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My Skin Care Favourites!

As always, it's my pleasure to share my favourite skin care & beauty products with you!

Please keep in mind a few things before reading on:

1. Preferences for things are entirely subjective. For instance, a scent I find captivating you may find makes you want to vomit. A texture that makes my skin crawl may make yours sing. And likewise, what works for my skin and has been my Holy Grail may be the worst thing you've ever put on your skin. Subjectivity is the name of the skin care game, lovelies, and unfortunately that's just a chance we have to take when buying new products. Accept the fact that you may not like the product everyone raves about, and you won't be so disappointed if it doesn't end up working for you. Modify your expectations!

2. What we can be aware of is the types of people we are getting ideas from. Of course the first rule of logic still applies, but generally speaking anecdotal evidence is poor at best. If you're deliberately searching out reviews on, say, a certain type of facial, you're automatically going to find more good reviews than bad (although ... not always - sometimes products are truly awful and nobody has anything good to say about them). This is because some products tend to develop a "cult" or following of people who love a product or what it stands for so much that they want to tell the world. Sometimes people are being paid for these testimonies (although that doesn't always speak to its efficacy) and other times these people just truly believe in a product. Regardless, you don't see a lot of negative reviews online because people who don't like a product are much less likely to go out of their way to leave a negative review (unless it was a really bad experience). And even if you do read some bad reviews, that doesn't mean you shouldn't try the product! It just means you need to take everything into consideration: what are people saying about the product, what does the science say about the product, what does my skin usually need/like, and does this product fit those needs?

So, without further ado, here's a list of some of my all-time skin care & beauty favourites!

* as always, everything here is vegan!


A good mask is so important. Some will have you believe that they aren't, because topical products generally need to stay on the skin for an extended period of time to be effective, but some masks can do a lot in a short amount of time. Masks can easily brighten up your skin, reduce inflammation, treat pimples, moisturize, etc. They're especially useful when your skin needs a little extra TLC that a good night's rest and a face wash just won't fix.

Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay

This stuff is great! It's one of the very first masks I was introduced to on my acne journey. It's very affordable and it truly works wonders to revive dull, saggy, lifeless skin. Sometimes our skin feels very lackluster and in need of a little pick-me-up, and this mask is so, so great at making your skin feel fresh and renewed and beautiful.

Banish Charcoal Clay Masque

Like the Aztec clay mask, this stuff is fantastic. With the added benefit of charcoal, this mask is superb at deep cleansing the skin as well as keeping the skin looking and feeling firm, even, and youthful. My favourite combination is using this mask prior to using the following mask, as it kind of prepares the skin for some extra lovin'.

Banish Pumpkin Enzyme Masque

This is by far my favourite mask ever. This is the one mask that I come back to again and again when my skin is breaking out or feeling congested. I've tried other similar products by different brands but nothing has ever quite compared.

It contains so many wonderful ingredients that are antioxidant-rich and a pleasure for your skin.

This mask may be irritating to super sensitive skin, but I consider my skin to be sensitive and I haven't had any problems with this mask! If this mask burns or stings, your skin is likely quite dry and damaged, and once you've healed your damaged skin, this mask shouldn't cause any problems.

I've also heard so much positive feedback from followers of mine who have tried this mask out.

Yes to Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal Mud Mask

For a drugstore brand, this mask packs a hefty punch. It's a great mask to pick up when you're on the go and don't have time to wait for an order in the mail. It deep cleans, brings life back to your skin, and helps fight pimples all in one.

Andalou Naturals Rosewater Masque

For those of you with sensitive skin, this mask is the perfect pick. It is very, very calming and nourishing - ideal for skin types that are dry, irritated, damaged, flaking, etc. This is the kind of mask you can leave on all night long to get the most benefits. After this mask, your skin will feel so supple and nourished you won't know what to do with yourself.

Aubrey Organics Calming Skin Therapy Hydrating Mask

This is another amazing mask for skin types that are prone to sensitivity, irritation, dryness and damage. For these skin types, I think this is my choice pick. It is made with high-quality ingredients like aloe vera and oats, both of which are famously calming, soothing, and nourishing for the skin. You can't go wrong with this delightful mask.

Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque

This is a mask you would want to use when your skin is just awful - feeling clogged up from sleeping in your makeup, or a weekend of binge drinking, etc. It is a bit harsher than all of the other masks, and it isn't ideal for sensitive skin but is instead for those of us with oily, acne-prone skin.

Because this mask is so intense, it's best reserved for the emergency skin care kit.


Toners can help maintain the pH of our skin, or they can serve to add something to our skin care routine that we may otherwise be missing. For instance, antioxidants are important and the liquid formula of sprays and toners makes them unlikely to break you out like a cream or moisturizer might. So, if you find you want to add more antioxidants into your routine, but you're stuck using a supe simple moisturizer, maybe add a spray or toner instead.

Banish Vitamin C Beauty Elixir

I don't even think words can quite describe how I feel about this spray.

I friggen love this.

Oh, I guess words can describe it.

This spray feels so wonderful when you put it on your skin; I like to use it in the morning for an added "burst" of energy (and antioxidants!). It is non-irritating, it dries fast, and it helps to treat your skin and any blemishes.

Stark Skin Care White Willow Bark Perfecting Tonic

This is a nice, calming toner, ideal for sensitive, acne-prone skin types. It smells very mild but soothing, and leaves your skin feeling very refreshed. It was on of the first spray tonics/toners I ever used on my skin, and it quickly became a favourite.


It's important that our skin is free of dead skin cells, firstly so the dead skin doesn't remain on our faces to clog our pores, but also to prevent a build up of skin cells that may form a type of barrier and make the penetration of treated products difficult. There's nothing worse than spending money on good products only to have them not end up reaching your fresh, new skin because all of the dead skin keeps getting in the way. So, it's good to exfoliate 1-2x a week.

Banish Peppermint Walnut Scrub

I never thought I would ever find a scrub that I liked more than a simple homemade one, but this scrub truly (truly) takes the cake.

It has just the right texture and it kind of froths up a bit when it's applied to wet skin which is really neat and kind of adds a little added cleansing benefit! The peppermint is mild enough not to irritate - although sensitive skin types might want to steer clear.

It also doesn't leave a residue like my oil + sugar scrub does, which I LOVE.

This scrub removes dead skin so gently but effectively, I don't know what I would do without it. It's the perfect scrub to use before I apply a face mask, but it's also gentle enough to use more regularly.

Yes to Tomatoes Daily Pore Scrub

I like having this scrub handy for when my skin is really breaking out and I feel like I need the extra skin treatment. It is very gentle on the skin, doesn't leave a residue, and works well with the added benefit of salicylic acid. It is, however, not as good at exfoliating as the Peppermint Walnut Scrub is, so it may be a better option for sensitive skin types.


Cleansers are important - but it isn't necessarily important that they be geared toward acne. For example, we need a cleanser that cleans well, but doesn't strip away natural oils. We don't necessarily need treated cleansers, like ones with benzoyl peroxide in them - especially if we already have dry or damaged skin. It's best to use a cleanser that cleans and doesn't dry out our skin, and leave the treated products for products that actually stay on your skin and aren't rinsed down the drain.

Nubian Heritage African Black Soap Bar

I've been using this soap for several months now and I have to say I quite like it!

It cleans very, very well and it doesn't leave my skin parched at all which is a major plus. It doesn't contain any specific "acne" treatments, which is why I like it, because it's purpose isn't to treat my acne - it's to clean my skin of all the icky stuff on it, and make my treatments work by cleaning away the barrier those ickies form.

Acure Organics Facial Cleansing Gel Superfruit + Chlorella

This is a wonderful little cleanser that I love because of its very potent antioxidant properties. Like the Nubian Heritage, this cleanser isn't treated specifically speaking - it can treat acne, but not conventionally with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide.

This cleanser is a gel cleanser, which is ideal for all skin types as it won't foam up (those types are generally drying). This means that it cleans, but doesn't over-clean. Not to mention it is very gentle and certainly suitable for sensitive skin types.


Moisturizers are one of the most important things in your skin care arsenal. Many people don't use a moisturizer because they believe that their skin is oily and doesn't need moisture, or that they shouldn't "feed" the acne bacteria. Both of those are bad reasons (not rooted in science) to avoid moisturizers. Even oily skin can be damaged and lacking moisture - and depriving your skin of moisture is only going to exacerbate the damage and potentially allow the acne-causing bacteria to thrive! Picking the right moisturizer can be a little tricky, however.

Dermalogica Ultra Calming Barrier Repair

I like this moisturizer for a variety of reasons, the first being that it contains all the right ingredients to heal a damaged moisture barrier - it isn't just all talk like some products.

I highly encourage people with dry, sensitive, or damaged skin to try out this moisturizer for a few months in the hopes that it will repair the likely-damaged moisture barrier, and restore some normalcy to their skin.

Madre Labs Camellia Care Green Tea Skin Cream

Another gentle option, this moisturizer contains green tea, which is - I can't even begin to tell you - such an acne powerhouse! It contains potent antioxidants which have been shown to help treat acne, and if you've got "normal" acne-prone skin, or even slightly dry or oily skin, this moisturizer is a good first option.

Osea Blemish Balm

This antiseptic moisturizer is a skin-perfecting moisturizer, so you're able to wear it day and night. It keeps skin hydrated but never oily, and leaves your skin feeling clean and refreshed. This light, non-greasy moisturizer actively heals blemishes and gently hydrates without clogging pores. It is a "treated" moisturizer that reduces inflammation and prevents breakouts with seaweeds, Cypress, Juniper, and Rosemary essential oils, known for their antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. The lightweight formula is easily absorbed by skin and can be used under makeup. Perfect for skin that can't tolerate heavy moisturizers.

Desert Essence Thoroughly Clean Oil Control Lotion

I particularly like this moisturizer, and have been using it consistently for months. There are some bad reviews on it, but as I said, anecdotes are to be taken with a grain of salt - you truly need to try things for yourself.

For me, nothing works like this on my forehead. My forehead is generally very oily, and prone to small, flesh-colored pimples (sometimes papules, sometimes whiteheads, very rarely pustules). This lotion moisturizer always keeps them at bay, and any time I try to use a new product, I end up going right back to this one!

Yes to Tomatoes Daily Moisturizer

I like this moisturizer as a treated option for the bottom half of my face. It is a little bit drying, so it's not ideal for sensitive skin types. But, if you're someone with oily skin, whose skin responds well to salicylic acid, you might enjoy this moisturizer.

100% Pure Super Fruits Reparative Cream

While this cream is geared toward aging skin, its blend of antioxidants also makes it a good option for people with acne. I like to use this on top of my treated moisturizers, as it seems to work well in conjunction with them. Kind of an antioxidant + salicylic acid/tea tree crime fighting team. It's light-weight, nourishing, and gentle!


Serums can do a lot for your skin. It's a good idea to use one if you want a concentrated treatment on your face.

Life Flo Rosehip Seed Oil

This oil is ideal for aging skin types looking to fight early signs of aging, or for skin that has acne scars, hyperpigmentation, or other damage. It is perfect for evening out skin tone, brightening complexion, firming skin, fading and smoothing our scars, and even moisturizing. It's a very dry oil, and a little goes a long way, so it's not greasy and absorbs fast. Many clinical studies have shown that rosehip seed oil is effective in fading scarring, and I can personally attest to the amazing job it did on my acne scars!

Banish Vitamin C Serum

This serum is another great option for scarring, especially if you're getting serious about clearing up your scars and using it in conjunction with the Banisher microneedling tool. It contains rosehip seed oil, as well as many other skin-healthy ingredients that may help to heal scarring.

Spot Treatments

What would an acne skin care routine be without spot treatments? Spot treatments can help to speed up the healing process of blemishes using products that are perfect for damaged skin like a pimple, but which may be too harsh for the rest of the unblemished skin. This helps us to specifically target areas of concern.

ELF Zit Zapper

I like this spot treatment to keep with me for on-the-go. It's very effective; it's ingredients include aloe, salicylic acid, witch hazel and tea tree oil, all ideal options for treating blemishes. It works fast, it absorbs quickly, and it is super cheap!

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is an incredibly effective spot treatment. It works fast to reduce inflammation, kill acne-causing bacteria, and thus, stop a pimple right in its tracks. When used properly, it can be an amazing spot treatment, and an important asset in any acne skin care arsenal.

Diana Ralys Blemish Treatment Oil

For those who find things like the other two spot treatments to be too drying, this might be a good option. It contains Manuka oil which is a powerful acne-fighting ingredient. This oil does not feel like a spot treatment at all - but it is, and it works wonders!


100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream

You really don't need an eye cream - all you need is a regular moisturizer. However, my under-eyes are the first thing on my face to give away how tired or low on sleep I am, and that's why I love this eye cream; I don't think I have ever had anything brighten up my eyes as much as this cream does every morning!

Yes to Tomatoes Blemish Clearing Face Wipes

When my skin starts breaking out in whiteheads or papules, I always reach for these to give my skin an extra oomph in clearing them up. Usually within a week these stubborn, persistent little buggers are long gone. These wipes are so, so gentle - sometimes I even worry that they aren't doing anything because I can't "feel" them working (this is a good thing!), but boy-oh-boy, do they work!

Yes to Tomatoes Activated Charcoal Bar Soap

If you have any body acne, you will certainly benefit from this. Yes to Tomatoes makes some of the best acne products around, and so it's no surprise that this product works wonders for shoulder, chest, truncal and anywhere else body acne.

Nubian Heritage African Black Soap Body Wash

Another great option for body acne, perhaps gentler than the YTT. Like the soap bar, this is great at cleaning the body, which can help keep bacteria, and pore-clogging dead skin cells at bay.

I hope that you've found this both helpful and informative!

If you have any aquestions, don't hesitate to ask. You can leave your comments and questions in the comments below, or you can send me an email through my contact page.


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