skincare, sweets, and Oxford commas

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

LA travel skincare + Sephora PLAY! favorites

The Jen Project's recommendations for weekend trip skincare, mainly drawn from Jen's Sephora PLAY! box subscription

I'm still chipmunky from my wisdom tooth extraction, but I managed to spend Memorial Day weekend playing tourist in Los Angeles! LA food and travel guide is en route - stay tuned...

Weekend travel essentials tucked cleanly into a modern Away rolling suitcase.The Jen Project's Jen playing tourist at LACMA, jumping in front of the Urban Lights exhibit.
On the left: my Away bag for LA (note the messy stuff is out of the frame - this is a heavily staged photo). I love the durability and organization of Away bags; you can get $20 off your Away purchase at (you'll need to create a new Away account to get the $20 discount).
On the right: flying high at Urban Light at LACMA. Whee!

For now, here are the TSA carry-on bag-friendly skincare goodies that kept me happy on this trip. Almost all of these are from my monthly Sephora PLAY! box subscription. #notanad

Lineup of the skincare products that The Jen Project brought on a weekend-long trip to Los Angeles

For this short trip to southern California, I focused on sun protection with La Roche Posay Anthelios SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen. I'd never tried this sunscreen before but kept hearing about it in the skincare community, and I was on the prowl for something to replace my now-discontinued HG Clarins Mineral Sunscreen. Turns out the La Roche Posay is *perfect* - it's gentle and leaves a velvety finish but doesn't dry out my skin like most physical/mineral sunscreens do. Highly recommend! I've recently had to stop using MD Solar Sciences SPF 50 Beauty Balm on my face because it dried my undereye area and enhanced my eye bags and wrinkles. Still use it on my body, though.

I also experimented with two new cleansers (the Sunday Riley Ceramic Clay Slip Cleanser and tarte FRXXXTION Stick Exfoliating Cleanser) and a new facial mist/toner from Farmacy. All three of these products were goodies from my monthly Sephora PLAY! subscription. While trying these new products, I kept my tried-and-true moisturizer (L'Occitane Immortelle Precious Cream) to minimize acne and irritation - I didn't want to break out in the middle of our photo-packed trip.

What I brought (high-maintenance, I know!):
  • I'm MEME Fresh Cleansing Oil: Found at a recent Memebox warehouse sale, this is my go-to travel oil cleanser because of the small size and sturdy packaging. It removes makeup like a dream, and the tea tree oil, peppermint, and oatmeal extract smell great and leave my skin feeling nourished.
  • Sunday Riley Ceramic Clay Slip Cleanser: This cleanser is my first Sunday Riley product - I was excited to try a brand that has such a devoted cult following. The semi-runny consistency, pale yellow color, neutral scent, and smooth texture of this cleanser reminds me of Philosophy's Purity Made Simple cleanser, which is surprising because the ingredients are very different: The Sunday Riley cleanser contains two kinds of clay to purify skin and vitamin C to brighten; the Philosophy cleanser contains meadowfoam seed oil to hydrate and an essential oil blend for softness. Both cleansers barely foam and leave skin feeling moisturized, not tight.
  • Sunday Riley Ceramic Clay Slip Cleanser: Review by The Jen Project. Low foaming, gentle cleansing, neutral scent, great for rinsing away residue left by oil cleanser.

  • tarte FRXXXTION Stick Exfoliating Cleanser: I'd never tried an exfoliating stick before, and I ended up loving this product. It's like an express mask: you wet your face, smooth the dark purple stick all over, and wash off to reveal glowing, smooth, clean skin. The night I used this exfoliant, I skipped the Sunday Riley cleanser because I noticed the exfoliant foamed up like a cleanser, and my skin felt very clean once I washed it off.
  • tarte FRXXXTION Stick Exfoliating Cleanser: Review by The Jen Project. This product is a great gentle exfoliator, cleanser, and mask rolled into one.

  • Farmacy Skin Dew Hydrating Essence Mist & Setting Spray, Farmacy Honey Potion Warming Mask: The mist is purported to double as a makeup setting spray and a toner. I used it exclusively as a toner and found it gentle and pleasant-smelling, but not a moisturizing miracle worker like my HG toner, L'Occitane Immortelle Essential Water. Given how temperate LA was when I was there, the Farmacy facial mist did the job, but I'm curious about how well it holds up in colder, drier conditions. Regarding the honey warming mask, I love this product but didn't end up using it on my trip. My skin felt hydrated enough without it.
  • Farmacy Dew Hydrating Essence Mist and Farmacy Honey Potion Warming Mask. Both are great but not amazing products, though the packaging is spectacular.

  • L'Occitane Immortelle Precious Cream: Cannot say enough nice things about this moisturizer. I keep trying different ones - in particular, I recently tried replacing it with Embryolisse (it made me break out like crazy), and I keep coming back to my Precious Cream. It's a moisturizing powerhouse and somehow never breaks me out.
  • L'Occitane Immortelle Precious Cream moisturizer: Review by The Jen Project. This moisturizer continues to be  my HG year after year. It smells fresh, moisturizers like a dream, and never breaks me out.

  • Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet: I meant to try this as a moisturizer on my face but ended up using it on my hands which ended up dry after going to two pool parties and being in the sun all day. It smelled fruity and felt like a very light moisturizer.
  • Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet: Review by The Jen Project. Smells sweet and delicious but doesn't moisturize my combination skin enough.

  • Smashbox Iconic Photo Finish Foundation Primer: Love the satin finish and smooth feel that this primer leaves. It seems to minimize any white cast left by my moisturizer or sunscreen, too. I didn't bring foundation on this trip, but even smoothing on the primer under sunscreen seemed to blur out my wrinkles, sun spots, and acne scars.
  • La Roche Posay Anthelios SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen: I already raved about this sunscreen in the paragraphs leading up to this list - love it. It's like my Clarins sunscreen but has a higher SPF and isn't loaded with fragrance. The biggest benefit of this sunscreen is that it doesn't dry out my face like many "mattefying" mineral sunscreens do.
  • La Roche Posay Anthelios SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen: Review by The Jen Project. Great for sensitive skin, products from UVA and UVB rays, dries to a velvety finish but doesn't dry out skin like other mineral/physical sunscreens do.

  • Clinique Pep Start Eye Cream: I used this cream to brighten up my undereye area during the day and to add some moisture at night. It felt refreshing but I'm not convinced it did much for me aesthetically. My HG eye cream is still Shiseido's Benefiance.
  • Clinique Pep Start Eye Cream: Review by The Jen Project. This eye cream felt refreshing under my eyes but didn't enhance their look as much as I would have liked.

  • Retin-A Micro (RX): I use this every night to keep pimples and wrinkles at bay, always waiting 20 minutes after washing to minimize irritation and following up with a generous layer of moisturizer.
Also used these Burt's Bees white tea wipes after my oil cleanser and before the Sunday Riley Clay Cleanser to remove any makeup residue before doing a more thorough cleanse.

Evidence of The Jen Project's travel skincare products fitting into a quart-sized TSA-approved Ziploc.More evidence of The Jen Project's travel skincare products fitting into a quart-sized TSA-approved Ziploc.

Yes, all of these products fit into a TSA-approved quart-sized Ziploc baggie! And there was room to spare for my toothpaste, eyedrops, and contact lens solution as well.

I know this list seems like a lot of products, but when you love a city as much as I love LA, you want to look and feel your best when you're visiting. And it paid off: my LA vacay was glorious. More on that soon!

What are your favorite travel-sized skincare favorites?
12 comments on "LA travel skincare + Sephora PLAY! favorites"
  1. I got many of those products as well in my Play box, I like the farmacy spray! Beautiful photos btw :)

    xx nicole

  2. That tarte exfoliating stick really intrigues me I may have to pick one up!

  3. I've always liked clinique products and like the fact that you have a variety of products here to choose from and different brands. I'll have to try some of the moisture creams like the Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet. I haven't tried that one yet. :)

  4. Your photos totally highlight all of the products here! Such good suggestions, will have to look into these more!

  5. I love Alba Botanica products, especially their Hawaiian Moisture Cream. But looking at your featured beauty collection I'm tempted to try out a few new things! And I'm always searching for the perfect sunscreen, so I appreciate your suggestion of La Roche Posay SPF50. :-)

  6. Super keen to try these products. I wonder if I can get them easily in Australia!

  7. Guess who's going to be using all of these tips?!? ME!!

  8. I love your pictures! They are so bright and clear! These look like great luxury products for travel! How do you like the "play" box? Is it worth it? Good samples? Good variety?

  9. I love this. I always have a hard time figuring out what toiletries to pack and I breakout easily too.

  10. Great photos and reviews of the products!! I'll have to check these out :)

  11. Thank you for sharing! I'm so excited to add some of these products to my next Sephora order!

    Danielle - Dani Arizona


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