Radha Beauty Skin Clearing Serum

Here’s a product that was a surprise hit for me – the Skin Clearing Serum from Radha Beauty.

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Radha Beauty is a natural skincare line started by Singaporean-Indian Rebekah Letch in 2014.  In their own words, they are:

high performance with natural and healthy ingredients and partner with earth-loving, women-empowering organizations, use Eco-friendly packaging, and we never stop striving to improve our products and our impact on the world. Our products are Cruelty Free and Not Tested on Animals.

They are one of those companies that talk about how chemicals are “toxic”, which is a turn off for me.  But, since they are transparent about their ingredients and place an importance on actives, I thought I would give them a try.


Organic Herbal Infusion, Organic Aloe Barbadensis Leaf (Aloe), Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C), MSM, Vegan Hyaluronic Acid, Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), Retinol, Olive Oil Squalene, Capryloyl Salicylic Acid, Organic Rosehip Seed Oil, Carbomer, (2s)-2-Amino-5-guanidinopentanoic Acid, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree Essential Oil), Lavender Essential Oil, Ylang Ylang Essential Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Ethyl Hexyl Glycerin.

In terms of actives, this serum has 2% Vitamin C, 2.5% Retinol, and 2% Salicylic Acid (BHA).  Please note that I tested this serum to be at a pH of 6-7, which is not the range where BHA is effective.


It also has one of my favourite ingredients, niacindamide.   I have combination skin with hormonal breakouts, and these are the ingredients I usually turn to to lighten my PIH anyway.   However, this cocktail might be a con for some in that there are multiple actives in one product.  It’s not great if you’re looking for a vitamin C product but not retinol, or vice versa.


This serum is milky white and slightly runny, and spreads easily on the skin.  I especially like it layered with my bottle of Hada Labo Gokujyun Lotion.  It is not moisturizing enough on its own, nor is it intended to be used as a standalone in your routine.


Love the pump dispenser.   It’s convenient, it’s hygenic, and I always get the right amount. This is probably the biggest plus of this product versus the other vitamin C serums I have used before (I have reviewed Instanatural’s and Valentia’s in the past, which both come in droppers).


I didn’t think very much about this product, but I ended up liking it so much that it has made it’s way into my regular routine.  By no means is this a miracle product, and while it works very well to lighten my PIH, this was something that I expected with a well-formulated product with these ingredients.  The main reason I like this serum is because of convenience – its blend of actives were ones that I was already using, albeit in separate products, and I’m a huge sucker for pump dispensers.

Mary Kay Clear Proof Acne System

Last month, an Influenster VoxBox brought me the full Mary Kay Clear Proof Acne System.   The Clear Proof set comes with four items and are meant to be used together for the best effect.  Mary Kay also sells a fifth Clear Proof product that is not included in the set, the Pore Purifying Serum, which I did not get to try.  All products in this system are fragrance free.

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I love a nice, cooling, cleansing gel when my face is inflamed in breakouts.  This gel cleanser washes to a lather and rinses away squeaky clean.  I like this cleanser a lot as a dupe for Murad’s Clarifying Cleanser.  It has 2% salicylic acid, which is one of the number one ingrediants to fight acne.  Although the concentration of salicylic acid is pretty good, (compare to Murad’s Clarifying Cleanser, which has 1.5%), keep in mind that since the product is only on your face for a short time and then rinsed away, its effectiveness won’t be as high as a different type of product with the same concentration (for example, a toner…).


This is the worst product in the series – I forced myself to use it for a week for the sake of the trial, but I just couldn’t take it for any longer than that!  It is incredibly astringent and feels/smells strongly of alcohol.  Even if you have oily skin, using skin care products with alcohol overly strips your skin of its protective acid mantle, resulting in dry, damaged skin.  This product has 2% salicylic acid like the cleanser, but according to the Beautypedia, the pH of the toner is too high for it to even function properly (and if /r/SkincareAddiction has taught me anything, its to be careful about the pH of your product!).  Gosh.  For a salicylic acid product that actually has the proper pH and doesn’t make your eyes sting, try Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant (click here to get $10 off your order).


This acne treatment gel is medicated with 5% benzoyl peroxide, a heavy hitter when ti comes to killing acne-causing bacteria.  It has a leg up on other benzoyl peroxide treatment gels, in that it doesn’t leave a film (I’m looking at you Clinique) nor does it make my skin itchy (Murad is guilty of this).  As far as spot treatments in general goes, its not as immediately effective as Kate Somerville’s EradiKate (which has sulphur and AHAs), but it does work.  Over the course of 3 days in my first week of use, I saw one of my persistent closed comedones come to a head and then dry up.  Out of this set of 4, this treatment gel is my favourite product.


One of the most persistent misunderstandings about acne prone and oily skin is that because there is too much oil, you don’t need to moisturize.  This is absolutely wrong!  Neglecting to moisturize your skin will cause it to overcompensate by producing more of the very oils that we don’t want (I learned this the hard way).  This moisturizer is a lightweight lotion, and best of all, it contains niacinamide,  which is an antioxidant that also helps your skin to increase the natural production of ceramides, lipids which keep your skin hydrated.  There are only two problems – first, the formula is so lightweight its runny, and its tube packaging makes it hard to not dispense too much.  Second, on the area of my face around my lips, this moisturizer gives me a weird numbing tingle.  Not sure that that is, but it’s a dealbreaker for an otherwise effective moisturizer.

All in all, the Clear Proof Acne System is a generally effective and wallet-friendly set that is suitable for people with mild to moderate acne.   The system takes care of the big essential ingredients for combating acne with products featuring salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and niacinamide.

The Clear Proof Acne System retails for $45, and you can also buy each piece from the series individually.

I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

DIY Green Tea and Tea Tree Oil Facial Toner

In my last post I wrote about Apothecary Extract’s 100% Pure Australian Tea Tree Oil and the versatility of tea tree oil.  Today I’m sharing my favourite homemade beauty recipe using tea tree oil, a refreshing and clarifying facial toner.

This Green Tea and Tea Tree Oil toner is great for everyday use (especially in the AM!) if you are looking for a fresh, blemish free face.  Green tea brightens your complexion and reduces inflammation, while tea tree oil, a natural bacteria fighter, work together with witch hazel to cleanse and clarify. With the addition of soothing lavender, healing bergamot, and balancing jasmine, this toner is an all around winner.   If you suffer from breakouts or oily skin, or need a skin wake-me-up , this is for you!


  • a dark colored or opaque 8 oz/250 ml bottle
  • 1/4 cup witch hazel
  • 10 drops tea tree oil
  • 3 drops jasmine oil
  • 3 drops bergamot oil
  • 3 drops lavender oil
  • 1 cup green tea, cooled to room temperature

The bottle you use to store this toner must be dark colored (forest green, navy, brown) or opaque in order to preserve the integrity of the tea tree oil, which reacts to light.  Either a spray nozzle or a regular cap will do.  I re-used my empty spray bottle from Lush, which is perfect because it is black.  This was a bottle of Tea Tree Water, which I enjoyed using – but I find that this homemade recipe is even better!

First, pour the witch hazel into your clean and dry bottle.  Any kind of alcohol-free witch hazel will do; I used Thayer’s in Cucumber (yum!!).  Then, carefully add in each essential oil.  If any of your oils come in a carrier oil (for example, my jasmine absolute oil was in a jojoba base), add twice as much.  Finally, pour in the green tea until the bottle is full.  You may have some left over – drink or discard.  I used Yamamotoyama Jasmine Green Tea, though most kinds of green tea will do, as long as it doesn’t carry fine particles (such as matcha).   Shake well.  Although it is not necessary, you may store it in the refrigerator for an especially refreshing toner experience.

Enjoy on a cotton pad after cleaning, or spritzed on face any time of the day.  Soaked cotton rounds over the eyes will give you an instant perk up to eye baggies and dark circles.

If you’re curious about the properties of these ingredients, check out Organic Facts.

Apothecary Extracts 100% Pure Australian Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is one of my all time favourite beauty tools – it is such a versatile ingredient, and can be used in a variety of ways!  Tea tree oil products are a staple for me when it comes to acne treatment and aromatherapy (in the bath, as a massage, or in the vaporizer).    So I was thrilled when Apothecary Extracts sent me a huge 118 mL (4 oz) bottle of 100% Pure Australian Tea Tree Oil!

One of these giant bottles will last you a long time!

Apothecary Extracts also sent an eBook with over 50 recipes using tea tree oil, ranging from facial lotion to shampoo to household cleanser!  100% pure means that a little bit goes a long way.  For example, in a recipe for facial toner, only a dozen drops are required for a potent formula.  Tea tree oil can also be spot applied directly onto problem areas such as on pimples (be careful, it’s strong!).  My bottle from Apothecary Extracts still looks full, even after whipping up a couple of recipes with it and using it for spot treatments.  I expect it will last me a long long time.

Apothecary Extracts 100% Pure Australian Tea Tree Oil plus the free recipe eBook can be purchased on Amazon for $24.99.

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