Amazon had some sort of sale so I signed for a few subscriptions to see if anything was worth it. After the first month, the only one I kept was Allure. I'm a serious skincare person and a terrible make-up person but the box had a nice blend of both -- enough make-up for me to play with and some good skincare stuff/brands I hadn't seen. The second month I got an envelope in the mail and it's a single Kat Von D lipliner -- I'm not a fan of her make-up line and thought 'yep, this is it, subscription boxes suck' and canceled. Tonight, I got home and there's a proper box with some great make-up and two different face oils to try (and seriously, no joke, I was googling face oils today). So I signed back up and am now writing this review.
Notably, The Ordinary is the only one of our finalists to have two types of retinoids on its ingredient list: a retinol and a retinoate. This means that it may be a little stronger than our other picks. And, in fact, it was the only formula where our testers noticed a light burning sensation after application. It's not unusual for retinoids to cause stinging, itching, or tenderness, and it's usually a sign to cut back on your use: Only apply the product once every two or three days while your skin adjusts, and monitor your reaction over the course of a few weeks. If your skin continues to react poorly, take it as a sign to choose a gentler formula or consult with your dermatologist for other options.

But we weren’t done. To ensure safety and efficacy, we also preferred wrinkle creams that came in tubes or pump-tops rather than tubs or jars. Chemist Jennifer Reid explains, “Sticking your fingers directly into the product can introduce bacteria, and open tubs also expose a large surface area of the product to oxygen.” Like UV rays, oxygen can degrade the effectiveness of our key ingredients. But bacteria is a whole other mess.


• Our editors work to inform you of and introduce you to the best products each month, and while Allure is the beauty expert, we understand that everyone's beauty routine is different. Some products may be a better fit to some more than others, but that's part of the fun and part of the service our editors provide: helping you learn about new products. We encourage you to share your samples with your friends, and hopefully next month's box will include products you will enjoy! There are some great forums online for sample exchanging, and we hope you reach out to other subscribers to swap for something you'll love.
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