Product RAVE & a Skincare Haul

As an avid blog reader and beauty junkie, I’ve been making notes every time I read about a star skin care product. I try not to experiment with TOO many new products because of my acne-prone skin, but I had to give in and acquire a few new products to try!

I’ll start by introducing my FAVORITE new purchase – I’ve only been using it for 2 weeks – and it’s improved my skin more than anything else I’ve ever used!


Oil-based cleansers are meant to be better at removing make-up and sebum from your skin because oil attracts oil. I’ve avoided oil-based products due to my acne-prone skin. I’m SO glad I decided to give this product a try – it cleans everything off my face and leaves me with soft and supple skin. Previous double-cleansing with foam-based cleansers would leave my face irritated and dry while STILL leaving make-up residue.

This balm has a firm and dense texture – similar to Vaseline! I scrape out a dime sized amount and rub it between my freshly-washed hands. It transforms into an oil and I smooth it all over my face. As I rub it into my skin – I can feel my pores unclogging. This sounds gross but little plugs of hardened sebum come loose in to my hands!!! My forehead used to be so bumpy with clogged pores before – now it is completely clear!

When I splash water on my face, the balm becomes a milky liquid and easily rinses off. I’m left with clean and glowing skin. I follow up with Spectrojel  and a warm washcloth to remove any leftover oils (the balm ALWAYS rinses off completely but I don’t want to take any chances – plus the Spectrojel keeps my skin pH balanced). My washcloth comes away clean without ANY foundation residue. I wear MAC foundation – and previously, I’d still find traces of foundation on my skin even after double-cleansing!

THE BOTTOM LINE: This product is SUPER effective at cleansing yet SUPER gentle on skin. I’d recommend this product to anyone who wants to remove ALL traces of makeup – especially if you have blemish prone skin that clogs easily.


Clarins Instant Eye Make-Up Remover – This product has been featured by a couple of beauty vloggers that I follow. I was drawn in by the chic packaging, and the claims that it could remove waterproof makeup.  Sadly, this product was a complete FAIL: The formula doesn’t have much slip so it tugs at your delicate eye skin – a complete no-no! Despite being marked for sensitive eyes – the formula made my eyes sting AND finally – the deal-breaker…each time I used it, I lost 2-3 eyelashes !!! I’m sticking with Bioderma (the best eye make-up remover I’ve ever tried) – it’s gentler (no stinging!) and much more effective.

Hydraluron – Caroline Hiron is a UK beauty insider with a very popular skincare blog.  Hydraluron is one of her “hall of fame products” because it contains a high dose of hyaluronic acid which helps the skin attract and retain moisture. It is meant to be layered under a moisturizer to keep skin hydrated, plump and glowing. Hyaluronic Acid is also one of the key ingredients in the cult favorite Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair (ANR) serum. Hydraluron is cheaper and has a simpler formula – which I hope suits my skin more than ANR (which broke me out in cystic pimples). I purchased mine at Shoppers Drug Mart.
Jade Roller – I’ve been interested in Jade Rollers ever since I read that Kate Moss uses them. The Jade stone is meant to be rolled across the skin during facial massage to promote lymphatic drainage. As seen in my earlier post, I’m a long-term fan of anti-aging massage and look forward to incorporating this into my facial routine.

Vichy Liftactiv Serum 10 – This eye serum has a triple function: It moisturizes the eye area, brightens it with micro-pearls and uses ceramides to strengthen lashes. The total result of this is younger looking eyes. I’ve had success with lash conditioners before (including the Revlon Grow Luscious formula posted about here), so I’m interested to see how this works. I will definitely take before and after pictures to see if there is any noticeable change.

Vichy Aqualia Thermal Night Spa – This product contains Vichy Thermal water (renowned for its skin soothing properties) and Hyaluronic Acid. It is a SLEEPING MASK – you massage a thick layer of this on to your skin and leave it on overnight. When you wake up – your skin is meant to be hydrated and radiant. I’m eager to try this with my jade roller for maximum massage benefits – and will report back on my results. As this is a clear moisture mask – I also think this would be a great product for long-haul flights. You could apply this to freshly cleansed skin and not have to worry about dehydration from the recycled cabin air.

Do you use a cleansing balm? Have you tried any products with Hyaluronic Acid?

DISCLAIMER:  The Vichy mask & eye serum were sent to me, I purchased all the other products myself. As usual, my thoughts are 100% my own.

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  1. Lindy May
    May 4, 2013 / 12:57 pm

    I can't wait to use the clinique cleanser! I've been wanting to try an oil cleanser but since I rely on you to do the testing (since we have similar acne issues) I was waiting for you to post something, lol. I'm a huge clinique fan anyway so this will definitely be added to my "to buy" list.That jade roller looks great too!!I've just recently bought a jar of coconut oil (after reading all the "amazing" benefits on pinterest) and plan to try it on my eyelashes. The claims on pinterest say that it can make your lashes darker and thicker. I'll let you know how it works. 🙂

    • Ella Pretty Blog
      May 5, 2013 / 4:42 pm

      Let me know how the coconut oil works on your lashes! I bought a huge tub of organic coconut oil to use as a moisturizer but it broke me out so I only use it on my hands now.You should ask for a sample of the clinique balm at sephora to see if you love it as much as I do – you only need the tiniest amount – and if you buy it – make sure to get it at bonus time so you get a free clinique gift too :-). love ya!

    • Anonymous
      June 12, 2013 / 11:36 pm

      Ella try warmed coconut oil With a few drops of peppermint essential oil for Indian head massage, not only does it relax you but it really leaves the hair feeling thicker and nourished once I wash it out. I don't think coconut oil on it's own works well for skin moisturizing – at least for me, but it works well as a first step face cleanser (if you're out of your regular one).

    • Ella Pretty Blog
      June 13, 2013 / 1:39 am

      Thanks for the tip Parveen – the peppermint sounds like a great addition to the coconut oil!

  2. Lilly
    May 9, 2013 / 10:40 pm

    I've been wanting to try some of the Vichy products for a while (I do use the Vichy Normaderm cleanser, finishing my second bottle). My local Ulta finally got some of their products and I'm always looking for a good eye cream/serum, mainly one that moisturizes good. I just finished the Kiehl's Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado and it way ok. Still on the fence about it.

    • Ella Pretty Blog
      June 13, 2013 / 1:38 am

      I adore my Kiehl's Avocado eye cream – I'm so scared to stray from it LOL! I think it's great for prevention…and it really helped hubby with dark circles & dry skin around his eyes. Will definitely update with my thoughts on the Vichy products 🙂

  3. Anonymous
    June 9, 2013 / 12:20 am

    Hi Ella, long time no speak! Loved this post and MUST get that cleansing balm. I've recently (2 days ago) discovered Caroline's blog and have been reading it non-stop – where have I been right?! (that's how I felt on discovering her blog, love it!). I'm going to purchase the Hydraluron product, how do you find it? I've done a major overhaul on skincare purchases, it's my new addiction 🙂 hope you are well?! xx

    • Ella Pretty Blog
      June 9, 2013 / 2:01 am

      Hi Parveen!!!! I've really missed you & your blog – it was so nice to hear from you today! I'm so curious as to how the Emma Hardie balm compares to the Clinique one – I absolutely adore the Clinique one (it is ALL that !) but since EH isn't available here, I don't know how they would compare :-(As for the hydraluron – it is sitting on my bathroom shelf waiting to be incorporate into my skincare routine – I've been introducing products VERY gradually into my routine – like only 1 every 2 weeks. Sadly – the mineral sunscreen I was testing out broke me out (waaah!) so I'm going to wait until my skin recovers from that before adding anything else into my routine. But I've read such good things about the hydraluron – so I'm glad I've purchased it and have it ready to use :-)Don't be a stranger 🙂 I'd LOVE to hear more about your skincare addiction !!!

  4. Anonymous
    June 12, 2013 / 11:22 pm

    Ahh thank you lovely, have to say I do miss the blogging community (which of course includes you ;)) Finally managed to get hold of the EH one today after weeks of searching. Every SpaceNK store in London have sold out (down to Caroline and Pixiwoo I'd say). First impressions very good. I've only ever used one other cleansing balm and that was the Eve Lom one. Didn't like it. EH has a softer texture that feels gentle on the face – like a rich cream – so I enjoy the massaging technique. EL was more grainy and thicker texture that fell a bit rough on the skin. Have to say I hate balm packaging, why not a tube style? Much more hygienic and practical?! Nevertheless willing to make a compromise for EH. Saying that I bought another one recently by Clarins that I have yet to try out, and now I MUST get this Clinique one, your description sold it to me :)Hydraluron is next on my to buy list. I'm actually enjoying accumulating skincare products as I have always stuck to the same few and would only purchase when something was finished. Now I plan to rotate a la Caroline style – makes cleansing more fun (helps that I don't break out easily which is the only redeeming feature of my skin)Plus I get through skincare like kids get through candy so there's no chance that something would go to waste :)Will keep you updated on purchases xx

    • Ella Pretty Blog
      June 13, 2013 / 1:50 am

      Wow – the EH ones sounds AMAZING! Will have to get hubby to try track it down next time he goes to London…too funny that they're all sold out because they're internet hits LOL!I LOVE everything Caroline writes – I can't believe how much healthier my skin is since following her tips!Would love to know what works for you…wishing I could find the Clarins Exfoliating Toner here too – she needs to do a Canadian shopping list LOL!

  5. Erika Nagode
    December 13, 2013 / 8:47 am

    I am the only one that Clinique Cleansing balm irritates my skin :(. I need to try Hydraluron, even thought it`s ingredients are nothing special hyaluronic acid and some water I thought I would try to do hyaluronic acid on my own.

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