Winter Glow – Inexpensive cruelty-free skincare from iHerb

This post is sponsored by iHerb. All opinions are mine – you know I keep it real with you guys!

You already know, I’m a HUGE fan of iHerb. I’ve been buying their nutritional supplements and natural products for years, and recently I realized what an amazing range of skin care and beauty products they have.

You can find big brands here – big and small, but prices are usually lower than other retailers. They also ship to 180 countries so iHerb is accessible to most of the world!

Today I want to focus on some of iHerb’s exclusive cruelty-free skin care products that may not (but should be) on your radar just yet! I tend to focus on acne prone, oily skin products because this is my skin type, but I want to be inclusive so there is something here for every skin type. These products are effective and affordable – everything costs less than $ 20!

Let’s start with my favorite. It’s no secret that glycolic acid is one of my Holy Grail skin care ingredients. It makes an INSTANT difference how my skin looks – I see smoother, more glowing skin overnight.

Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid with small molecules that can penetrate deep into the skin. It exfoliates and removes dead skin, clogs pores, increases collagen production and acts as a humectant in lower concentrations.

PrescriptSkin Glycolic Acid Cream 5% is perfect for almost any skin condition – acne, acne scars, dry skin, flaky skin, textured skin, aging skin, melasma … and the list goes on.

I find this formula to be very moisturizing and mild enough for my sensitive skin. If you are new to glycolic acid, this is a good choice to start with. I find that it gently exfoliates, brightens and hydrates without irritating my skin.

It contains fragrance – it has a slight citrus scent. The jar comes with a spatula to apply, but I wish they would come out with a squeeze tube or a pump. That’s the only thing I would change if I had my Druthers … what are Druthers? I have no idea … Anyway, I’m digressing!

Whether you’re dealing with aging skin or acne (or BOTH like me!), Retinol is your friend. It’s a well-known and well-studied skin care ingredient that increases collagen production and skin cell turnover, reduces lines and dark spots, while decreasing oil production and acne over time.

Note that the first time you use the device, you may get a clean up as it speeds things up. That means any blemishes that have brewed under the skin will come out.

Be patient and use it regularly and you will see results in around 12 weeks. It’s a long time, but it’s worth it. My grandma has been using retinol for years. She is in her 90s and her skin looks amazing!

Retinol is an ingredient that you may have to start small and work your way up to a higher percentage. PrescriptSkin Retinol Toner is a great way to do this. It’s gentle, moisturizing, and doesn’t irritate my skin. You can use it as a gateway retinol when you’re just starting out or add it to a routine with other retinol skin care products to double your shine!

A note: if you use glycolic acid (or other exfoliating or acne treatment products) you may want to alternate days or use glycolic acid in the morning and retinol in the evening. First of all, go easy and see how your skin reacts. If it gets red and irritated, back off a little. And if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should avoid retinol.

This is a great all-purpose moisturizer that is especially good for dry skin. Radiant Seoul Brightening Moisturizing Cream is made from niacinamide, shea butter, and adenosine to lighten the skin, reduce dark spots, and add moisture.

Niacinamide is another of my favorite skin care ingredients. It’s a B vitamin that is great for reducing acne AND anti-aging and hydration.

Shea butter is ideal for naturally moisturizing the skin and is particularly suitable for mature or dry skin that has been devastated by winter. If you feel extra dry at this time of year when you turn on your heaters, this is what you need! Note: From what I’ve read, the judges aren’t sure if shea butter is beneficial for acne-prone skin. Some say it has a zero comedogenic rating and others say acne prone looks should be avoided.

The other key player in this formula, adenosine, comes from yeast and has been shown to have antiaging and anti wrinkle benefits.

I felt like the cream gave my skin a nice protective layer – similar to a heavier version of a foundation. It wasn’t greasy at all. It also looked good under makeup. It contains fragrance – it has a fresh, clean scent.

If you wear makeup, a cleansing oil is a must to make sure those pores are clean! They say “like attracts like” and that applies when it comes to dissolving oils and make-up residues on the skin.

The Balancing Seoul Beauty Balancing Charcoal Cleansing Oil contains charcoal, which is known to draw toxins from the skin. It’s a dark black oil that you use on dry skin to remove makeup, dirt, and oil. Add a little water to emulsify, then rinse. If, like me, you have oily skin, you can use this as a pre-cleanse. Then use another non-oiled cleaning agent to remove the last remaining oil.

In addition to charcoal, this formula contains soothing, healing, firming and brightening herbal ingredients such as licorice, gotu kola, green tea, knotweed, scutellaria, chamomile and rosemary. It contains fragrance – it has a citrus fragrance.

Who doesn’t love a good serum? Serums are usually thinner and lighter and full of powerful ingredients. You usually use them before a moisturizer, but if you have oily skin, you can also use them on their own.

Radiant Seoul Beauty’s Revitalizing Youth Protect Serum is an anti-aging powerhouse. It contains vitamin C (in the form of magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, which does not irritate my skin – hurray!), Hyaluronic acid (for oil-free hydration), caviar extract (to improve skin tone – not vegan), apple and wild cherry (antioxidants)) and peptides.

I love some peptides myself! These chains of amino acids stimulate collagen and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Acetylhexapeptide-8 has been dubbed “Botox in a Bottle” because of its ability to relax facial muscles, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, and promote collagen production.

The formula also includes dimethicone, which people either seem to love or hate. I have no problems with it and I find that it smooths the texture of the skin and makes a great makeup foundation. It contains fragrance – it has a fresh, clean scent.

If you read what I wrote about retinol (above) and thought, “I have to start with this!”, Here is a great serum first. Sympli Beautiful Revitalizing Vitamin A Complex is made from a non-irritating form of vitamin A called retinyl palmitate, carrot root extract (which is full of beta-carotene, which our body converts into vitamin A), and a delicate, skin-friendly retinol alternative called bakuchiol. It also contains hyaluronic acid for hydration and CoQ10 for skin smoothing. A note: if you are prone to cystic acne and avoid carrageenan, this serum contains a small amount.

To use, add a pump or two to freshly cleansed skin. Let it absorb, then add a moisturizer if you want. It’s not greasy and has a bit of mica for a shine. It naturally smells like orange oil and does not have a strong scent.

I love a good scrub! This is ideal for normal to dry skin types. Sympli Beautiful Coconut Smoothing Micro Polish consists of coconut, vanilla, anise, jojoba oil, vitamin E and kaolin clay. It has a slight coconut-vanilla scent and no artificial scent.

The peeling contains microcrystals (no plastic microspheres that are harmful to the animal world or the environment) made of sodium bicarbonate (baking powder) and jojoba esters. They do a great scrubbing without irritation, and the result is fresh, clean skin. This facial scrub does not contain sulfates, parabens or silicones. They recommend using it 2-3 times a week, but personally I think it’s gentle enough to use on a daily basis if you wish.

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