Review: Skinceuticals H.A. Intensifier

Oh, hi there! Just thought I’d post…you know, before a whole year passes since the last one…oops!

So I am coming back with Skinceuticals H.A. Intensifier and product that was seemingly made for me. Oh, you wanna plump, smooth and firm my skin? You wanna increasy my skin’s hyaluronic acid levels and deliver surface hydration? You wanna improve the look of my laugh lines? Okay, then. Let’s do this!

Seriously, this purple dropper bottle appeared in my feed and I waited for it to become available for sale. I decided to get it on Dermstore during one of their sales–except Skinceuticals is excluded from sales on their site. Don’t worry, it didn’t stop me. I could not be stopped! So $98 later, I was the proud owner of the little guy above.

The “H.A. Intensifier uniquely combines surface-hydrating hyaluronic acid with 10% proxylane™ and an optimal concentration of licorice and purple rice extracts to support skin’s hyaluronic acid levels.” The Skinceuticals site reviews a 12-week study (and has before and after pics) where participants showed improvements in plumpness, eleasticity, texture. Directions state it should be used twice a day. It’s  a light gel-serum that is faintly scented. Here is the long and short of it: I just couldn’t make that happen for 12 weeks, even though I really wanted to test it as the study had. Intended to start with mornings only and each time I used it, my skin felt drier. Even with hydrating gel and hydrating cc cream layered over it. After a few tries, I just stopped reaching for it.

I think highly of Skinceuticals as a brand and this is my first miss from them. A look at the ingredients (see below) offers a clue: al-co-hol. Oh well…it’s a reminder to read the ingredients list and not to rush to buy. Happy for you guys to learn from my mistakes! (Reviews I should have read before buying, but were still useful after:  here and here. )




Favorites of 2016


This year was a bit of a weird one for me product-wise. I tried a lot. Like a lot. I haven’t posted as much as I should have, so that’ll be a resolution! Anyway, There were a few items that got repurchased because they worked (and because I enjoyed using them). Then there were things that worked, but I just didn’t enjoy them and of course things that didn’t click with me at all (see some here and I’ll post some others). Here are items that have been repurchased once or more this year:


I have gone through so many First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum bottles that I’ve lost count. I tried to cheat with other HA serums, but nah. I really enjoy this one. It has the plumping and light moisture of an HA and aloe infused gel plus the calming of oatmeal. Speaking of oatmeal, I also went through several travel sized pots of Tatcha’s Triple Recovery Soothing Cream. Then I came to my senses, sucked it up, and sprang for the full size. Read about both of these in my Ode to Oatmeal post.

My number one oil find of the year, and only facial oil repurchased this year is Laurel Whole Plant Organics Sun Repair Facial Serum. It is a gorgeous blend of oils that does what it says on the label. It’s a pleasure to use–warmly scented, moisturizing, gentle yet effective. I accidentally lost half of my second bottle to a spill, so I decanted it into a roller bottle. I am not going to waste a single drop. Never again! Read my review here.

I spent much of the year being a cleanser floozy–especially with balms and cream cleansers. And you know what? I don’t like cleansing balms in tubs all that much. They feel too heavy. So I used up a bunch of stuff and and stuck with a trio made up of two long time faves and one new comer. My long-time first cleanse love, Tatcha One-Step Camellia Cleansing Oil. In writing this, I realized I never reviewed it. How is that possible? This iconic cleansing oil feels lovely and as you massage it in, it breaks down all of your makeup–including mascara. You can splash it off, but I converted to the washcloth method this year so I wipe it away with a muslin cloth. The newbie that stuck this year is Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel. I alternate it with the Tatcha. I also haven’t done a proper review, but the hype on this one is real. The gel melts into an oil, but somehow retains a bit of the heft of the gel without the waxy heaviness that I hate about balms. It has a delicate rose smell. It’s infused with vitamins and enzymes. I look forward to using it–it’s just pleasurable as skincare should be. For second cleanse: Yuli Halcyon. This powerful but delicate gel cleanser is the truth. I haven’t come across anything like it. Reviewed here.

I don’t have a favorite spray toner this year. I have tried quite a few and nothing has stolen my heart. However, I do want to give an honorable mention to Serozinc. I don’t use this every day, but when my skin is acting up, this puts it in check post haste. Totally deserving of its cult status.

I have quite a collection of masks at the moment. I only finished and/or repurchased two: Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask and Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask. These both do what their names suggest. I would say the PTR mask is more powerful, but both live up to their reputations. I reviewed the TH mask here. I have been doing post mask special soothing with Skinceuticals Photo Corrective Gel. It’s anti-inflammatory, soothing, and cooling. I hate the thyme scent, but it works wonderfully.

Having never believed in facial scrubs, this year I felt maybe I needed one. It was going through a rough patch–literally, like my whole face was looking rough. I decided to splurge on the Oskia Micro Exfoliating Balm. It’s pretty freakin’ gorgeous. It is a balm that transforms into a scrubby milk and it leaves your skin soft and refined AF. It has ingredients you expect in a leave-on cream (vitamins: A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, D & E; and minerals: MSM & zinc glycine, prebiotics, omegas 3, 6 & 9, rosehip, kukui nut, and sweet almond oil) but you scrub it in and wash it right down the drain because you’re fancy like that. But you use the least amount possible each time because you’re not that damn fancy.

Haircare and Bodycare

I am going to start with another cult product, Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray. It costs a ton, but this cross between dry shampoo and voluminizing hairspray is worth it. Sorry, it just is. If you know of an affordable dupe, let me know!

So to take the sting out of that wildly expensive fave, I am going to tell you that Say Yes to Carrots Shampoo and Conditioner are great. They are cheap, free of many nasties (but not organic) and work well on my normal to oily hair. Body oils are an easy category to spend a lot of money on–there are so many gorgeous options, especially in green beauty. My fave is Weleda Sea Buckthorn Body Oil. It has a lovely citrus scent, is very moisturizing and I think it has a firming effect. Best of all, it’s pretty affordable.

I am loving reading and watching everyone’s faves. I may do a makeup post…we shall see!

Laurel Whole Plant Organics Sun Damage Repair Facial Serum


Hey! It’s been awhile. I have been trying lots of stuff and am catching up on telling you about it, beginning with  Laurel Whole Plant Organics Sun Damage Repair Facial Serum. It was the August selection for Beauty Heroes subscribers–a great deal as you got the full sized bottle for $39 versus $88 and it came with a sample of their body oil and a mask.

I finished the first bottle of serum and am on bottle two (and I bought a third and gave it to my sister). So clearly, I think this is an excellent oil, er serum. It is one of those products that does what it says–repair. Within about about 2 months, it significantly lightened sun damage on my cheeks. I had one spot–about the size of a finger print on my right cheek. As I used the oil, I began to discern that the spot was actually a cluster of spots, not one big spot. With use of the serum and religious use of sunscreen, the individual parts of the whole became smaller and lighter–to the point that I don’t see the big spot. I barely see the little ones. I got that result by using it every night in the summer. The directions say to use it day and night, but I stuck with my Drunk Elephant C-Firma in the day (it has the vitamin C feulic acid combo that I think helps sunscreen work better and it is a lighter oil). When using the Laurel Sun Repair Serum every night this summer, I pretty much skipped acids and other retinol-based products. This has oils that contain vitamin A, so it does help with turnover and renewal. The serum kept my face hydrated, bright, and soft. I think it has enough heft to really tackle dry winter skin too, so it is still.

This contains a gorgeous blend of oils and has a light, warm sandalwood scent.  Here is what is in it:

Jojoba Oil*, Rosehip Seed Oil*, Red Raspberry Seed Oil*, Almond Oil*, Sesame Oil*, Sea Buckthorn Oil*, Cranberry Seed Oil˚, Pumpkin Seed Oil*, Red Grape Seed Oil*, Tamanu Oil*, Rosemary Extract*; in-house biodynamic proprietary blend of Scarlet Pimpernel*, Calendula*, Gotu Kola*, Licorice*, Bilberry Fruit*, Comfrey*, Chamomile*, Red Clover*, Marshmallow*, Rosehip Fruit*, Nettle*, Horsetail*; essential oil blend of Sandalwood*, Carrot Seed*, Helichrysum*, Cistus*

* certified organic