LUSH: Product Reviews

When I moved to Dublin in 2016, I wasn’t aware that I’d succumb to a new addiction– an addiction worse than alcohol or cigarettes.  My name is Zoë and I’m a Lush addict.

You’ve probably heard about LUSH, but if you haven’t, it’s a cosmetic company that sells handmade, 100% vegetarian products which are NOT tested on animals. They also have a black tub recycling program where you can bring in 5 clean black tubs (of any size, as long as it has the sticker saying so) and get a fresh face mask in return.  Not a bad way to promote recycling, right?  And trust me, it is not difficult to collect 5 tubs.

Anyway, I’ve become addicted to these products and the fact that they’re guilt-free since they’re ethically made and very affordable. Since I’ve tried so many of their products, I felt like I should share my opinions on them in case you were wanting to hop on the LUSH train but don’t know where to start.  

1. Mask of Magnaminty

I had to start with Magnaminty, because it is honestly my holy grail. You can get this face mask in several sizes, but I think I’m going to start buying it in the giant tubs from now on because I can’t live without it.  It’s an exfoliating face mask, which zaps away any breakouts you may have or stop the ones trying to creep up on you.  It leaves your skin feeling soft, fresh and oil-free! The 4.4 oz tub is $14.95 and the tub lasts you a very long time (especially the self-preserving formula) because a little goes a long way!

The ingredients in the self-preserving mask include:

Honey , Kaolin , Bentone Gel (Hectorite) , Talc , Glycerine , Ground Aduki Beans (Phaseolus Angularis) , Evening Primrose Seeds (Oenothera biennis) , Peppermint Oil (Mentha piperita) , Tagetes Oil (Tagetes minuta) , Vanilla Absolute (Vanilla planifolia) , *Limonene , Fragrance , Chlorophyllin (Chlorophyllin-Copper Complex)

The ingredients in the original mask include: 

Bentone Gel (Hectorite) , Kaolin , Honey , Talc , Ground Aduki Beans (Phaseolus Angularis) , Glycerine , Evening Primrose Seeds (Oenothera biennis) , Peppermint Oil (Mentha piperita) , Tagetes Oil (Tagetes minuta) , Vanilla Absolute (Vanilla planifolia) , *Limonene , Fragrance , Methylparaben , Chlorophyllin (Chlorophyllin-Copper Complex)


I’ve tried both the self-preserving and the original formulas and both are wonderful.  However, as you can see in the ingredient list, the original formula includes honey.  This makes it much more soothing.  The self-preserving formula does tingle a bit more on the skin, but to me, it’s a nice burn.  It’s like I can feel the mask working!  Therefore, I prefer this one.  If you have more sensitive skin or drier skin but you want to try this mask, use the original formula and only use it every other week!

2. Rosy Cheeks Fresh Face Mask

This mask isn’t something I’d normally reach for.  I’m always going for products which calm down breakouts or balance my oily skin. However, I tried this mask with my friend who was sunburned and wanted to fade the redness in his face. I, also being burnt to a crisp, figured it was worth a shot.  I can definitely say that this mask calms redness! It smells AMAZING– like a bouquet of fresh roses.  It also belongs in the fridge (because it’s a fresh mask) which cools down a sunburn extra well. Since it’s a fresh mask, this means it expires! So if you decide to try this out, make sure you use it up before the use-by date!


Now, I don’t suffer from dry skin, redness or rosacea, but I would assume that this mask would be a great one for you to try out if you do. The 2.1 oz tub is $13.95.

The ingredients include:


Glycerine , Kaolin , Fresh Rose Petals Infusion (Rosa Centifolia) (Rose Petals (Rosa Centifolia)) , Calamine Powder , Rose Clay , Fragrance , Rose Oil (Rosa damascena) , Benzyl Alcohol , Butylphenyl Methylpropional , *Citronellol

I’m unsure if I would buy this product just because of my personal skin needs, but I have zero complaints and it seems to do what it’s supposed to!

3. Aqua Marina Face and Body Cleanser

This was one of my first Lush purchases and honestly, I don’t hate it, but it’s not my favorite.  As mentioned before, I have oily, acne-prone skin.  This face wash is a creamy, moisturizing product, so personally I didn’t get the result that I needed.  I want a face wash that makes me feel SQUEAKY clean.  If you have drier, sensitive skin but also are prone to breakouts, this is probably a better fit for you.


I do have other issues with this product though.  First of all, the smell is not great.  It’s got this clay-like scent as if I’m sticking a handmade vase in the kiln and washing my face at the same time.  It also has large chunks of seaweed in it, which I wasn’t very fond of.  I didn’t think the seaweed did much in the first place, and then the big leafy bits would get stuck to my cheek or forehead and eventually just sit in the bottom of my sink until it eventually clogged my drain. No bueno. The 3.5 oz tub is $13.95.

The ingredients include:


Glycerine , Calamine Powder , Kaolin , Irish Moss Gel (Chondrus crispus) , Organic Aloe Vera Gel (Aloe barbadensis) , Fine Sea Salt (Sodium Chloride) , Nori Seaweed (Algae) , Sweet Wild Orange Oil (Citrus sinensis) , Patchouli Oil (Pogostemon cablin) , Carrageenan Extract (Chondrus Crispus) , Butylphenyl Methylpropional , Hexyl Cinnamal , Fragrance

Overall, I wouldn’t jump to buy this product again.  I wouldn’t totally count it out for everyone, though.  If you think this product would be good for you (say, if you have sensitive, acne-prone skin) I would ask your local LUSH store for a tester. Maybe the smell and seaweed bits won’t bother you!

4. Herbalism Face and Body Cleanser

I don’t want to say that I hated a Lush product, but guys…I hated Herbalism.  This face and body cleanser is marketed toward oily, “troubled” skin and all of the LUSH workers talked it up to me to be the best.  But I mean, it’s on my list of “LUSH worsts.”


This product has a very weird texture, first of all.  It feels almost like wet sand but a tiny bit…creamier? You have to wet your hand, then put the product in your wet hand and work it until it almost turns into a normal consistency for a face wash…but it kind of just dissolves?  I didn’t feel like I was getting any product on my skin, and if I did, it was only in big, sandy clumps.  This also molded over in my shower, which was a bummer since it wasn’t listed as a “fresh” product, but I didn’t care too much because I didn’t want to use it anymore anyway!


The scent is how you would expect something called “Herbalism” to smell: very earthy. It’s not a gross scent per se, but not amazing either. The 3.5 oz tub is $16.95 as well, which is pricey especially since mine grew mold in my shower after maybe a month.

The ingredients include:


Ground Almonds (Prunus dulcis) , Kaolin , Glycerine , Nettle, Rosemary and Rice Vinegar Extract (Urtica dioica, Rosmarinus officinalis) , Rice Bran (Oryza sativa) , Water (Aqua) , Gardenia Extract (Gardenia jasminoides) , Rose Absolute (Rosa damascena) , Chamomile Blue Oil (Matricaria chamomilla) , Sage Oil (Salvia officinalis) , Fragrance , Chlorophyllin (Chlorophyllin-Copper Complex) 

I’m sad to say, but I would not re-buy or recommend this LUSH product. Sorry, Herbalism!

5. Cup O’ Coffee Face and Body Scrub

I love this scrub! It smells like freshly ground coffee– like back in the day when you used to be able to grind your own coffee at Wal-Mart…remember that?? I’ve been recently obsessed with products that help with renewing the glow in your skin or correcting spots in your complexion (acne scars, dark spots, etc).  This product does that!  It’s very invigorating and refreshing and leaves your skin feeling squeaky clean (which, again, is what I look for in a face wash).  It’s also nice for your chest and back if you suffer from body breakouts. The 5.2 oz jar is only $12.95 as well. Talk about a bang for your buck!

The ingredients include:

Organic Agave Syrup (Agave Tequilana) , Kaolin , Glycerine , Coffee Infusion (Coffea arabica) , Talc , Ground Coffee (Coffea arabica) , Bentone (Hectorite) , Fragrance , Vetivert Oil (Vetiveria zizanoides) , Vanilla Absolute (Vanilla planifolia) , Roasted Cocoa Extract (Theobroma cacao) , Coriander Seed Oil (Coriandrum sativum) , Caffeine Powder , *Coumarin , *Limonene , *Linalool 

I will absolutely continue to buy this. However, you’re basically rubbing coffee grounds into your skin, so if your face is sensitive, I’d use with caution!  Otherwise I’m 100% behind you on buying this product!

6. Tea Tree Water

This is simply a toner for oily skin.  I think it’s very refreshing, however I don’t think it’s anything special.  Any toner will do the same thing, but this one is at least natural, cruelty-free and handmade.  So if you want to get the same thing as always but guilt-free,  I’d recommend.  It comes in a spray bottle which is different from most toners, and I feel like you wont over-use the product because of this. The 3.3 oz bottle is $9.95 though, which I admit is a bit steep for a toner.

The ingredients include:

Tea Tree Water (Melaleuca alternifolia) , Grapefruit Water (Citrus paradisi) , Juniperberry Water (Juniperus communis) , *Limonene , Fragrance , Methylparaben

Meh, it’s a toss-up for me on this one.

*–*–*–*–*–*–*–*

I had originally wanted to review every LUSH product I’ve tried here, but since the amount is overwhelming, I decided to only do six.  I hope these reviews help you decide what to buy and what not to buy at LUSH (as well as what to test)! Although there are a couple of negative reviews, I will always stand behind this wonderful company, and you should too!

(All ingredient lists were copied directly from the Lush website).

Antiperspirant vs. Natural: Don’t Sweat the Switch

Deodorant. D. O. for your B.O. Antiperspirant. Pit protector.

A product seeing a rise in popularity in the health/beauty/skincare realm, I’ve found that many people either love or absolutely hate natural deodorant. And with keywords like natural, organic, etc. on the rise, more and more people are looking to make the switch to the natural side of things.

When I was around the ripe age of 14 I was diagnosed with hyperhidrosis, AKA excessive sweating, AKA I was in high school like WTF I WAS SO EMBARRASSED WHY WERE MY PITS ALWAYS WET?! Probably due to the excessive anxiety and undiagnosed ADHD… anyway… I would be sitting in class, colder than a witches titty in a brass bra, and I would feel one little drop of sweat run down my underarm and into my Aeropostale sports bra. I would be freezing but my pits were telling an entirely different story. I had to wear sweatshirts in the summertime and I was that kid who always had a jacket on.

Eventually my doctor blessed me with a prescription-strength deodorant that changed my teenage life, however, I stopped using that once I got into my 20’s. Now that I’m nearing my 30’s, I’ve got my sweating a lot more under control (thanks medication and therapy!), but also due to what I believe is making the switch to natural deodorant.

What is the difference in natural deodorant vs. antiperspirant?

I’m glad you asked! According to cnet.com, antiperspirant contains aluminium which blocks the sweat glands in the armpits and also keeps anything from coming out. Natural deodorant is different in that it helps with smell — it neutralizes the bacteria for when we do sweat. Antiperspirant contains chemicals like aluminum chlorohydrate and aluminum zirconium, to where natural deo contains more familiar ingredients: coconut oil, cornstarch, arrowroot powder, etc. A friend of mine even makes her own natural deodorant and includes essential oils for smell! {We love a DIY queen.}

So basically, if you come across a product claiming to be an aluminum-free antiperspirant, run the other way. That isn’t a thing.

PLEASE NOTE: There are many people that claim antiperspirant has links to breast cancer and Alzheimer’s. I’m not going to get into that — you can do your own research and form your own opinion.

Do you sweat when you use natural deodorant?

Yas kween — you’re supposed to! Believe it or not, sweating is good for you. Let’s go back to our grade school days (you know, when I was crying from my armpits) and remember that sweat = our bodies regulating our temperatures and releasing toxins. And I know, the smell is an issue for a lot of people. Check this out from theeverygirl.com:

“Luckily for our bodies, sweat isn’t what actually smells; it’s just a mixture of salt and water. What does create that dreaded body odor is when sweat comes into contact with the natural bacteria that lives on our skin. Changing this reaction is easily done with natural deodorant.”

From my own personal experience, I can say with 100% confidence that my armpits have never smelled better since switching to natural. My current deo is unscented, but even the scented naturals I’ve used in the past left me smelling better at the end of a long day. Unlike past antiperspirants, which had me smelling like ass going on a hot date with a pile of rancid, teenage boy socks.

I can tell you there DEFINITELY won’t be a second date. We out here ghosting the antiperspirants.

Okay wow thanks for that incredibly descriptive comparison, Lindsey, but joke’s on you. I tried natural deodorant and broke out into an awful rash. Why?

Another great question! It was recently brought to my attention that many people have struggled with rashes when switching over to natural. I’ll first say my reactions to antiperspirants started becoming unbearable (prompting my switch in the first place), so I can see why you’d want to stick with what’s comfortable for you.

About 6 years ago I noticed a hard, painful bump in my armpit. GREAT!!!!!!! I got it checked out and thank god it turned out to be a swollen lymph node caused by my antiperspirant. I tossed that and switched to a different type of antiperspirant, and whaddaya know, it happened again! My body seemed to want to reject the sweat blockage I was offering daily. After battling that for the next few years, I made the switch to natural. For about the first week I could literally feel my pits detoxing themselves, not in a painful way, but I knew there was a change happening under there.

Okay so, what’s the rash about? According to self.com, natural deodorants can cause a reaction just like any other product can. Many natural deos contain baking soda to help neutralize B.O. but can cause a skin reaction in some people. FYI: there are some natural deos that are baking-soda-free.

For those who prefer scented natural deos, be mindful that some essential oils added for smell (peppermint, lavender, tea tree, etc.) can also upset your skin.

Also, coconut oil. It’s meant to be a skin conditioner in our natural deo, but much like previous ingredients, it can cause irritation to some — like me! I was using a natural deo that had coconut oil in it and I experienced a few pimples in my pits. I switched to a different type and now I am feeling ~*~fresher than a mother~*~

If you attempt to make the switch and notice red, itchy, peeling, scaly skin… you are experiencing some form of contact dermatitis and should consider switching to a different natural.

BOTTOM LINE:

Read the ingredients. If you know you’re allergic to coconut, lavender, peppermint, whatever, don’t buy it! If you test it out and notice the baking soda is itching you, try out a baking-soda-free natural deo. I promise you, there is a natural deodorant out there for you. You’ve just got to be willing to do a little digging for your little pitties.


Natural deodorants I recommend:

Drunk Elephant’s Sweet Pitti Deodorant Cream, $16

This is my current HOLY GRAIL DEODORANT! Yes, it’s pricey, but oh my god is it #worthit. A little goes a long way, and you can even apply it with your fingers if the square applicator is awkward for you. It’s packed with wonderful ingredients: mandelic acid, arrowroot powder, shea butter, and FREE of coconut oil (so no pimples for moi). Recently I’ve been, as Fergie said, “up in the gym just workin’ on my fitness”, and my armpits have remained unphased by me getting my swole on. It’s unscented, vegan, and cruelty-free too.

Native Deodorant Coconut and Vanilla scented, $12

This vegan, cruelty-free natural deo has a better price-point for most, and it comes in a variety of cute scents to choose from! (Pumpkin Spice Latte, anyone?) Native also recently launched a plastic-free deodorant line in their most popular scents! It contains ingredients like tapioca starch to keep you feeling dry, as well as probiotics and shea butter. This does contain coconut oil and baking soda, however. Just an FYI. I have a lot of pals who use this and love it.

Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant, $7.99+

This is the first natural deo I ever used and it was a great introduction into this world! A sweet friend of mine recommended it to me and the weird lumps I had been getting from antiperspirants went down almost instantly. A few ingredients: coconut oil, shea butter, baking soda, arrowroot, and vitamin E. Unfortunately my body wasn’t stoked on the coconut oil so I did get a couple pimples and had to switch, but nonetheless I’d recommend this for anyone wanting to switch for the first time to see what does/doesn’t work for them. They have options for sensitive skin as well, along with jar formulas!

Tom’s of Maine Deodorant, $4+

Tom’s has SO many different scents for people of all ages. They’re free of any artificial colors, fragrances, and preservatives. Something that’s really nice on their website: you can browse all of their ingredients to find out more! Much like Native, they strive to be environmentally conscious with their packaging — something we can all appreciate.


I hope this helps! Like I said, I understand making the switch can be frustrating because there is sometimes a trial-and-error process. But I can promise you, there is a natural deodorant out there for everyone.

Now, go forth and smell AMAZING, PEACHES!

A Guide to the Ten-Step Korean Skincare Routine

My complexion has always been a huge influence on my self-esteem. I have oily, acne prone skin with enlarged pores (and apparently that means I’ll wrinkle much later in life, but today, that isn’t my concern), and every time I look in a mirror with good lighting, I spiral into negative self-talk.

Going through puberty sucks for a lot of different reasons, but the main issue I struggled with as a pubescent pre-teen was acne. From around age 10 to 13, my forehead was completely covered in zits! I remember caking on liquid and powder foundation to try and hide my spots, but it didn’t do much.

Today, my forehead is actually the part of my face that isn’t affected by acne (besides a few pimples here and there). I’m out of my hormonal, pubescent stage, but I still have excess oil and breakouts on my cheeks and chin. Will breakouts ever go away?? (sigh)

When I lived in Ireland the year I went to grad school, one of my flatmates introduced me to the 10-step Korean skincare routine, which completely changed my skin for the better (as long as I stay on top of it). I know what you’re thinking: “TEN steps? I barely have time for ONE step! This article isn’t for me.”

However, it’s not as bad as you would expect. If you are dealing with skin imperfections that you can’t seem to shake, read on! Remember, I have oily and acne-prone skin, so the products I show will mostly be for that skin type, but products for dry or combination skin are included too!

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1. Oil-based cleanser

The reason behind using an oil-based cleanser first is to wash away your excess sebum while not stripping away the healthy oils you need to keep. This step is also perfect for makeup-wearers! It’s the healthier version of using a makeup wipe. However, this is a step that I often skip for that same reason. I rarely wear makeup, therefore I don’t find it necessary for me to do everyday. Below are some oil-based cleansers that I recommend:

Countertime Lipid Defense Cleansing Oil | Skin Care | Beautycounter
Beauty Counter: Countertime Lipid Defense Cleaning Oil $49

This oil-based cleanser is a new product of mine and I absolutely love it! It contains vitamin E and retinatural complex, which is great for dry skin and anti-aging.

GREEN CLEAN
Farmacy: Green Clean Cleansing Balm $34

This cleansing balm is incredible for a first step to your skincare routine, especially if you wear makeup, as it melts it all away! This product has sunflower oil, ginger root and papaya extract. It’s so refreshing and calming and leaves your skin feeling soft and clean! This is another great product for any skin type.

2. Water-based cleanser

Now that you’ve removed your makeup and/or any excess sebum that’s secreted and built up throughout the day, you need to balance your skin with a water-based cleanser. Any gel, foam cleanser or micellar water counts as a water-based cleanser! These products simply wash away whatever is still left behind after your oil cleanse and focus on removing water-based impurities. Below are some water-based cleansers that I love:

pores no more® PORE PURIFYING CLEANSER
Dr. Brandt: Pores No More Pore Purifying Cleanser $36

The doctor is in! This is my current favorite gel face wash. It’s a miracle worker for my skin type, with salicylic acid, tea tree and willow bark. If you have dry skin, you can still use this product a couple times a week to manage breakouts without over-drying your beautiful face!

Amazon.com: Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water, For All Skin  Types, 13.5 Fl Oz: Beauty
Garnier SkinActive: Micellar Cleansing Water $9

For a cheaper water cleanser, reach for a bottle of micellar water! The Garnier line of micellar waters are incredible and for a great price! Remember though, don’t be fooled by the “All-in-1” label. It’s a great addition to your skincare routine, but it can’t be your entire routine!

3. Exfoliation

This is my favorite step of all time! Your face is now fresh from steps 1 & 2 and ready to be scrubbed! I have way too many exfoliating products, but I’m choosing my top three to show you all below.

**Depending on the day, I’ll use a clay mask or any other exfoliating mask instead of a face wash and then skip step 7. I won’t be adding any of my favorite masks in this article, though!**

Countercontrol Clear Pore Cleanser - Beautycounter | Sephora
Beauty Counter: Counter Control Clear Pore Cleanser $26

Yes, this is the second Beauty Counter product that I’m sharing with you. No, I’m not an annoying sales rep and will not message you on Instagram about joining my team. (Apologies to BC sales reps, but you know you’re annoying. Clearly it works, though. So keep up the hustle! No shame in your game).

Anyway, I really do love Beauty Counter products because they have lines of skincare for every type of complexion. This is the scrub that I use everyday! It not only leaves my skin feeling clean with exfoliating jojoba beads and fights breakouts with salicylic acid, but it also contains aloe vera which makes this scrub very gentle and soothing. 10/10.

FIRMx™ Exfoliating Peel Gel - Peter Thomas Roth | Sephora
Peter Thomas Roth: FirmX Peeling Gel $48

Sometimes there are days where you need a little more of an extreme exfoliation, and this type of product will give you just that! Let me first name that this specific product is rather expensive, and there are definitely cheaper options. However, if you wanted to spend the $48 on this bottle, it will last you ages! These exfoliating peels are so cathartic to use. When you apply it on dry skin and rub in circular motions, you genuinely see and feel the dead skin peeling off. Maybe that’s gross to some people, but I’m a cuticle cutting, blackhead popping type of person who finds this VERY satisfying. Please try it out.

Here’s a list of similar products for lower prices:

-Dr. G: Brightening Peeling Gel $13

-Secret Key: Lemon Sparkling Peeling Gel $10

-Ekel: Natural Clean Peeling Gel $11 (actually my favorite option for a low price)

4. Tone

Who doesn’t love a good toner? I’m always team tone. I’ll show a couple of toners that I personally adore, but don’t forget about good old witch hazel! Witch hazel is a couple of bucks at any drugstore, and I know that some brands even make witch hazel with rose, vitamin E or other properties for sensitive or dry skin. Aside from that cheap and magical potion, here a couple of other toners that I love:

CLEAN & CLEAR Lemon Juice Toner
Clean & Clear: Lemon Juice Toner $6

Depending on where you go, this will cost you around 5 to 8 dollars, and it’s well worth it! Lemon juice sounds harsh, but this product is alcohol free, therefore it is not over-drying. The vitamin C from the lemon juice helps to balance and brighten your skin on days that you feel a little dull. Pour a bit on a cotton ball, swipe it over your face and take over the damn world.

NassifMD Detox Pads - FabFitFun
NassifMD: Detox Pads $45

You know that show, “Botched”? This product is actually made by the dark-haired plastic surgeon on that show, Dr. Nassif. Weird, right? However, he did a fabulous job. These toning “detox” pads really leave you feeling refreshed, and using them daily or every other day as your toning step actually does reveal improvements in your complexion, specifically in minimizing breakouts. Pricy, but amazing.

5. Essence

This was the most confusing step to me, because you don’t normally see bottles of essence on the drugstore shelves. To put it simply, essence is basically a liquid lotion.

I’ll be honest with you guys, I never do this step. I know that I shouldn’t skip it, but I feel like my oily skin doesn’t need an EXTRA moisturizer. This isn’t true, though, because adding healthy moisture to oily skin helps to lessen the excess of grease you naturally create. But, I don’t do this step anymore. However, I did it for about a year and will show the essence that I really liked.

The Body Shop's Drops of Youth Essence Lotion.
Body Shop: Drops of Youth Essence Lotion $24

Essence is used mainly to fight aging and wrinkles. I was excited to see that Body Shop came out with an essence lotion in their Drops of Youth line. This line is great overall, but this essence is a perfect addition to any skincare routine!

6. Serums

Guys, serums! There’s a serum for every skin issue you can think of and I honestly think I might own all of them. I don’t want to flood this article with 28 photos of amazing serums to try, so I’ll only show you two that I cannot live without.

Amazon.com: Valjean Labs Facial Serum, Restore, Niacinamide + Zinc: Beauty
Valjean Labs: Restore Serum $18

This serum contains Niacinamide and Zinc. Niacinamide aids in calming redness in your skin and purifying your pores. Zinc is a magical property that I adore. Zinc helps with a lot of things in your body, but on your skin, it fights acne and soothes angry breakouts. When my skin is going through a period of genuinely being pissed off at me, I use this serum everyday until it chills out. It really does make a huge difference in only a few days! If you can’t find this specific serum, look for other products containing these ingredients!

Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum Reviews | Beautypedia
Drunk Elephant: TLC Framboos Glycolic Night Serum $90

Guys…I hate how much I love this serum. I’ve heard a lot about Drunk Elephant, but never wanted to spend the money that their products cost. It’s an expensive brand. I saw a sample of this serum and a face cream at Sephora for $20 and I just said, “f*** it” and bought it. I don’t regret it because this serum is genuinely amazing, but I sort of regret it because now that my sample is running out, I have to buy the $90 bottle. I just have to.

Anyway, if you’re thinking of spending a lot of dough on your skin, (which honestly, why not spend money on keeping your skin healthy?) then this serum should be on your shopping list. I LOVE glycolic acid, and here’s why: it’s anti-aging, it removes excess sebum and minimizes pores, it exfoliates and fights acne AND it overall evens out your skin tone. This serum ALSO contains a blend of BHA and AHA– these are natural fruit acids that help speed up the process of skin cell renewal.

I know that this sounds like a sales rep list of mumbo jumbo, but it truly works. After using this product ONCE, I woke up with zero redness and my skin has never been so soft. For a person with oily skin, waking up with a soft, matte face is unbelievable.

But enough about Drunk Elephant. Serums are such an important part of a good skincare routine and what’s cool is that there’s really no limit to how many serums you want to put on. I’ll usually use two serums in the morning and two different serums in the evening, but by all means…go at it.

7. Sheet Mask

Sheet masks are such lovely creations! I’m actually wearing one as I type this. However, even being the skincare enthusiast that I am (you could also call it an obsession), I do not do this step everyday. I’m lucky if I do it once a week. We all have lives and jobs and deadlines to tend to, and it’s hard to get yourself to do a mask in the midst of it all. However, the improvements in my skin that I can see and feel after doing one a few days in a row prove to me that this step shouldn’t be removed entirely from your skincare routine.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, a sheet mask is just what you think it is. It’s a sheet of material with holes cut out for your eyes and mouth that is soaked in some sort of combination of essences or serums. (Yes, you look terrifying and hilarious with a sheet mask on). After you apply your serums in step 6, lay the sheet mask on your face for 15-20 minutes, remove it and rub in the excess liquid.

**DO NOT RINSE YOUR FACE!!!!** A lot of people I know will immediately rinse their faces after removing a sheet mask as one would when washing off a clay mask. This is NOT the right thing to do. When you wear your sheet mask, you’re allowing the serum from the mask and the serums from earlier to sit and slowly sink into your skin. The excess when you remove it needs to be rubbed in. If you rinse it off, you’ve just erased the work you’ve done from steps 5-7! I know it seems like a lot to put on your skin at once, but I promise you it will not feel like you have a lot on your face. Trust me and try it out!

Again, I have dozens of favorite sheets masks, but I’m going to show you my top two.

Esfolio Pure Skin Mask Box, Egg Essence, 11.8 Ounce
Esfolio: Egg Essence Mask Sheet $11 for 10 masks

This sheet mask is actually best for dry skin, but there are days where I feel like I need it. Egg yolk moisturizes and nourishes while also tightening your pores. It’s a refreshing mask and honestly, quite a bang for your buck! (If you were curious, this is the mask I’m currently wearing, although it’s about time to remove it now).

Coconut Gel Sheet Masks | Farmacy Beauty
Farmacy: Brightening Coconut Gel Sheet Mask $6 for 1

Six dollars for one mask is pretty steep, I know. But this mask is worth it to me. This is a gel sheet mask, and whatever gel/fabric they use to create it is kind of revolutionary. Unlike regular sheet masks, this one actually forms to and sticks to your face. It doesn’t slide around all weird or sag off of your chin. It’s comfortable to wear! I haven’t found one like this elsewhere, but if you know of other brands making gel sheet masks, please tell me about them in the comments.

Aside from the material it’s made from, the ingredients are spot on for every skin type. It has coconut water and broccoli and other plant based collagen, which softens, brightens and fights aging. When you take it off you feel like a new woman (or man).

**Farmacy also makes gel sheet masks for hydration, which I haven’t tried, but I’d recommend trying those out if you suffer from dry skin!**

8. Eye Cream

Don’t forget to give love to those dark circles or puffy bags under your gorgeous eyes. Using eye cream everyday is the best way to kick your need for concealer. Finding a good eye cream can be hard, as they are usually expensive, but once you get yours, it lasts a long time. Only use a very small amount a day and apply it under your eyes by patting it in. Do not rub your eye cream in! I’ve tried a lot of different products, but below I’ll show you my absolute, all-time favorite eye cream.

Origins GinZing™ Refreshing Eye Cream (15ml) | Harrods US
Origins: Ginzing Refreshing Eye Cream $32

It’s called Refreshing Eye Cream, and the name really fits! With ginseng and coffee, this cream wakes up your eyes by brightening dark circles and de-puffing those bags. Not to mention, it smells great!

9. Moisturizer

I hope that all of you already have a go-to moisturizer. I have several that I switch around depending on what skin issues I’m dealing with, but it is essential to moisturize your face everyday, no matter what skin type you have! I’ll show you my current favorite, which I got a sample of years ago and finally forced myself to buy the full size jar of.

REVIEW] Korres Wild Rose 24-Hour Moisturising & Brightening Cream | Cosme  Perks
Korres: Wold Rose Brightening Moisturizer $36

This moisturizer is another brightening product, which I love, because the vitamin C evens your skin tone. That means any redness or dark spots are faded and blended into your beautiful complexion. This product really does keep your skin moisturized all day and smells like you rubbed your face in a rose bouquet. It’s a moisturizer to die for!

10. SPF or Night Cream

We’ve made it to the final step of the Korean skincare routine! Since this routine is supposed to be done twice a day, the last step is different for morning and night. I know, doing ten steps twice is day is not always feasible! If you complete it once, just make sure to choose your step ten accordingly. In the morning, choose your favorite sunscreen or product with SPF (if your foundation contains SPF, I’d say it’s fine to just use that). Before bed, apply a good overnight mask or night cream that fights the skin issues you want to target!

Below, I’ll show you one fabulous sunscreen and one of my favorite night creams.

Mineral Face Organic Matte Finish Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 – COOLA
Coola: Matte Finish Mineral Face Sunscreen $36

Now, considering the situation we are in because of COVID, I personally don’t leave my apartment everyday. On days that I know I won’t be seeing the light of day, I skip this step. However, sunscreen is a step that cannot be skipped if you know you’ll be outside at all! Remember that UV rays can affect you whether it’s sunny or cloudy outside, so don’t forget to protect your face!

This sunscreen is one of my favorites because it really does leave your face matte. Most sunscreens are greasy and on top of an already oily face, make you shine like a light bulb…and not in a good way. The texture of this Coola sunscreen is almost powdery, if that makes any sense, and makes your face as smooth as a baby’s bottom. Plus, if you wear makeup this product doubles as a great primer!

Beautycounter Overnight Resurfacing Peel: Product that changed my skin
Beauty Counter: Overnight Resurfacing Peel $63

This is an amazing night cream for any skin type! It’s rather expensive, but I actually got it free from Beauty Counter for spending a certain amount on an order. You also only need one pump for your face and neck, so it’s lasting me a very long time!

I love a good peel, and this one contains tons of incredible ingredients that I love too! This citrus-scented overnight peel is packed full of AHA/BHA, glycolic, lactic and malic acids. It’s designed to speed up skin cell renewal which leads to softer, more evenly-toned skin with tighter pores and a youthful glow! I wouldn’t recommend this product if I didn’t see results from it, and even after one night of use, I wake up looking refreshed and feeling smoother!

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In conclusion, the 10-step Korean skincare routine sounds daunting and impossible to commit to. The only way to really make it a true routine is to take little steps and build onto it every week or so. For example, if you already have a water-based cleanser and an exfoliator you love, start using steps 2 and 3 everyday and go pick up some cheap witch hazel to add on step 4.

Start off by doing only the steps you already own and when you have the money to buy a new product, buy one for the step you think is most important for your skin! Building up a skincare kit that you love takes a lot of time, money and dedication to trying new things. I didn’t get all of my products overnight, because that would be impossible based on my finances.

**If you’re interested in finding certain products like the ones I recommended but for cheap, search the name of the product and type “dupe” on the end (i.e. “Beauty Counter overnight peel dupe”). The internet is incredible, guys!**

The 10-step Korean Skincare routine has changed the way I see myself for the better. As long as I’m allowing myself time everyday to care for my complexion, I can count on my face not being a negative impact on my self-esteem. Try it out and let me know what you think!

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Steps:

  1. Oil-based Cleanser
  2. Water-based Cleanser
  3. Exfoliation
  4. Toner
  5. Essence
  6. Serums
  7. Sheet Mask
  8. Eye Cream
  9. Moisturizer
  10. SPF or Night Cream

Skincare for Mask Wear

Wearing a mask sucks but it’s necessary right now. And by necessary, I mean NECESSARY. Don’t be one of those people. Ok — I’ll step off my soapbox now.

Because of all this mask wear my skin is sufferiiiiing. Taking it off everyday feels better than taking my stupid bra off, and that’s saying a lot. Luckily, I learn lots of great info about skincare in my day job that I’m excited to share with you!

One of the main issues I’ve dealt with is how it’s causing more breakouts for people. Yes, there are many different types of acne. However, I’ve found that wearing a mask has given me a lot more issues than I normally have. Things like cystic acne, a city of tiny whiteheads, and heat bumps have set up camp all over the lower half of my face. RUDE.

I know I’m not alone! So I’m diving into some of my favorite products that have been helping my face adjust to this new normal.


First things first — cleanser. Washing your face at least once a day is crucial to maintaining a healthy skincare routine. And you MUST take your makeup off at night! This absolutely cannot be argued.

**Pro-Tip if you have to/choose to wear makeup every day: only wear it on the upper half of your face that’s not covered by the mask to prevent more bacteria from creeping into your precious pores**

Now, I have dry skin, so I normally only wash my face at night and do a quick rinse in the morning to prevent over-drying. If you’ve got more oily/combination skin, that might not be the case for you.

Either way, this is my current holy grail cleanser:

YOUTH TO THE PEOPLESuperfood Antioxidant Cleanser, $36

This gentle, fairly fragrance-free cleanser is great for makeup removal as well as being a badass every day face wash. It’s packed with antioxidants, vitamins C, K, and E, and more. Plus it’s alcohol free so it doesn’t leave your skin feeling dried out.


If you’re balling on a budget, I feel you. This Clean Skin Gel is an amazing cleanser + toner that also removes makeup while leaving your skin feeling nice and clean. The best part: it’s only $10!


Next I’d recommend either some type of toner or serum to apply after cleansing in the evening so your skin can soak in all that goodness overnight.

DRUNK ELEPHANT – T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Resurfacing Night Serum, $90

I absolutely love this stuff. It’s pretty powerful, so I only use it 2-3 times a week. It’s main focus is to resurface congested skin — but it also targets fine lines and wrinkles. I’d say a face covered by a mask all day definitely merits a serum for congested pores!


A budget-friendly alternative to this would 100% have to be Sephora’s Clarifying Serum for only $20.

It helps tame oiliness, uneven skin texture, and pores. The salicylic acid will exfoliate your skin overnight all while the hyaluronic acid moisturizes.


I could talk about skincare for ages, but I’ll end on the last step: MOISTURIZE, BITCH!

You don’t want crusty skin hanging out underneath that mask of yours. And listen up OILY-SKINNED SISTERS, you need to moisturize too! I don’t care if you think your skin oils keep you *moist* enough — that’s not the case and also that sounds gross, and you’re not gross. You just need a light-weight lotion that won’t clog your pores.

Remember, I’ve got more dry skin. For that I’d recommend:

PHILOSOPHY – Renewed Hope in A Jar Water Cream, $39

I will forever sing it’s praises. Once you rub it in, it literally melts LIKE WATER into your skin! It’s like a science project on your face.


For my loves with oilier skin, might I recommend:

OLEHENRIKSEN – C-Rush™ Vitamin C Gel Moisturizer, $46

Vitamin C lightens, brightens, and tightens your skin! This is a light gel cream that not only will keep you glowing, but also improves the look of your makeup over time.


There are plenty of other moisturizers you can choose that won’t break the bank as well. One of my most used:

SEPHORA COLLECTION – Nourishing Moisturizer, $17

This lotion smells sooOoOoOo good. It’s got avocado, marula, and rose hip seed oils included to keep you moisturized and nourished! Also, it’s good for all skin types because of the light and creamy formula.


I hope this helps! Keep in mind that a healthy skincare routine is v important all of the time, but especially right now while we’re all enduring #MaskGate.

Stay hydrated. Stay moisturized.