Sephora's latest skincare collection offers floral scented moisture and a new active ingredient
My dry skin suffers during the winter and especially so when we transition into a new season. But for the past several weeks, I’ve put aside my trusted skincare products and committed myself to trying these Sephora skincare items.
All of these products have a green floral scent and are packaged simply and cleanly, sporting Sephora’s signature sleek black and white colour profile. At the core of the collection is HydroSenn+™, a new and exclusive plant-derived active ingredient that rivals the efficiency of hyaluronic acid at adding moisture to the skin. I was excited about this because I use a hyaluronic acid serum and it would be nice to find a single product that addressed my dry skin without having to layer another product.
My usual skincare routine consists of cleansers and moisturizers from Avene’s cold cream line. The products are unscented and geared for sensitive skin. I don’t use eye cream, I wear sun protection everyday and don’t get blemishes, although I do have pigmentation issues from previous spots.
After two weeks with Sephora’s skincare products, I’d have to say I liked the products. Some were better than others for my skin type but overall they performed well and didn’t cause any breakouts. I do like that all the products are tested under dermatological and ophthalmological supervision, and are free of parabens, GMOs, triclosan, sulfates and phthalates.
Here's what I tried:
Pore Perfection Kit ($22)
Packaging: This kit contains a double-ended blemish extractor, a face complexion brush, and a silicone precision cleansing pad, all housed in a clear plastic case.
Claims: A single kit that gives you everything you need for a flawless complexion on the go. The silicon pad will gently yet deeply clean your pores, leaving your face radiant. The face brush will exfoliate your skin, leaving it fresh and polished. And the blemish extractor will remove blemishes.
Performance: Admittedly, the only item I used in the kit was the silicone precision cleansing pad, which I loved. It was incredibly soft and flexible, and all the little silicone arms on that pad wiggled gently over the face (while using a cleanser), leaving it noticeably softer and smoother. I felt the face brush was too stiff and harsh for my skin, but I could see how someone with more textured skin and dry flakes might benefit from this. And the extractor, in my opinion, shouldn’t be used by anyone who’s not a qualified aesthetician.
Would I repurchase? I wouldn’t repurchase the entire kit, but I’ll definitely be purchasing the silicone precision cleansing pad, which can be bought separately ($6).
Age Defy Eye Cream (15ml, $29)
Packaging: Comes in a slender pump cylinder, which is great for hygiene, but since it’s opaque it’ll be near impossible to tell when you’re running low. A single full pump delivers far more product than you should use at one time. But the pump is easy to control and I could precisely dispense as little as I need. I tend to use about ¼ of a full pump, which gave me enough product to use for both eyes.
Claims: An anti-aging eye cream that will reduce smile lines and fights puffiness and dark circles.
Performance: It’s unscented, absorbed quickly and didn’t leave any stickiness or film behind. I don’t normally use eye creams and didn’t find this changed anything around my eye area. It seems like a good, basic eye cream if you need a little extra moisture in that area. I can’t comment on the reduction of puffiness or dark circles, and really, any good moisturizer will reduce fine lines temporarily.
Would I repurchase? Probably not, only because I personally don’t think eye creams are very effective in what they claim to achieve. I’m happy using my regular moisturizer around my eyes.
Purifying Cleansing Gel (125ml, $14)
Packaging: Standard tube with flip-top lid. I like the simplicity, portability and shower-friendliness.
Claims: A gentle facial cleanser that washes away even the longest-wearing makeup.
Performance: I’m wary of gel cleansers because they tend to strip the skin of moisture, but this was surprisingly gentle while being effective. I don’t tend to wear heavy makeup and to be honest, most of it has usually disappeared by the end of the day, but I did feel this cleanser did a great job of cleaning my face, morning and night.
Would I repurchase? If it ever came in an unscented version, I’d repurchase in a heartbeat. But the fragrance for me was overwhelming. It’s certainly not offensive but just too heavy handed for my nose. For a great, basic all-purpose cleanser, this is great value.
Express Cleansing Wipes ($5, 10 wipes)
Packaging: They come pre-moistened and folded, tissue-style, in a plastic packet with re-sealable peel-back top label.
Claims: Portable, biodegradable cleansing wipes that remove all makeup (including long-wearing formulas) and leave the face toned.
Performance: Better than expected, I have to admit. In general, I loathe cleansing wipes as most leave an oily film, are nowhere nearly as effective as a good cleanser-plus-water clean, and are wasteful. These did take off makeup, although my face didn’t feel as clean as with my regular cleansing routine. But it didn’t feel horrible either. It left my face feeling soft and mildly hydrated. Plus, the fragrance wasn't as strong as in the other products in this line, and had more of a cucumber scent.
Would I repurchase? If I knew I was going into a situation where I had to wear makeup but wouldn’t have access to water at the end of the day, then yes, I’d purchase these. Of all the wipes I’ve tried, these are one of the best.
Age Defy Moisture Cream SPF15 (50ml, $36)
Packaging: Comes in a screw-top jar with a thick clear lucite body and a glossy black top. While this makes it look more substantial, it’s really bulky in my opinion; half the volume of what you’re holding is packaging. It’s heavy and a bit clunky to be truly portable. And even though I’m the cleanest person I know, I’m not fond of dipping fingers repeatedly into the jar.
Claims: An intensive yet non-greasy moisturizer with light-reflecting pigments that give skin an instant radiance while fighting off wrinkles and preventing future signs of aging with SPF15.
Performance: The texture is extremely thick, which I liked, and it did absorb fairly quickly without leaving an oily finish. In fact, it left my skin slightly mattified and quite soft. For my dry skin, it didn’t provide quite enough moisture but it could work well in the summer. The light-reflecting pigments are incredibly subtle and not even close to what you’d get from a highlighter, but it did provide a soft glow that was nice. It did sting my eyes and made them water for about 10 minutes when I got too close in that area.
There seems to be a film-former with this cream, much like with primers, so it’s best to smooth it on in long, smooth strokes, rather than trying to rub it in, which will result in those awful rubbery bits that roll off. It also didn’t like being layered over the eye cream, which also resulted in little roll-y bits. But because of the film-former matrix, I found that my makeup lasted much, much longer than with my regular moisturiser. And there wasn’t ever a need to blot during the day.
While it might suit my skin better in the summer months, I’m worried that the titianium dioxide alone won’t provide enough sun protection for my photosensitive skin.
Would I Repurchase? If it weren’t so heavily perfumed, I’d happily repurchase and use it in the winter months layered over a serum. I particularly liked how, for me, it acted like a combination moisturizer and primer.
Instant Moisturizer Cream (50ml, $20)
Packaging: Same as for the Age Defy Moisture Cream SPF 15 above.
Claims: Same as for the Age Defy Moisture Cream SPF 15 above, but without the sun protection.
Performance: I used this at night and it was a nice, basic moisturizer. Like the Age Defy Cream, I felt it wasn’t moisturizing enough for my dry skin, despite its thick and creamy consistency, and needed to layer a serum under it. It absorbed quickly, didn’t sting my eyes like the Age Defy Cream, and was heavily perfumed.
Would I repurchase? No. Between the heavy fragrance, having to dip repeated into the jar, and needing to layer a serum, I feel I can find another basic moisturizer that better suits my skin and personal preferences.