colour does a pretty decent job at correcting my redness amazingly enough! Shocked me actually. I got a sample at Disneyland the last time we were there, and loved it so much I got the full size to take home. The Tiger Grass helps soothe redness and reduce it. It’s thick, and really protects the skin’s barrier. Plus, it’s got SPF 30 too, so for me this is a godsend product. If you suffer from redness like I do, it’s worth trying for sure.

Night Creams/Moisturizers

 photo SAM_5415.jpgMost nights, I opt for a sleeping mask with Fresh Black Tea Firming Overnight Mask($92) being my fave. I love the stuff. I wake up with moisturized, brighter, firmer looking skin every time I use it.

Another Live Clean Fresh Face product! The Nourishing Night Cream($20) is awesome. Natural, organic ingredients that work so well and is so affordable. I love using this one if I’m using an acid or retinol overnight as it doesn’t have any ingredients that would interfere. Love it and Live Clean a lot!

Masks

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I love masks. And I love the Blithe Patting Splash Mask in Rejuvenating Purple Berry($45). Marky loves the Soothing Green Tea one. You can read my review HERE, but for both of us these Splash Masks are probably one of the best skincare finds of the year.

Beauty Reflections' Skincare Faves of 2016.jpgI have a lot of masks, but to be honest these three from Eau Thermal Avène are the ones I reach for and use the most. Pretty much after every shower I’ll use one. The Soothing Moisture Mask I’ll even use as a moisturizer if I’m feeling especially parched. The Tolérance Extreme Mask  is great when my skin is acting up and feeling itchy and blotchy and misbehaving. And the Antirougeurs Calm is perfect for anytime I want to look less red.

Eye Cream

 photo SAM_5428.jpgThe Bella Aura Instant Lifting Eye Contour is my favourite daytime eye cream hands down. It’s more of a lotion than a cream, but it sinks in immediately, cools, refreshes, brightens, and I swear my eyes look lifted as well. I adore it so much, and will need to repurchase another this month for sure.

The Peter Thomas Roth Retinal PM Cream($68) I’ve been using since the Sephora VIB Sale in November, so I can honestly tell you this is probably the best eye cream I’ve used to reduce the look of fine lines and crow’s feet. I’m really noticing the difference about now, and that’s the thing with products like this, it takes time before you really see results. I figure I’ll need to replace it this month, and I plan on doing that for sure.

Sunscreen

SAMSUNG CSC

Cyberderm Simply Zinc Sun Whip and Every Morning Sun Whip($38 each) are the best mineral sunscreens I’ve ever used. They protect all day long, don’t interfere with makeup, and never break me out. I prefer mineral sunscreen on my face, and these two are pretty much perfection in my eyes. And yay! They are Canadian as well! And, they ship to the USA and International as well.

Favourite Skincare Line Of 2016

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Bella Aura’s Essential Energy Boosting Kit

Bella Aura Skincare was the best skincare line I’ve tried this past year. It’s a luxurious, natural, and highly effective skincare line that is is emulsion-based. Emulsions are created when a water based moisturizer is combined with botanical oils. They are lightweight and quickly absorb into the deepest layers of your skin, leaving no greasy residue at all. An emulsion has the ability to maintain hydration levels and prevent moisture loss from your skin’s surface. All skin types benefit from emulsions, as they are hydrating and don’t clog pores at all. This is Bella Aura’s Essential Energy Boosting Kit($75) and contains 10ml sizes of all 5 Bella Aura Skincare products. It’s a great way to try the line and I think you’d love it as much as I do!

Phew again! These faves posts take so long to do, but I like doing them because it really makes me look at what products I actually use. A lot of them I’ve bought on my own, a few have been sent by PR. But all of them I will continue to keep using and purchasing when I run out, that’s for sure.

Have you tried any of these products? What skincare gems did you discover last year?

Let’s talk masks today! I have four that I’ve been playing around with for a few months(BAD, LAZY TRAKEE) and finally decided it’s maybe time to share my thoughts on these suckers. And, clear out my photo library, because DUDES I’m hoping to finally get a new computer this month! Wahoo! Fingers crossed! My Macbook is 5 years old and it’s so slow, even I can think faster than this dinosaur on my lap.

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Masks, Masks, Masks

SPOILER ALERT: Two of these are WORTHLESS, One is MEH, and one is GREAT! Time to make your guesses and wagers on which is which! And lemme know in the comments if you guessed right, K?

Let’s start with the WORST one, and to be honest it’s only the worst by like a single hair.

Bliss Multi-‘Face’-Eted All-In-One Anti-Aging Clay Mask($60)

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Bliss Multi-‘Face’-Eted All-In-One Anti-Aging Clay Mask

Stay FAR AWAY from this…this…I don’t even know what to say. It’s apparently “a spa-powered mask that corrects six of the most common visible signs of aging concerns in one flexible clay treatment”. What it really is? IMPOSSIBLE. TO. WASH. OFF. And hey, it’s really too bad, because the ingredients are promising. It has 10% Glycolic Acid to exfoliate, activated charcoal to decongest pores, and even Jojoba Oil to moisturize so that this Kaolin mask won’t dry out your skin. And it doesn’t-I’ll give it that.

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Bliss Multi-‘Face’-Eted All-In-One Anti-Aging Clay Mask

But MAN. This stuff sinks into your pores and doesn’t want to leave! WTF MAN. I’ve never experienced a mask that was so hard to remove. You have to stand under your shower forever to rinse it off, and even then-you’ll probably still have black crap in your pores like I did. BIG BLACK PORES. It’s just horrible.

Peter Thomas Roth 24K Gold Mask Pure Luxury Lift & Firm Mask($92)

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Peter Thomas Roth 24K Gold Mask Pure Luxury Lift & Firm Mask

I bought this one on a whim during last year’s November Sephora Sale, but it came in a special package with other samples from PTR, so yeah…review is a long time coming. At least the samples that came along with it were good so it wasn’t a total loss and I didn’t spend anymore for the special packaging. I’ve been trying for months to see if this gold mask would do SOMETHING for me. And? It DOESN’T. It’s supposed to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, firm and moisturize-yadda, yadda, yadda. There’s Caffeine to tighten and firm the look of skin which is ok, but that’s all just a temporary fix. The intriguing ingredients for me was peridot, which is rich in magnesium and is supposed to re-energize and help reduce the aging effects of stress. I gotta a lot of stress to deal with guys. I need any help I can get! And of course, there’s 24K gold to give skin a radiant glow and hydrate skin. Didn’t know gold hydrates, that’s a new one for me.  😛

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Peter Thomas Roth 24K Gold Mask Pure Luxury Lift & Firm Mask

I’ve tried and tried to use this sucker but I HATE IT. For one thing the texture is not my kind of pampering mask. It’s like trying to spread thick, sticky honey on your face. You’re supposed to leave Peter Thomas Roth 24K Gold Mask Pure Luxury Lift & Firm Mask on for 10 minutes, but that’s just stupid when a mask is this expensive, right? Unless a mask has some kind of acid in it, I tend to leave it on for as long as I can stand it. And usually that means an hour before I rinse it off. Result? ZIP. Nothing. Nada.

The only thing good about this mask is that you look like Dana/Zuul from Ghostbusters while it’s on your face and can walk around the house saying in a growly voice: I am The Gatekeeper…We must prepare for the coming of Gozer, The Destructor!

Peter Thomas Roth 24K Gold Mask Pure Luxury Lift & Firm Mask

Zuul/Dana and her golden sheen on her face-you can sort of see it here

Other than that, there’s nothing else I can tell you that’s good about this mask. Hydrates? Sure. That’s about it. Don’t waste your money on this one. I’m still trying to use it up, friggin’ useless huge ass tub’o’gold. Thinking about putting it on my face at Halloween this year and imitating Zuul’s voice when I hand out candy to the kiddies.

The MEH Mask: Fresh Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask($108)

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Fresh Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask

WOAH, yeah the price on this one is WOWZA, hey? But apparently that doesn’t matter to most of us, because at least here in Canada, Fresh is the top selling natural skincare brand at Sephora.  Does Fresh still have makeup? Anybody remember that? Their mascara was the bomb! Fresh Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask has of course, Black Tea ferment or Kombucha which is an antioxidant that helps to defend against wrinkle-causing free radicals while softening, smoothing, and enhancing radiance. It also has lychee seed extract that supports collagen, and interesting to me at least-jicama root juice which hydrates.

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Fresh Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask

What I do really like about this one is that as soon as you put it on, you say AHHHHHH! It cools your face and the whipped, grainy texture is pretty neat too. It’s a great summer mask for sure! But… all I smell is cucumber, and I mean I love cucumbers, but why is that the only thing I smell, Fresh? I see that Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract is an ingredient, but shouldn’t this smell more like tea? Or give me some lychee at least, hey? And so, I’m thinking this is just an overpriced cucumber mask, and that makes me sad and betrayed feeling! When I’m promised tea, I WANT TEA DANG IT. I do like this mask and how it feels, but not enough to repurchase it, especially at that crazy price point. I might as well pulverize my own cucumbers and slap that on my face and save myself $100.

Perricone MD Chloro Plasma

($70 in the US, not sure how much it costs here because it’s not on the Canadian Sephora Site, so I’d guess add a good $15 to that price tag-stupid exchange rate)

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Perricone MD Chloro Plasma

From Sephora’s Site: Perricone MD Chloro Plasma is formulated with the science of phytonutrient microcapsules for deep detoxification and cleansing of the skin. The mask addresses loss of radiance, dull and fatigued skin, enlarged pores, fine lines, and rough skin texture.

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Perricone MD Chloro Plasma

Heck yes! I really like this one! I picked up this mini-size on one of my California trips, and it’s lasted a long time-months-although I only used it once a week, because that’s all my skin needs with this one. Perricone MD Chloro Plasma has Chlorophyll that supposedly deeply soothes and detoxifies skin. There’s Spirulina(Blue-green Algae) that nourishes skin with loads of nutrients. And there’s Green Tea, which is of course a powerful antioxidant. What’s cool about this one is the application. You rub it on your face, and as you rub the little microcapsules burst open and the mask turns green. I like being green LOL! You leave Perricone MD Chloro Plasma on for 10 minutes and Bazinga! Smooth, radiant skin with closed up pores will be yours! And it doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin at all so win! This is by far my favourite detox mask at the moment, and since I’m out, I will probably pick up another one at the end of the month when we take Marky back to California.

Wahoo it’s Friday! The first Friday of August! Which means I’m on the #countdowntofall #sorrynotsorry  because fall is my FAVOURITE season, and it’s kind of short here in Alberta. I’m hoping for a cooler August so that the season is extended a bit. But looking at next week’s forecasts of +27C means I’m SOL for awhile  😛

Are you a mask junkie like I am? I love them, but it’s tough to find a good one that actually does something, hey? And is it my imagination or has the price of these tub masks really gone up? Guess that’s why I tend to go for sheet masks lately, as they are definitely cheaper00! What’s your favourite jar mask right now?

It’s no secret that I love face masks. I find that when I use them, my skin looks and feels so much better. And one of my newer favourite masks is the Peter Thomas Roth Rose Stem Cell Bio-Repair Gel Mask.

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Peter Thomas Roth Rose Stem Cell Bio-Repair Gel Mask

Peter Thomas Roth Rose Stem Cell Bio-Repair Gel Mask($52.00) supposedly contains state-of-the-art breakthrough stem cell technology. Rose stem cells specifically. It’s supposed to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, rehydrate skin, brighten skin tone, and even help with the dreaded sagging I’m seeing happening.

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Peter Thomas Roth Rose Stem Cell Bio-Repair Gel Mask

As you can see it’s a pink, gel which is kinda’ cute for a mask. Almost looks like that Dippity-Do hair gel from the 80s everybody used. Do they even make that stuff anymore?

There’s a LOT of rose in Peter Thomas Roth Rose Stem Cell Bio-Repair Gel Mask. There’s Desert Rose to support the skin barrier and help with cell regeneration. There’s Damask Rose to tighten pores and smooth skin. Rose Commiphora helps reduce redness. And Pale Rose helps rebuild moisture levels in the skin.

All that rose would make you think that this mask would actually be really heavily scented with roses, right? I was kind of disappointed that it only has a faint rose smell, so faint that I can barely detect it. But I guess that’s good for those of you that detest scented skincare products.

Now, there are two ways you can use Peter Thomas Roth Rose Stem Cell Bio-Repair Gel Mask. You can leave it on for 10 minutes and then rinse it off with cool water. I do this sometimes after a shower, and it’s ok. Nothing to write home about. This week it’s been really hot and humid in Edmonton, so I’ve been storing it in my fridge and using it cold after I shower in the evenings post walks. I think I’ve mentioned before that I get really red-faced post workouts, so when this mask is cold, WOW. So much better! So cooling and it really takes care of my red-face!

But the BESTEST way to use Peter Thomas Roth Rose Stem Cell Bio-Repair Gel Mask is to leave it on overnight. Now, you can even layer this over top of your other skincare if you want, but I like to use just this. It’s a bit tacky, but that doesn’t bother me because the next morning I don’t even recognize my skin! Redness?? Pretty much GONE. My face looks so even toned, feels so smooth and hydrated, yet tighter and lifted! I’ve never had a mask make such a difference in my skin as Peter Thomas Roth Rose Stem Cell Bio-Repair Gel Mask has, especially when I use it 3 times a week. You don’t need a lot, so this tub of magical roses will last quite awhile.

So, if you want to wake up to hydrated, glowing, smoother, softer, and brighter skin- then give Peter Thomas Roth Rose Stem Cell Bio-Repair Gel Mask a try! Right now Sephora has a trio of Peter Thomas Roth Masks  that’s a great deal! I want to try the Pumpkin Enzyme one next I think. Pumpkin! Is it fall yet? 😀  I’m so tired of summer already!

Do you use masks? What are some of your favourites?