November empties includes a review of a cleanser, vitamin C serum, sunscreen, and two actives that synergistically improved my skin tone and texture at some point this year. Every product (except the sunscreen) has been featured on this blog or my Instagram, so we’ll keep it short and sweet.
Wishtrend 2% Acid-Duo Mild Gel Cleanser Review
Mildly exfoliating, deep cleansing, non-stripping, low pH, skin barrier-friendly… The Wishtrend Acid-Duo cleanser is one that lived up to its claims, and it’s safe to say that it is my favorite of all the cleansers I tried out this year. Texture? Packaging, Performance? Need more info? Check out the detailed review I wrote here.
Value: NGN 11,500/150ml. It lasted for about four months (usage- at least 4X/week).
Repurchase? Abso-freaking-lutely! Although, I’m open to trying out other cleansers in 2021.
Wishtrend Vitamin C 15% with Ferulic Acid Review
Another product from Wishtrend, but my experience was the total opposite. It was such a bummer (for me)! The Wishtrend Vitamin C 15% serum was so good on paper that I couldn’t wait to try it as soon as it launched in July. Talk about low concentration (15%) of Ascorbic Acid for beginners like me (it was my first, y’all), accompanied with Vitamin E, Ferulic acid, two other forms of Vitamin C (Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate and Ethyl Ascorbyl Ether) and my homegirl, Niacinamide was also present. It promises to provide antioxidant care for the skin, prevent acne, brighten the skin, boost collagen, and help the skin recover from the damage caused by UV rays.
The CON, however, is that the packaging was so messy that I didn’t get to experience all the benefits. The dropper failed to close and the content oxidized in no time. Read the full story here, including a visual representation of the messy packaging of this serum.
Texture & Application – super lightweight; sinks into the skin quickly without feeling sticky or leaving an oily residue. It is to be applied both AM and PM after cleansing before other steps.
Repurchase? No, thanks. I’d only depend on this for antioxidant care, nothing more. Of course, that’s if the brand fixes the packaging.
Missha All Around Safe Block Aqua Sun Gel SPF 50+/PA ++++ Review
You know those random skincare purchases that quickly turn into a favorite? Yeah, not this one. I bought this on a whim when I needed sunscreen urgently (guys, always have a backup of your faves, if you can afford to).
Texture & Application– I apply this after a rich moisturizer as the last step in the AM routine. It goes on like a thin, runny, white-ish lotion and blends out in no time with a classic ‘sunscreen’ ‘medicine’ scent and a finish that will mattify everything applied beneath it. Where my oily/combo folks at?
UV Filters present Homosalate, Octisalate, Avobenzone, Tinosorb S, Amiloxate, and Octocrylene.
Value: NGN 7,200/50ml; Lasted for a month upon daily usage (and occasional reapplication)
Pros: Broad-spectrum sunscreen, has a cooling effect on the skin upon application, no white-cast, lightweight, perfect for summer/humid weather.
Cons: It stings the (my) eyes when I rub, sweat, or come in contact with water (performing ablution, for instance). Personal, but I don’t like how mattifying it is.
Repurchase? Maybe in the summer, if I don’t find a lightweight sunscreen that doesn’t throw me off with the scent.
Differin Adapalene Gel Review
Hands down my favorite purchase of 2020! I got to test this out for over 12 weeks during the lockdown, and I shared a detailed review/progress report here on the blog. I continued to use this sporadically even after the experiment and only exhausted it in November. Unlike other retinoids that target wrinkles, fine lines, hyperpigmentation. Adapalene aims at treating/managing acne and doesn’t do much in the other departments. Looking back at the photos, I can say that Adapalene kept my skin texture intact (smooth and soft) all through the time I was using it!
Texture? Packaging? Performance? Value? All stated in this post.
Takeaway: Whatever you do, be patient while using Adapalene (or any kind of retinoid). It is not a quick-fix!
Repurchase? Most likely not, except for maintenance. At this point in my skin journey, acne is under control, and I’d opt for another retinoid (currently using UrbanSkinRX Retinol Rapid Repair) to tackle hyperpigmentation and other imperfections.
The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA Review
The second product that improved my skin texture, especially when paired with Adapalene. Lactic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that exfoliates the skin surface to get rid of dead, dull skin and refine the skin tone & texture. It also helps with acne, hyperpigmentation, fine lines, and wrinkles (at high concentrations).
The great thing about this particular formula from The Ordinary is that it contains Hyaluronic acid and Tasmanian Pepperberry. Hyaluronic acid attracts moisture to the skin, while Tasmanian Pepperberry has anti-inflammatory property, and reduces the irritation associated with exfoliation. These two allow the skin to enjoy the benefits of exfoliation without the associated dryness or irritation. Whenever I use The Ordinary Lactic Acid at night, I can feel my skin peeling the next morning. Not your traditional tretinoin or ‘chemical peel’ kind of peeling but watching sebum (oil) plugs, flaky, and dull skin fall off. Oddly satisfying, I know.
Texture & Application: I apply this immediately after cleansing on dry skin or after a hydrating toner or essence. It tingles a little, but it doesn’t last for long (less than 2 minutes). Then, I finish up with the rest of my routine; antioxidants, moisturizers, occlusives.
Value: NGN 6,500/30ml. Lasted for five months when applied 1 – 3x a week.
Pros: Visibly brightens the skin, refines the skin texture, gentle on the skin (if your skin can’t tolerate The Ordinary’s glycolic acid, this one is worth a try)
Cons: None for me
Takeaway: Start slowly and increase frequency according to your skin’s tolerance. AHAs increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun, so sunscreen is non-negotiable. Also, try to limit sun exposure as much as possible.
Repurchase? Most likely; although, I plan to explore other chemical exfoliants in 2021.