Clinique Smart Custom-Repair Serum Indeed Laboratories Hydraluron Moisture Serum Andalou Naturals Fruit Stem Cell Revitalize Serum

Are my serums destined for the great skincare #fail graveyard in the sky?

Sometime last year I headed off to Shoppers Drug Mart to get me some new moisturizer.

I was all set on which one I was gonna buy until the sales assistant started talking to me about serums.

Specifically that yes, I could buy this $30 moisturizer but if I wanted more hydration I should also get this serum.

My automatic reaction was: NO WAY! Why on earth would I buy a good moisturizer only to have to supplement it with something else? Can’t they just chuck all the ingredients together in one product?

Then I did lots of reading about skincare. And this whole serum thing kept cropping up.

According to Ni’Kita Wilson, cosmetic chemist and vice president of research and innovation at Englewood Lab (quoted in this article on WebMD):

The beauty of a serum is that most of the fluid is eliminated. What you’re left with is a high concentration of active ingredients. They’re the true workhorses of any product line.

Even my skincare/makeup superhero Paula Begoun calls them the “anti-aging superstars of your skincare routine.”

Well fuck.

So I caved and bought my first serum. A really bloody expensive serum. I’m not kidding when I tell you that I practically had heart palpitations when I paid for it.

But this really bloody expensive serum must be really bloody good, right?

Well, I’ve noticed zero difference since I’ve been using a serum.

Maybe the goodness is happening on a cellular level. Maybe things are happening that I just can’t see.

Oh, look. I know some of you will be reading this post saying, “I could have told you that from the beginning Liz. This is merely a marketing gimmick just like the BB and CC cream thing. It’s all in the name of getting you to buy more product. You would have saved yourself a small fortune if only you’d realised this OBVIOUS fact.”

My solution? Buy a cheaper serum, of course.

I’ve tried these serums so far.

Clinique Smart Custom-Repair Serum

The Clinique Smart Custom-Repair Serum has a slight fragrance and feels smooth to apply. When I’ve finished rubbing it in, it has an almost powder-like feel to it.

According to Clinique it’s supposed to diminish lines and wrinkles; firm and lift skin; reduce dark spots; even skin tone; and improve radiance and texture.

After using this for about a month I can say with confidence that none of these things has occurred. I have descernible dark spots on my face and they look exactly the same.

I have fine lines (which I’m cool with) and they’re still there.

I won’t be buying this again.

Indeed Laboratories Hydraluron Moisture Serum

I read great things about Hydraluron Moisture Serum ages ago and had been keeping an eye out for it when it turned up in Shoppers Drug Mart about three weeks ago.

I was so excited that I bought it on the spot.

Indeed Laboratories say this stuff is supposed to reinforce skin’s natural short and long term moisturisation; plump up skin tissue to restore elasticity and firmness; reduce skin roughness and provide a soft, smooth and silky texture to the skin; and boost the action of your moisturiser by stimulating cell turnover resulting in an improved absorption of active ingredients to the skin.

When I got home, I looked it up on Paula’s Choice and was disappointed to see she didn’t rate it very highly.

In fact, I was going to return it when I came across this post by Caroline Hirons who has a very good reputation as a skincare expert so figured I should give it a go.

Another disappointment. Despite great reviews from Caroline and this other one I read (moisturizing miracles? Really?), it’s done nothing for me.

Sure, I’ll use it up but I won’t buy it again.

Which brings us to my most recent serum purchase. And the cheapest of the three.

Andalou Naturals Fruit Stem Cell Revitalize Serum

I kept seeing the Andalou Naturals Fruit Stem Cell Revitalize Serum at my local Winners (I also saw it today at Superstore for $8 more) and finally looked it up online. Paula’s Choice gave it a great review so I bought a bottle yesterday.

Andalou say this stuff repairs cellular damage and discoloration for brighter, even skin tone and smooth texture with fewer fine lines and wrinkles.

I’m sure you’re already saying “Haven’t you learnt your lesson yet Liz? This serum stuff DOESN’T WORK.”

Maybe. Maybe not. But I’m going to give it a damn good try.

Do you use a serum? Have you noticed any positive changes to your skin? Or do you think this all a load of baloney?

Every night I wash my face with a water-soluble cleanser and flannel (or face cloth to my North American friends).

For years I used a non-rinse cleanser. My favourites were L’Oréal’s Gentle Micellar SolutionBioderma’s Sensibio H2O and Vichy’s Purete Thermale 3 in 1 Calming Cleansing Micellar Solution. And all come highly recommended.

But this past winter my skin was horrific. I had an extra-dry shrivel fest going on.

“I guess this means I’m getting old” I thought to myself. This is the end. I’m now basically a pensioner.

After doing some reading online and talking to a nice lady at the Clinique counter, I concluded my skin needed some exfoliation. Which it definitely wasn’t getting with my cotton pad and cleansing water routine.

So I switched to a foaming face cleanser and flannel (and was convinced by the nice Clinique lady to try their Mild Clarifying Lotion which – if you’ve ever used any of their clarifying lotions – is NOTHING like the rest of their horrid paint stripper lotions.)

I’d done the face wash thing before but stopped because I got lazy at night hence the cleansing water.

But something about turning 40 and watching my skin transform into a shriveled raisin made me change.

After consulting Paula’s Choice I took myself off to the drugstore and picked up a bottle of Olay’s Foaming Face Wash for Sensitive Skin. And I really liked it.

My skin leans fairly dry though and, despite this wash being gentle, my face looks dry afterwards. It’s kind of a race to get my serum and moisturizer on before my face starts to crack into tiny pieces. Okay. That last part was an exaggeration but you get the idea.

I recently watched a Sali Hughes video where she talked about preferring cream cleansers. I’m not sure why it took her to nudge me but OF COURSE I SHOULD BE USING A CREAM CLEANSER.

Stashed away in my bathroom cabinet was a bottle of Neutrogena’s Extra Gentle Cleanser which I applied in the same way I would a foamy wash and flannel. Hey presto! No dryness after rinsing.

Because I CAN I’m going to check out a couple of other cream cleansers notably Bioderma’s Sensibio Cleansing Milk and Clinique’s Take The Day Off Cleansing Milk. Erm. When I have the money.

For now, I’m going to try Eucerin’s DermatoCLEAN Mild Cleansing Lotion.

I’m particularly interested to hear how you cleanse your face at night and what’s worked for you and what hasn’t. Do tell.

• • •


I picked up the Eucerin cleanser last night and am very happy to report that it’s fabulous. I doubt I’ll be spending the money on the Bioderma or Clinique cleansers (ack! But you never know, right?!) If you’re looking for a cream cleanser you can’t go wrong with Eucerin’s DermatoCLEAN Mild Cleansing Lotion.

Link to Lancôme

Because I’m obsessive about a lot of things, I’m always researching new makeup and skin care products to buy.

I keep a list on my phone (along with ‘want’ lists for brushes, hand cream and nail polish) which I constantly update. Just wait until you read about my nail polish wants.

Here’s my current list. I’ve read multiple reviews for this stuff and – in many cases – Paula’s Choice gave favourable reviews.

Unfortunately you’ll notice the high end list is waaaaaaay longer than the drugstore one. Typical!



  • L’Oreal Brow Artist – actually called ‘Brow Plumper’ in Canada. Blog review coming soon
  • Wet ‘n Wild mega last lip colour – super cheap and highly rated by Paula’s Choice

High end

Skin care

Do you have your eye on anything right now?


Above: my face stuff

I moved to Canada about 12 years ago. I live in Winnipeg where the weather vacillates between extreme heat and extreme cold. Very different from London town where I’d lived for 10 years prior.

I’m always trying out new stuff in an effort to fix the dry, flaky skin on my face. It’s exhausting.

During the winter months in Winnipeg the temperature can be as cold as minus 40 with the most incredible windchill. Stick your face in your freezer compartment and you still won’t come close to the actual sensation of that kind of cold.

During summer, I usually stick to Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion. In England, many years ago, I remember this stuff having cult-like status among the beauty elites. I’ve been using it for ages. And it’s super cheap.

But it’s not enough in winter and my face turns into a flaky mess.

That’s when I bust out the hardcore stuff.

I always have pure shea butter, virgin olive oil and Nivea cream in my artillery. I slap that stuff on my face before bed and hope for the best.

According to my favourite beauty site though, that’s just not enough. Apparently we need to put antioxidants and skin-like ingredients on our faces too.

I only learned this recently. Or chose to pay attention to it.

I’m 40 and I don’t care for anti-wrinkle creams but I do care about healthy skin.

To that end, after much experimentation, the following products are the ones I love the most and use regularly.

At night, I’m also currently using Mineral Fusion’s Limitless Beauty Cream which I picked up at Winners for about CA $12. It smells great, has loads of great ingredients and feels super moisturizing.

Which skin care products do you love?