Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Favourite Products of 2011: Skincare and Hair

Scheduled Post: I'm away on vacation until January 4! See here for details.

The 2010 Favourites Post seems like a thousand years ago, not just one! So many products have passed through my bathroom and vanity since, though a good chunk of last year's faves are still my top picks. This year's picks highlight new, personal discoveries. Most are products that have been around for ages that I only got around to trying this year. Without further ado, they are:

Clarisonic Mia

Initial review posted here; three-month review to be posted mid-March.

REN Radiance Collection

I'm currently using the Glycolactic Skin Renewal Peel Mask as well as the Resurfacing AHA Concentrate. It's primarily the AHA Concentrate that I am in love with, which is reviewed together with the Clarisonic Mia, linked above. The Glycolactic Mask is a replacement for my beloved Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel. I loved the Green Apple Peel and didn't think the Glycolactic Mask was anywhere near as effective. But now that I'm exfoliating daily with the Clarisonic, I think the gentler effect of the REN Mask is the better option for time being. Full review forthcoming.

DDF Glycolic 10% Toning Complex

Reviewed here. This is what got me thinking about the long-term benefits of AHAs versus the traditional anti-acne formulations. I was told by a Sephora SA that this toner is no longer sold in Canada, but I have seen it being carried by various e-retailers and feel hopeful that we will be reunited some day.

Murad Acne Spot Treatment

I've never met a spot treatment that actually works, other than Aveda Outer Peace. I used a good third of the tube without results and realized that I wasn't applying enough product. The instruction states that it must be applied liberally -- and once I started slathering it on affected areas, the spots diminished visibly overnight. I have to stress that this occurs in conjunction with proper skincare routine beginning with thorough yet gentle cleansing of makeup.

The Body Shop Aloe Calming Toner

After the alcohol-laden Clinique toner dried out my face just in time for winter, I turned to this alcohol-free, fragrance-free, paraben-free toner and am now a huge fan. It's the perfect, no-fuss neutralizing agent. It will take care of any cleanser and makeup residue and prep the skin for treatments and moisturizers without doing or adding anything. I much prefer this to the Seaweed Clarifying Toner which is recommended for oily skin like mine. My problem with the Seaweed toner is the strong fragrance factor which adds to the illusion of feeling refreshed rather than contributing to the improvement of skin. Thanks but I'll stick with the Aloe!

Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray

I put this mega-hyped product to the test against four other "beachy hair" products and this was clearly the winner! See the review and test results here. Though DIY surf spray recipes abound, I haven't attempted it yet. For one, this little bottle is so adorable and chic.

Have you tried any of these products? What have been your favourite skin and hair care products of the year?


  1. Now you got me interested in the Ren concentrate & Murad acne treatment! My skin isn't as bad as it use to be and I only get the occasional pimple, but it would be nice to finally find something that works!
    I'm seriously considering the Clarisonic Mia now too. I actually saw it here in the department store the other day - even though I had thought they don't stock here in Aus, but it retails for $100 more than it does it the US! Boo!

  2. Got the Ren concentrate for my teen daughter after reading your previous review and after adding only a few tiny applications to her routine her skin is texture is amazing. THANK YOU!

  3. I am trying to decide between the Murad spot treatment and an Origins I only have the occasional breakout, but it'd be nice to find something to treat those effectively when they happen. My favorites this year were just personal discoveries, too, since I started blogging this year and actually keeping abreast of more beauty products. It's helpful to read reviews!

  4. Uh oh, now I've got to try that Surf Spray. I've got a sample but I've yet to use it. I just cut my hair, it's short, like by my shoulders. But it grows so quickly, it's already started growing with abandon.
    I'm also interested in Ren, I think the thirties we start getting obsessed with our skincare with regards to wrinkles. But lately my skin has been acting up, it's a combo of mosquito bites (I know, why the face?) and changing skincare.

  5. I got the Mia for Christmas and I LOVEE IT!

  6. heh you really tempt me with your aha products xD i may actually fold soon! if this is your skincare faves i'm anticipating a makeup faves! ;D

  7. I'm so stoked you love the MIA..I still really want to try the B&B surf spray, if not for the bottle alone! My new favourite spot treatment is the Effaclar Duo by La Roche Posay, have you tried that one?

  8. @Stacey - Oh, I hope you have some REN near you. We didn't have it until a few months ago but I was dying to try the brand. So glad we finally have them! My friend in Singapore wanted to get the Mia even before I told her about it but when we went out to get it, it was completely sold out. And it was also marked up there as well. Still, there's nothing quite like it. Perhaps you might splurge with all the blush you're NOT buying. ;)

    @Amy K - I'm so glad to hear that! Sometimes I worry about the opposite effects as everyone's skin is so different, but thank you so much for letting me know! Your comment made my day! :)

    @Larie - I tried Origins a long time ago but thought they were kind of expensive without doing much for my skin. I know, there were so many new things we never would have known without blogging, huh??

    @D - I'm going to rave about the Surf Spray some more as it became EVEN MORE WONDERFUL while I was on the Boracay beach! If you have any kind of wave in your hair, it might work well for you. As for skincare, I need the acne to settle down already so that I can focus on the wrinkles! Impossible to tend to both! And BAD MOSQUITOS!!!

    @Eugenia - RIGHT??? I missed it so much these past three weeks!!!

    @Isabella - Try it again with your Clarisonic!!! Seriously!

    @Tracy D - I've heard that the Effaclar line from LRP is great but I haven't gotten around to trying it yet. I think that's next on my list after I work through my current stash. Or perhaps I'll try a sample at the Shoppers soon. Thanks for the rec!


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