beauty, reviews, skincare

Skincare Kits

Hey everyone! Over the past few months I’ve invested in a couple skincare kits, and since I’ve never talked about them much, I decided to give you a review of the Dermalogica Normal to Oily and Mario Badescu Acne kits. So let’s get started!

Disclaimer: This is what these products are like on my skin. Each person has different skin, so they may not work the same for each person. Personally, my skin type is combination, being mostly normal to dry with an oilier chin. I also suffer from acne. My eye area is slightly sensitive.

The price: $40.00 for the Dermalogica kits (but more for the anti-aging and adult acne kits) and $30.00 for the Mario Badescu kit. I got both of these at Ulta, although picked up the Mario Badescu kit at a 25% off sale.

The goodies: Each kit gives you about a month’s supply of each product. Since it takes some time for your skin to get used to new products, that usually means you won’t be using all of these products at once, or else you don’t know which one is giving you good or bad results.

The Dermalogica kit included:
Special Cleansing Gel
Skin Prep Scrub
Multi Active Toner
Active Moist moisturizer
Total Eye Care
I also  got a packet of the Skin Refining Masque or Precleanse (can’t remember which), which isn’t mentioned on the online description.
If you get a different kit for a different skin type, some products will be different.

The Mario Badescu kit included:
Acne Facial Cleanser
Special Cucumber Lotion
Oil Free Moisturizer
Drying Mask
Drying Cream sample

The packaging: Both of these are nicely designed and not gender-specific, which I feel like is a plus. The Dermalogica line is mostly white with gray accents. Mario Badescu uses greens on white and clear. Personally I like the Dermalogica design a bit better because it’s a bit cleaner-looking.
As far as functionality of the packaging, Mario Badescu uses this little spout that you flip out for the cleanser, toner, and moisturizer. The moisturizer is a bit thick, though, so I constantly store it upsidedown and it can clog. I’ve also had a faulty spray nozzle from a Dermalogica toner, where it wouldn’t pop back up after use, but another bottle didn’t have that problem. You also have to cut open the tip of the Dermalogica eye cream.

The cleansers: I really like both. The Dermalogica cleanser is a foaming gel with a nice scent (clean but also something almost spicy or woodsy). It’s very comfortable to use without drying or stripping the skin, and still does a great job cleaning! It uses balm mint, lavender, and soap bark tree.

The Mario Badescu cleanser is again pleasant to use on the skin. The aloe, thyme, and chamomile are calming, while it uses salicylic acid to fight acne. It doesn’t say how much acne, though. While it is a gel, it’s not really foaming. It’s labelled as combination and oily skin types, and may dry out the tip of my nose a bit.

The toners: I’m not a big fan of toner sprays, like the Dermalogica Multi Active Toner. It has more to do with the fact that it doesn’t feel like as much product is actually placed onto my skin. Also, using a cotton round can remove residue left by the cleanser. They’re good as a refreshing mist throughout the day, but not as an important step in my skincare routine. And while this is branded as a hydrating toner (which I’m all for), I’ve had more hydrating ones (and at a cheaper cost).

The Special Cucumber Lotion terrifies me. Isopropyl alcohol is the second ingredient, and it’s labelled as an astringent (cucumber itself is an astringent). Again, labelled for oily and combination skin. It smells mostly like rubbing alcohol, obviously, but also vaguely like baby powder. I should have expected an astringent toner in an acne kit, and would love to just throw this out.

The moisturizers: I really enjoy both. Dermalogica’s Active Moist isn’t heavy (it’s oil-free) and smells really nice, and is a great everyday moisturizer. It’s got lots of great naturally-derived ingredients for great hydration, and I would consider buying this in the full size except for the $62.00 price tag.

The Mario Badescu Oil-Free Moisturizer is also light. It can feel a teensy bit greasy when applying, but I think that’s from the SPF, which is a great idea for the kit. Acne-prone skin does worse in the sun, including taking more time to heal. It’s a nice moisturizer, but kind of not really noteworthy other than the SPF. I use this every morning. I’ve already mentioned the packaging problem above. This is listed as oily, combination, and sensitive skin types.

The Dermalogica scrub: It’s a nice scrub, using corn cob meal as the exfoliant. It’s finely ground and in a good density. This also is a relatively dry scrub, suspended more in a what feels more like a wet clay mask than a gel. It works nicely, especially 1-2x per week. (Directions say to use 3x per week, and many dermatologists say to exfoliate the 1-2x while Dermalogica says to use many of their products more often).

Mario Badescu undoubtedly didn’t include a scrub for two reasons: 1. salicylic acid, like in the cleanser, acts as a chemical exfoliant; and 2. scrubbing on active acne can make it worse. It seems a bit contradictory.

The Dermalogica eye cream: To me, eye creams are important. I’ve had dark circles since I was in elementary school (often so bad I wouldn’t be surprised if people thought I might have had two black eyes). After eight years of cutting back on sleep in high school and college, with plenty of stress in college, too, I have fine lines and bags, too. This is more of a morning eye cream, with a peachy tone to help correct dark circles (not really noticeable on me) and SPF. It’s the only eye product I’ve ever seen with SPF in it, which is good, but occasionally may not agree with my slightly-sensitive eye area.

The Dermalogica samples: I love the Precleanse oil cleanser as a makeup remover/ first step in the double cleansing method. It smells similar to the Special Cleansing Gel, but even better, and works really well at removing makeup! It’s my favorite oil cleanser of those I’ve tried. I also haven’t tried the mask.

The Mario Badescu Drying Mask: Smells pretty terrible. It uses colloidal sulfur as a base, and smells kind of mineral-y because of that. It’s got a more liquid texture than most clay-based masks I use because of that. I’m not crazy on drying out my skin, so rarely use this. This is labelled as all skin types (even dry, somehow?!).

The Mario Badescu Drying Cream is more of a spot treatment. It uses colloidal sulfur as a base again, but includes things like aloe and lemon to not only help the skin but also improve the scent. A tiny amount is needed, but you really have to rub it into the skin for it to fully disappear, and sometimes it feels like after even five minutes it may appear again. I like this better than the mask.

The overall kit reviews:

The Dermalogica kit is really good for everyday skincare. All you need is SPF to really finish it off, possibly a mask or treatment tailored a bit more specifically to your skin’s needs. If I were to use this entire kit in my routine for a long period of time, I would use a different toner, and possibly switch in an acne cleanser or just use an acne treatment between toner and moisturizer. But it and the products are a bit more expensive than I normally like.

The Mario Badescu kit focuses a lot on drying products, which I don’t like. The two products with “drying” in their name are listed as all skin types, which seems weird for dry skin. Drying the skin is also proven to be ineffective at dealing with acne in the long run. I’d rather a skincare kit market itself more as what actually makes up a good skincare routine, and this felt like skipping the scrub and eye cream and the whole drying issue just causes confusion and is misleading.

I hope this helped anyone looking to purchase these kits!

-xo, Andi

Come follow me on Instagram: @everimpractical

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