The Cleansed Review Starter Pack

Friday, June 19, 2020

Every day,  I'm asked what my favorite X, Y, and Z products are. Now, let's think about how anyone can ask me, a girl who loves options, and with a head full of product knowledge, to decide on her ONE favorite product from any category. Making a decision is like picking a favorite child, luckily I have no children and instead fill my heart with skincare (and makeup, duh). So, after Network of Enlightened Women had me as a guest on Instagram Live (see the IGTV here!), I made myself decide on what my favorite products really are. I made my decisions with the perspective of, 'If I didn't work at Sephora, what would I buy independently?' and 'All other products aside, what have I truly loved and can't imagine myself without?' and lastly, 'What has actually WORKED?'

So here you have the results: The Cleansed Review Starter Pack. These carefully selected products are your go to answer for fulfilling holes in your skincare routine or starting from scratch if you're building one for the first time. Not everything made it's way in here because I'd leave you with a twenty step skincare routine, or something ridiculous. But I hope you take this for what it is: my best attempt at cutting down all the other products I own so I can share the ones I truly, truly love and have enjoyed.

You may be shocked that I picked what is probably the most simple cleanser in the whole wide world. But alas, it isn't! It's simplistic love in a bottle from France. Ever since I learned about Caudalie's Instant Foaming Cleanser, I sell it to everyone. Everyone. Children, preteens, adults, and anyone who wanted a gentle, foaming, soap-free (meaning it won't dry out your skin) cleanser full of antioxidants and nourishing ingredients that can remove light makeup and leave the skin feeling soft and clean.

Foaming cleansers are also one of my favorite types of cleansers and just so fun to use. Maybe it's the nostalgia of the foam but it makes me so happy to rub all over my face and rinse off. I love this one in the morning for a refreshing cleanse when my eyes are barely open.

While trying to keep my starter pack as simple as possible, I also want to provide options to everyone because not everyone's skin type is like mine nor as they has un-sensitive as me (skin wise, emotionally remains to be seen lol). I chose the three chemical exfoliators above for those reasons (even emotionally, I love them). These are great when used in the AM instead of a cleanser or at night, either every night or a few times a week. They work best when put on a cotton round and buffed around the skin for 30 secs-1 min. If you feel any tingling, fear not, that's normal and should go away with time. Or you're just a wimp and need to suck it up. 

For the most sensitive, baby faces, I'd give you Glossier's Solution. While this didn't do jack for me, it may be the one for you. The AHA/BHA/PHA blend is gentle enough for sensitive skin and every day use. It was my choice in those early mornings when I couldn't open my eyes to cleanse with water. It's also the least expensive at $24 and lasts for months. 

The next one has become one of my favorite products of all time (obviously, or else why would it be here?). Debuting last year, Youth to the People stayed true to their innovative and effective products with their Kombucha toner. To be fair, it's not a real toner in my eyes but more a liquid exfoliator. Lactic and Glycolic Acids are the main stars of this caramel colored bottle and the unique Kombucha Black Tea ferment acts as a probiotic to rebalance the skin's micro biome. Basically, if your skin is irritated, dull, and in need of some TLC, rub this all over your face for smooth relief by the end of the week! Your skin may feel tacky afterwards but that's okay, and I would keep it as a nighttime product for that reason. 

REN joins the circle of liquid exfoliators with their Glow Daily AHA Tonic, another one I love in the morning in place of a cleanser. It's even used frequently by Katie Jane Hughes and if you've ever met me in person, you'll know KJH is usually tumbling out of my mouth at some point. It sits between the most gentle level of Glossier's Solution and the maximum strength of Youth to the People's. Lactic and Azelaic acids hydrate and clear pigmentation over time. All the citrus oils inside also help wake up the senses with their zingy, fresh scent! 

Youth to the People and REN's Tonic are both $38. I believe they should last around 4-6 months and something you only have to buy once, maybe twice, a year. The REN pictured above is a travel size I got in a kit, but the full size is a hearty 8.5 oz, complete with a pump! 

When I got this mask, it was like Christmas (but the calendar said otherwise). This exfoliating and brightening mask from Australian beauty Miranda Kerr's skincare brand, Kora Organics is one of the best physical exfoliants I've ever used. Allanarama described it as something dirty, go watch for yourself. The brown texture of this mask isn't meant to be seen on the 'gram because it belongs on your face. I love the minty smell of it because of the peppermint oil inside and the unique use of rosehip seeds and quartz to physically polish the surface of the skin. I almost always apply it in the shower to cut down on making a mess of my sink. While it's on, turmeric, enzymatic exfoliators, and other rich ingredients work together for a smoother and brighter complexion. I love the results from this mask and would do anything for it if it asked. At $48, it's a wise investment for a good quality exfoliator that'll make you feel one step closer to being as flawless as Miranda Kerr. 

I've given my views on Murad before, but I'm still surprised that I love this one serum so much. This will be my fourth bottle, so clearly I can't recommend this more. I love to apply it in the daytime because it's a quick fix to eliminate dullness while working over time to diminish signs of stress and aging on the skin. The ingredients to this are long but hearty for sure. There's niacinamide to smooth texture, caffeine to wake up the skin, and cannabis extract to calm and hydrate. I love the smooth finish of this and it's an excellent pre-makeup serum too! I tend to focus it on my forehead to help keep it expression-line free because I want to keep my face well preserved like King Tut. This is pricey, I'm aware but it's so worth it and a little goes a long way, just trust me. 

Welcome to the section of this blog post where I may come off as a hypocrite and undecided on eye creams. I'll start by saying I believe in eye creams. I believe they really can treat puffiness, dark circles, and dry under eyes, especially once the right one is found. However, eye creams can't always fix our problems. Like genetic dark circles? Probably not. Fine lines? Nah, especially not when, if you're like me, you constantly tug at your under eye from daily contact lens wear. But I believe in using them for long term age prevention and keeping the delicate skin around the eyes smooth and hydrated. 

Two of my favorites to recommend are Ole Henriksen's Banana Bright and Sunday Riley's Autocorrect. I've used both of them and so have multiple customers I've helped! Ole's was too drying for me to use twice a day so I switched it to my morning eye cream. It did smooth out my under eyes and brighten them some before I put on concealer but it didn't get rid of my fine lines completely. However, I'd recommend it for instant brightening and long term skin care benefits. Sunday Riley's Autocorrect is like the Ultimate Fighter out there for under eye concerns. While I didn't experience any of its magic, that's okay because I don't suffer from what it targets! For everyone else, it eliminates those under eye bags quickly and successfully brightens dull and/or tired under eyes with continued use. It also has a more yellow-pearl under tone to instantly color correct too. I highly recommend this one to anyone suffering from the issues mentioned above or your eyes are showing your age. 

If you only take away one thing from this whole post, let it be this: please invest in a good moisturizer. If you can only afford one thing at this moment, get a moisturizer. If you can afford two things, get a cleanser AND a moisturizer. All this other stuff can be added in later. I believe it's of utmost importance for you, my readers, to nail down a quality cleanser and a hydrating moisturizer together. 

Of course there are around a million moisturizers out there calling to all the skin types, but again, in the nature of this post, I'm keeping it simple. These three (and a fourth that's not pictured), are my holy grails. I do use the ones above at night because I'm on the oily side and they have thicker consistencies. One is also a night time moisturizer, which is the Fresh Dream Cream. This one has a silky texture that uses a peach antioxidant to protect your skin during the night against aging and assisting the natural turnover process. Plus, it smells divine. 

I love Youth to the People, it's become one of my favorite brands to recommend and use on my face daily. I've been through two jars of the Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream now. I love the rich soft cream texture of this and it mixes so well with any oil! I've continued to keep one of these in my stash because of the calming properties of the adaptogen mushrooms inside like ashwagandha (yes I had to spell check myself) and reishi and strengthening peptides. This is can be used in the AM too and it's excellent for redness, preventing stress induced aging, and nourishing drier skin. 

Another moisturizer not pictured comes from Youth to the People as well. This would be one of my go to moisturizers for daytime and pre-makeup forever if I had to choose. The Superfood Air-Whip Moisture Cream is lightweight while still being a cream moisturizer??? The whipped texture helps it not feel heavy and also mixes perfectly with an oil too!! The antioxidants in this is like getting the nutrients from a cold pressed juice without pouring a juice all over your face. Just spread this on instead. 

The last moisturizer, and first pictured, is Drunk Elephant's Protini Polypeptide Cream. This is one of the few products that I would lay my life and my bank account on the line for when that inevitable day comes that I leave Sephora and don't have the access I do now. I love this moisturizer. The texture has to be one of the richest I own but it's not thick in the slightest. I've used three or four jars since it's debut at the end of 2017 and I believe it's helped keep forehead lines away and my skin smooth and taut (for the most part, I still have pores, ok). One pump is truly enough and will make it worth your coins longer, it also mixes perfectly with an oil here. 

Why didn't I put any oil recommendations in here? I don't know. Just look these up and pick one: Kora Organics Noni Glow, Youth to the People Superberry, or Sunday Riley CEO Glow

Wrapping up my starter pack are sleeping masks. I've written about them before but essentially, they are exactly what they sound like. You apply them after moisturizer, go to sleep, and wash off in the morning! They're time saving and do the extra work while you catch the Zzz's. 

Glow Recipe's Watermelon Glow was the first one I tried and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this mask. It has a slick, gel-like texture that slips off the fingers if you're not careful. Once applied, it goes to work with gentle acids and watermelon extract to exfoliate and hydrate overnight! Your skin will look smoother and fresher by morning time! I do recommend giving this one two to three weeks to really work based on my own experiences and the experiences of others. 

Laneige popped onto the scene as part of the K-Beauty trend in skincare with their signature blend of mineral water to rehydrate and refresh your skin. Their Water Sleeping Mask has become an online sensation, at least from what I think from seeing it's popularity in store. It's one of the most inexpensive sleeping masks but it holds true to refreshing the skin, eliminating the look of stress on the surface and hydrating from top to bottom. 

You can use sleeping masks as much or as little as you like. I would recommend using one a few times a week as an extra step in your routine. Trust me, your skin will thank you! 

Well, that's all folks. I know there's so much more available to recommend but then this wouldn't be a starter pack. I truly believe I wouldn't want to live without these products in my life if given the choice because I whole heartedly believe in their efficacy and the value of them when it comes to spending money. Think of it this way, you only have one face, why not start taking care of it now with great products? 

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