I’ve been really excited about this blog post for a while, now. Today in partnership with Sephora, I’m going to talk about my three favorite skincare launches of 2021… (so far)! Testing out new products is definitely one of my favorite perks of my job, and something I don’t take lightly. I consider it a really important responsibility – to try as many things I can, and report back to you with my favorites.
Each of the three products I’m speaking about here is amazing in its own way: a Vitamin C serum that will leave your skin even-looking and glowy; a scrub that smells like candy and leaves your skin feeling incredibly smooth, and an encapsulated retinol eye product that hydrates while also helping to smooth away the look of fine lines.
Let’s dive in!
My 3 Favorite Skincare Launches of 2021 (So far!)
Biossance Squalane + 10% Vitamin C Dark Spot Serum
I hadn’t found a Vitamin C serum that I truly loved until I tried this. I’ve talked about this several times now on the blog and instagram but this serum is the real deal. It contains 10% of Biossance’s proprietary (water-soluble) Vitamin C to brighten and even the appearance of skin tone as well as White Shitake Mushroom to fade the look of dark spots while targeting the formation of new ones! It also (as with all Biossance products) contains Biossance’s proprietary squalane (derived from sugar cane) to hydrate and soften the skin. I love that Biossance puts squalane in all of their really active products like this serum to help hydrate and avoid irritation.
This serum is great for ALL skin types and goes on after cleansing, before moisturizing!
You know I love a good clinical study. Biossance conducted a study of 34 women between ages 25-29 and the results are pretty amazing. After 28 days of twice daily use:
- 100% agree this product helps improve the look of dark spots
- 100% agree this product improves the look of sun damage
- 100% agree this product helps make skin appear more even
As for me and my personal experience, this is now a necessary step in my morning skincare. I’ve been using it since early December and my skin is noticeably brighter and my skin tone is more even looking.
OLEHENRIKSEN Lemonade Smoothing Scrub
This scrub smells EXACTLY like a lemon drop candy. But I promise you that’s not the only reason I love it! It targets fine lines and wrinkles, dullness, and uneven texture. It visibly re-texturizes and polishes the skin with both physical (sugar!) and chemical (acids!) exfoliants. Hot tip: Gently massage this into your skin for a full two minutes for your smoothest skin ever. Once a week I make sure to set a timer for two minutes and do this. The results will blow your mind.
It’s great for all skin types and is packed with AHAs, ultra fine sugar, lemon peel extract, and chamomile (to soothe and calm). It’s hands down, my favorite face scrub right now.
In a clinical study on 37 women conducted by OLEHENRIKSEN, after just one use 100% of users agreed that a) it polishes and re-texturizes the skin, b) it removes impurities from pores, and c) it deeply purifies.
Peace Out Retinol Eye Stick
This is how I wind down my bedtime skincare routine! It’s a concentrated serum balm packed with encapsulated retinol (encapsulated retinol is a version of retinol that envelops the ingredient in a protective barrier, making it more stable and allowing it to penetrate more deeply into the skin) to help smooth the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and texture around that delicate eye area. It glides on easily and provides lasting hydration while you sleep around the full eye area – both under and over the eye.
I love how hydrating it is. Besides giving you those retinol benefits, it’s rich with emollients. So you won’t wake up with dry under eyes!
Created in partnership with Sephora // photography by Allie Provost.
Hi Grace! Do you have opinions on acid vs physical/scrub exfoliants – and whether it’s good to have both in your routine? Thanks!
Hi Kayla, absolutely best to have both!!!! I personally use this scrub a couple times a week and lactic acid at night a couple times a week. I love that this scrub has a blend of physical AND chemical exfoliants!
Is the scrub for body or for facev??
I love that scrub! I think you posted it awhile back, and I’m so happy I took your recommendation. The smell, the results, everything! It’s like a treat every time I shower!
Oh good I am so glad!!!
Hi Grace! I know you mentioned you hadn’t found a great Vitamin C until this product so you might not have an answer for my question, but that’s ok if so! Can you recommend a Vitamin C that’s at least under $40? Preferably closer to drug-store prices? I know it won’t be high tech but hoping there’s something out there. I’ve also read recently that you should dampen your face before applying moisturizer as that helps it absorb easier/deeper into the skin. What do you think about that? I’m afraid it would affect any serums/other products I’ve already put on!
The first vitamin C serum I tried was this one: https://www.target.com/p/vichy-liftactiv-vitamin-c-brightening-skin-corrector-face-serum-0-34-fl-oz/-/A-52724981 – I was hooked! After 2 bottles I moved on to more expensive products but I definitely found the Vichy was effective.
Thank you for sharing!
This one is $20! I really like it. It is a little bit sticky (a personal pet peeve) but it really brightens up the skin tone! https://click.linksynergy.com/deeplink?id=GYT3ZGhalq0&mid=2417&murl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sephora.com%2Fproduct%2Fultra-glow-serum-glow-strengthen-vitamin-c-serum-P442594%3Fcountry_switch%3Dus%26lang%3Den%26skuId%3D2100220%26om_mmc%3Dppc-GG_1917656315_68579075737_aud-1170525231516%3Apla-419039568934_2100220_353513009752_9073497_c%26ds_rl%3D1261471%26gclid%3DCj0KCQiAvbiBBhD-ARIsAGM48bykc2ndZLvnodxDvvl763eKbLVgVcUpKs-xB0jyxqlNTqvUNF5YAbsaAhW2EALw_wcB%26gclsrc%3Daw.ds
I would personally not recommend dampening skin before moisturizer! Especially if you are already putting on serums or essence on… doesn’t seem to make sense. Sometimes in the morning if I don’t wash my face I will just dampen it and then pat it dry but that’s the only time I do that.
Love the packaging of these products! Hopefully they’ll be available where I live before long! ❤️✨
Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
Hope so too!!!
I tried the OH lemon scrub and felt the same way. I loveeee lemon scented things!
Yay it is the besssssst!
Hey Grace – re: Biossance vit C serum… if you were to choose between that and the Vit C oil that Biossance has, which would you choose? I’ve been using the oil (and in the way that you’ve recommended) but I am starting to think my skin isn’t a fan of it.
I would go with the serum! The oil is really just a (very nice!!!) face oil with a small amount of vitamin C. It’s not super active. I talk about that in this post! https://thestripe.com/biossance-squalane-and-vitamin-c-dark-spot-serum-review/
I bought the Olehenriksen Lemon Scrub as soon as you posted on your IG stories and I’m obsessed! Acids have been a game changer for me in my 30s and I love using this 1-2x a week in the shower. It’s a full experience!
omg isn’t it amazing!!!!! It smells heavenly and gets skin so smooth.
This is very random but I’m stumped. I’ve recently purchased a few skincare products you’ve recommended from your blog, but not sure the order and frequency to use them. I consulted your blog post about skincare order, but am still not sure. I have:
Kiehls fine line reducing vitamin c serum
Okay retinol moisturizer
Biossance lactic acid serum
I have a hyralonic acid serum I use as well
I’m worried if I combine two of these it might have a negative effect, and don’t know how often to use each? Sorry for asking such a specific question, I’m so excited to try your recs though!
Haha no worries. I would not put these together except for the HA, which I think is fine to mix with any of these! My general rule is that I do acids 2-3x a week and retinol 2x a week, trying to alternate, with breaks in between.
So a good routine could be –
M – retinol
T – HA serum and moistuizer
W – lactic acid
T – HA serum and moisturizer
F – retinol
Sat – HA serum and moisturizer
Sun – lactic acid
And use the kiehls for areas with fine lines as needed. Probs wouldn’t mix with retinol or lactic acid, but what I tend to do is use those everywhere and do the kiehls just on my forehead!
I hope that is helpful, let me know if you have any follow ups! (ANd my usual caveat – I’m not a derm!) xo
Oh gosh, have you tried Skinceuticals C+E vitamin C serum? It’s a game changer and recommended by all the dermatologists. The whole line is fantastic, but that product is the best!
I have! I know it’s such a favorite but I was just medium!
Thank you for the in-depth post! I’m intrigued by the serum stick. I have never used a stick product like it before! I skimmed a few pages of reviews on Sephora’s website and a few reviewers mentioned the stick might pull the skin around the eyes a bit. Did you find this? Would you suggest, I don’t know, warming it up between your hands or something to ensure it just glides on without tugging at the delicate skin around the eyes? It looks pretty idiot proof (just glide it on!) but I could be overthinking it haha.
So a few people asked me this a while back when I showed it on stories! I may just keep my apartment really warm as I’ve never had this problem. But yeah, if it pulls I would say just warm it up a bit. I’ve never had this problem, it just melts right into my skin!
Always love your reviews! Have been using the vitamin C serum for three weeks and already seeing such good results! Thank you!!
Aw yay I am SO glad to hear that!!!!
I want to try all three of these now! Question about the Biossance Vitamin C…does it smell weird? Most vitamin C serums smells weird on my skin.
No! I don’t think so at all!
Love this post and all your recs! I bought the Versed exfoliating scrub you recommended a while back as a replacement for the Seaweed Bath scrub (ugh RIP), wondering how the Versed scrub compares to the OH, and if you like one more than the other?
Yes! I love the Versed one but prefer this one. I actually have both in my shower right now, ha ha. would say don’t throw the Versed out but when you run out, give this one a try instead!!!
I just wanted to say I just started following you a few days ago and I literally thought you were like ….20. You look unbelievably young in the best way!
Oh wow thank you! That is so kind!
Thanks for this post, Grace!! I’m currently using the Sephora brand vit c serum you linked to in another comment, and I like it, but I’d like a little more brightening if it’s possible. Do you think the Biossance is noticeably better than that one (enough to justify the price tag)? I don’t really deal with dark spots but do deal with uneven skin tone and am looking for brightening – if dark spots aren’t a big issue, would you still recommend?
I do!! I don’t have dark spots either but see a noticeable brightening effect using htese.
Not sure if you would know the answer to this but if we add an item to our Sephora basket using your link but we don’t purchase it until a later date, do you still get credit? On the same note, do you get credit if we favorite an item based on your recommendation and then repurchase or should we seek out a link and go from there? I am always adding your recommendations to my basket but I usually wait to purchase until I have multiple items or there is a sale.
Hi Kate, That’s so nice of you to want to support me! It’s just whatever the last link you clicked on before checking out. So if you added them all and then click my link before you check out, I will receive credit.
The retinol eye-stick sounds so interesting! Will try to get my hands on this one x
Lisa | lisaautumn.com
It’s amazing, hope you do!
Thank you so much for the heads-up on all of these items! The OLEHENRIKSEN scrub looks to fill a hole that I have in my skincare routine.
Loved this post. My favorite skincare item I’ve recently added to my collection has to definitely be my lumispa!! Actually best cleansing device EVER. Need to do a post about it ASAP.
OH I am intrigued! Thanks for sharing.
Great list of skincare launches, Grace. Thanks for sharing the list, but I think the list will not end with three; there are many you can list. I am waiting for your new list eagerly.