Affordable Clinical Skincare Brands

The lustre of glossy white walls and product consultants dressed in black may be attractive, but the department store may not always be the best place to shop for skincare. Often times one can find more researched, proven, and less expensive products from the science-based brands in ugly packaging, and though it may be boring, these are the brands who treat skin with fact rather than marketing.

NeoStrata

neostrata-canada-clinicalNow, first things first; NeoStrata in Canada is very different than NeoStrata in any other country. Canada has its own exclusive formulations, often with different technology. Nevertheless, NeoStrata is brilliant no matter the country. In Canada they were the first to introduce glycolic acid, stem cells, retinol with peptides, and L-ascorbic acid. They use external, independent and clinical evaluations to judge their products for efficacy, and focus on skin concern rather than fancy marketing and packaging.

Signature technology: Glycolic acid, retinol, L-ascorbic acid, PhytoCellTec fruit stem cells, Matrixyl 3000 and New Matrixyl peptides, Genowhite brightening peptide, epidermal growth factors, and hyaluronic acid.
Iconic product: Purifying Solution, because of 8% glycolic acid at a proper pH level for exfoliating.
Newest release: Anti-Aging Peel Solution, because of a 25% blend of glycolic acid, gluconolactone, papaya, and 1.5% peptides.
Personal favourite: All-in-One Night Serum, because of 0.30% retinol, 5.0% New Matrixyl peptides, and 0.05% hyaluronic acid.
Who the brand is for: Mature skin wanting steady results, blemish-prone skin, or those with uneven skin tone and texture.
Price point: Generally under $50, though nothing is more than $150.
Where to find it: Shoppers Drug Mart or Rexall in Canada for the mentioned products, everywhere else in the world will have other products which are different though still brilliant.

La Roche-Posay

la-roche-posay-clinicalAnother one with a very country-focused product offering, La Roche-Posay is one of the many iconic French pharmacy brands in the industry which focus more on soothing and calming rather than aggressive treatment. The primary differentiator in La Roche-Posay products is the inclusion of thermal spring water containing bicarbonate, calcium, silicate, magnesium, strontium, selenium, zinc, and copper¹. The result of including this specific thermal spring water is a demonstrated antiradical, anti-inflammatory, and protection against ultraviolet B-induced skin damage. Is this a miracle ingredient, no, but it does have merit in skincare.

Signature technology: Thermal spring water.
Iconic product: Thermal Spring Water, because of its purity, mineral content, and ability to soften and soothe skin.
Newest release: Toleriane Double Repair Moisturizer, because of its simplicity in formulation and inclusion of soothing prebiotic technology, glycerin, and niacinamide.
Personal favourite: Toleriane Purifying Foaming Cleanser, because of its cushy cream-to-foam texture and EDTA to balance skin challenged by hard water.
Who the brand is for: Anyone fed up with aggressive active ingredients who wants a soothing, steady routine.
Price point: Generally under $50.
Where to find it: Shoppers Drug Mart or Rexall in Canada, Ulta or Target in America, essentially any proper drug store in the world.
Continue reading “Affordable Clinical Skincare Brands”

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Lazy Skin Day

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A pile of ‘lazy day’ products have seemingly collected themselves on my vanity; these are products for days when you have things to do and not much time to spare on skin. I am a person who enjoys spending quite a bit of effort on my skin, but if I can find products that cut down on time I am all for that.

IMG_0334First up is cleanse; two to mention, both rather different in concept. Dr. Jart+ Dermaclear Micro Water* is a smartly-packaged micellar water with the innovative inclusion of hydrogen water, the same ingredient at the heart of the rather unique Perricone H2 Elemental collection. I recommend this article on hydrogen skincare, but essentially hydrogen is an antioxidant with a unique activity in the skin that up-regulates NRF2, which in turn increases our body’s own antioxidant production. So we have hydrogen, sake, willowbark, royal jelly, and rose all acting to soften, cleanse, and resurface the skin. For those who love that squeaky-clean feeling, this is an incredible one-and-done rinse-off (please rinse it off) cleanse.

For those with a penchant for a traditional cleanser, CLE sent me their Oxygen Foam Cleanser*. This is applied to dry skin where it can dissolve makeup and cleanse the skin in one step, though I would always go in twice on days I am wearing liquid foundation to ensure every last bit is taken away. This too gives that squeaky-clean feeling, and I do enjoy how bright and even-toned my skin looks after application. This does say it assists in promoting the production of collagen, which I am sceptical of, but as a cleanser this is a comfortable option.

I have a few bottles of Avène Thermal Spring Water lying about, and though I have tried and tried to make these work I never see any difference when using them despite having tried Avène’s and both the regular La Roche-Posay and Serozinc. The infusion of minerals is supposed to act as a supplement to the skin, though again I never notice anything different. Nevertheless, I quite enjoy spraying them on my skin mid-day to refresh or before a moisturizer to sheer it out and make it feel lighter. For me this step is necessary whenever I wear Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Cream*, which I tried to like but just could not get on with. I quite enjoyed it the first few days I used it, but several weeks later my skin had developed red bumps across my temples and even a few hours later I could feel it on my skin. I was rather disappointed because Caroline Hirons just dropped it into her Hall of Fame, and I have heard wonder-stories of people who have replaced most of their routine with this one product. Its claim-to-fame is its inclusion of ceramides, which are lipid molecules that exist in the stratum corneum and protect against water loss and the entrance of foreign substances into the skin. I suppose not every product is for every person, but I still wholeheartedly recommend giving this cream a try if you have compromised, problematic, or mature skin.

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To finish the lazy look, Dior Capture Totale Dreamskin Advanced* is an after-moisturizer skin perfecting serum that provides both instant gratification and long-term benefits to the skin. I am always sceptical of luxe products in higher price brackets, but this is truly remarkable. Within a few minutes its optical powders mildly blur imperfections like moderate dark spots, impart a subtle glow to the skin, minimize the appearance of pores along the top of my cheeks, and subdue minor texture along my jaw. What is unique about this is that it also has long-term benefits, stemming from the inclusion of longoza extract which acts to both increase collagen and elastin production and ease gravity-related sagging, and opilia extract which aids in dark spot correction, red spot correction, and the reduction of visible pore size. Critics say these ingredients are unproven, but if we look at skincare as a whole the only ingredients which are relatively ‘proven’ are ingredients like retinol, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, green tea, and vitamin C and even so, most of these studies are far from extensive nor are they done on the product but rather the ingredient and often tested in vitro rather than in vivo. So in all honesty, if a product makes you look instantly better, makes you happy to use it, and will not kill you, then it is aces in my books.

Disclaimer: Products marked with an asterisk (*) were given to me free of charge. I receive countless products each month, and say nothing about the majority of them; I will only review a product if I think it is worthy of words, either negative or positive. Links are to the easiest and most common retailer. All opinions are my own and do not reflect those of the companies mentioned, nor my employer.