Top 6 Skincare Discoveries of 2020

January 13th is pushing the limit for a best of 2020 post, but, in my defense, my new year started with a computer that wouldn’t boot up on the 1st, which put a major damper on any blogging plans.  Combine that with the lack of motivation I’ve felt in recent weeks watching both the pandemic spiral in Ontario and the disturbing political events of our US neighbours, and here we are on the 13th.  But, I figure better late than never!  

While there are lots of skincare products, both new and old, that I enjoyed last year, these are specifically my very top standout discoveries -- things that I tried for the first time in 2020.  As it turns out, this lineup makes up an entire basic skincare routine, which is also fun!

Mad Hippie Cream Cleanser

I love a good creamy cleanser and Mad Hippie’s quickly became a staple in my 2020 cleansing routine, both morning and night.  The Cream Cleanser has a soft lotiony consistency and cleanses the skin without stripping.  Its ingredient list features many standouts: jojoba, sesame, and macadamia oils, shea butter, sodium hyaluronate, sodium PCA, and algae, green tea, and orchid extracts. It's a truly stellar, pH-balanced cleanser.  I find myself reaching for this product most often as a morning cleanser, but the gentle and moisturizing formula works nicely as the second step of a nighttime double cleanse too.  It glides over the skin easily and rinses well, without any struggle or heavy residue left behind.  I’m nearing the bottom of my second bottle already, with definite plans to repurchase in the near future.

Okanagan Lavender Herb Farm Sensitive Skin Serum

This oil landed in my lap in early 2020 as a Clean Beauty Awards contender (it ended up scoring 3rd place in the Face Serum category), and I’m so glad I was introduced to it this way.  It utilizes simple, high quality ingredients -- many of which are grown and distilled onsite at the company’s own farm -- to create a stunning oil blend that’s perfectly suited for sensitive and reactive skin.  I have a fair number of face oils on my shelf at the moment, but this is one that I consistently find myself reaching for.  It works on its own, in combination with a cream moisturizer, in place of a separate eye cream or eye serum, and I’ve even used it as a cuticle oil on my winter-weary hands in the last couple of months too!  It’s Canadian-made and an all-around winner that's filled with some of my favourite oils: jojoba, rosehip, immortelle, and frankincense, to name just a few! 

Golden Sky Naturals Rose Water Toner

Toner is the skincare step that I’m most apt to skip, but I fell hard for this one towards the end of the year and have been using it near daily ever since.  The Rose Water Toner is made with rosehip-infused water (not floral rose), aloe vera, and witch hazel, and does a fantastic job balancing the skin and boosting hydration.  My favourite way to use it is as a layering step, sandwiched on either side of a face oil, but it works perfectly as a more traditional toner too.  It’s lightweight, gentle, and hydrating, with a very mild scent. Golden Sky Naturals also focuses on sustainability in every facet of their business and, in addition to all glass packaging, is certified Plastic Negative, which I think is pretty phenomenal!

Thayers Lemon Blemish Stick

I like these kinds of watery spot treatments for daytime use, and the Lemon Blemish Stick has, quite frankly, blown the one I was previously using out of the water!  In addition to Thayers' signature witch hazel, the rollerball spot treatment contains aloe vera, glycerin, aspen bark, parsley leaf, centella asiatica, and lemon, tea tree, and geranium essential oils.  It’s invisible, can be worn both under and over makeup, and works very well at shrinking existing blemishes and preventing new ones from fully forming.  

{save} Anti-Pollution Sleeping Mask

It was love at first use with {save}’s Anti-Pollution Mask and I feel just as strongly about it months later.  The mask is a moisturizing overnight treatment that replenishes skin, gently resurfaces, boosts barrier function, and protects against environmental aggressors.  It uses bacillus ferment, an enzymatic exfoliant, along with nourishing shea butter, and ectoin, a powerful defense against UVA-induced cell damage.  The Sleeping Mask feels like a plush moisturizer going on, and it, without fail, has me waking up to happier, glowier skin in the morning.


Derma E Hydrating Day Cream

This moisturizer is a big of an enigma to me.  It’s very thick and rich in consistency and packs a serious moisturizing punch, but it sinks into the skin and absorbs effortlessly, like I would typically expect from a much lighter-weight product.  It’s the opposite of greasy, but hydrates incredibly well with hyaluronic acid and aloe vera.  Most notably, I can see a real difference in the fine lines on my forehead when I use the Day Cream consistently.  It hasn’t gotten rid of the lines in the long-term, but more so offers a temporary (but very noticeable!) plumping effect that helps my makeup sit and wear better throughout the day.   My only caution would be that the Day Cream has a fairly strong scent. I’ve gotten used to it over time, but it's worth bearing in mind for anyone sensitive to fragrances.

And that's a wrap on my much-delayed favourite skincare discoveries of 2020! Let me know what skincare products you loved most this past year, either in the comments here or over on Instagram :)

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