Skyn Iceland Brightening Eye Serum

Today’s spotlight is on the Brightening Eye Serum from Skyn Iceland.

This is a hydrating, lightweight gel that sinks into skin quickly. A little truly goes a long way: I use one small drop for both eyes. I chose this because I tend to get irritation and puffiness around my eyes and thicker gels/creams always exacerbate it. This provides immediate and long-lasting hydration without feeling heavy. I have not seen any skin brightening from this product, but I appreciate how it decreases any redness I may have and slightly plumps and smooths. I typically use this once a day in the AM.

Skyn Iceland focuses on stressed skin with their products, and with that in mind this eye serum is brilliant. Ingredients include a vast array of peptides, glycerin, centella asiatica extract, chamomile extract, cucumber extract, and their signature Icelandic Complex. Previous to this, I had been using Niod’s Fractionated Eye Contour Concentrate, another eye serum which mainly targets signs of aging and is highly favored in skincare circles. For my needs, I prefer the Brightening Eye Serum. It quickly targets my concerns, which are dehydration, stress, and puffiness. It is also slightly thicker than FECC and seems to boost hydration in the skin for a longer period of time.

Overall, I love this product, and even at $40 retail price it is worth the purchase for me.


Skyn Iceland Brightening Eye Serum | Ulta Beauty

*at the time of writing, this product is on sale at Ulta for $30

Spring/Summer Morning Skincare Routine (featuring Dermalogica)

These products are the current staples in my morning routine. I recently incorporated the serum (so I only have a first impression of that so far), and some mornings I add in a self-tan product and/or an eye product.

The Active Clay Cleanser is a clay-based cleanser featuring prebiotics, bioflavonoids, tea tree oil, glycerin, and aloe. It helps to balance out excess oil while cleansing and leaves skin feeling refreshed and calm. It is not stripping at all to skin; it feels like a typical hydrating gel/cream cleanser with the added benefit of the oil-control ingredients. Love it for the warmer months when my face tends to get sweaty and oily.

Multi-Active Toner is the perfect lightweight layer of hydration to prep skin after cleansing. It delivers natural moisturizing factors to the skin to boost up hydration and soothes skin with Arnica, Balm Mint, and Lavender. Coming in at 8.4 oz, you can expect the full size bottle to last awhile. The spray can be a bit messy and forceful, but I get around this (somewhat) by spraying in half-pumps instead of pressing down all the way.

Smart Response Serum is officially being released on June 3rd here in the US. Being the freak that I am, I took advantage of a pre-release Dermalogica offered during their official announcement of the product. It boasts next-generation technology which activates the ingredients in the formula only when it senses the skin’s need to utilize them, and that intrigued me enough to purchase it. The actives featured are Oligosaccharides from Beta Glucan (which target dehydration), Hydrolyzed Wheat Flour (which targets dark spots), Japanese Cornelia Cherry (which targets redness), and Mannose-6-Phosphate (which targets fine lines and wrinkles). Other ingredients include Glycerin, Niacinamide, and Hyaluronic Acid. It is on the thicker side of the serum segment, verging on a lightweight lotion texture. It spreads easily and immediately hydrates and slightly smooths the surface of the skin. I find that I prefer to skip moisturizer when wearing this and go straight to SPF. I have used this for three days now, so my only thoughts at this point are that it is a pleasure to use and it keeps my skin hydrated throughout the day.

Lastly, Prisma Protect has been a staple SPF in my routine since I first discovered it. It is a light-to-medium weight formula that provides a beautiful satin sheen to skin without being overtly glowy or shiny. It smells like citrus candy when first applied (dissipates quickly, though). It utilizes traditional chemical filters, so there is no trace of white cast or grittiness. It feels smooth and luxurious to apply and hydrates and moisturizes without feeling heavy, greasy, or irritating to skin. It does look a bit shiny when first applied, but when it has set up on skin for several minutes it looks and feels amazing. It is not water or sweat resistant, so if I am going to be outdoors or working up a sweat then I make sure to reapply periodically. I have reapplied using a number of other sunscreens and they have all set up smoothly and without pilling. Love. Period.

Dermalogica has been a brand that has consistently delivered and been a pleasure to use, and I always look forward to my routine when their products are in the mix.


Cleanser: Active Clay Cleanser, Prebiotic Cleanser, Charcoal Face Wash For Oily Skin | Dermalogica®

Toner: Multi-Active Toner, Hydrating Spray Toner | Dermalogica®

Serum: Smart Response Serum | Dermalogica®

SPF: Prisma Protect SPF30, SPF Face Moisturizer | Dermalogica®

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Face Moisturizer

What it is: A face moisturizer

What it does: Soothes, moisturizes, and repairs skin without feeling heavy

Star ingredients: Glycerin, Collodial Oatmeal, Squalane, Allantoin, Urea, Ceramides, Green Tea Extract, Licorice Root Extract


If you need a product that gives a lightweight, comfortable layer of moisture, then this is the product for you. Not to be confused with the cult favorite First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream, this is a non-greasy, non-intrusive hydrating cream that performs well in a variety of situations on a multitude of skins. It is packed with powerhouse ingredients to soothe redness and inflammation, even out skin tone, brighten the complexion, and repair the skin barrier.

One of the ways this product has become a superstar for me is as an after-shave treatment. Most of the after-shave products on the market are too irritating for me and this calms down any inflammation I may have and provides an essential barrier on my skin without suffocating it. I also love this during the hot, humid summer months when anything too thick feels unbearable. It has layered well with every other product I have combined it with in my routine. I would recommend it for almost any skin situation, with the exception being dryness or severe dehydration. If that’s you, you would probably appreciate something more along the lines of the famous sibling, the Ultra Repair Cream.

Overall, this is a great product with an amazing cocktail of ingredients at a reasonable price. I have yet to find another moisturizer with such a great mix of reparative, beneficial actives in such a lightweight formula. I keep this in my collection at all times and usually have a back-up as well.

Price: $26


Sunday Riley A+ High Dose Retinoid Serum

What it is: A facial serum

What it does: Hydrates, evens skin tone and texture, encourages cellular renewal

Star ingredients: Retinol, Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, Coq10, Honey, Algae Extract

Review: I have a soft spot for this product, as it is the first retinol/vitamin A serum that I ever used and it brought about remarkable change to my skin. I started using this when my skin was very dehydrated, sensitive, rough, and prone to breakouts and I was desperate for some “remodeling.” I was hesitant to start using a retinol (let alone a prescription-strength retinoid) because of the irritation and skin peeling that is a common side effect, and chose this product because it is a very hydrating, soothing formula and because the retinol is encapsulated, which means a sustained, gradual delivery into the skin. It is a lightweight, runny lotion that feels very hydrating when applied and sinks in quickly, leaving a silky finish on the skin. It has sort of a funky smell that lingers for awhile after it is applied, however it was not pervasive or bothersome for me. I did not experience any noticeable irritation or redness with this product, and I used it nightly and would follow it with a light moisturizer. It was worth the investment: after about a month and a half of consistent use my face felt completely different. The inflammation and sensitivity in my skin was gone and I could not believe how smooth it was to the touch. After struggling with my skin since my early teens, I cannot tell you how amazing it was to see such positive change in my skin. Needless to say, retinol and other vitamin A derivatives have become a pillar of my routine. If you are looking for a retinoid product that will improve your skin at a low risk of irritation, I highly recommend this option.

Price: $85-$122

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Supergoop! Zincscreen 100% Mineral Lotion SPF 40

What it is: A facial sunscreen

What it does: Protects against UVA/UVB and lightly color-corrects the skin

Star ingredients: Zinc Oxide, Iron Oxides

Review: This is a mineral sunscreen with a slight tint, ideal for sensitive or fair skins but could be enjoyed by most individuals. If you are looking for a mineral sunscreen but are put off by the typical white cast, or if you find that most tinted sunscreens give an unpleasant color to your skin, I would highly recommend trying this one out. It has a fluid formula which spreads out very effortlessly and settles into a smooth finish. The tint in this product has a very peachy undertone, so it blends into skin quite well without giving it an orange hue. It is very easy to tolerate on the skin and does not sting around the eyes. It is very hydrating and, unlike most other mineral sunscreens i have used, it does not feel drying or tight throughout the day. If you have drier skin or if you have not particularly enjoyed the feel of other mineral sunscreens, you would enjoy this one. However, if you have very oily skin and want to reduce shine or are looking for something that dries down to a matte finish, this product stays pretty “glowy” on the skin for at least a couple hours. It is also not my favorite sunscreen to reapply throughout the day. It has either pilled or left my skin with a streaky finish most times that I have reapplied, either using this sunscreen to reapply or using a different product on top of it. All in all, this product has been one of the most tolerable mineral sunscreens for me to use and one that blends into my skin and perfects any color variations quite nicely (first application, that is).

Price: $42

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Krave Beauty The Beet Shield Antioxidant Day Fluid

What it is: A facial sunscreen

What it does: Protects against UVA/UVB and environmental aggressors

Star ingredients: Uvinal A Plus, Tinosorb S, Beet Root Extract, EGCG, Vitamin C

Review: I have used this sunscreen for almost two years now and it is one of my all-time favorites. I gravitated toward this product when I pushed myself into the habit of wearing sunscreen every day and found that most of the products that were available to me (in the US) irritated my skin or were cosmetically unattractive. This product originates from Korea where it is approved for sale as a sunscreen. Here in the US, the sunscreen filters used in the formula deter it from being sold as an SPF since they are not officially approved here, and that is why you will not see an SPF label on the product. However, these filters are far superior to the ingredients that are used in most formulations here and they play a huge role in making this product the holy grail that it is. It is very lightweight, sheer, and non-irritating to the skin while providing excellent protection from the sun. It is hydrating while providing a smooth, non-sticky finish to the skin and it reapplies very smoothly and without a residue. The formula is also fortified with several antioxidants including Vitamin C, beet root extract, resveratrol, and EGCG (green tea). Again, one of the best sunscreens I have ever used and I expect it to remain in my daily routine for a very long time.

Price: $20

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SkinMedica Essential Defense Everyday Clear SPF 47 / PA++++

What is is: A facial sunscreen

What it does: Protects against UVB/UVA damage

Star ingredients: Zinc Oxide, Octinoxate

Review: This is one of the best sunscreens I have used thus far. It is lightweight yet hydrating, smooth and silky, and reapplies like a dream. Unlike other similar sunscreens (I’m looking at you, Elta MD UV Clear), it does not pill up on my face every time I apply it or reapply it. It is marketed towards oily/combination skin types, but I feel it would work very well for most people. Since zinc oxide is one of the filters in this sunscreen, it leaves a very slight “residue” on my fair-complexion skin (I wouldn’t call it a cast), but it is not overly apparent. I tend to wear this when I am at my home, when I am outdoors, and for informal occasions and general errands. The formula also includes Niacinimide, Hyaluronic Acid, Green Tea Extract, and Vitamin E. Overall, very cosmetically pleasing with excellent UVA/UVB protection.

Price: $38

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