Is it weird to say that one of my favorite rooms in our new house is the master bathroom? It feels like such an upgrade from our last rental thanks to the double sinks, counter space, and lots of drawer space. I finally feel like I have a chance at keeping all my products organized!

design darling skincare products in acrylic tray

I’ve tried several new-to-me skincare products recently and am excited to share my honest reviews, from those I’m obsessed with to those I could do without. I love finding new skincare products that really make a difference, but I always read reviews first because I hate spending money on a pricey product only to find it makes little to no difference on my skin. If there are any skincare products/services you’re curious about, let me know so I can add them to my list of things to try! Scroll down to the bottom of the post to see what’s piquing my interest… I’d love to hear if you’ve tried any of them!

design darling kate somerville skincare

1. Kate Somerville Eradikate Daily Cleanser

This is hands down my favorite new product. I should start by admitting that I can be really lazy about washing my face — I always take off my makeup with these wipes, but I’m not as diligent as I should be about doing a thorough cleanse both morning and night. That said, I noticed an almost immediate difference when I started using this cleanser for acne-prone skin. It’s definitely not inexpensive, but the bottle is huge and it only takes a pea-sized amount to lather my entire face. If you’re suffering from acne and feel like you’ve exhausted all the benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid-based products, I highly recommend giving this sulfur-based one a try.

2. Kate Somerville Eradikate Acne Treatment

This is another sulfur-based acne product that’s great as a spot treatment to dry up developing pimples overnight. While I don’t love going to bed with pink spots on my face, this is great to have in your arsenal if you break out a day or two before a big event.

3. Kate Somerville Exfolikate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment

The packaging recommends using this product in the shower to massage into the skin for 30 seconds and leave on for up to two minutes. I have fairly sensitive skin so I only leave it on for a minute or so, but I love the way this makes my skin tingle (so I know it’s doing something I guess?). I used this a few times the week we got back from Mexico to sort of hit the reset button after a few days of drinking sugary margaritas in the sun (basically the worst thing I could do to my skin!) and my skin instantly felt smoother and more radiant. It can also be tough to find an exfoliating treatment that’s not super drying, but this does the trick for me.

4. Kate Somerville Clinic-To-Go Resurfacing Peel Pads

A ton of you DMed me when I first mentioned trying out Kate Somerville to rave about these peel pads, which provide a professional-strength peel in a single-use pad. They come in a set of sixteen and I’ve been trying to use one or two a week — they always leave my skin super glowy and best of all, they couldn’t be easier to use.

design darling first aid beauty retinol serum review

5. First Aid Beauty Skin Lab Retinol Serum

This was my first time using a retinol on my skin and this is apparently a great product for “beginner” retinol users or those with sensitive skin (check and check). I was surprised when the product came out bright yellow, but apparently that’s totally normal and a little will go a long way. It makes my skin feel more firm/plump (especially on my forehead) without breaking me out (because I’m one of the lucky few battling both acne and aging). Also, like all First Aid Beauty products, it’s free of parabens and sulfates, so if you’re focused on shifting your skincare routine to cleaner products, this passes the test.

skinceuticals c e ferulic acid review

6. SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic

I have heard so many rave reviews about this antioxidant, but I can’t recommend it for one reason: the smell is just about the worst thing I’ve ever experienced. It honestly smells distinctly like hot dogs — and even if I weren’t a pescatarian, I have to believe it’s the last scent I’d want to rub all over my face. I’ve tried to push past the smell several times (bonus points if any of you have stuck with this one long enough to provide a more helpful review) but I just don’t think I can do it.

tata harper repairative moisturizer review

7. Tata Harper Repairative Moisturizer

On the opposite end of the scent spectrum is Tata Harper’s line, which I will try literally anything from as I have more than a few favorites at this point. The products are all natural and have an earthy smell that’s pleasant but never overpowering. This moisturizer is the perfect consistency in my opinion — not so heavy that it feels like you’re clogging your pores overnight and not so light that there’s no way it’s actually working.

8. Tata Harper Illuminating Eye Cream

This is a super cool product that’s formulated for both daytime and nighttime use. While it’s moisturizing enough to wear as an overnight eye cream, it’s also formulated to have a pearly finish that can be layered over concealer and worn all day long. If you’re looking for a way to brighten up your eyes without makeup, this works like a charm!

9. Tata Harper Concentrated Brightening Serum

As much as I adore (almost) all things Tata Harper, this product doesn’t get my usual rave reviews. The formula made my skin feel greasy and honestly I just think there are lots of more impressive Tata Harper products that don’t cost quite as much as this one (and I admittedly have more pressing skin concerns than brightening my complexion). If you’re new to the line, I’d instead recommend starting with her purifying mask (magic, I tell you!) and her exfoliating cleanser.

perricone md daily brightening moisturizer review

10. Perricone MD Daily Brightening Moisturizer

Everyone says it’s even more important to wear daily SPF when you’re using a retinol, so this moisturizer with SPF 30 came into my life at just the right time. I hadn’t tried anything from this line before but it’s all natural, lightweight, and feels hydrating without making my skin oily or shiny.

design darling bathroom organization

So there you have it! If you want my top three picks, I’d go with the acne cleanser, the peel pads, and the illuminating eye cream. Let me know if you’ve tried any of these — or what you’re hoping to try next — in the comments!

P.S. I’ve been trying to keep our bathroom counter organized with these glass containers for cotton balls and Q-tips and this acrylic tray for my most-used makeup and skincare.

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  1. I used to use Kate Somerville’s products exclusively. I loved how the scent wasn’t overwhelming and cleanser made my skin feel SO clean. I ended up developing a reaction to them, so I had to switch product lines but I LOVED it when it worked.

  2. Living in Vermont, I love Tata’s products and have been using them for years now. I tried the illuminating eye cream (and the face) and found it to be too “illuminating.” It looked just too much under my eyes and my teenage daughter said I looked like a ghost. How do you apply it? I am fair and blonde so maybe it just doesn’t work o. Some skin tones.



  3. If you aren’t going to use the CE Ferulic, want to send it to me? I have been eyeing it for longer than I can say but haven’t wanted to spend the money. Would love to use it if it just going to be stashed in your drawers 🙂

  4. Thank you. I love your honest reviews. I tried the Tata Harper products and wanted to love them but found they left my face shiny, I recently started using the Fresh line and love it! I use the Soyberry oil cleanser (at night to take off makeup) , Soyberry Cleanser (am) and the Soyberry Moisturizer. All the products leave my face soft but void of an oily residue. I have also tried the Fresh Lotus Cream and love that too. I normally hate moisturizers and have tried everything in the market, but I love thiis one.

  5. I told my esthetician right away that CE Ferulic smelled like lunch meats!!! It is a low part of my day when I put it on, but as my esthetician insisted- it cleared my melia right up! I follow it immediately with Laura Mercier rose oil, and that brings me back to not just feeling pretty, but smelling it too! However, jury is still out in how long I will continue using the Skin Ceuticals.

  6. I recently stumbled upon Renee Rouleau and am dying to find some reviews. She only sells through her own website and she doesn’t have a reviews section so I’m hesitant to try any products out. Also, have you tried Sunday Riley? I’m loving her stuff right now but think I might need to step up my acne products (without drying out my skin!) if you’ve tried Sunday Riley how did it compare to Kate Somerville or Tata Harper? It sounds like we have pretty similar skin types so I may have to give these products a shot anyway.

  7. You need to follow dermdrdempsey on instagram. She’s a dermatologist around our age and gives great skin care advice. She also gives recommendations of both high and inexpensive products that she uses and shows how to use them 😀

  8. This is my favorite topic to read and discuss! Just got the DR. JART+ Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment SPF 30 this week – I have super sensitive skin and it’s been great to take the redness away so I don’t feel like I need a ton of makeup. Also, it’s not exactly skincare, but I recently tried Beautycounter Dew Skin and I’m loving it.

  9. M-61 Powerglow Peels are one of the BEST products I have ever used on my skin. I am usually so skeptical of pricey skincare products because I rarely see a major different, but I literally saw a difference within days of using these peel pads. I went through a few months of brutal hormonal acne and it was noticeably different the month I started using the powerglow peels. Pro tip: you can cut the pads in half and store the other half in a zip lock back to make them last longer! A half a pad is plenty for one use.

  10. if you’re loving kate somerville, i would recommend trying her exfolikate “glow moisturizer” once you’ve run out of your current moisturizer. i love it. i also recently tried a retinol product (from NaturaBisse, which i love and think provides actually effective anti-aging) and certain areas of my face started to burn/sting the minute i stepped outdoors – even on a cloudy day. need to try the first aid retinol for a more sensitive approach!!

  11. So excited to see this post! I’ve been looking for a retinol product, and the First Aid one that you mention here sounds great. I also have sensitive skin and a touch of adult acne (ugh!), so this sounds perfect.

    One note about the Tata Harper products for people with sensitive skin—their combination of numerous oils (which makes them strongly perfumed) can actually be irritating depending on how sensitive you are. I used the Rejuvenating Serum, and my skin had a terrible reaction after a few days of use. Same with the Resurfacing Mask. I switched to the Kypris Antioxidant Dew, which is nice but perhaps a bit too lightweight.

  12. The SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic is a game changer, especially when paired with sunscreen in the morning. It will literally boost the effectiveness of the sunscreen and help keep you protected longer. If the smell is an issue, I promise it goes away after a couple of seconds! It’s literally the best product on the planet and I will never be without it (after trying several other Vitamin C serums).

    Also, if you are battling acne & aging skin, SkinCeuticals Age + Blemish Defense is amazing. It will clear up a blemish in no time at all while smoothing the skin.

    I’m a huge fan of the line as you can see!

    1. Oh man, you’re making me reconsider! Would you say their other products are a little less pungent? I’m always up to try new products but I really struggled with the scent of that one!

      1. Perhaps, but I love their products so much and find them so effective that I can get past the smell. Plus, I really think it disappears quickly, especially when layered with another product after application.