VIIcodeT2 Oxygen Eye Cream Review

I’m always raving about my love for serums, I think it’s a major component to any skincare routine.  One part of my routine that I sometime slack on, and need to start focusing more on, is my eye cream game.  I’ve actually never been eye cream lazier that I was in the beginning of the summer, so when VIIcode reached out to me about their T2 Oxygen Eye Cream, I was too excited…now I’d have to stop slacking and start giving some love and care to my under eye area. 

One of the main reasons I slack is because I’m #blessed with very little under eye issues.  I don’t have circles or lines, and I’m never worried about looking dull.  I sometimes forget that this won’t last forever, and I’ll skip an AM or PM eye cream.  I was initially unfamiliar with VIIcode, but by the time my T2 Oxygen Eye Cream showed up at my door I had learned a lot.

The brand was started in Austria at the end of the 18th century, with a focus on luxurious skincare for the eyes.  VIIcode has two products, the Oxygen Eye Cream that I was able to test out, and a variety of Oxygen Eye Masks for a range of under eye concerns.  As you can see, the packaging is sleek and gives that luxury vibe.  My first thought was that it’s a small amount of product, and for a $99 price tag, it’s not the most budget friendly eye cream on the market.  But anyway…
I’ve been using the T2 Oxygen Eye Cream at night, for about a month now, and I’m almost done with the little pot.  I traveled to Europe, and it came with me, because I knew I was going to wreck havoc on my skin from long flights to late nights out.  I needed something hydrating and healing to deliver some love to my under eye area.  I was so pleased with how the T2 Oxygen Eye Cream kept my under eyes hydrated and bright.  
The thick consistency of this product is what I enjoy most, it prevents you from using too much, and is perfect for PM skincare routines.  I mentioned above how pleased I was with the hydration this eye cream delivered, jojoba oil and elderberry work together as the key antioxidant and hydration ingredients.  Aside from being intensely hydrating, this eye cream also battles under eye wrinkles with evening primrose .  Luckily, I don’t have wrinkles yet in life, but I love using products that help to combat any fine lines and wrinkles.  Prevention is key in your 20s.
Overall, the consistency and obvious hydration is what made me fall in love with the T2 Oxygen Eye Cream.  In order to extend the life of the product I only used at night, I know I would not necessarily purchase this right off the bat, the cost is just too much for an eye cream in my opinion.  However, I do think it is a great product, and if you’re going to spend this type of money on an eye cream, make it your nightly eye cream so that you can use it longer.
[Disclaimer: This product was provided to me by VIIcode for review.  All opinions are my own.]

XO.
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Face Mask Monday: The Body Shop Chinese Ginseng & Rice Clarifying Polishing Mask

If you missed out on the first Face Mask Monday, be sure to go check out my thoughts on the first two Body Shop Masks I reviewed, the Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask and the British Rose Fresh Plumping Mask.

Today, I’m focusing on another mask from this collection, the Chinese Ginseng & Rice Clarifying Polishing Mask.  This is a great exfoliating mask that doesn’t actually feel like it’s exfoliating, which is perfect for those that have more sensitive skin.  The key aspects of this mask aim to reduce pore size and smooth the skin.  I was beyond impressed with the sight of my pores after using the Charcoal Purifying Glow mask, and since the Chinese Ginseng & Rice mask is more of an exfoliant, I noticed it def did its job of smoothing my skin and minimizing larger pores around my nose.

As far as ingredients go, The Body Shop is known, and praised for, for it’s use of fair trade ingredients.  The ginseng and rice extract comes from China, and the sesame seed oil from Nicaragua.  You get a great sense of the ingredients from the texture, and I apply it to my face after makeup removal, and drying.  I once applied it when my face was a bit damp and it didn’t set as well as it had when my face was dry.

I’ve left it on for about 15 minutes each time, and right before taking it off, I massage the mask into my skin, and focus most on trouble areas where I have slight scarring.  The ingredients don’t scratch your skin, which I’ve experienced before and, obviously, is no good for sensitive skin.  It really does just feel like a deep cleanse thats getting rid of any dead skin cells or leftover makeup/ dirt.

Since the mask is a skin smoother, I think it’s a great option for lightening acne scars or dark spots one might have, a mask in addition to other skincare products can do wonders for getting rid of these annoying little things!!  I might try to use this mask once a week so I can really track how well it lightens, but since my skin looks incredible after each use, I think it does have somewhat of an immediate effect.

My next few Face Mask Monday’s will continue to feature The Body Shop face mask line, so stay tuned for the next edition!

Chinese Ginseng & Rice Clarifying Polishing Mask | $28

[Disclaimer: The Body Shop provided me with these products.  All opinions are my own.]

XO.
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Face Mask Monday: The Body Shop’s Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask & British Rose Fresh Plumping Mask

If you’re an avid reader of Love. Life. Beauty., or, if you know me, you’ll know I’ve been obsessed with The Body Shop’s face masks for years.  I’ve owned every one they’ve ever had, and have always repurchased.  Using The Body Shop masks are what started me on my serious face mask routine, I just couldn’t, and still can’t, get enough of them.
I was beyond excited when The Body Shop launched five new face masks, each geared toward a specific skin need, and ideal for multi-masking.  If you’re unfamilar with multi-masking, it’s basically the idea of using more than one face mask at a time depending on your skin needs.  For example, given the masks I mention in this post, if your T-zone/ chin area is oily, but your cheeks are more on the dry side, you may want to use two different masks on these areas, at the same time.  I don’t always multi-mask, I more so use one, and then follow up with another, but I know the multi-mask phenomenon is real.

I was so stoked to try each of The Body Shop’s new vegetarian & cruelty-free “Expert” masks.  I’ve been using them regularly, and since there are five of them, I’ll write about them in installments, don’t want to overwhelm you with too much face mask realness! =)

The Body Shop was kind enough to send me a gorgeous box with all of the Expert Masks.  When I opened the box, I immediately got right to it using the Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask, which is a mud mask that exfoliates to help clear clogged pores and and remove any yucky toxins or whatever else we don’t want.  Mud masks are my absolute favorite, and this one is excellent. 

It applied perfectly, not too chunky of a texture, but also not thin which always make me think a mask isn’t good enough, or not doing its job to the full potential.  The main ingredient is bamboo charcoal, which is a powerful charcoal when removing toxins from the skin.  The sensation of the mask a perfect mix of the tree tea oil and green tea leaves ingredients.  It tingles, but is refreshing, not annoying.  
I left this mask on for about 20 minutes, when I removed it I used warm water and a towel.  It wasn’t difficult to remove, which is sometimes an issue with charcoal/ mud masks.  My skin looked incredible once I took it off, I seriously examined the pores bridge of my nose, and they looked clear as could be, I was so impressed- it lives up to the Glow in its name for sure.
Another option, for a more hydrating experience, is the British Rose Fresh Plumping Mask, which I have to say, looks like you have smeared strawberry jelly all over your face when applied.  It’s a little startling, but so very worth it.  The rose and aloe vera ingredients feel so cool and relaxing while you let it sit.  A much different experience than the Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask, but still great nonetheless.

I have found this mask a bit more difficult to apply due to the consistency, but given the ingredients I think that is to be expected.  Since I have rosacea, I’ve been using this mask most often when I’m experiencing a flare up, since it has such calming ingredients.  The rose hip oil and aloe vera give a refreshing light scent, I wish I could just smell the mask all day!  On my Spa Sunday’s sometimes I’ll do two masks back to back, especially if the first one is like the Charcoal Glow Mask or a deep cleansing mask.  The British Rose Fresh Plumping Mask has been the perfect follow up mask to calm and hydrate my skin.
The price point of these Body Shop masks is a bit higher than what you’d find in Target or the drugstore, but these give both luxury and results.  Also, if you want to try the mask out before making the full size purchase, The Body Shop now makes these in single use, which can be perfect for traveling too!

British Rose Fresh Plumping Mask | $28
Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask | $28
Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask Single Use | $2.50


[Disclaimer: The Body Shop provided me with these products.  All opinions are my own.]

XO.
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SkinCeuticals Skin Retexturing Activator

Yes, of course I’m going to talk about yet another serum…serums are life, and when my skin is looking incredible when I’m 60+ years old, I will owe it all to the variety of serums I’m using now.  The new one I want to tell you about today is a bit on the pricey side, but for my summer skin desires, it’s exactly what I need.
SkinCeuticals is a great brand, I discovered them at Blue Mercury a few years ago, and have mostly just used samples of a few of their products.  I was lucky enough to receive a full size Retexturing Activator in a Blue Mercury swag bag…as much as I want to buy an $80 serum, it’s not in my budget right now…unfortunately. 
I’ve been using this serum for about a month, daily, and the results have been awesome.  First, the major difference in this serum compared to your average serum, is that it is an exfoliator.  So, for me, this is ideal in my summer routine when I’m constantly worried about oily skin, or buildup from sunscreen, or even sweat.  It’s oil-free, another obvious plus, and is packed with amino acids that help to promote cell turnover.

Now, I know it’s summertime, which may mean our bodies are getting a ton of vitamin D from the sun, and this could present an issue if you don’t use this product properly.  Since the ingredients are a bit on the strong side, it may irritate sunburn and/or make your skin more sensitive to sunburn.  However, I’ve been fine using this product, I’m just sure to use the proper amount of SPF in the morning, and reapply as needed through the day if I know I’ll be at the beach or pool.
Since using this product I’ve noticed a great difference in texture, my skin feels super smooth and balanced.  I feel hydrated without feeling oily or sticky, and I think it’s helped manage my hormonal acne I sometimes have to deal with, which is huge for me because rarely do I find a product that helps manage this.  Most of the time I need to just wait it out!  I’ve also noticed that my skin looks more radiant and bright, I really noticed this change when I began using the product twice a day instead of just at night.  Using it the recommended twice daily will seriously amp up the results.
Another great aspect of the Retexturing Activator is that it works for all skin types: dry, oily, sensitive, combination, etc.  Yes, despite the ingredients, sensitive skin can still handle it!!  If you’re trying to combat dehydration, acne, aging, or discoloration I highly advise you try this out…if you don’t mind dropping a pretty penny! 
Since it is such a powerful product, the price tag does make sense.  SkinCeuticals is a high end brand that is known to have top of the line products.  The application dropper helps you manage how much you use, which means you won’t be using too much of the product and wasting it…which is super important with an expensive product like this.
Stop into Blue Mercury and test it out, it’s truly an amazing product that will get your skin in tip top shape!!


XO.
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Ole Henriksen’s Balance Oil Control Line

It. Is. Finally. Summer. Time.

The past month has been filled with end of year testing, report cards, and moving out of our temporary school…I’ve been non-stop for quite some time, but I am so happy that I now have my summer to relax and focus on something that makes me truly happy…this blog!

With the weather heating up quickly, I need to make sure my current skincare products reflect the inevitable…oil control.  I tend to have naturally oily skin to begin with, so knowing that humid and hot days lie ahead, switching up my routine is at the forefront of my beauty to do list.

A few months ago Ole Henriksen released a new line, Counter Balance, aimed at solving all of your oil control needs.  When I opened a box from Influenster and saw the new Balance Oil Control Cleanser, Toner, and Hydrator, I just about fell over in excitement.  The hype around this line was real and I couldn’t wait to dive in and get to using these products!!

Let me start by saying I’ve been using these three products in the morning, as a way to prime my skin for the long, oil bound, day ahead.  This line features Ole Henriksen’s trademarked Green Fusion Complex, which includes antiseptic properties to keep oil at bay, as well as many botanical ingredients such as kelp, eucalyptus, green tea, and Irish moss extracts, to keep skin calm and hydrated.  

I use the Find Your Balance Oil Control Cleanser as soon as I wake up, and in addition to the Green Fusion Complex, the cleanser also has alpha-hydroxy acids that help to unclog pores and control oil.  Despite the AHAs, this cleanser doesn’t leave skin feeling tight or dry, which can so easily happen with a product aimed at oil control.  My skin feels refreshed, matte but not dry, and ready for product after using this cleanser.
Next, I use the Balancing Force Oil Control Toner on a cotton pad.  I try to focus most on my T-zone and chin area as I wipe the toner on my face…those can be my oiliest spots during the day, and I want to make sure I control that as much as possible.  The toner is definitely my favorite part of this line, I love the peppermint and eucalyptus scent, and it makes me feel and look super matte…again, without feeling dried out.  I also tend to use a bit more in an area where I have a breakout since this toner contains glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acids.
After the toner I apply one of my many serums, it depends on the day and what I want to focus on, and after I let the serum settle in I follow up with the last product in the line, the Counter Balance Oil Control Hydrator which is super lightweight.  It creates a great base for my makeup each morning,  I’ve skipped primer some mornings because I’ve been so pleased with the way this moisturizer mattes my skin.

This entire line has been great for my skin for the past month.  The heat and humidity and wreck havoc for those of us with oily skin types, but this Ole Henriksen line does a great job in setting up skin for success against the weather.  Stop by Sephora and test out the feel of the toner and moisturizer, guaranteed you’ll fall in love!  I recently discovered they have an Balance it All Essentials Kit, which has mini versions of each, perfect for traveling!

[Disclaimer: I received this products in exchange for review through Influenster.  All opinions are my own.]

XO.
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Farmacy Perennial Picks Skincare Discovery Kit

Farmacy is a “farm- grown botanical” brand that I’ve been steadily hearing about for a while now.  I knew it was sold at Sephora, and I’ve read great reviews about their masks, so it’s been on my list of brands to try.  When the chance arose to test out their Perennial Skincare Discovery Kit, featuring four of their products that cover aspects of an AM or PM routine, I was so excited to give it a go!  I used this set, only these products, for about 2 weeks & I have loved all of the products and how they’ve treated my skin while the weather has been changing and allergies have been attacking me– which always results in flare ups on my face.

One of the best aspects of this set is that it is made for all skin types.  Yes, you read that correctly, every product can be used for combination, dry, oily, and even sensitive skin.  The whole kit aims to revive dull skin, tackle wrinkles, and combat any dryness- without negatively effecting dry skin.  As I mentioned above, I’ve been battling allergies, so certain parts of my face are very dry and irritated, while the rest is the typical oily-combo. 
The first step in the process is the New Day Gentle Exfoliating Grains which is a dry grain cleanser that foams with water.  I always use a separate cleaning oil to remove makeup, but I made sure to use this as my follow up cleanser.  Since I’ve been outside and since it’s been much warmer, I’ve been sweating a bit more than normal, so it felt good to have a gentle exfoliating cleanser each night.  My skin felt so fresh and clean after using this each night, it wasn’t harsh at all and just gave an overall clean and healthy feeling to my skin. 
The next step in the routine, and my personal favorite, was the Invincible Root Cell Anti-Aging Serum.  I’m a huge serum so this may have had something to do with it, but aside from that this serum is packed with Farmacy’s patented Echinacea GreenEnvy which has a high concentration of cichoric acid which works to stop enzymes from breaking down your oh so precious collagen.  As long as a serum isn’t sticky, or do something crazy to my skin, I usually love it.  The added bonus with this one was the light & fresh scent.
The AM moisturizer was Farmacy’s Rise N’ Shine Daily Moisture Lock, which is a lightweight moisturizer which was perfect for the weather, but I wish it had SPF in it.  The Moisture Lock also has that Echinacea GreenEnvy, just like the serum, so you get a double dose of protecting collagen and normalizing skin pigmentation.  
Lastly, the PM Sleep Tight Firming Night Balm has been a great way to wrap up my routine each night.  I’ve loved the texture of the balm and the product aim is right in the title, firming your skin to fight against fine lines and wrinkles.  Again, this product has the Echinacea GreenEnvy, so you can probably guess that with consistency of using Farmacy products often, results will follow. 
I really enjoyed using the Perennial Skincare Discovery Kit and I def think I will be purchasing the cleanser, and maybe even the serum.  Using this Skincare Discovery Kit has made me want to branch out and purchase a variety products from the Farmacy line!
[Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by BrandBacker.  All opinions are my own.] 

XO.
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Columbia Skincare Probiotic Concentrate & Complex

It’s always hard when to know to add new products to your beauty routine.  I’m always testing out products, and still have plenty of old favorites, but I get extra excited when I’m able to try out luxury skincare brands, especially when I’m not familiar with them.  I do want to let you all know before you keep reading, these products are pretty expensive, and I probably would not just randomly buy them if given the opportunity.
Columbia Skincare is a brand that is mostly found in high-end spas and derm offices, and the brand aims to heal the skin inflammation and promote hydration.  The brand’s Probiotic Line mixes plant stem cells and amino acids to aid skin in healing and renewing itself.  Probiotics have been popular in the last few years as a way to supplement and promote good bacteria in our bodies- it’s found in a variety of yogurts and comes in a pill form too.  So…why not use skincare products loaded up with probiotics too?!?

The probiotic line of Columbia Skincare touts itself as the first ever of its kind for topical use.  I’ve been using both of the products at night, since I believe this is when our skincare products perform best.  I start with the Probiotic Concentrate which serves as a serum that helps the skin renewal process.  I really enjoy how this serum is packaged, product is dispensed from a dropper, which is my favorite for a serum.  It has a bit of a thicker consistency than some other serums, but I use about two drops and then apply.  It’s not sticky and provides a good base for the last step…hydration. 
I follow up with the Probiotic Complex, which is the moisturizer component to the line.  I use a little bit more than a dime size amount and apply all over my face and neck.  I’ve found it to be super moisturizing and my skin has truly been looking fabulous each morning when I wake up.  I typically wake up with redness, and I must say that I have noticed a difference in the level of redness each morning- it’s gone down by quite a bit, which I’m loving!! 
If you are a lover of luxurious skincare products and need some rejuvenating products for cell renewal, these might be perfect for you! 
[Disclaimer: I was sent these products for review.  All opinions are my own.]

XO.
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HydroPeptide’s LUMAPRO-C Brightening Pigment Corrector Serum Review

If you’ve been reading Love. Life. Beauty. for more than a few weeks you would know that I’m serum obsessed.  Way too serum obsessed to be exact.  I feel that it’s the backbone to my skincare routine after I prep with a great cleanser. PS, I just did a post on my Top 5 Cleansers, you can check it out here!

I jump at the chance to try any new serum, so I was super excited when HydroPeptide’s
LUMAPRO-C Brightening Pigment Corrector Serum showed up to my door about a month ago.  I did some research on this product before testing it out and I was shocked to see that it retails for $148.  Needless to say, I had very high hopes for this product and what it would deliver.


The aim of this serum is to safely brighten your complexion- so, if you have any acne scars or hyper-pigmentation issues, this is a great product to use to help combat that.  I really worry about my skin being dull, so a radiance product is just what I feel I need in the morning to help me look bright and fresh.  This Brightening Pigment Corrector has 8 ingredients for brightening, and 3 key actives, work together to improve texture and break down hyper-pigmented cells.

I’ve been using this product since December in my morning skincare routine.  I do have a few small little acne scars from breakouts that I didn’t treat properly.  I’ve noticed that a few of them, which weren’t that bad or noticeable to begin with, are now pretty much gone- which, is, awesome!!

I’ve read quite a few reviews on this product that all say it works great in fixing heavier discoloration, and I had such a great experience with it improving my few dark spots.  Even when I’m doing a no makeup look I always put a dab of concealer on those areas, and I’ve noticed I’m barely doing that now.  Also, the brightening ingredients are incredible and each day I use this serum I notice how radiant my complexion looks.

The price point is the one thing that will hold me back from repurchasing this product.  I think if I had more of an issue with hyper-pigmentation I would highly consider repurchasing.  It’s an impressive serum for sure, and if you’re interested in trying it, use the code BBLUMA20 for 20% off your purchase!!

HydroPeptide’s LUMAPRO-C Brightening Pigment Corrector Serum | $148

[Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post courtesy of BrandBacker.  All opinions are my own.]


XO.
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Top 5 Cleansers for Combination / Oily Skin

A great cleanser is the foundation for #skingoals.  I’m a huge believer in toners and serums, but honestly, they can’t get the job done unless your skin is prepped by a great cleanser.  I’ve used tons of cleansers over the years ranging from drugstore to high end, all targeted toward my skin type, combination to oily. 
Today, I’m sharing my Top 5 Cleansers, in 5 sentences or less, for skin types just like mine…sometimes oily, sometimes more combination.  I take my skincare routine seriously, and as I said above, I know that both in the morning and evening my cleanser is prepping my skin for the rest of my routine.
Top 5 Face Cleansers

This is one of my all time favorite cleansers, although I haven’t purchased it in a long time, since I’m trying to use up the 500 other cleansers I have!  I’ve loved using this with my Clarisonic, although it is just as great without a device if you don’t have one.  This face wash is perfect when experiencing a breakout, the clean feeling it gives is squeaky, which can lead you to think it’s drying, but it isn’t.  I know it combats any unnecessary oiliness I’m experiencing, and therefore sets me up perfectly in the morning before applying makeup.  If you’re acne-prone this is the perfect cleanser for you!
I will always have this somewhere in my home, and always bring a mini when I travel.  This product truly is the best all in one cleanser out there, and I’ve been using it for literally 8+ years.  Aside from the fact that it removes makeup, cleanses, tones, and hydrates, it also is super gentle and deep cleans pores.  I love to travel with Purity Made Simple because it does the job of both makeup removing and cleansing where I know I don’t need to bring extra products.  Also, it’s a great brush cleanser!!
This is a smaller skincare brand, but I cannot begin to tell you how much I miss using this cleanser when I had it.  This face wash has menthol, willow bark extract, and marshmallow extract, and it is the absolutely perfect cleanser if you have oily or acne prone skin.  The menthol and willow bark create a not too intense tingly feeling, you can actually feel the ingredients go to work while you’re cleansing, which is why it is one of my favorites.  The chances of anybody being familiar with this brand is slim, but trust me when I say, this Lytic Gel Cleanser is a great product, and I noticed improved texture in my skin when I used it! 
This is a Fresh cult classic for sure because it is perfect for all, yes all, skin types- & not only is perfect for all skin types, it’s perfect for all skin ages.  I use this cleanser regularly, and so does my Mom, and we both keep repurchasing because it is really just that great.  I like to use this at night, after I remove all my makeup, the gentleness of it is great after wearing makeup all day long.  The soy proteins help with skin elasticity while rosewater and cucumber extract help promote a balanced and calm skin tone.
The ultimate budget friendly cleanser, this Neutrogena product deep cleans by removing dead skin cells and purifying pores with beta hydroxy.  This face wash is more on the moisturizing side, so I have used it mostly in the winter when I do experience the occasional dryness.  Do not use this to remove makeup because it won’t work out too well, I suggest using this after you have throughly remove makeup or in the morning to prep your skin for the day. 
I’m always looking to add new cleansers to my beauty closet, even though I have so many to go through! What are some of your go to cleansers??  Leave me a comment below, and share your favorites.

XO.
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Valentia Night Revive Retinol Serum

It’s no secret I often work with Valentia, I love their all natural& organic skincare products and I’ve been using them for years now.  I was excited to try out their Night Revive Retinol Serum because the benefits of using retinol on the skin are endless.  
Retinol is a powerful anti-aging form of vitamin A that helps in cell turnover, collagen boost, unclogging pores, & reducing wrinkles and fine lines.  Even though I’m 26, creating a strong skincare routine, that includes anti-aging products, is important to me.  A lot of retinol products, the more powerful ones, are prescription only- so when I realized that Valentia had a serum with retinol, I was so ready for it!!

This particular product hones in on the power of vitamins C & E to prevent breakouts, improve skin tone, and combat wrinkles.  Another main ingredient, squalane, helps to keep skin soft- I was unfamiliar with this ingredient before I started using the product, so I did some research.  It’s an antioxidant that helps to promote cell growth and fight UV damage to skin.  I’m sure I’ve used squalane in products before, but I never realized what it was until now.
The Valentia Night Revive Retinol Serum has been an excellent addition to my nighttime routine.  The serum absorbs quickly, and it is not sticky, which is something I take very seriously with my serums.  The applicator is a dropper, which really helps you monitor how much you use- which is great because I sometimes use too much of a product at one time.

This is yet another great product by Valentia, I highlight advise adding retinol to any skincare routine, and this Night Revive Serum is a perfect addition.

For more information on Valentia visit their Facebook & Instagram pages!

Valentia Night Revive Retinol Serum | $35

[Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by BrandBacker.  All opinions are my own.]

XO.
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