Milk Makeup’s Melatonin Overnight Serum gave me my best night’s glow

We know melatonin is the natural hormone that regulates our snooze time.

But the ingredient is now being touted in beauty products as of late. It makes sense, especially for nighttime skincare routines. From soothing lotions, a depuffing eye cream, or an infused toner, melatonin seems perfect for getting you that restorative sleep and glow. Sounds dreamy. 

When Milk Makeup launched their Melatonin Overnight Serum and Lip Mask I was instantly excited. As I learned, melatonin isn’t just a product that makes you sleep – it also has great anti-aging benefits, too. This is what I learned:  

Why does our brain release melatonin?

According to the Sleep Foundation, melatonin is the hormone responsible for controlling your sleep and wake cycle.  When something excites us, our brain releases dopamine. And when our brain notices the day changing to night melatonin is released to help us sleep better. It’s commonly in pill form or tea to take before bed if you have trouble falling asleep with your natural release of melatonin.

How can melatonin help your skin?

Besides helping you catch some zzz’s, melatonin is rich in antioxidants. It’s one of those ingredients that seriously feeds your skin with much-needed nourishment. Because we’re exposed to free radical damage from the sun and environmental pollution we need antioxidants to protect us and help turn over new cells. Ultimately, it will help fend off the visible signs of aging due to environmental stressors. After all, pollution is the second leading cause of aging, with sun exposure being the number 1 cause.


Milk Makeup Melatonin Overnight Serum ($36)

My skin is very oily and honestly, I wish I had tried a serum stick sooner. I’m always on the fence if I need gel-like serums or oil-based serums. Sticks really seem to cater to everyone. But sometimes, when a product claims to be hydrating it makes me feel and look even more oily than normal. However, this was not the case with this product.

Using the Melatonin Overnight Serum by Milk Makeup gave a new experience to my bedtime ritual. The cooling and instantly hydrating feeling the serum gives paired with the calming scent of lavender relaxes and soothes your skin. I truly felt ready to drift away into a relaxing slumber. And in the morning, my face has been looking renewed and replenished almost as if I just had an intensive facial treatment.

I totally recommend popping it in the fridge and putting it on when your face is damp from toner or facial spray. You’ll thank me when you’re feeling calm, cool, collected, and oh so dewy. $36 isn’t a new price when it comes to Milk Makeup serum sticks, but it can seem a little steep. However, the stick is a good size and after 2 weeks of using it, it’s clear you’d have to coat your face a ridiculous amount of times before you make a dent. I can see this lasting me a while and I reallyyy like to lay on the serums. So do with that what you will. 


Its antioxidant benefits go far beyond melatonin. A berry blend of goji, blueberry, blackberry, and acai also load your skin up with a defense to fight free radical damage. Persian silk tree extract helps to balance your skin’s melatonin levels which leave you waking up looking more refreshed than ever. At the same time, this serum aims to hydrate with hyaluronic acid and soothes your skin with the scents of lavender oil and chamomile extract. From the ingredients alone, this product is a real experience for your skin and your senses.

Milk Makeup Melatonin Overnight Lip Mask ($22)

The  Melatonin Overnight Lip Mask is no different ingredient-wise when compared to the serum. And they’re lovely when used together. I’m a die-hard Laneige lip mask fan so I wondered about the differences. I bite my lips when stressed and I don’t always give them the TLC that they need. There was a clear visual difference when I woke up in the morning after using the melatonin lip mask compared to my trusty Laneige. They looked more hydrated, a bit more plumped, and felt super soft. Normally I wake up and my lips are still a bit chapped and not as healthy looking. It was a good thing to feel. 

The only thing I wish is that it came with a little spatula of some sort to scoop and spread the product. I ended up using one from another product so NBD. For the little your lips need and how big the pot is, $22 is a great price too.


  • Melatonin is the buzzy ingredient in skincare now
  • It can help with antioxidant replenishment and protection against free radicals
  • Milk Makeup’s Overnight Melatonin Serum and Lip Mask will leave your skin bouncy, healthy, and dewy
  • These products offer a sensorial experience like no other thanks to lavender and chamomile

Bye or Buy?

Definitely BUY – and say hello to some fabulous beauty sleep.

BUY HERE, Melatonin Overnight Lip Mask ($22)

Then I Met You’s Honey Dew Lip Mask Review: Your lips are saved

Quarantine skin, how real are you?

I don’t know about anyone else who’s surviving these now normalized (?) times, but no matter how much I pamper, massage, or drench my pores, my complexion still looks like I’ve woken from a tomb from the depths of hell. My eye sockets are swollen, my skin is bumpy and my lips are super dry. The latter is due to a mix of using a heater and then suddenly trading it in for an air conditioner (if you couldn’t feel spring, does she really exist?).

Then I met you Honey Dew Lip Mask

(Photo by David Yi/ Very Good Light)

As my lips have crackled and become two dehydrated pieces of jerky, Charlotte Cho from Then I Met You, sent over her latest. And it’s a lifesaver. Following in the footsteps of the brand’s Calming Tide Gel Cream, which has the most soothing consistency, one perfect for sweaty months ahead, the brand just launched its first lip mask. Called the Honey Dew Lip Mask ($22), it’s supposed to both heal your chapped lips as well as make it even plumper with each wear.

Honey dew has a special meaning to Charlotte as it conjures memories of her youth. “My fondest memories were when my grandma lived with me and she’d take care of me and my siblings. She’d cut up honeydew melons when the weather got warmer and I remember watching her cut them for us,” she tells me during a Zoom call.

Taking her nostalgia for the fruit along with her need to soothe her own lips, Charlotte and the Then I Met You team took honeydew as the main ingredient in its lip mask. With so many lip masks coming in a dew pot or a round container, Charlotte wanted to ensure that bacteria from one’s hands never touched the products. “It comes in a silicone tube and it’s the most hygienic way to apply something on your lips,” she says.

Then I met you Honey Dew Lip Mask

(Photo by David Yi/ Very Good Light)

What really awesome is that all first-day sales (yes, 100%!) goes to the Amalgamated Foundation’s Families and Workers Fund, one that will go towards supermarket and grocery store workers – truly, some of the heroes during this pandemic.

The main ingredients include: Avocado, squalene oil, honey and honeydew. But perhaps most surprising is that the formula includes lactic acid. “It’s the most moisturizing AHA and helps with dead skin cells,” Charlotte says. Not only is it great for plumping your lips, but the AHA ensures your lips are constantly regenerating new skin cells to replace the ones that have died.

It makes sense that you need extra TLC for your lips. Like your undereyes, your lips have no pores, leaving them to become dehydrated, fast. This, especially in dry climates or air conditioned indoors.

Then I met you Honey Dew Lip Mask

(Photo by David Yi/ Very Good Light)

While I tested this for a few days, I did feel as if the formula was super hydrating without being sticky. Most lip masks on the market are thick, goopy, and glue-like in form. That makes sense as it’s usually used before bed and needs to last through the night. Unlike competitors, this one glides beautifully – like sweet nectar from well, a honeydew – and stays on your lips.

Then I met you Honey Dew Lip Mask

(Photo by David Yi/ Very Good Light)

Though from honeydew, I didn’t feel as if there was a flavor. This was is relatively fragrance-free without a particular flavor profile. If you’re seeking more of a sensorial experience with smell and taste, this isn’t for you. But if that’s not too important, this one seems like a true winner. Not only do your lips glide, your lips do recover in no time.

Meaning, instead of thinking about your chapped lips, you can use your brain power during quarantine for more important things like, is it a hot dog with Doritos for dinner, or chicken fingers for the seventeenth time?

Then I met you Honey Dew Lip Mask

(Photo by David Yi/ Very Good Light)


-Then I Met You’s Honey Dew Lip Mask glides on smooth without stickiness

-Ingredients include: Honeydew, honey, avocado oil, squalene, lactic acid, and more

-No flavor or fragrance

-Super hydrating and can be used day and night

BUY Then I Met You’s Honey Dew Lip Mask here, $22

Tan Luxe review: Have we discovered a face tanner that actually works?

While self-tan mousses, sprays, lotions and potions for the body are a dime-a-dozen, finding a face tan that actually works without leaving you looking like an Oompa Loompa has always been the ultimate challenge.

Enter: Tan Luxe.

Whatever your complexion – deep or fair – we know that springtime usually means a time of achieving that healthier glow, but quarantine has left us all a little Vitamin D-deficient. So how does one fake a face bake, so to speak? I tested Internet favorite, Tan Luxe, to see if there really was a viable solution to the sunless face tan.

SEE ALSO: Every product I used to kill my cystic bump in 4 days.

Wait, what exactly is Tan Luxe?

After his Scotland hair salon saw a steady rotation of clients with less-than-perfect tans, stylist Marc Elrick founded Tan Luxe as a self-tan-cum-skincare amalgam. Since, the cruelty-free and non-toxic products have become a favorite among influencers, likely due to claims of seamless integration into your daily skincare routine, particularly when it comes to your face.

This is where Tan Luxe is leading the market — there aren’t a plethora of options when it comes to sunless-tanning your face, in particular. But don’t expect this to be your classic ‘SPF moisturizer with a hint of tan,’ when it comes to Tan Luxe we’re talking hyaluronic serums, “sleeping oil” and anti-aging formulas. At $47 for water that works as a hydrating mist, Tan Luxe doesn’t exactly come with the drug store price tag, but imagine a subtle, non-transferable spritz of color with no effort required (that is, without getting your hands dirty). Truly genius.

'Superglow Hyaluronic Serum' by Tan Luxe review

‘Superglow Hyaluronic Serum’ by Tan Luxe. Photo by Beatrice Hazelhurst/ Very Good Light

So it works?

Absolutely, but be wary in your approach as Tan Luxe formulas are potent. Even as a regular gradual self-tanner (hi Jergens!), the brand is going to take some wrangling to make work for you. Waking up after applying the sleep oil to my face, I had readied myself for a gentle, build-able glow — instead, I got two-weeks-baking-in-Barbados. Maybe the Glasgow girls traditionally want for a little more color, but it felt all a little premature in the fledgling spring. Nonetheless my face remarkably still looked natural — if, at this stage, off-kilter from the rest of my body — despite my face reaching a depth I had never before seen on myself.

What’s best way to use the products?

Conflicting Tan Luxe reviews see users mixing the oils with their moisturizers, or combining them with serums, while others claim the products separate when combined with non-tanning skincare. This was unsurprising considering Tan Luxe’s mantra is “tailor-made” skincare — you interpret the products application as you see fit.

Personally, I found that good things come in small doses when it comes to Tan Luxe. Instead of filling the entire dropper with the serum or oil, take about half of what you would with a regular product. Start at the center of the face and spread it to the outer edges with caution to avoid staining your ears and hairline. You’re also at risk of a blotchy neck, so make sure to spread as evenly as possible and keep your neck upright (that is, not creasing), for 10 minutes or until it really sinks in. I would also suggest applying either the tan or the oil products at the end of your routine so as not to dilute it in various patches. And please, for your sake, remember to wash the Tan Luxe your hands after each application.

Tan Luxe 'Body Butter,' 'Sleep Oil' and 'Superglow Hyaluronic Serum' swatches review

From left: ‘Body Butter,’ and the near-sheer ‘Sleep Oil’ and ‘Superglow Hyaluronic Serum’ by Tan Luxe (Photo by Beatrice Hazehurt/ Very Good Light)

Is Tan Luxe really worth it?

If you prefer and your body suits a heavy tan, go for it with the gradual tanners or oils (for me it was difficult to nail even-ness with so much deposited color) for body. For that reason I often avoid an oil, mousse or anything requiring a mitt, but even the body butter was a bit too much too soon for me. I did, however appreciate the Twilight-esque sparkle, to the gradual tan (something to keep in mind for those who like a strictly matte product).

When it comes to your face? Tan Luxe easily eclipses its own hype. The hyaluronic serum for a light, even, everyday glow — works particularly well when combined with your regular serum — the face oil to use sparingly or with a heavy hand depending on your tan needs, but the Tan Luxe “Water” is the type of the product we’ve been waiting eons for. Each review concurs these products will go the distance for you, making the investment worth it for many months of use. We won’t let you lay out, but this is the next best thing.

BUY HERE, Tan Luxe drops, $47

This brand wants to share profits with you.

The influencer market has reached fever pitch.

With so many #ad #sponsored #partner posts, it seems as if every brand has put most of their marketing dollars into influencers. No surprise to anyone then, that it’s a $9.7 billion industry. But what’s the ROI and are consumers really buying products touted by other people? Maybe.

But new brands are thinking outside the box and moving forward so that they are transparent in their marketing approach. One such beauty company is My Beauty Brand, which is all about peer-to-peer recommendations where customers become the sellers. That means, there’s no monetary transaction, no pay-to-play, so to speak. Taking it a step further, the brand says it’s “anti-influencer,” meaning no one gets paid to use their products or tout it on social media.

When did beauty get so ugly? When you got paid to say you love me,” the brand’s slogan reads. Everyone posts, but no one delivers,” says another. 

Harper’s Bazaar already dubbed the brand a “digital Avon for Gen Zers due to the fact that consumers can create their own stores and money goes back to consumers. The site makes it a seamless process with users creating looks, uploading their photos to a ‘Your Store’ section, which then allows them to earn commission. 

SEE ALSO: GQ just discovered men wear makeup

So, what is My Beauty Brand? By opening a virtual store on My Beauty Brand’s site and posting looks, users can earn up to 20% (30% through the month of March!) when others shop their respective stores. Though, unlike working at a physical brick and mortar, you aren’t making an hourly wage. It also means you’re going to need to sell lots to make significant money. An £18 lipstick would get you £3.40 with 20% profits. 

Founded by Max Leykind and Robin Derrick, they teamed up with Central Saint Martins and London College of Fashion students to create packaging with Gen-Z appeal. Sleek white and silver encasing with magnetic closures allow for endless perfect vanity photos to be taken and appreciated by MBB lovers everywhere.

(Photo by Olivia Cefalu/ Very Good Light)

We got our hands on some of their By.Me. products and needless to say, we were floored. Impressed is an understatement. This brand doesn’t just have beautiful packaging and an amazing mission, the formulas are nothing we’ve seen before. We tested their RichGlide Cream Lipstick, Pure Power Blush, Sheer Brilliance Highlighter, and Total Colour Metallic Eyepaint. All of their products are completely gluten-free, paraben-free and cruelty-free. Most are vegan but a select few are not which you can easily filter on their website. After trying all four products we realized there was little to complain about. The pigment, the buildability, the wear. High quality at its best – it’s money. These products answered all of our beauty hopes and dreams. 

We opted for their Pure Power Blush in the color India Coral Pink. With any powder blush, you need to get the right sheen. You never want your skin to look dry when you’re trying to perfect a flawless flush while staying dewy. This formula actually felt hydrating? Which is weird to say for a powder blush. We brushed a bit over our nose too for some extra coral goodness.

Next came the Sheer Brilliance Highlighter. And hey, highlighters are tough. They don’t always show up on certain skin tones and well, that is the point of a highlighter. To show up and catch that damn light! Their Maria Honey Gold color seemed different and very intriguing. It offered a warm freshly-sunned glow without ever being in the actual rays.

We know that all that glitters is not gold, believe us. Glitter eyeshadow is messy, creases, and always falls out onto our faces making a mess. But not the Total Colour Metallic Eyepaint. It has a creamy texture. For real. While highly blendable and buildable, it never loses the look of when you first applied it. We love the Colette Copper Foil color. 

(Photo by Olivia Cefalu/ Very Good Light)

Lastly, the RichGlide Cream Lipstick. We were skeptical and a clear gloss or even just chapstick usually does it for us. We feared the lipstick (despite its name) would reject our crusty winter lips. But yet again, we were surprised. Upon opening, it was nothing like Glossier’s Generation G. It actually LOOKED creamy and hydrating. It needed reapplying throughout the day but we didn’t mind as we looked awaited each needed additional swipe. Elodie Blush Rose, while a very natural color gives you an elevated lewk for sure.


  • My Beauty Brand is a brand that shares profits with its users
  • They’re anti-influencer and all about giving a voice to customers
  • Paraben free, gluten-free and mostly vegan
  • Their product packaging is chic and actual applications are superb.

Does the new Hanacure nano emulsion moisturizer work?

Like everyone, I spent a recent weekend gawking at my television, wondering what the hell was going on.

I was watching a show called “Love is Blind,” transfixed over a man announcing himself as “Obviously Nick Lachey,” and it got me thinking: Are things in life so obvious?  

SEE ALSO: We tested Hanacure’s Internet-famous All-In-One mask

I began binge-watching the show until its reunion episode and as I ate my Pringles, drowned it with a gulp of La Croix thought this question could very well translate to my beauty products. With my hands that I washed for no less than the length of singing “Happy Birthday” in its entirety, I reached for a beauty product and pumped it into my pores. It was Hanacure’s new Nano Emulsion moisturizer, the second product in its lineup. Could this beautiful product, with its minimal, clean, all-white packaging, prove that love is blind? Or would I be affected by the fact that this was from the same brand that created an absolute sensation with its All-In-One-Facial.

Hanacure emulsion moisturizer review

(Photo by David Yi / Very Good Light)

To refresh you, Hancure’s All-In-One-Facial is the same you’ve probably seen somewhere on Facebook or Instagram. You can catch the review here. With its serum mixed with a gelling solution, the product tightens your skin and shrivels it so tightly, you resembled Betsy DeVos. But the product works! Afterwards, you get not only a gleaming complexion, but skin so taut, you’re like a newly birthed child. It’s why celebs from Drew Barrymore to the Kardashians have endorsed it.

Could Hanacure’s Nano Emulsion moisturizer evoke the same kind of devotion?


Hanacure emulsion moisturizer review

(Photo by David Yi / Very Good Light)

The formula’s supposed to drench your pores with instant hydration, leaving your skin dewy and moisturized for the entire day.. More so, it’s supposed to improve your skin’s appearance and tone. The secret sauce? Its peptides mixed with a mushroom called antrodia cinnamomea, aka “Ruby of the Forest.” The mushroom is so elusive, its trees it’s grown on are protected by the Taiwanese government. Supposedly, the mushrooms alone account for over $100 million in sales, with there being a general consensus that it cures ailments including cancer.

That being said, could it work on my crusty AF face? It’s been a long and dreary winter and with a certain flu becoming a global pandemic, I’ve been over-cleansing my hands, wrists, and face as a pre-caution. As such, my face in particular has been screaming for a drench of moisture.

First thoughts

Guy hand with Korean beauty moisturizer for review

(Photo by David Yi / Very Good Light)

At first pump, the creamy formula soaked into my pores as quickly as a kernal of oatmeal soaks water. I instantly felt dewy, plump, as if I went to a facial. The product is oil-free and as such, it’s lightweight, not unlike water, and feels like nothing when wearing it on your face. It’s fragrance-free, and for some that may be a problem – natural scents aren’t always a winner. But I felt as if this one wasn’t offensive and at the very least, is an amazing first step before an SPF or night cream, so that point becomes moot.

While totally providing me with instant moisture, I don’t know if this product alone will last me from day to night. I’m currently in Colorado, one of more barren states in the country, where the climate seems so soak out any moisture for your skin cells. I do feel that this is great for the summertime. As an emulsion, it’s probably all you need in wet and humid climates and perfect for allowing your skin to breathe.

Love isn’t blind, I concluded for this review. But love can be sparked on first sight, alone. As for the Hanacure nano emulsion moisturizer? Yes, I will be keeping it in my beauty arsenal – perfect for that extra step before a heavy cream – on those nights when all I care to do is luxuriate in my thoughts, be one with my skin, with a delightful television show blasting in the background.


Hand with Korean beauty moisturizer for review

(Photo by David Yi / Very Good Light)

So uh, does the Hanacure Nano Emulsion Moisturizer ~actually~ work?

-Instantly provides you with moisture.

-Lightweight and soaks into skin really well.

-Doesn’t last all day, but great for a first-step to a heavier moisturizer.

-Buy or Bye? Definitely BUY this one.

BUY Hanacure’s Nano Emulsion Moisturizer HERE, $47

8 new face oils to upgrade to

Facial oils

(Photo by David Yi/ Very Good Light)

It’s the season of contemplating change.

Apple TV+ and Disney Plus be damned, fall is a time to rethink your summer purchases and switch them anew. If Netflix is your go-to face oil, think of Hulu as the product you borrow from you friend, while Amazon Prime is that tincture hidden somewhere in the back that you only realize is back there after reading this article.

SEE ALSO: 3 dancers on their glow-inducing secrets

With so many new programs and shows around the corner, consider these new cord-cutting networks as symbols of your change of face oils. They’re fresh, feel familiar, and exciting  – for now. Allow these products to wow you throughout your upcoming weeks and if they fall flat, well, like Netflix, you can always go back.

We’ve compiled the best new oils. Some you’ve probably heard of, others are start-ups, and still others are super indie and niche. Whatever the case, allow these oils to soak your pores, soothe your skin, quench its thirst. And after, pop some popcorn in the microwave and allow it to do its thing as you do yours – “Lizzie McGuire” reboot, you better come correct.

Saint Jane Beauty’s Luxury Beauty Serum, $125, 30mL

Luxury you say? This better well be for $125! The silky soft formula is antioxidant-rich with 500 mg of CBD. We know what you’re thinking – CBwho? Truly, with so many CBD oils on the market how does this differ? For one, it also has 20 other botanicals to saturate your skin with delicious goodness. These come in the form of Sea Buckthorn, reship, pomegranate, and more. Together, it makes for the perfect formula to soothe, calm and make your skin look like you have $125 worth of products are, because you do. BUY HERE

Cir-Cell’s Extraordinary Face Oil, $165, 30 mL

Called “Nancy’s Blend,” this oil is perfect for those with red, sensitive, or really fussy skin. The main ingredient is this is fermented olive oil, which is super hydrating. With dozens of other oils like sweet almond, apricot, jojoba, lavender, chamomile and so much more, you’ll realize this is one of the most potent oils but is super easy on your skin. For those who have acne-prone or even cystic acne, this does wonders. BUY HERE

Circumference Pure Balancing Botanical Face Oil, $100, 30 mL

For a great glow with makeup, try Circumference’s Pure Balancing Botanical Face Oil. It’s light, super hydrating, non-greasy and also goes into your pores super fast. With a good balance between fatty acids and antioxidants, it contains 16 organic botanicals like prickly pear, sea buckthorn, sacha niche, and more. Plays nice with other products or works magic on its own. BUY HERE

Facial oils

Supernal’s Cosmic Glow Oil, $108, 30 mL

Perhaps you’ve browsed through Instagram and come across Supernal, or saw it at your local Credo store. Whatever the case, this beautiful and bewitching emerald oil looks like the Wicked Witch of the West. With vitamin C, Omegas 3, 6 and 9, this organic, natural formula is great for all skin types. No wonder, as it has so many powerhouse oils combined including: camellia, sesame seed, cranberry, blue tansy, and more. Warning: Applying both morning and night will leave you looking like a supernatural creature straight from the galaxy in the best way possible. BUY HERE

Prima, Night Magic oil, $88, 30 mL

This new CBD oil from Prima may only have 150 mg of broad spectrum hemp oil, but don’t disregard it. Together with botanical oils (avocado, mooring, kukui) along with Vitamins E and K, fatty acids, phytosterols (plant-derived cholesterol that’s beautiful for skin!), and more, this leaves your skin balanced and glowy. A few drops before bed will send you on a magical skincare journey that’ll hit your eyes wake up and press snooze. BUY HERE

Plant People Revive Face Serum, $82, 32mL

This CBD oil contains 300 mg of CBD + CBD with 13 other potent botanicals, which makes it great for inflammation. With its mixed of olive, blue tansy, yarrow oil, and more, this not only calms redness but does a great job at purifying pores and decreasing puffiness.  BUY HERE

Codex Facial Oil, $90, 30mL

With its unusual matte pastel green package, this Irish oil is not only Instagram-worthy, but truly powerful from the inside out. The oil is completely organic, free of pesticides, chemical compounds, and made with biotechnology practices. The result is an ethical product that helps moisturize, treat, and smooth skin out. The oil contains kiwi, rosemary, reship, baobab and more, to create a concoction that will accentuate that glow. BUY HERE

Le Prunier, $72, 30mL

Possibly the most minimal of our round up, this oil is completely made of plum oil. Beautifully scented (you’ll want to eat, but don’t!), this clean oil only contains plum, which is said to have antioxidants, fatty acids 6 and 9, as well as polyphenols, which helps against the elements. As a bonus: plum oil comes rich with vitamin A and E to heal, hydrate, and pushes your skin to be better. BUY HERE 

I swear these two products cleared my blackheads

Charlotte Cho handed me two mysterious boxes.

It was September and we were catching up in New York City with two other friends at an Italian joint, when the founder of Then I Met You and Soko Glam handed them over.

SEE ALSO: See our 2018 skincare winners!

“I really am curious about your results,” she told me. There’s a lot of pressure when you’re actually friends with a founder of a brand and you’re a journalist. For one, you’re desperately rooting for their product to be really, really good. One, because you want them to find success, but also because you need to be objective and so you don’t have to give them awkward feedback later. It reminds me of how I’m friends with a few comedians in LA whose jokes are so painfully unfunny I’ve requested they don’t share any new material with me. It’s easier on the friendship.

Then I Met You

(Photo by David Yi / Very Good Light)

Good thing, then, that Charlotte’s products are legit. In fact, we named the brand’s Living Cleansing Balm, $38, as our best oil cleanser for 2018. And so I knew I could hopefully have the same results and opinions after testing two of her new products.

When I got home and opened the boxes, I found they were part of TIMY’s The Skin Balancing Duo, which includes The Giving Essence, $50, and its Birch Milk Refining Toner, $32. Together, you get a small discount at $78. Both come in the brand’s signature periwinkle blue, not only aesthetic AF but 100 mL, which would probably last me about 3 months with continual use.

After testing the products for almost 3 months, I still have a quarter of product leftover. The results? Well, let’s just say I can keep seeing Charlotte as a friend and talk about her product with her. That is, I loved both of the products, but not for reasons you’d expect.

Then I Met You

(Photo by David Yi / Very Good Light)

Toner Review

Let’s talk the Birch Milk Refining toner first. The product is milky but isn’t thick – think skim milk consistency, and has relatively no fragrance. It’s made of 76% concentration of birch juice aka sap, which is a natural ingredient that soothes, calms and treats inflamed skin. Mixed together with marshmallow root extract, known for calming itchy skin, as well as squalene, it’s perfect for hydrating skin while soothing it. But this formula also has pore-refining AHAs and PHAs, two acids known for sloughing dead skin cells and exfoliating.

The milky goodness made my skin baby-bottom soft. After the harshness of water, it softened my skin while giving an instant glow. I’d been experiencing hormonal cystic acne, caused mostly by my inability to shave my facial hair, and seems to have calmed it a little.

Then I Met You

(Photo by David Yi / Very Good Light)

Essence Review

Together with the slightly more expensive essence, made of fermented berries, red algae, and more, the products seemed to work in tandem to plump up my skin. The black chokeberry, a superfood ingredient very high in antioxidants, together with the red algae, brightened my skin over time. After three months, my dull, gray-ish, rather sad skin became renewed. Someone actually complimented me that I seemed more “radiant” and I knew it was this product since it’s the only toner / essence combo I’ve been using.

The product’s galactomyces perhaps explains the biggest breakthrough of this product. According to TIMY’s website, it’s an ingredient that’s “fermented sake that has proven skin care benefits including reducing the appearance of pores, blackheads and sebum.”

I gasped. 

Though I can’t say it cured my cysts, it did something miraculous. Indeed, after using this for weeks on end, the two product in tandem seemed to clear my blackheads. I didn’t expect a toner / essence to actually leave my nose unclogged. My pores are small and I have combination skin, which is the worst as it clogs oils under the skin. But I can confidently say that in three months I haven’t had to think about my blackheads at all. They aren’t leave me squeezing my nose every other week.



Then I Met You

(Photo by David Yi / Very Good Light)

If products can allow me to free my brain from blackheads to do other things, like, read a new novel about how to destroy my enemies, or cooking a meal to impress a future spouse, I’m sold. That’s pretty much a winner in my book.

But perhaps best part of all: I can still be friends with Charlotte while giving her positive feedback. That my friends, is all worth it!

BUY Then I Met You’s The Skin Balancing Duo HERE