I hadn’t initially planned on creating another annual “best of beauty” similar to the one from the previous year. However, as I reflected on 2023, I realized it was a year where I explored a multitude of skincare products like never before. To add a bit of challenge for myself, I set out to highlight just five of my top new discoveries from the year. Well, my intentions of keeping it concise at five took a detour… 😅 I’ve intentionally left out luxury products as much as possible, listing mostly my favorite semi-affordable options. If you happened to catch one of my recent Instagram posts (a picture of my bathroom cabinet) and are curious about my top luxury picks from 2023, do let me know! And I’ll consider putting together a second part to this post! 😊
Byoma Face Mist
At the beginning of the 2023 I remember Byoma being very talked about just to die down a bit at the end of the year. Well, I’m here to re-ignite some of that hype, especially surrounding their face mist! 2023 was the year I find myself inclined to bring back a face mist into my routine. Byoma’s face mist ended up being by far my favorite one. It’s got ceramides, glycerin, and many more skin conditioning ingredients that help hinder trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL). And it’s only like €13.50! The mist is very fine. And although I’ve almost been using it daily since August, there’s still about 25% left of it!
2023 has also been a year where I’ve gone against the grain. I’ve used products with fragrances and essential oils in them. I’ve used products with denatured alcohol high on the inci-list. I’ve used products that foam a lot. And I’ve gone back to physical enzyme scrubs!
However, I must say that the Dermalogica Milkfoliant is like no other exfoliant in its category. While it’s a powder you barely feel the grains. It’s been a great and gentle addition to add in the middle of the week along side my weekly treatment with a stronger chemical exfoliant.
Babor Clay Multi-Cleanser
I got some small samples of Babor’s Cleanformance products from a friend and quickly fell in love with this cleanser! So much so that I did go buy the full-size. The line seems to be geared towards young adults, with combination/oily and acne-prone skin. It focuses on balancing, calming, and strengthening the skin barrier with pre- and probiotics. I will say that it’s a product line I wish my younger self had access to during the toughest times of my acne journey.
With only 50ml, it is more of a clay mask than to be used as a daily cleanse. But when used as a cleanser, it behaves like any other cream cleanser – a perfect morning cleanse for summertime a couple of times a week at best!
In recent years, I’ve steered clear of clay masks due to their tendency to make my skin red and worsen acne, especially if left on for more than 5 minutes. But one exception has been the Caudalie Detox Mask, which hasn’t seemed to aggrevate my skin despite its drying nature. However, typically, I’m not a fan of clay masks because they dry out quickly and leave my skin feeling tight. The Babor Cleanformance multi-cleanser, with added sunflower oil and glycerine, stands out by offering a more moisturizing experience. It doesn’t dry down, even after 15 minutes. It’s like a hybrid between a clay mask and a soothing and moisturizing face mask.
This is the first clay mask I’ve come across that has acne-prone individuals with dry and sensitive skin in mind. I’ve decided to make it my go-to clay mask, as it stands out from others by not drying out the skin but focusing on calming effects. No more exploring; this is now my primary choice for clay masks!
Sulwhasoo Balancing Comfort Emulsion
What drew me into Sulwhasoo was their First Care Activating Serum, but what truly impressed me was their moisturizers! With this one, I’m sure I will buy a full-size in the future. The question isn’t if but when. Before trying this one out, emulsions weren’t something I ever considered. I always thought emulsions were mainly suited for oily/combination skin. But both Sulwhasoo (review) and Sensai (review) have proved me wrong this year!
The Comfort Emulsion from Sulwhasoo has a lovely silky texture and leaves my skin soft, comfortable, and – just as the name suggests – comforted. A full-size bottle is 125ml; comparing its price per ml, it’s not a very expensive moisturizer.
Isntree Hyaluronic Acid SPF 30
I won a Stylevana giveaway of Isntree’s new sunscreen launches. Out of the three new sunscreens the Hyaluronic Acid SPF 30 become my favorite, especially for wintertime. Some would complain about why it’s only SPF 30. It is intended as a daily moisturizer for those who spend most of their time indoors. However, SPF30 is also enough for the Swedish winter climate. Unless you’re on the ski slopes on a bright day, SPF 30 will suffice. But also, its formula is so nice and comforting. It smooths the skin, doesn’t give an overly dewy finish, and hydrates all day despite -15°C.
Shiseido Sport BB Cream
I know I complained a bit about this one in my initial review. I still find the shade in medium to not be a complete match for me. But I haven’t not stopped using it for it. Shiseido Sport BB Cream is a brilliant foundation that gives just the right amount of coverage and stays put all day. I even got my mom hooked on it. It’s one of my greatest finds of last year. And while it’s quite expensive, I still have like half of it left as you only need 3-5 drops of it.
Hada Labo Kouji Treatment Essence
If you’ve followed me on Instagram you know that I made not just one, but two trips to Malaysia last year. On my second trip I made a little bigger investment into Hada Labo as many of their products were 30-40% off on sale at both Watsons and Guardian.
I talked a bit in my last post (What I got at Watsons in Malaysia) regretting not getting the Haida Labo Kouji treatment essence. So on my second trip, I made sure to get it! I’ve been very into rice ferment essences lately and this one did not disappoint! I ended up also getting the Kouji face wash and rice enzyme powder. I also got a sample kit of the Hada Labo Premium Whitening Kit. I won’t go into a full detailed review as I’m saving it for a separate post. All I can say is that I would appreciate it if J-Beauty started trending more so that Hada Labo would become more readily available in Europe.
Kiehl’s Micro-Dose Retinol
During the first half of the year, I was using Medik8 Crystal Retinal. After summer my mom gifted me the Khiel’s Micro-Dose Retinol serum. And I have to say – while both are brilliant! – I much prefer this one from Khiel’s. One of my favorite retinoid serums I’ve tried is the Sunday Riley A+ and this one reminds me a lot of it, but it’s slightly less expensive comparing the price per ml. At 0.1% retinol, it’s of course less oomph in. But it makes up for that with its emollient formula rich with botox-like peptides that help soften and slow down wrinkle formation. If you have normal to dry skin, you will love it!
If you’re looking for something with a similar texture but slightly cheaper, the Retinol Cica from Innisfree (review here) was also a new favorite this year. It’s just that I haven’t used a full size of it for it to make it on this list.
Rose Inc Blush in Heliotrope
Throwing in a little more makeup related products in here. Got the Rose Inc blush in Heliotrope in SpaceNKs’s advent calendar 2022, and it’s been my most used blush during the year. It’s very flattering and I haven’t hit the pan yet although I use it almost daily. Many ”clean beauty”-blushes usually aren’t very pigmented and fade fast – which I talked about in my Three of a Kind-post, But Rose Inc has truly created something unique with a very gorgeous shade range.