My Favorite Products From 2020
by Rosy Day Blog
I've added some new and old products to my routine between March and April so I've decided to combine my favorites from those two months. Sometimes you don't realize how much you like a product until you give it a second chance (or re-introduce it back into your routine). My point is a favorite is still a favorite whether old or new.
Disclosure:I bought all of these products with my own money from various websites. I was not given anything in exchange for reviewing any of these products. I enjoy doing product reviews to share my own experiences with the product and hope someone finds it useful. I do not work for any of the brands featured here or any of the online stores I bought them from.
Tatcha The Rice Wash Skin-Softening CleanserI’ve been using gel-based cleansers for the longest due to my sensitive skin. However, I do miss the feeling of a good creamy, lathering cleanser. Unfortunately many of them don’t have what you might consider to be “gentle” ingredients and many of them have a high pH level. I’m not necessarily about that low pH life, but many high pH cleansers do seem to do more damage to my skin. Ever since wearing masks due to COVID-19, I always felt like my face was never fully clean. I tried going back to double-cleansing earlier last year, but unfortunately that didn’t last long as once again the cleansing oil that I chose was irritating my skin (double cleansing isn’t for everyone). The Tatcha (a soft cream cleanser) definitely cleaned my face a lot better than any gel-based cleanser could without irritating it or making it super dry (it might be drying if you already have dry skin though – I am oily/combo). From what I read online, someone’s pH testing strips showed a pH level of 6. While it’s on the higher end, it is still a good enough pH level to make sure that you’re getting a thorough cleanse, while not destroying your skin’s protective acid mantle.
Interesting ingredients include Japanese algae (softening & nourishing), hyaluronic acid (smoothing & hydration), and Tatcha’s Signature Hadasei-3 (restoring healthy & youthful radiance). My favorite thing about the Tatcha cleanser is that it comes with micro particles of rice poweder in it for very gentle exfoliation. This is perfect for people like me that benefit more from daily (but gentle) exfoliation. I really cannot handle strong acids 1-2 times a week, but if I’m not doing some kind of exfoliation daily, I tend to start breaking out. Despite this cleanser containing hyaluronic acid, I don’t think it adds any hydration to your skin. However, since I am more of the oily side, it didn’t necessarily strip my skin either, and I feel like my skin is more balanced whenever I use it. My face looks nicely polished and smooth, but not irritated every time. I don’t wear foundation these days (just concealer in some spots), so I can’t confirm how well it removes makeup. However you are always welcome to double cleanse before or use a cleansing toner after if you really want to be rid of all traces of makeup.
Final Rating = 4.5/5 (Some might find this drying and although it didn't strip my face - it doesn't exactly live up to its claims of moisturizing your skin either)
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Exfoliating + Hydrating Toner
Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow PHA +BHA Pore-Tight TonerI have very sensitive skin and can’t handle more traditional forms of BHA/AHA (like those potent serums). There are definitely a lot of acid-based toners nowadays (the easiest way to get your acid fix without inserting a serum). However, many of them are also very strong (like 5-10% BHA/AHA). That might be good for some people but that is still too much for me, even if I limit myself to using it once a day or so. This Glow Recipe toner for me is the perfect combination of exfoliating and hydrating. You get the exfoliating action from Glow Recipe’s 6% proprietary blend of gentle acids (they mentioned this somewhere on their Instagram), and plumping hydration from their cactus water and watermelon extract. The slightly stringy texture might make the product seem sticky/tacky at first, but it feels more like a slightly more viscous watery toner/essence and doesn’t linger where it feels like you have to keep patting your face forever, waiting for it to fully absorb.
Other interesting ingredients include tea tree (anti-inflammatory & anti-microbial), hibiscus (supports collagen & elastin), cucumber (soothing), licorice root (brightening & antioxidant), and peony (anti-inflammatory & antioxidant). I love pairing this toner with the Glow Recipe Watermelon moisturizer as it always makes my face look plump and glowy whenever I wash my face at night. When I don’t use these two products together during the day, my freshly washed face at night always looks more dull and is missing that extra sheen around my cheeks. It might sound weird to you, but it’s very true for me!
Final Rating = 5/5 (Everyone is different though. If you're ultra sensitive or not used to PHA/BHA you might think this is "too strong". Or if you're used to much stronger acids, you might not find this "effective enough". For me, this was just right.)
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First Treatment Essence
Hera Cell Essence Biome PlusFor the longest time, the previous version of the Hera Cell Essence was my favorite, but it was hard for me to repurchase since it wasn’t always available to readily ship within the U.S. – and I didn’t like the idea of having a heavy glass bottle ship to me from South Korea. I was able to purchase this latest version directly from Amazon which is more or less the same ingredients but pre and probiotics have been added. Honestly speaking, I don’t think this is as good as the previous version to me, but with all the constant mask irritation and breakouts I’ve been having – I really needed pre and probiotics in my skincare routine. I didn’t like how niacinamide got pushed further down the list and alcohol got pushed up higher in the list. While I do love how this product gives me a boost of lightweight hydration early on in my routine, if I do use too much of it, I can feel it irritating my face due to the alcohol content. In short, just because something contains nourishing ingredients, doesn’t mean all of the ingredients are gentle and aren’t potentially harmful (everyone’s skin is different). However, if you don’t have any known sensitivities to any of the ingredients and want a treatment essence that is different than the typical fermented ones, this one is worth a try.
Other interesting ingredients include copper tripeptide-1 (tightens skin & improves elasticity), and cholesterol (stabilizes & strengthens skin). Again, I really appreciated this one for the pre and probiotics plus lightweight watery hydration.
Final Rating = 3/5 (I do like how it has probiotics but it's not as brightening as the old formula for me, and the alcohol is potentially irritating to some)
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Niacinamide Serum + Highlighting Primer
Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew DropsFor the longest time, I have been using the Glossier Futuredew. While I did like the hydration and subtle highlighting it produced, as someone with oily/combo skin who lives in California where we tend to get sun most of the time – it didn’t always feel that great on my skin. The Futuredew really was like a lotion-like facial oil with subtle highlighting properties. Sometimes it made my face feel more oily than it should, so I couldn’t always use it as often as I wanted to. I also wasn’t sure it really had any skincare benefits beyond hydration. The Glow Recipe Dew Drops on the other hand is so lightweight, that you barely feel it once it has fully absorbed. It is also very easy to layer if you want a more dramatic effect. I like to wear it under or mixed into my moisturizer, and then add a little extra on my eye lids, nose bridge, and apples of cheeks. I haven’t tried this in the middle of summer yet, but even on a warmer day, this does not make my face anymore oily than it would normally be. Now I’m not sure it has any real brightening effects since I suspect it might not have a high percentage of niacinamide in it, however, this plays perfectly with my Glow Recipe Watermelon Toner and Watermelon Moisturizer. I also like how you can technically use this at night too as a regular serum since there’s no mica/glitter in here (the shimmer you get I believe is naturally produced from the moringa seed oil).
Final Rating = 5/5 (Best lightweight highlighter with skincare benefits. This is obviously not for you if you don't like dewy looks or want a stronger niacinamide serum/brightening effect.)
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Night Moisturizer + Soothing Sleeping Mask
Laneige Hypoallergenic Cica Sleeping MaskAt first I found the sleeping mask a tad too hydrating as I believed it was making my pores a bit clogged. However, that may have been because I was going a bit overboard with my moisturizing in the summer when there tended to be hot and humid nights. I also thought that it didn’t do as good of a job minimizing redness, but that was because I was already using a bunch of other products that I didn’t realize was contributing to my skin irritation, so the sleeping mask had to work a lot harder. Now that the only irritation I get these days are environmental or due to mask wearing, the sleeping mask performs a lot better. It does a good job of minimizing redness, irritation and minor breakouts, all while moisturizing your face so that it looks plump and glowy when you wake up the next morning. While I’m still not too sure about using this in the summer, this sleeping mask is definitely a great alternative to the Dr. Jart Cicapair moisturizers if you haven’t had much luck with that line or that brand. The key ingredient in Laneige’s sleeping mask is fermented forest yeast extract, which they claim “provides more effective skin benefits than traditional madecassosides.”
Final Rating = 4.75/5 (Might be a bit heavy for more oily skin, especially during the summer when the nights are hot and humid for some)
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Glittery Eye Makeup
Rom&nd The Universe Glitter Shadow in Black HoleThere’s isn’t too much to say about this eye shadow other than I just love how it’s so easy to add lasting, all over glitter to your eye area. While I haven’t tried all the shades (please note Black Hole is not the shade pictured), they do seem universally flattering and easy to layer with solid eye shadows if you choose to. I kind of hate layering eye shadow and I can be pretty lazy to do my eye makeup. With these (if you like glittery looks), you can feel pretty with minimal effort.
Final Rating = 5/5 (Very easy to add a lasting glittery look & can be layered with other shadows. Also universally flattering.)
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Water Resistant & Smudgefree Mascara
Heimish Dailism Smudge Stop MascaraI used to use a lot of different kinds of waterproof mascara. Unfortunately I didn’t understand why some of them still smudged like every time I blinked my eyes (naturally long lashes here). At first I thought it was because I was over-applying mascara on my bottom lashes, so I tried only applying to my top lashes. Unfortunately every time I blinked, I was still getting some mascara smudged around the bottom of my eyes. What good is a waterproof formula if you still end up with racoon eyes somehow? Now this Heimish one might not be as volumizing as I’d like, but nothing that a good mascara base can’t fix. I’ve only worn this in light rain so I think its water resistance is pretty good, but it’s the best smudge-free mascara I’ve tried so far. Even when I’ve fallen asleep with my makeup on (definitely bad), it still doesn’t budge. I also appreciate that despite how budge-proof it is, it is still very easy to wash off with cleanser. You might need to go over your eye area a bit more than usual but you won’t necessarily need a separate eye makeup remover for this.
Final Rating = 4/5 (It doesn't do any volumizing or much lengthening but for a more dramatic look - you can use a mascara base underneath like the one from Lancome)
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Multi-Tasking Lip Product
Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Lip PopAt first this does seem like an expensive lip product. However if you're like me who can't use the majority of (often cheaper) lip products without just as, if not having drier than before - Glow Recipe has created like the perfect product for you and me. I want a good lip scrub, lip balm, and tinted color and this product does all 3 making it perfect for traveling and even lazy days when you just want to consolidate your lip routine (if you have other lip products you still use). I never use lip scrub anymore because this does a great job at keeping my lips hydrated. My lip lines are even less noticeable the longer I wear this. I do try to only wear this during the day because of the tint, however when I'm too lazy to scoop out product from my Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask, just a few quick swipes of this is sufficient before I go to sleep. I mostly sleep on my back by the way, so I never worry about getting product on my pillow/blanket. I think that if you use this every day, this product should last you at least 2 months. It's been about 2 months since I first got this product and I still have some left. If you use this sometimes, then it should definitely last 3 months or so. It's a good value and despite the price, it lasts pretty long and can replace multiple products. You barely notice that it's exfoliating your lips, who wants to go back to a messy lip scrub?
Final Rating = 5/5 (Glow Recipe put a lot of thought into this - I've never thought of a 3-in-1 lip product before)
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If you have any questions about any of the products above, please let me know.
Photo Credits: Sephora/Amazon/Blooming Koco
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