Thayer’s Witch Hazel

You really don’t know what you have until it’s gone! Or until you put it in the back-most corner of your closet for an extended period of time.

This is an alcohol-free (!) toner. If you flip the plastic bottle that it comes in on it’s side, the toner comes out in drops. It’s basically water. You can apply this with a cotton ball or a tissue, it’s not recommended to use your hands because of how quickly it absorbs into skin. I liked to use it after I washed my face, to take off any residual dirt or makeup.

The claim is that Thayer’s Witch Hazel will reduce your pore size. I trialed this for about four months to see if that was really true — it wasn’t. It did make my skin feel “refreshed” (and it’s rose scented, so of course I love the smell), and it does a really good job of removing makeup. And it didn’t break me out! But I didn’t feel like my skin was making any significant changes with it. In fact, if I didn’t immediately follow this up with moisturizer, I felt that my face was getting very tight (obvious solution: apply moisturizer within a few minutes of using this toner). Convinced that swiping my face with a tissue with this product every day was doing more damage than good, I shelved this for a few weeks.

My skin was crazy congested during those few weeks. Coincidence?! Maybe. But I really overlooked how well this removes makeup and dirt, thus eliminating some of the catalysts for breakouts. My face cleansers just can’t get into my pores the same way this stuff does.

So, back into my regular rotation this goes. For $7-9 at basically any drug or grocery store, I absolutely recommend this product. ~A

Buy Thayer’s Witch Hazel here:

Perceived efficacy: 4/5

Longevity: 5/5

How much I actually like this product: 4.5/5

Recommended for sensitive skin: Yes (just make sure to use a moisturizer right after!)


Rimmel Stay Matte Long Lasting Pressed Powder

Rimmel Stay Matte pressed powder gets a lot of hype on reddit. I think it’s well-deserved — for being so cheap, this powder provides some of the most complete and flawless coverage I’ve ever seen.

Sadly, I have a complaint right out the gate at the point of purchase: the shade I’ve most recently used, “transparent”, isn’t exactly, um, transparent. There are such things as transparent or transcluent powders, and this is not that — it is an extremely fair/ivory powder that actually will provide color. So I do kind of wish they’d change the name. Also, although there are seven or eight different shades in this line, it doesn’t get any darker than creamy beige, which obviously doesn’t lend to being inclusive of many other skin pigments.

For $4, you get quite a bit of product with this, and you don’t need to go overboard loading up your brush with powder to get coverage. It’s a pressed powder so you’re not going to get a lot of excess dust after dabbing the pan, which is always a plus. And, I’ve run my own (unintentional, actually) “break test” where I’ve dropped the pan on the floor several times — the powder is still intact!

Once the powder is on your face, the fullness of coverage is immediately evident. After another or minute or two, this will oxidize just a bit, and the color will become a little bit darker, but I’m also convinced that the oxidation process spreads the color out more uniformly, and maximizes the coverage. With that said, I almost recommend picking a shade lighter from your usual, but it’s not imperative.

Longevity of this powder isn’t quite as long lasting as the product label might claim. If you’re in a humid or hot climate (or the sun breaks through your office window for 2 hours a day and beats down on your face!), forget it: this powder absolutely does not stand a chance, and the breakdown will be rapid. In a true winter/overcast day, this fares a bit better, and will come close to the 6 hour mark of coverage. At this point you can expect a bit of oil breakthrough, or notably dry areas of your skin that make you feel like your skin will crack if you smile. Fortunately, it seemed like this did a good job of keeping my liquid foundation underneath set, even after the powder had clearly worn off.

But the coverage, though! It’s amazing. Too bad that this powder isn’t as long lasting as Rimmel may insinuate, and that the shade range isn’t better, or else this would come a lot closer to a 5. ~A

Buy this high coverage powder on Amazon here:

Perceived efficacy: 4.5/5

Longevity: 3/5

How much I actually like this product: 4/5

Recommended for sensitive skin: Maybe (won’t cause breakouts, but you may experience some irritation as the product dries out on your skin)