Mid-Winter Favorites (ft. Apoterra Skincare, POLYN, Mabrook & Co., Brija Cosmetics + More!)

Winter’s more than half over, so I wanted to share some of the products I’ve been loving the last few months, ever since the weather turned colder.  If you keep up with me on Instagram, some of these may look familiar...

Apoterra Skincare Neroli Clarifying Toner
Part of Apoterra’s Clarifying line for oily/acne-prone skin, the Neroli Toner is made with vitamin C, green tea, niacinamide, and willow bark extract, housed in a base of aloe vera and neroli, helichrysum, rock rose, and thyme hydrosols.  It’s a beautiful product and one I’ve fallen back in love with over the last few weeks.  The toner smells fantastic -- mostly like neroli -- and is gently clarifying.  It’s hydrating as well, with ingredients that target redness and inflammation, increase cell turnover, and boost overall skin luminosity.  It leaves my skin looking healthy and glowy and, in combination with the next product, has made my face super smooth and even, with virtually no skin texture issues remaining.  The toner also helps regulate oil production and I feel less need to blot throughout the day since reincorporating this product into my routine.  

Consonant Skincare Maximum Glycolic Meta Serum
I reviewed Consonant’s Natural Skin Renewal Kit at the beginning of January, and while I liked all three products in the kit, the Maximum Glycolic Meta Serum has become my hands-down favorite.   I gradually built up to using the serum every night and my skin looks fantastic -- which, like I said, I fully credit to a combination of this product and the Apoterra toner.  Acid products can often feel harsh or drying, but the Meta Serum is truly non-irritating, despite being formulated with a full 10% glycolic acid.  In fact, made with sodium PCA, niacinamide, and soothing botanicals, it even functions as a light hydrating serum too!  I’m still working on the mini from the kit, but I’m fairly certain I’ll be buying the full size as soon as it runs out.  

Mabrook & Co. Sensitive Deodorant
I go back and forth on the whole baking soda/no baking soda thing, but wherever you stand on the issue, Mabrook & Co.’s new Sensitive Deodorant is one worth trying.  The formula is unscented and baking soda free, but still ultra effective.  It relies on a combination of magnesium and kaolin clay for odor protection, and also includes shea butter to soothe and calm sensitive skin.  As well as being a good deodorant, the formula has also cleared up a lot of the shaving-related irritation I tend to get in my pits.  I used an entire mini stick already and was quick to replace it with a full size tube.

Duckish Lotion Sticks
Winter dry skin is the worst!  When I started seeing flakes of skin on the inside of my black pants at the end of the day (sidebar: eww!), I knew I needed to get a lot more diligent with my moisturizing.  Enter Duckish’s Lotion Sticks, which I’ve raved about many times before.  The sticks are solid in the tube, but they glide on like butter and melt into the skin beautifully.  A mix of grapeseed, coconut, olive, almond, and jojoba oils deeply moisturize, while beeswax and shea butter create a protective barrier to seal that moisture in.  The result?  Happy skin and no more yucky shedding.

Brija Cosmetics You Know Who Face Highlight
You Know Who, part of Brija’s Harry Potter collection, is another rediscovered favorite: a beautiful pale cream highlight with gold, silver and blue iridescence.  It’s perfect for fair skin and works as both a subtle glow and an in-your-face highlight, depending on how heavily you apply it.  I love using it for a targeted glow, especially with the more matte foundations I’ve been favoring over the last few months.

POLYN Purifying Face Mask
Although it’s called a mask, the Purifying Face Mask is really a dual product that can be used as a powdered cleanser/scrub and either rinsed off or left on to dry as a mask.  Mixed with just water, it offers pretty intense exfoliation.  I like to use the product this way about once a week, carefully exfoliating and then leaving it on for 5-10 minutes as a mask.  A mix of, among other things, bentonite clay, rice flour, adzuki beans, rosehip, and green tea do a fantastic job sloughing off dead skin, leaving everything smooth and soft to the touch.  The clay, when left on as a mask, also sucks up excess dirt and oil.  When not using it as a mask, I also like mixing a small amount of the powder into a creamy cleanser for a more gentle scrub.  

Homemade Bar Soap
I attended a cold process soap making workshop at The Cure Apothecary in December and came home with a loaf of soap to cure, use, and share.  The scent, which started out as bergamot and spearmint, didn't last very well through the curing process, but it's still a lovely, if mostly unscented, soap -- mild and non-drying with a good creamy lather.  Further soap experiments probably won't happen any time soon, but I had a lot of fun making these and it's a craft I definitely want to explore more at some point in the future.

What products have you been loving this winter?

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