Calm Redness Relief Moisturizer Normal to Oily

Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:No

If you have extra-sensitive skin that’s also oily or acne-prone, chances are you’ve had trouble finding a moisturizer that fits your needs. Fortunately, Paula’s Choice has you in mind with their Calm Redness Relief Moisturizer for Normal to Oily. A sheer gel-cream, it provides just enough hydration to suit those with its namesake skin type, and, like all formulas from the brand, is fragrance free.

Packaged in a plastic squeeze tube, its lightweight texture feels pleasant on skin and dries quickly without leaving a residue behind.

A look at its formula reveals that it takes its “redness relief” claims seriously. Licorice extracts, allantoin, beta-glucan and willow herb, just to name a few of its ingredients, provide both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits to skin. There is a good dose of these (and other) soothing agents contained within the Calm Redness Relief Moisturizer. What it doesn’t contain are heavy oils or other emollients, which is evident from its sheer feel on skin. (So light, in fact, that it layers well under a sunscreen, or over serums and other treatments.) Of course, since this moisturizer is for sensitive, redness-prone skin, we love that it doesn’t contain a single ingredient known to cause redness-worsening irritation.

Your skin will also benefit from the ample free-radical protection and soothing effects of its antioxidant blend, and reparative ingredients like sodium hyaluronate.

Calm Redness Relief Moisturizer for Normal to Oily earned its rating thanks to its formidable range of beneficial anti-redness and antioxidant ingredients as well as its pleasant gel texture that’s ideal for its intended skin types (even if you’re also prone to breakouts). If you count yourself among those with oily to combination extra-sensitive skin (whether you’re battling rosacea, redness or a “finicky” complexion), this moisturizer may be the perfect choice for your needs.

Pros:

  • Sheer, hydrating texture is ideal for combination to oily skin.
  • Blend of anti-redness and reparative ingredients makes it suitable for extra-sensitive skin.
  • Layers well and dries without leaving a residue on skin.
  • Fragrance free.

Cons:

    • None.

CLAIMS
Calm Redness Relief Moisturizer for Normal to Oily Skin has a soothing, lightweight formula that instantly calms and hydrates sensitive, reddened skin so it can quickly look and feel better. Antioxidants, anti-irritants and cell-communicating ingredients work to help sensitized, reddened skin behave more normally (more like young skin!) while skin-identical ingredients prevent moisture loss and help maintain skin’s barrier so it becomes smoother and more resilient.

INGREDIENTS
Water (Aqua), Cyclopentasiloxane (silicone/skin-conditioning agent), Glycerin (skin-repairing ingredient), Butylene Glycol (water-binding agent), Bis-Phenylpropyl Dimethicone (silicone-based skin-conditioning agent), Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Allantoin (anti-irritants), Beta-Glucan (anti-inflammatory antioxidant), Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate (licorice-derived anti-irritant), Epilobium Angustifolium (Willow Herb) Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract (anti-irritant), Phenyl Trimethicone, Dimethicone (silicone-based skin-conditioning agents), Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer (silicone-based texture enhancer), Sodium Hyaluronate (skin-repairing ingredient), Arctium Majus (Burdock) Root Extract (plant anti-irritant), Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract (anti-inflammatory antioxidant), Laminaria Saccharina (Algae) Extract (water-binding/soothing agent), Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract (antioxidant), Panthenol (skin-repairing ingredient), Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer (film-forming/thickening agent), Hydroxyethylcellulose (thickener), Isohexadecane (dry finish solvent), Sodium Carbomer (gel-based thickener), Polysorbate 80 (emulsifier), Ethylhexylglycerin (skin-conditioning agent), Phenoxyethanol (preservative).

Peekee Bar

Jar Packaging:No
pH:6.50
Tested on animals:No

It’s official, Drunk Elephant knows a thing or two about what makes a great bar.  Well, of the cleansing variety, that is, because their interesting and unique Pekee Bar has certainly redeemed this category of skincare products.  Eschewing the negative qualities of most bar cleansers (wait for it), this mild, water-soluble formula works well for most skin types—including the sensitive and acne-prone.

Before we continue, we’ll explain why bar cleansers tend to be the wrong choice for keeping your skin healthy. The classic bar soap is formulated via a process that results in an alkaline (high) pH, which is irritating to naturally acidic skin. Bar cleansers also use fatty ingredients that keep it from rinsing easily, which can lead to dull-looking skin.  The combined result is that such formulas are often damaging to skin over the long term, keeping your skin in a cycle of sensitivity and potentially making conditions like acne worse.

Happily, Pekee Bar avoids these faults by evolving beyond the standard soap-making process (using lye and solid fats). This formulary feat was so surprising that weren’t certain exactly how Drunk Elephant did it—so we reached out to the brand and founder Tiffany Masterson explained their approach.

“High pH, residue and irritation were among my must-not-have characteristics for these bars, so I opted for a mild syndet (‘synthetic detergent’) over a soap detergent.  I combined the surfactants Sodium Coco-Sulfate and Disodium Lauryl Sulfosuccinate with a natural binder, to make up the syndet formulation.  We use wheat germ starch to bind the bar’s ingredients together.  [Drunk Elephant’s] bars are not what you would call a traditional “soap” product.”

The result is a fragrance-free bar cleanser that behaves like a liquid on skin—leaving no residue and contains no irritating ingredients.  (We feel like there should be a mic drop right there, but we digress.)

Aside from the mild cleansing agents, there is also the inclusion of moisturizing ingredients and anti-irritant ingredients.  As mentioned before, this works well for most skin types—the amount of moisture is slight, and rinses cleanly.  (Those with very dry skin may prefer a more emollient cleanser.)  We found that, despite it being a mild formula, it easily removed both sunscreen and makeup.  For those Clarisonic users out there, this worked well with the cleansing tool (we would recommend lathering up you face before using the Clarisonic, rather than directly applying the bar to the brush head).

This reviewer had long since dismissed bar cleansers as a hopeless category of products due to their frustratingly common drawbacks and overall lack of advancement.  However, Drunk Elephant’s Pekee Bar is a genuinely impressive innovation, and for that feat, earns our top recommendation.  Though it seems pricey given its size, it goes a long way—you can expect one bar to last for 2-3 months of twice-daily use.

Drunk Elephant is one pachyderm that knows its way around your dermis. (Sorry.)

Pros:

Uses mild cleansing agents, yet removes sunscreen + makeup easily.

Innovative formula that avoids the common skin-damaging issues of traditional bar cleansers.

Works well for most skin types.

Fragrance free.

33 of the Best Beauty Buys — Shop the Aussie All-Stars

Every brand has a hero product — the one that gains cult-like status and sometimes becomes more well-known than the brand itself. Here in Australia, one of our most famous beauty exports is paw paw ointment (Lucas Papaw, we’re looking at you), but there’s countless other five-star offerings made in our very own backyard.

We’ve already looked at the top 20 natural brands we have, and so to celebrate Australia Day tomorrow, we’re showcasing the best Aussie beauty all-stars — and we’ve even plucked out the hero product from each brand for you, too. We’re talking serious cult-status, so have a look and see how many of them you already own, or simply click to buy to get them into your hot little hands and onto your body.

— Additional Reporting by Justine Dunton-Rose

Best Lip Plumper Products — and the 2 Worst

Lip plumper gives lips an instant boost, no surgery necessary. Read on for the best lip plumpers — and the duds you ought to avoid

Lip plumpers are a cheap and instant way to get fuller, bee-stung lips à la Angelina Jolie — no needles necessary.

The best lip plumpers can subtly add shape and volume to your lips without making you look like you got punched in the kisser. A bad lip plumper, on the other hand, can leave you with red, flaky, burning lips.

So, even with non-surgical lip plumpers, there’s minor risk involved. That’s why we had our most courageous readers review hundreds of lip plumping products to find the best and the worst. Read on to find out which best lip plumpers are worthy of your pucker — and which ones to pass up.

Worst Lip Plumper No. 2: E.L.F. Studio Lip Primer & Plumper, $3

Worst Lip Plumper No. 2: E.L.F. Studio Lip Primer & Plumper, $3 TotalBeauty.com average member rating: 5.8*
Why: Reviewers agree that though the primer in this two-in-one product is useful, the plumper does not live up to expectations. “The plumper part is just like a cinnamon gloss,” one user writes. “I don’t even use it.” Others experienced burning and allergic reactions to the plumper. “The plumper made my lips break out in a rash for a week,” another reader writes. “Don’t waste your money.”

Worst Lip Plumper No. 1: Benefit Lip Plump, $22Worst Lip Plumper No. 1: Benefit Lip Plump, $22 TotalBeauty.com average member rating: 4.7*
Why: Readers are disappointed in this product’s messy application, dehydrating formula and its failure to make lips look fuller. One reviewer explains, “This was a huge disappointment … a thick beige mess. It’s drying, does absolutely no plumping and changes the color of whatever lip product you put over it.”
Best Lip Plumper No. 5: Too Faced Lip Injection Extreme, $28Best Lip Plumper No. 5: Too Faced Lip Injection Extreme, $28 TotalBeauty.com average member rating: 7.5*
Why it’s great: “Of all the plumpers I’ve tried so far, this is the only one that gave me the instant gratification I was hoping for,” one reader writes. “It swells my lips substantially and provides a glossy sheen.”

Reviewers note that the product creates a stinging sensation, so they recommend applying by dabbing it in the center of your bottom lip and carefully blending outward. Luckily, “the gloss is not sticky or goopy, and smells amazing.”

Best Lip Plumper No. 4: City Cosmetics Advanced Lip Plumper Formula, $35Best Lip Plumper No. 4: City Cosmetics Advanced Lip Plumper Formula, $35 TotalBeauty.com average member rating: 8.4*
Why it’s great: If you’re looking for a product that deeply hydrates while it plumps, here is your pick. Readers say this gloss “feels so silky on your lips” and boasts a mild tingling sensation — “enough so you know it’s working, but not at all bothersome.”

As for the results? “This is one of the first lip plumpers I have tried that actually [makes] a difference,” writes one reviewer. “After trying so many I didn’t think it was possible without injections, and then I tried this — very happy with it!”

Best Lip Plumper No. 3: Shiseido Benefiance Full Correction Lip Treatment, $36Best Lip Plumper No. 3: Shiseido Benefiance Full Correction Lip Treatment, $36 TotalBeauty.com average member rating: 8.5*
Why it’s great: Readers are impressed with this product’s unique ability to plump lips gradually and effectively. “This isn’t an instant result product like the average burning lip plumper,” one reader explains. “After about a month of use … my lips are fuller, softer and almost totally line-free.”

Readers also love the product’s hydrating formula. “It feels like a thick gloss and really moisturizes,” another reader writes. “I love it!”

Best Lip Plumper No. 2: Dior Addict Lip Maximizer - Collagen Active Lip-Gloss, $33Best Lip Plumper No. 2: Dior Addict Lip Maximizer – Collagen Active Lip-Gloss, $33 TotalBeauty.com average member rating: 8.7*
Why it’s great: “This is by far one of the best lip plumpers I have ever tried,” one reader raves. “It claims that after 14 days of use … your lips will look fuller. I would definitely say these claims are true! I am completely addicted to this gloss and take it with me everywhere.”

Other readers agree, adding that the product feels refreshing on the lips and doesn’t irritate, like other plumping formulas. The best part? Readers say it stays put and feels smooth all day long.