Saturday, January 7, 2017

First Look: H2O+ Beauty


If there is one thing that my endeavors in beauty blogging has taught me, it's that finding the perfect skincare routine is about as easy as finding the perfect man. There's a whole sea of options out there, and yet finding someone (or some moisturizer) you click with is no easy feet. You know how it is. Those products that totally underwhelm are like those first dates where you keep checking your phone to see how much time has passed. Or you have those finds that you think are ah-maaaaazing on the first use, but then after a couple of weeks (much like that jerk of a guy who randomly stops calling you after the second date) end up breaking you out.

Of course there are those people who have been using the same products for the last 20 years and have amazing skin that I can only explain as the same phenomenon as people who marry their high school sweetheart and stay together until they're retired. If you are one of those people, kudos to you. But for the rest of us, we have many skincare loves and breakups in our lives, and need to wade through a whole bunch of junk in the process of finding our product soulmates.

Which brings me to the topic of today's post. One of the brands I've been "dating" over the past few months has been H2O+ Beauty. I remember seeing this brand on the shelves at Kohl's over the years, and not having my interest piqued. But after chatting with their lovely PR team during Gen Beauty back in September, I came to learn that in 2016 the brand totally revamped their packaging and reformulated their products to get rid of all of the parabens, mineral oil, and phthalates. Not only do I love the idea of cleaner skincare, but I am OBSESSED with their new aesthetic. Like a dude with a great new haircut, I was suddenly seeing the brand in a whole different light.

While I did purchase one of these products with my own money, the rest I was lucky enough to receive as PR. I whole-heartedly believe in giving you guys the honest scoop on a product whether I got it for free or not, but in the spirit of transparency I wanted to let you guys know that straight out.

Moving right along, let's chat a little bit about each specific product and how it's been working for me!


Elements On the Move Cleansing Stick ($28) // Of the two cleansers I've got from H2O+ Beauty, this one is by far my favorite. First of all, the whole concept of a cleansing stick takes the best of bar soap and the best of a normal face wash and wraps them up in one convenient little package. You never have to worry about spills if you're traveling with this cleanser, and the packaging makes it way more convenient to store and keep clean. To use it, all you need to do is wet your face, massage the stick directly on to your skin until it foams, and rinse off. Now, the claim on this product is that you can wash your face without having to use your fingers, and I think that is entirely silly. While you can cover a lot of ground with the stick alone, you definitely need to use your fingers to make sure all of the smaller nooks and crannies of your face are covered. I personally like to massage the stick all over my face, and then go in with my hands and work the product in like I would any other cleanser. It does a great job of getting off makeup, and while I was worried while I was rinsing that this would be way too drying on my skin, it actually leaves it feeling pretty darn soft.


Elements Keep it Fresh Face Cleanser ($20) // This cleanser was the product I took home from the H2O+Beauty Booth at Gen Beauty in NY this fall, and I was really excited to see how it would fair with my oily skin. Unfortunately I was pretty underwhelmed by how this performed. It's your typical gel cleanser with "softening spheres" that I'm not sure did much of anything for my skin. It smells fresh, which is nice, but it's nothing to write home about. Mostly I just felt this cleanser was too drying, without being a total makeup removing powerhouse. It always leaves my skin feeling tight and a bit textured, which definitely bums me out. There is also a version of this cleanser for normal to dry skin, and I'd be curious to see if that one would work any better.


Waterbright Illuminating Serum ($56) // This serum is a pricey little number, but I have to admit that it might be my favorite of this whole collection. This was the one product I ended up buying for myself, because Ulta was having a sale and ya'll know how I can't resist a good discount. This lightweight, pearlescent serum in rich in Vitamin C, which is known to help brighten the complexion, improve the skin's texture, and reduce discoloration. It's also got Aloe and Allantoin to help soothe the skin and reduce irritation. I've been mainly using this product at bedtime, and I notice that it leaves my skin feeling silky smooth and radiant, without being greasy or sticky. While I've been battling some hormonal breakouts as per late, I've generally noticed that my skin has been feeling more even and my old acne marks are starting to fade.


Oasis Hydrating Treatment ($38) // This hydrating gel is known for being one of H2O+ Beauty's best-selling products, and for good reason. Its deep blue color and fresh scent not only make it fun to apply, but it also has a cool, refreshing sensation upon application that's kind of addictive. This gel feels thick and ridiculously hydrating without any of the heaviness or greasiness of a cream, making it a perfect alternative for my fellow oily skinned friends. I have tried using this both morning and night, as well as under makeup, and my favorite way to use it is in lieu of a night cream. It's just the perfect thing to revitalize my skin while I'm asleep!


Oasis Daily Defense Moisturizer SPF 30 ($42) // If you're one of my OG readers, you probably know my feelings towards chemical sunscreen are mixed at best. I think my skin is sensitive to those particular chemicals, and with repeated use I tend to get lots of congestion and tiny bumps all over my face. Still, as a pioneer in the world of beauty, I'm always willing to give products the benefit of the doubt. I had high hopes that this moisturizer would work for me, because I really do care about protecting my skin from the sun. Unfortunately, this felt (and smelled) way more like a sunscreen than a moisturizer. The texture is very thin, but it felt quite greasy on my skin and left me looking especially shiny. Since this is a day moisturizer, I of course am going to wear it under makeup, and noticed that even if I used a super mattifying foundation on top of it I'd still be extra greasy looking by mid-day. I was definitely bummed this didn't work out for me. The search for the perfect day time moisturizer continues!


While I may not have been smitten with every H2O+ Beauty product, I still consider finding two new skincare loves to be a success! I also am really curious to explore more products from the line. The Elements Fresh Powder Exfoliator sounds really interesting, and I also wonder if the Oasis Moisture Boost Serum will be a nice a alternative to the hydrating treatment for daytime use. If you've tried any H2O+ Beauty products I'd love to hear your recommendations. Post them for me in the comments down below!

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