Samples Showdown: Exuviance

Today’s Samples Showdown features three products from the same company.  Awhile ago, Exuviance sent me a set of deluxe samples to try, which were the Performance Peel AP25, the OptiLight Essential 6 Serum, and the Evening Restorative Complex.  To be honest, I was a little scared of using the peel since I have sensitive skin, and also recently just recovered from some mad beach sunburn.



Exuviance’s Performance Peel comes in two pouches, an activator pad and a neutralizer pad.  Upon opening the activator pad, I was hit in the face with some serious chemical smell that reminded me of a perm.  Thankfully, this went away after application, which was surprisingly gentle.  After a few minutes of leaving it on my face, the product became tacky to the touch, and my skin started tightening.  There was minor tingling, but redness or discomfort.  Following their directions, I removed the activator after 10 minutes using the neutralizer pad, and then rinsed with water.  Immediately I could feel that my skin felt smooth and firm.

THE VERDICT: If I’m ever shopping for an easy-to-apply peel, this would definitely make the list.  But I don’t think this is something I’ll need to buy for a long time.


I can’t say much about the OptiLight serum since I haven’t been using it long enough.  In terms of smell and texture, it’s unassuming but also not memorable.



This is a pretty nice moisturizer.  In a gel-cream formula, it feels light and absorbs quickly into the skin. It’s biggest downside is that it’s not quite moisturizing enough for my combination skin.

THE VERDICT: If you have oily skin, this will probably work for you as a nighttime moisturizer!


Philosophy Haul

Aaaah Philosophy.  I have a lot of memories tied up with this brand and their products.  When I first started working at Sephora, Philosophy was just getting really big – probably due to the Oprah bump.  It was one of my manager’s favourite brands, and we were encouraged to introduce their products as the first line of skin defense.

philosophy haul
The goodies!

Purity, of course, is the original workhorse of facewashes.  A gently foaming formula that is good for most skin types and purposes (but be careful around the eyes, this animal bites).  Back in the days when I worked at Sephora, we used to use Purity to clean the brushes from the makeup stations.  I loooove how it smells, but not how it feels.  I don’t really use Purity as a facial cleanser, but it’s become a habit to use it as a beauty tool cleanser (I’m looking at you, grimy sponges).

Hope In A Jar is not for me either, but there’s something about the whipped texture of that moisturizer always gets people excited.  After all, it was one of Oprah’s “Favourite Things!”  Ergo, it serves as a fantastic gift for a fellow product junkie.  In this case, mommy dearest.  The Microdelivery Peel and Philosophy’s new fragrance Loveswept was also put aside for mom, which leaves only one product: Miracle Worker.

Philosophy Miracle Worker

Miracle Worker is one of the products hitting the market that is reviving the retinol hype.  It is billed as “miraculous anti-ageing retinoid pads” with “next-generation retinoid technology that helps maximise skin’s rejuvenation potential, while minimising the risk of irritation commonly associated with traditional retinols.”  Outside of anti-ageing, many reviewers remarked that Miracle Worker eliminated blackheads and drastically decreased the size of their pores.

It comes in two parts – a bottle of oil, and a tub of 60 pads.  You pour the oil onto the pads, allowing the product to be soaked up before use.  One pad really does go a long way; I’m able to use one pad for the entire face, neck, and both hands and arms.  The pads are honey-combed and a little bit abrasive, which gives an exfoliating effect.  Philosophy recommends using Miracle Worker every day (with a healthy dose of sunscreen too!), which I did for a few weeks, before I decided to tone it down.

Why?  Honestly, it was just too much exfoliation for my skin to handle.  My cheeks began flaking and my entire face began to look a bit dull.  I don’t think there is anything wrong with the product, just that I have sensitive skin.  Miracle Worker definitely works.  Of all the products I’ve used to close up those pesky pores, none has worked so well or so quickly as this one.  Just don’t use it too much!