For all of the snark, sarcasm and possible happy-swearing my blog may have in the near future, I wanted to highlight products and brands that have earned my eternal love and respect. I’ve decided to call these ‘Forever Products‘ or ‘Forever Brands‘.
It’s not easy to be someone’s favourite, especially mine. I’m picky and my skin (and I will say my body lately, a subject I will go into soon) are even pickier. It’s not my skin or my body’s fault, getting used to having an autoimmune disease at such a young age is no fun – and mix it with an Australian summer – and you have a calamity taking place on my face (I’m a poet now).
So last year to celebrate my friend’s birthday (and have a holiday), I decided to spend the second half of summer in Canada with said friend. We decided that we’ll spend a few days in Vancouver before taking a roadtrip up to Drumheller (look, I have always loved Dinosaurs and this was a great way to see some of British Columbia and Alberta).
It’s a no-brainer that an Australian woman in her late twenties will use this opportunity to scout every Sephora, Winners and drugstore for products we don’t have back at home – or for the products we love at a much cheaper price.
I dragged my friend around Vancouver to different Sephora’s (on the first day there AND the last day, hours before my flight) as well as visit one of my favourite places, Winners.
If you’ve never heard of Winners, it’s like ROSS or Marshall’s in the US. If you’ve never heard of either of those stores it’s basically a wonderland of clothes, homewares, shoes and all different beauty brands that give small quantities of their stock away for a cheaper price, also called “off-price”. It’s like Trade Secret but oh so much better.
For this trip, I needed a few things that would be easy to use and do its thing while not drying my skin out, nor making it an oil slick as we go through different altitudes and temperatures.
I’m a huge fan of toners and knew I needed more for my trip, so my friend actually recommended Avalon Organics to me (you gotta love friends that know how nit-picky your skin is) and basically shoved their Fortifying Toner at me. For $8.99CAD, I didn’t hesitate.
Not only did I use this on our road trip, I had plenty left when I came home, and it lasted another few months.
I found it really gentle but damn, did it take some crap off my face even after a good cleansing. Sometimes I would use makeup remover even before cleansing, and dirt/grime/Jimmy Hoffa still came off. Even better, it never dried our my skin, nor did it help any oil build-up.
I haven’t checked to see if Avalon Organics is available here in Australia. I’ve never seen it before but I will check into it. If you do come across this toner or any Avalon Organics products, I highly suggest you give it a try.
The other product and brand I wanted to tell you about was First Aid Beauty and their Facial Radiance Pads. I bought the pads in a kit, so they came in what I would call ‘travel size’ (there’s 28 pads in it so that’s a great amount of time to trial or use for travelling) while normal size is 60 pads.
Now I was already a fan of First Aid Beauty, or FAB. In 2011 after the most uncomfortable trip from Brisbane to Los Angeles, I high-tailed it to Sephora with my very dry, very sad face. After a little look my eyes just stopped on this very clean but cool packaging, offering relief for sensitive (and sad) skin.
So, I bought the smaller size of their Ultra Repair Moisturiser and got back to my hotel to -hopefully- get my skin back in order.
Boy, was I surprised.
It was like I was never on a plane. Like I never turned into a shriveled grape.
It completely calmed down my skin, moisturising the dry areas around my nose and mouth, leaving with (I’m sorry to use this really overused word) dewy complexion. I cannot put into words how floored I was by the result. What was severely red, dehydrated, sore skin was …. normal. Happy. Lively!
From that point I was committed to FAB. Yep, after one product. I told everyone about it. I’m pretty sure I told the clerk at the post office.
Fast forward to 2015 and I was leaving Canada with every FAB giftset which included new things to try, including the pads.
Fast forward a few months after that and I had moved to my new apartment, my skin was a wreck from recent stress and health tests, I’m rummaging through my beauty products for a scrub and –hellooooooo– Facial Radiance Pads.
It was very easy to incorporate into my routine; just after cleansing to use in place of my now very empty Avalon Organics toner. After some gentle buffing around some problem areas and a tiny bit of stinging I noticed that it had taken the flaking skin away and ‘woke up’ my skin, giving it that more brighten and alive look in areas where old acne was still lurking around, not having completely healed even after five months.
The next day I woke up was when I really noticed some change. I was unfortunately used to waking up to new tiny but really annoying little whiteheads on my chin, particularly around or in the crease or above my top lip. So it was a real surprise when I leaned closer to the mirror and saw I.. had no new ones. Not one. My lingering acne didn’t look exacerbated, and the spots that were lingering like a bad smell looked lighter.
As I didn’t have a toner, I decided to use it twice a day in place of a toner or if I forgot, it was at least once a day- at night time. A few days went by and maybe I would get one teeny-tiny white head, but no more than one. A week later my ‘new’ acne was almost healed
For the first time in months I thought this hormonal nightmare was going to become more manageable.
Then I ran out.
I clung to that last pad, told it I was as proud of it as a dad watching his son doing some sort of over-manly activity. Then I used it. I was sad when my little container was empty
My skin was too. It was and is better than before, but now after three weeks of not having it I have seen the return of The Great Whites. Any serum or moisturiser afterwards isn’t working to it’s optimum, only if I do the gentlest of bicarb scrubs.
Needless to say I will be buying the Facial Radiance Pads again, this time in the bigger container. I regret not using both Avalon Organics toner and the pads at the same time, but I am glad I did get to try both products. They both helped my skin tremendously, which in turn helped me gain back a bit of the confidence I have lost over these last two years.
If you see these products around, I beg you to at least give it a try, especially if you find yourself with skin that seems to have a personal vendetta against you.