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-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”


April Favourites

I suppose this is closer to a ‘this year thus far’ favourites roundup, because I have been rather tardy in the filming business. So many things have happened recently, and as this blog is more of a personal hobby than a profit-generating job I tend to push it to the back burner. So, before I go into my recent favourites I will catch you up with my life.

01. I work at Sephora. Yes, the dream has come true; I am training to be a skincare consultant at Sephora. That means I can do what I love, which is chat about skincare with anyone and everyone, every day. Yes, please. As an employee of Sephora I do have to make it clear that, as always, the views expressed on this blog and anywhere else on social media are my own opinions; not of Sephora’s. I do not speak for Sephora, nor any of its brands/vendors. I have always refused compensation for product reviews here, and I will continue to do so, but I may mention a product that I received as gratis from Sephora or a brand during the normal functions of my job. As always it will be clearly noted as such.

02. I moved. The changes, I know, but I am now living in a house to be shared with a few other people. During the summer, however, it will be just me and that hopefully means more videos and content here on the blog. I also have my own fully-functional kitchen, so prepare yourselves for the return of baking. I have a few ideas for content already, so keep your eyes peeled.

I believe that to be everything of importance, so on to the favourites. I have a wide assortment of things to share, from skincare and cosmetics to housewares and literature. As always, you can watch the YouTube video here or skip directly to the links below.

Products mentioned


Perricone MD Nutritive Cleanser
Clinique Acne Solutions Cleansing Foam
La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water
GlamGlow YouthMud Tinglexfoliate Treatment*
Indeed Laboratories Facial Powder Exfoliator
Hylamide Sensitive Fix Advanced Calming Complex Booster
Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Oil*

Body care

Everyone Soap Shampoo + Body Wash + Bubblebath in Coconut and Lemon
Crest 3D White Deep Cleansing Toothpaste and Whitening Treatment


Maybelline Dream Velvet Soft Matte Hydrating Foundation
NYX HD Concealer in 01 and 12 Green
Laura Mercier Eye Basics in Flax*


White basket from IKEA, similar here
GURLI throw in grey from IKEA

Books and literature

‘Disclaimer’ by Renée Knight
Vogue, May issue with Taylor Swift
What to Bake and How to Bake It’ by Jane Hornby

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.

The New Skincare Routine

If you have been following me on Snapchat you will know that I have been a tad unpleasant about my skin lately; it seems to be all over the place. That is, I suppose, the thing about acne; your skin’s texture can be wonderful and luminous, and yet you still have acne. My approach to skincare is always about nourishment, which can be frustrating at times because nourishing products often don’t feel as if you are making any progress while drying products have a satisfaction to them. That being said, I am trying my best to stick with a consistent routine of skin-helping products to help bring my skin back in check after a dalliance with a few not-so-fantastic products.

If you are a more visual person, watch my YouTube video where I chat about everything.


Cleanse: Perricone MD Nutritive Cleanser. I was worried about this being a superfluous purchase, but I really like this cleanser. It is formulated with DMAE to firm the skin and increase luminosity and alpha lipoic acid to reduce puffiness, redness, the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and pore size. I find the scent of talcum powder to be wonderful, the fine gel texture foams slightly, and skin feels clean and smooth after use. A miracle cleanser? No, but I do enjoy it so far.

Hydrate: Philosophy Take A Deep Breath Oil-Free Oxygenating Gel Cream. I was a prolific user of facial oils as a morning moisturizer, but they don’t quite work the best under makeup. I only bought this because it is quite a nice value for your dollar. The gel texture is smooth and leaves skin plump but not juicy. Plenty of antioxidants are here, as I am a big fan. Every morning here, because my skin is far too juicy for an oil and a gel in the evening.


Cleanse: Perricone MD Nutritive Cleanser. Same as above. I’m not into using two different cleansers in one day; I always find it to be rather confusing to my skin.

Treat: Herbivore Blue Tansy AHA + BHA Resurfacing Clarity Mask. This is a rather unique mask in that it should be used every evening, for twenty minutes, four days in a row, and then every few days after that. I have just finished the every day period, so now will be moving into the maintenance phase. Blue Tansy oil and willow bark purify pores while fruit enzymes gentle exfoliate the skin. I have noticed—and I will chalk it up to this—that my skin does look rather calm in the morning after using this. We’ll see how it works in the long term.
Treat: Indeed Labs Retinol Reface. Retinol is the master ingredient at the moment. A derivative of vitamin A, not only is it incredibly effective for minimizing the visual signs of aging but it also aids in the prevention of hyperkeratosis, a primary cause of acne. I am currently on my way to building up a tolerance and using it every evening.

Hydrate: Herbivore Lapis Oil Balancing Facial Oil. Blue Tansy reduces redness, squalane balances oil production, jojoba hydrates, kukui supplies antioxidants. I use it every evening to seal everything in. Skin feels so comfortable after using this, and the oil is rather ‘dry’ so you don’t have to worry about sliding around your pillow at night.

Indeed Laboratories Exfoliator and C24

Finding balance between old and new is a difficult task in skincare. With so many new releases, it can be rather difficult to stay with what is tried and true. But never mind any of that; here are a few dear favourites and recent additions.

Indeed Laboratories Exfoliator

Long have I been a critic of physical exfoliants; today I can add at least one to the list of acceptables. With a few drops of water, this powder becomes a gentle foam. Bamboo and rice bran extracts—the latter high in acne- and wrinkle-fighting silica—gently exfoliate physically, whilst red algae strengthens skin’s ability to retain moisture; hyaluronic acid hydrates and stimulates the production of skin-plumping collagen. Pineapple enzymes act as an AHA exfoliant to gently clear skin of dead skin cells.
Immediately skin feels smoother and appears more luminous. The effects seem to last for a week, though this is gentle enough to use several times a week. I used it twice weekly and will continue to do so. A truly simple yet brilliant product.

Indeed Laboratories Vitamin C24

A new release from Indeed Laboratories, Vitamin C24 is a serum-cream hybrid formulated with 22% vitamin C and 2% hyaluronic acid. Vitamin C aids in reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improves skin elasticity, and hydrates. As an antioxidant, vitamin C aids in the defence against free radical, sun damage, and pollution. Whilst not advertised as such, vitamin C can aid in the calming of acne as free radical damage is often associated with a greater frequency and severity of blemishes; reducing free radical damage thus reduces inflammation, ergo visible redness and sensitivity. Hyaluronic acid aids in the hydrating and plumping of the skin.
New to topical vitamin C treatments, I was unsure what to expect and quite frankly a tad sceptical. To my surprise, I cannot see a routine without this product. Applying it twice daily after a hydrating serum, my skin feels healthy. It looks less red, it feels less sensitive, and it appears more radiant. I even left the house having only applied this and Hylamide HA Blur; no colour correcting required. This hydrates my normal skin well enough that—when paired with a hydrating serum like Hylamide Sensitive Fix or, my next conquest, Indeed Laboratories Hydraluron—this is all that is necessary to keep my skin balanced.
I highly recommend this product to those wanting preventative anti-aging. This will not return matured, damaged skin to what it once was; but start in your early 20s with something like this, and your skin will be plenty healthy in your golden years. I also like this for those with blemishes, as this paired with a topical retinol/retinoid would do a world of good.

Fresh Soy Face Cleanser

An old favourite, and one that I went into great detail here in its review, this is such a nice treat to return to. I currently use it as a morning cleanser, swapping in Boscia Black Cleanser in the evening to do a bit more for my skin without throwing it out of balance. The smell—of rosewater and cucumber—is worth the purchase alone.
You can find it at Sephora.