Best skincare we tried in September 2020: Supergoop!, Dr. Dennis Gross, Caudalie...
Stamp of approval
We get it, you've been burned before. 2019 alone had Millie Bobby Brown pretending to use her new line of skincare products in an IG video, Sunday Riley being exposed for sham reviews, and Kylie Jenner's infamous foundation-stained towel after using her "ultra-potent" Foaming Face Wash. We hate to say it, but false claims and exaggerations now run rampant in the skincare industry, leaving consumers feeling unsure of who to trust in this dog-eat-dog sphere.
That said, we can't blame you for eyeing this article with a (healthy) amount of scepticism, though we'd like to believe that we've a stellar track record in delivering reliable, relatable reviews that have earned your confidence. In fact, that's pretty much our thing as you can tell from our regular series, Buro. Beauty Club. Just remember: no matter if you're a cynic or loyal reader, we're not here to convince you of anything — but rather, to share our expertise and experiences with the latest and greatest in skincare. Whether you choose to take our word for it is entirely up to you. Now, let's get down to business, shall we?
Supergoop! CC Screen SPF 50
In all truthfulness, there was some hesitation when it came to including the Supergoop! CC in this roundup. Does a skin-perfecting sunscreen really constitute as skincare? And yet, in the end, logic won out: its clean and skin-nourishing ingredient list meant that our complexion would benefit in the long-run — a fact felt with just two weeks of use. Protection from pesky UV rays and radicals aside, we also did find our visage smoother and softer, in part to how we've been skipping out on heavy-duty concealer in lieu of this bad boy. Another pro: we liked how this all-in-one product didn't feel slick or greasy after hours of wear, too; a lightweight blend that adhered perfectly to our skin tone. Our only request: a wider shade availability in the future, perhaps? 15 shades are a good start, but there's always room for more.
Dr. Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Marine Meltaway Cleanser
We're not big on exaggeration and hyperbole, so you know we mean it when we call a cleanser life-changing. A cream texture was expected seeing how it was developed for dehydrated, sensitive skin —and yet we were surprised by how didn't feel thick or goopy in the slightest. It absorbed into skin easily, easing off our waterproof makeup formulas without the need for rough tugging or scrubbing. Any worries about its incompatibility with a combination complexion dissipated by the third week of use, where we were left with soft, clear skin reminiscent of a mochi's springy, bouncy outer layer.
Avène Cleanance Comedomed Anti-Blemishes Concentrate
We've been seeing an improvement with the maskne sitch since ingenious solutions arrived in the form of mask liners and the like. There are, however, stray zits that still crop up from time-to-time, which is where Avène's latest Anti-Blemish Concentrate comes into play. Its ultra-refreshing lightweight gel has a non-sticky finish that means you can dab it on and don a mask after with no discomfort whatsoever, soothing redness and leaving only the husk of a crater zit within days. Be sure to use a small amount each time, though, as using a too-generous amount can lead to stinging.
Glowfully H2O Jelly Mask
This local label hit our radar when we started spotting their Instagram-friendly, millennial-skewed packaging all over our feed. Formulated without parabens, phthalates, sulfates and formadelhyde, we were particularly impressed by their Jelly Mask which rejuvenated our lacklustre complexions after 15 minutes of use. Pro tip: for those in need of a body cream, peel off your used mask, melt it in a warm bath, and apply the essence all over your body. Voila, multi-functionality at its best.
Dior Prestige Micro-Huile de Rose Advanced Serum
The saturation of the skincare industry means products are often indistinguishable from one another. You've seen one candy coloured jar, you've seen them all, right? There are, of course, exceptions to the rule. Any beauty aficionado worth their salt would recognise the moss green box containing a La Mer Moisturising Cream, for one, or Dior's "little pink bottle" — aka their legendary Micro-Huile de Rose Serum.
2020 brings about a reinvention of the icon, the Micro-Huile de Advanced Serum. This rendition harbours an amplified formula set to provide deep repair and correction for inflamed, ageing skin; a light-as-air solution that sunk into skin instantaneously and left our visages feeling instantly soothed. We observed a plumper, softer complexion within days, and were similarly enamoured by its subtle fragrance that scented our mien with a hint of rose. Decadent, indeed.
Belif Aqua Bomb Refining Ampoule Serum
It's rare that we try out two serums in a month, let alone a duo that comes with both rave reviews and a sizable following. Talk about serendipity. Now that we've waxed lyrical about Dior's magic water, we're moving on to Belif's Aqua Bomb Refining Ampoule Serum. Its moisturiser variant is widely adored by skincare savants everywhere, harbouring an efficacy that — we're pleased is report — is carried over to its serum alternate, too. The appearance of clogged pores and uneven skin texture was greatly reduced, while inflammation surrounding a particularly volcanic zit disappeared soon after.
The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA
We were oddly reminded of sunscreen upon coming into contact with The Ordinary's moisturiser. It might have to do with its thick, cream-like consistency, or perhaps its squeeze tube packaging — but much like most new-gen sunscreens of today, it proved to be lightweight, non-greasy, and skin-nourishing in equal measure. Sensitive skin folk would greatly benefit from its alcohol-, oil-, silicone-, nuts-, and gluten-free blend.
Aesop Sublime Replenishing Night Masque
Think of this bad boy as a fast-acting sheet mask, just a) environmentally-friendly; b) value-for-money; and c) more convenient than ever, seeing how you can save yourself the trouble of washing/peeling it off after 20 minutes. We've observed optimal results from slathering this on once or twice a week, particularly after we've been negligent with our skincare regime (see: forgetting SPF, moisturiser, etc), where we woke to discover a softened, brightened, and smoother complexion. Essentially, it is the reboot dry, parched, and seriously damaged skin needs. We wouldn't go as far to declare it a miracle in a jar, but it sure comes close.
The Body Shop Zesty Lemon Shower Gel
Personally, we're suckers for fresh, citrusy scents. Throw in a quick-lathering formula and a cooling after-sensation, and it is pretty much game over for us. Naturally, it is no slouch in the hydration department either. The limited edition gel boasts a long-lasting 48-hour moisturisation window.
Fenty Skin Total Cleans'r Remove-It-All Cleanser
Who are we if not your go-to source on the latest and most highly-anticipated products? This, naturally, translates to trying out the most buzzed-about brands in the sphere. As of July, it's Fenty Skin. The verdict is still out on the full line-up, but we are pleased to report that Fenty Skin's cleanser does live up to its hype. Its creamy, bubblegum pink blend hits the sweet spot where skin feels clean, but not stripped; comes with a twist cap that allows for the perfect amount to be distributed; and removes most makeup with ease.
On the latter note, though — don't expect it to cut through waterproof formulas. Our mascara clung stubbornly on despite two back-to-back washes. We are, however, willing to let it slide largely due to its gentle-yet-efficacious formula that didn't leave us red-eyed and wincing even after getting it in our peepers. Another point to note: it contains fragrance. Mild as it is, it's best if those with sensitive complexions approach this bad boy with caution. We recommend doing a patch test first before proceeding.
The Face Shop Yehwadam Revitalizing Toner
We're recent converts of the whole toner business, but it seems The Face Shop's revitalizing option has made us even bigger believers than before. Think of it as an anti-ageing solution that doesn't feel rich or greasy — nor did it cause breakouts on the oilier sections on our face. All in all, it soothes, purifies, and does wonders on enlarged pores. Oh, and its viscous enough to be tapped on with your fingers so you don't lose any of it to the absorbency of a cotton pad. A winner, indeed.
Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask
This cult K-Beauty offering has evaded our grasp since its inception years back — but boy, was it worth the wait. Its smooth, jelly-like texture is reminiscent of our favourite konnyaku sweet treats, gliding on and sinking into skin in a matter of seconds. Don't go about trying to scoop up this slippery solution with your fingers, though. Not only will it lead to disaster, you will end up dousing the entirety of your leg with that precious essence, thus wasting it. Instead, use the provided applicator to carefully lift up chunks to your face. Another pro tip: refrigerate it for an extra kick on particularly hot days. Even if you don't, though, the results remain the same: brighter, more radiant skin before upon waking. Ah, bliss.
Dr Dennis Gross Drx Blemish Solutions Breakout Clearing Gel
We'd like to formally declare this our skin saviour amidst COVID-19. The reality of constantly donning a mask means you get inflamed, cystic pimples in the weirdest of places (see: behind the ears) and it was only through the help of this fast-acting gel that we didn't resort to popping them prematurely. Not only did it bring down swelling and eradicate zits entirely, we noticed that it also prevented more breakouts from occurring in the same area. A little goes a long way, so be sure to use a light hand when putting it on — we noticed a hint of peeling and flaking the one time we were a bit overzealous in application.
Caudalie Anti-Wrinkle Face Sun Care SPF 50
The first thing that caught our attention: its reef-safe. And, anti-ageing, we might add. It also happens to be ridiculously lightweight, non-sticky, and doesn't give a white cast despite slathering on several layers to test this out. We love how it is formulated without silicones, alcohol, and fragrance either, making it a perfect fit for those with sensitised complexions who struggle with acquiring the right SPF. Your skin — and marine life — will thank you for this, most likely.
Chanel Hydra Beauty Camellia Repair Mask
There's no doubt that experience makes fastidious consumers of us all. As veterans within the beauty community, the years have taught us to be rigorous in our requirements when it comes to face masks. The list reads: fast-absorbing, fast-acting, and fuss-free — all of which Chanel's latest venture is. Its whipped, light texture means that it has been doubling as a moisturiser too, sinking into skin without leaving behind any form of tacky residue. We've found that it helps de-puff extended eye bags as well, so pop it into the fridge should your mien need a morning pick-me-up.
Hada Labo Kouji Treatment Cleansing Foam
Our pores have never looked this good. A firm squeeze of this new-to-the-scene cleanser dispenses a foamy, pillowy-soft formula that brings dead skin cells and impurities to the surface with ease. The inclusion of Kouji extract — that is, an ingredient derived from the fermentation of the king of sake rice —also ensures your complexion stays bouncy and well-moisturised despite furious scrubbing (ah, the woes of waterproof makeup) on our part.
Peach & Lily Glass Skin Refining Serum
Its cocktail of peach extract, niacinamide, and peptides has been dubbed revolutionary by skincare obsessives on Reddit. A high bar to live up to, indeed. Two weeks of sustained usage, however, has found that this formula is definitely something to write home about. Not only does it feel super refreshing on skin, it calms redness and crater zits in a matter of minutes. And while we haven't acquired a dewy, glassy complexion just yet, we've witnessed smoother, more-hydrated skin than before.
The Body Shop Banana Bath Blend
Don't let your visage get all the fun. Our bod has been getting in on some much-needed moisturising and nourishment thanks to The Body Shop's Banana Bath Blend — of which is made from second choice wonky bananas and pears and bottled in 50% post-consumer recycled plastic. Yes, you can, in fact, pamper yourself without costing the environment. That's a win-win.
Huxley Cleansing Oil Deep Clean, Deep Moist
Our prior experience with Huxley's minimalist, modern approach has been nothing short of phenomenal, so we'll admit to coming in to this with high expectations. Fortunately, they did not disappoint. Much like their highly-raved-about Oil Essence, the brand's Cleansing Oil proves equally as efficacious, cutting through all manner of makeup and impurities as a knife would melted butter — all without leaving our faces feeling slick or greasy. Would we go as far to say this bad boy has set the bar for oil cleansers everywhere? Damn right.
Charlotte Tilbury Charlotte's Magic Serum Crystal Elixir
How does CT's cult-favourite moisturiser translate to a serum? If we were to sum it up in one word, it'd be: well. As with its original hydrating concoction, the serum variant includes the brand's Magic 8 Complex, which promises an even-toned complexion, tightened pores, and wrinkle-eradication. While the latter probably requires sustained usage to observe results, we definitely noticed brighter skin and less-discernable stoma within a week.
Skin Inc My Daily Dose of Armour
In the spirit of total honesty, we'll admit to being hooked on Skin Inc serums ever since we've incorporated the Voyage Tri-Light ++ into our routine. What can we say, no one does light therapy like 'em. Our go-to includes the Hyaluronic Acid Serum and, as of late, My Daily Dose of Armour. Think of it as an encapsulation of vitamin B3+, ceramide and licorice that keeps oil-production and sensitivity in check. Red, inflamed skin doesn't stand a chance against this baby; we also find that it works (particularly) well for those with combination skin types.
D Program Allerdefense BB Essence SPF43 ++ in Light
You're forgiven for reading this and thinking a BB what, now? Slightly confusing terminology aside, we view it as a SPF-containing, anti-pollution makeup base perfect for you busy bees. Specially formulated for sensitive skin types, its gentle, lightweight formulation sunk into our mien and provided potent protection for hours on end. Bonus: it's available in two different hues and goes on like a dream over makeup, allowing for re-application with ease.
Olay Regenerist Retinol24 Night Moisturiser
For those new to the cause: there's no time like the present to integrate retinol to your routine. We recommend this one by Olay, which didn't cause any peeling, sensitivity, or 'retinol uglies' as skincare obsessives would say. We can't say for sure, but this is probably credited to the use of Retinyl Propionate in its formula — i.e. a milder form of vitamin A — which gives ya all the good of retinol (plumper, brighter skin) without any of the bad (aka skin purging).
The Inkey List Vitamin C Serum
Technically, this antioxidant formula is far from a new release. In fact, it is one of The Inkey List's star products, but seeing how it's changed our skincare routines radically, we're making an exception and talking about it. Unlike conventional serum types, this one has a thick, cream-like texture. And while that hardly sounds ideal bearing in mind our climate, we found that it sunk into skin (close-to) instantaneously, leaving behind a matte finish reminiscent of our favourite Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen.
You will feel some slight stinging during application, though we found that it fades the second you layer on the moisturiser. All in all, this is one of the fastest-acting and potent vitamin C serums out there — we observed a significant brightening of our complexion within days. Another plus point: it comes at a price that won't break the bank. Score!
Dear Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop
Another vitamin C serum? Indeed. We've been alternating between this bad boy and The Inkey List's offering. On days when our skin feels a tad drier, we rely upon the latter's thicker, creamier consistency. And on days when we're looking — and feeling — like literal grease balls, we reach for Dear Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop. Developed for finicky, erratic complexions, it does the job of evening out complexions without causing stinging or sensitivity. Surprisingly enough, it doesn't absorb quite as quickly as The Inkey List's, but it doesn't linger long enough for it to feel either. We'd go as far as to say this is a must-try for newbies looking to break into vitamin C market.
Whal Myung Minimal Eucalming Patch
The cult K-Beauty label is expanding this season, dropping a range designed to suit those with sensitive skin. We've yet to give the full collection of serums and ampoules a go, though we did try their acne patches and were thoroughly impressed by how swiftly it alleviated our zits. We left it on for 10 minutes, took it off, and noticed a discernable difference in its size. That alone is an impressive feat, which was only bolstered when we discovered that the pimple was practically non-existent the next day.
Skin Inc. Optimizer Voyage Tri-Light++ USB Rose Gold Chrome
We thoroughly enjoyed the brand's Optimizer Voyage Tri-Light Glasses, so we can't say we were entirely surprised that we're fans of the Voyage Tri-Light++ too. This cult facial device is available in a new rose gold colourway this month, harbouring NASA-inspired LED chromotherapy and sonic therapy technology to give users a spa-worthy facial in just 10 minutes. We liked the duo combo lights function, which essentially allowed us to tackle multiple skin issues in one fell swoop. That's convenience, alright.
b.glen QuSome Lotion
Quarantine seems a good time as any to integrate new steps into your skincare routine. In our case, it's the QuSome Lotion by b.glen. This one lives up to its promises, where it moisturised, brightened, and (seemingly) boosted our skin's absorption abilities — in the sense where we felt products blended and dissolved much more quickly into our mien than before.
Minon Amino Moist Clear Wash Powder
Cleansing balms and oils have picked up in popularity over the last couple of years. Powder types, however, are still a relatively new addition to the beauty sphere — which, we hope, explains our initial scepticism towards Minon's product. Doubtful as we were, we changed our minds the instant we set the delicate foam onto our miens. Light, airy, and gentle, it left our skin feeling ridiculously soft and bouncy after –– its travel-friendly packaging (read: no liquids) being an added bonus. We've been using it for two weeks straight, and are counting on brighter, more even-toned skin in the long-run. Fingers crossed.
ést.lab Intelligent Eye Revitalizer Tri-Action Massager
In the little time off when we're not dispensing helpful skincare-related advice here, keeping up with the latest makeup releases via Instagram, and scouring the web for nail trends, we're lamenting the designer bags we've accrued under our eyes thanks to all that screen time. Trusty eye masks aside, we decided to go one step further and give ést.lab's Tri-Action Massager a go — and boy, was it the right decision. Utilising high frequency sonic micro-vibrations and red light therapy, the hot compress function was particularly effective, de-puffing and soothing the delicate eye contour area. Equipped with nine different heat settings and three massage functions, we'd (gladly) ditch cold cucumber slices in favour of exploring the rest of this bad boy.
Ést.lab's eye massager was far from the last smart device we tried this month. Foreo, too, came in hot with the Bear –– a microcurrent facial toning device. Essentially, think of it as a facial workout device where T-sonic pulsations help relax muscle tension points, smooth out wrinkles and lines, and contour the visage. As with the UFO and Luna devices, you can pair the Bear up with the Foreo app and select from a multitude of massage options. Personally, we're fans of the Total Facial Knockout, which had us amassing compliments aplenty on how much more defined our jaw and cheekbones appeared. Now, that's a win, alright.
AHC Peony Bright Luminous Serum
If we're placing bets as to what the next big ingredient in K-Beauty is, we'll have to say it's peony. Pink peony, to be exact, with it containing active ingredients that help nurture clear, lively-looking skin. AHC is in on this, evidently, with the delicate flower being the star of their latest range. We're thoroughly impressed by the fast-absorbing serum, which granted smoother, brighter skin in a matter of days. It is also a lot more moisturising than expected, to the point where we forgoed moisturiser use for several days only to discover no detrimental effects. Colour us pleasantly surprised.
Sigi Skin Dream Capsule
In an ideal world, we'd wake up with a glistening, gleaming complexion with zero effort required. Reality, however, has shown that it's only achievable with a consistent — and efficacious — skincare routine. Or, at least, a highly-potent overnight mask. Sigi Skin's Dream Capsule does the job, brightening skin considerably all while soothing inflammation. We find that it's great for subduing monster breakouts, hydrating dry, flaky patches, and even lightening the appearance of (small) scars.
Aesop Parsley Seed Facial Cleansing Oil
We didn't think we'd ever trade our trusty cleansing balms for anything — let alone an oil offering — so it's a testament to Aesop's efficacious formulas that we (happily) made the switch. This, in large part, has to do with its unique milky emulsion that cuts through all manner of waterproof makeup, dirt, and grease. And that includes even the most stubborn, long-lasting mascara types, mind. Don't mistake its potency for a harsh formulation, though. Suitable for all skin types, this bad boy left our skin feeling soft and nourished rather than stripped after each use.
Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Pore Perfecting & Refining Serum
It comes as a relief that one of the most anticipated skincare products of 2020 lives up to its hype. Much like the Cleansing Gel from the same Pore Perfecting range, this serum claims to reduce shine, oiliness, and the appearance of extended pores. It largely lives up to these promises, though it should be noted that it doesn't help eradicate existing blackheads and the like. Nonetheless, we adored this smooth, lightweight elixir that granted a brighter, more even complexion in a matter of days.
Supergoop! Bright-Eyed 100% Mineral Eye Cream SPF 40
We wouldn't expect anything less from Supergoop! considering their string of winning formulas — all of which incorporates SPF — in everything from eyeshadows to scalp powders. They've opted to branch out into eye cream this time with a lightweight, tinted gel that lifts and brightens eye bags. We'll be persisting with daily use to see if it eliminates fine lines and wrinkles, too. In the meantime, though, we'll just luxuriate in the fact that our peepers are well-protected from pesky UV rays and blue light.
Fenty Beauty What It Dew Makeup Refreshing Spray
If you assumed that Fenty might be taking a break from complexion products since its foundation shakeup, well, you thought wrong. They're pushing forward on skincare as evidenced by their latest hydration spray drop. Designed to sink into skin to refresh and recharge many a tired complexion, it delivers uber small, fine particles that sink into skin instantaneously, lending a lustrous sheen unachievable through highlighter alone. Not forgetting the cooling sensation that lingers after each spritz, cementing it as a must-have for festivals, hawker lunches, and just about every outdoor activity on our shores.
Sand & Sky Australian Emu Apple Super Bounce Mask
The label's Pink Clay Mask is top dog when it comes to skin-brightening and pore-tightening abilities, but that doesn't mean it's going to rule the roost forever. Particularly since the Emu Apple Super Bounce Mask has recently entered the fray. We suspect its antioxidant-rich formula, skin-nourishing cocktail, and fast-acting results is going to be a favourite amongst the beauty cognoscenti. At any rate, a single-use was enough to calm a monster of a hormonal breakout, which earns it a (coveted) spot in our beauty hall of fame.
YSL Beauté Pure Shots Night Reboot Serum
Believe it or not, YSL's brilliant innovations and formulations go beyond makeup. The brand's latest venture is a series of serums to suit your every need, from radiance-granting to face-contouring. Our pick of the lot is the Night Reboot variant. Crafted for the jet-setting urbanite, it gently exfoliates, refines, and moisturises in one fell swoop, granting a healthy glow to even the most hungover of complexions. Its light, watery texture does make a mess if you pump it on your fingers or a cotton pad, though, so we recommend holding it slightly above your mien and dispensing it straight-on. All the better for absorbing that concentrated, skin-nourishing goodness, right?
Skin Inc Beauty Jelly Dose
We've only recently become beauty supplement converts — and that, in large part, has to do with Skin Inc's first-ever skincare edible. While we've only been slurping it down for the past two weeks, these peach-flavoured confections have already left its mark in the form of brighter, clearer skin. Hormonal-related breakouts don't appear as angry or aggravated as before, and we feel less guilty about inadvertent skincare sins (read: sleeping with our makeup on) thanks to its reparative abilities.
Lush Unicorn Lip Scrub
Call us biased, but it was love at first sight upon spotting this delectable lip scrub. We suspect the gorgeous azure hue might have something to do with it, but this bad boy did prove its worth after with its highly-exfoliating, hydrating blend comprising organic virgin plum oil and blueberry. Lips were left delightfully soft once the solution was rinsed off, and smelled like our favourite Plum Rain Shower Gel.
Jurlique Nutri-Define Supreme Restorative Light Cream
There's nothing we loathe more than thick, heavy moisturisers sitting on our face, which leaves us feeling sticky and wondering if it is akin to being doused in maple syrup. Thankfully, it's a pitfall Jurlique's revamped Nutri-Define offering deftly avoids. Picture a whipped, light-as-air texture sinking into your complexion in a matter of seconds, firming and smoothing whilst also rebalancing oiliness in your complexion. To say it holds true to its word seems an understatement, with skin remaining grease-free despite hours spent languishing in the hot sun (read: walking to our lunch destination).
Sisley Phyto-Blanc Le Concetré Pure Bright Activating Serum
Admittedly, we had high hopes for this skin-brightening serum that promises results in a mere 15 days. And while it didn't exactly grant a dewy, glassy complexion to rival a K-Pop star, it did discernably diminish the appearance of dark spots and uneven patches. There was no sensitivity experienced, either, which is an unexpected bonus considering previous encounters with such potent solutions.