Best Of January 2018 (Cruelty-free And Vegan)

Starting the year off right.

By: Amber x Dani

1. Hannes Dottir Mineral Mist

We swear, the more we learn about skincare the more confusing it gets. It’s even more challenging when you have problematic skin like ours. It’s acne-prone, oily, sensitive and currently dehydrated, plus dealing with lots of hyperpigmentation from recent breakouts. We’re minimalists at heart, so while trying new skincare products is fun, layering and layering on product after product just isn’t our M.O.

Since we’ve been experimenting with forgoing moisturizing cream and instead hydrating our skin with potent serums, we’ve found that it’s super nice to update our skin with hardworking mists throughout the day to make sure our skin stay properly hydrated. Sometimes we go with pure rosewater because it’s not only hydrating and smells amazing, but it also helps with calming down irritation.

A recent love is this Hannes Dottir Mineral Mist. Not only does it contain vegetable glycerin to hydrate and draw in moisture from the environment into the skin, but it also contains NaPCA. Silica is a new ingredient we’ve been exploring and love that it helps with collagen production and heps improve elasticity, which is exactly what our skin needs on the nights when we use our drying acne meds. Spearmint oil calms the skin (less inflamation) while citric acid helps improve the speed up cell turnover so that new skin is revealed sooner. Got to love that. The packaging is incredibly high-end and beautiful in that minimal-chic way that we adore.

2. Eminence Clear Skin Willow Bark Booster-Serum

Serums are worth it. What once used to be a fairly underrated product in our regime is now at the top in terms of importance. If there’s once product that you splurge on, make it your serum.

Moisturizers sometimes contain amazing ingredients that serums do, but the formulas are less potent than serums. Serums are great because they can penetrate deeper into your skin and get to work faster. If we combine the right serums, we’re able to stay moisturized all day and night without using an emollient or cream moisturizer when the weather isn’t too dry outside. Shocker, right? We’ve been using creams and lotions since we were 12, and there is a slight withdrawal period for sure, but we’re liking this so far because according to the reading we’ve been doing, moisturizers can make dead skin cells cling to your skin and therefore clog your pores (if you have acne prone skin). And we’re loving this Clear Skin Willow Bark Booster-Serum by Eminence.

We first discovered the brand when we were getting a facial at the Joanna Vargas salon in NYC. So many other girls were checking out with a couple products in tow so we picked up a few and gave the boxes a peruse. Everything we read on the packing sounded amazing and we’re so glad we treated our skin to some of their products.

This serum is formulated for problem skin to help reduce irritation and the look of blemishes. It contains one of our heroes, tea tree oil and also has walnut leaf, which is a great natural exfoliant. When you have acne-prone skin, exfoliation is so key. It’s super light and has an okay smell that you don’t notice once it’s on. It sinks into your skin quickly so you don’t have to stall before layering on another product, which is great.

Eminence is a Certified B Corp and have some amazing green initiatives going on. It’s definitely a brand worth looking into. We’ve got so many more products we’re eyeing and dying to give a go.

3. Sunday Riley U.F.O. Oil

This is a cult favorite, just like many of Sunday Riley’s products. Everyone has raved about this oil and some swear by this little bottle as a cure for their acne. While it hasn’t exactly eradicated our acne the way some girls have said (one girl left a review on Sephora saying within one week she was getting comments that her skin was noticeably clearer), the 1.5-percent salicylic acid definitely helps to keep our pores feeling clear. Since we’ve been on this new kick where we’re only moisturizing with oils when we *really* need to because apparently, creams are an absolute nightmare for highly acne-prone skin (it’s a long story, we’ll get into it later), this oil works double time as a treatment and moisturizer. The smell we’re not crazy about, but hey, it’s doable. If you have mild to moderate acne, we’re sure this will work for you, so if your struggling, definitely give it a try.

4. Penhaligon’s Iris Prima Candle

Once you get into the territory of luxury candles it’s hard to go back to average candles. They don’t burn as even, the scent never fills a room as fast or as much, and the shelf life is never as long. Don’t be fooled by pretty packaging and a nice-looking glass tumbler. It’s actually what’s inside that counts. Without even getting into specifics, the best way we can explain the scent of this candle to you is that it just smells rich. It’s not powdery, it’s not spicy. Just rich. And intoxicating.

5. Artis Elite Mirror Special 3-Brush Set

We first fell in love with Artis brushes (aesthetically, of course) a couple years back while watching one of our favorite YouTubers doing a tutorial. We were just like, “Those. Are. So. Pretty. Need. Now.” When we heard such raves about how nice the application was and that they’re synthetic, so animal hair-free (yay!), we were sold and new one day we’d have to invest in a set.

Aside from our Beauty Blender, we’ve never been in love with our makeup brushes even though we’ve tried gorgeous high-end and professional brushes. After using the Elite Mirror Special 3-Brush Set that Artis was so kind in sending, we’re pretty sure we don’t need to try any other makeup brushes. We’re set.

So here are the brushes we have. Unlike the original 3-brush set, the special 3-brush set is a limited edition set that comes with 3 of Artis’ top-selling brushes: Oval 3, Oval 6, and Linear 1. Every brush is made from an innovative fiber called CosmeFibre, which is something close to magic. It’s specially designed to be used on the skin, primariy the face unlike typical makeup brushes, which are pretty much fancy paintbrushes. You can use less product and still get the same coverage and pigment, which saves you money, hello. Also, they’re so great because you don’t have to push the product deep into your skin like you end up doing with other (bargain) brushes. That’s dangerous because you can put yourself up for risk of clogging your pores.

If you’ve never invested in a special set of makeup brushes, this is definitely a great start and then you can add in a few more brushes from the Elite Mirror Collection brush by brush. You will feel so special every time you apply your makeup. Oh, and it will look flawless.

6. NYDG Luminzing Skin Essence

No, this is not a toner and should not be used as such. It is essentially a moisturizing step while toners are to be used as a cleansing step. If you’ve never heard of skincare essences then, hate to tell you, but you’re a little behind the curve; the Koreans have been doing it for years, and now it’s taken over everywhere. If you have dry skin, dehydrated skin, or sensitized skin like we do, an essence will be a great addition to your skincare regimen. We love this one by NYDG because it’s extremely moisturizing, yet it soaks into the sink right away. You don’t have to wait up to ten minutes before moving onto the next step in your regimen.

7. Leonor Greyl Huile Secret de Beauté

This is one of the best multi-tasking oils we own. It’s packed with essential fatty acids, lightweight, quickly absorbent, and just generally feels nice on the skin. The smell is slightly intoxicating (a blend of Lemongrass, Tiare, and Yucca) and if you use it in your hair, all day you’ll be thinking, “What is that amazing smell?” It lingers but in the best way possible. It’s also free of parabens, silicone, and SLSs, which is always a good thing, right? Our favorite thing to do it to spray a few spritzes all over our body right after we step out of the shower. Once the oil dries, our skin is seriously baby soft. It’s extremely soothing during these drier months.

8. Amala Brightening Toning Essence

If you’ve never heard of the brand, all of Amala’s products are formulated without any chemicals or synthetic ingredients; they are 100% natural and effective too. In other words, they actually work. We tried a handful of Amala’s products, and while they all were nice, this toner stands out from the rest. If you’re battling dark spots and discolorations, including age spots and acne scars, uneven skin tone and texture or dull skin in general, this toner will make a difference. We use it monring and night.

9. Saje Aromaom® Ultrasonic Diffuser

You know how much we adore candles. And while we’re not giving them up anytime soon, sometimes it’s more convenient to go flameless (we’re those types who will accidentally leave the apartment with a candle burning…yikes!) and go for a diffuser. 

Saje’s Aromaom® Ultrasonic Diffuser is a great little device to have because not only does it go perfectly with any chic interior, it’s so soothing to have the aroma of essential oils floating around the air.  This baby makes the scent of the oils fill the room almost instantly just like a candle. But there’s something about distilling natural fragrance in our home that we’re surprisingly hooked on already.

When you fill this diffuser up, it will infuse the air for 3-6 hours, so that means you get amazingly relaxing-smelling air for a long stretch of time without even having the think about it. It’s also heat-free and has an auto-shutoff mechanism. Can we talk low maintenance? It’s the perfect lazy girl’s way to have a beautiful-smelling home. Saje’s diffuser blends are all 100% natural as well, so it’s comforting to know that you’re not clogging your air with chemicals and other weird crap.

Our favorite thing about it is that you can just fill it with water, plug it up, and use it as a humidifier. This is so perfect for these drying winter months. Seriously, the last month has been so mean to our skin, but this is the perfect way to get some added moisture and relief.


Sharing time, guys! Leave a comment below with some of your favorites for the month. Anything we need to try? Read any good books and have a recommendation?

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**FTC: this post is not sponsored and no compensation was received, however, some products were sent to us. Opinions are our own, of course.**

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