Pixi by Petra Discount Code + What to Buy

pixi glow tonic in skincare routineIf you follow my daily skincare routines on Instagram, you might have noticed that I use Pixi Glow Tonic as my exfoliant on many mornings. It’s a cult favorite among beauty bloggers and those who read them, and I am not immune to falling for products that are already a thing. I started using Glow Tonic in January 2015 and haven’t looked back. It’s a great, mild, beautifully fragrant glycolic exfoliant with ginseng. You can use it twice a day if you want – that’s how gentle it is.

Pixi products feel and smell expensive, and they are effective. But the packaging is pretty basic, so it’s in a mid-range for pricing. My local Target carries Pixi, and the beauty rep there told me last time that they can’t even keep it in stock. That‘s how popular this European brand has become in the US, and it’s largely due to the influence of beauty bloggers.

I hit my local Target today with the hope of picking up the Glow Mud Cleanser and the Glow Mud Mask. Both were sold out, as were the large sizes of Glow Tonic. So huge thanks to my friend Marie Domingo for letting me know about Pixi’s 20% off friends and family event, now on through September. I used the code grateful4you and saved $11 on my order (shipping is free). What did I buy?

  • Best of Bright – a perfect gift set for me, with the Glow Mud Cleanser and Glow Mud Mask, plus a mini Glow Tonic, for only $22.
  • Glow Tonic To Go – 60 pre-soaked pads for only $18; perfect for travel.
  • Hydrating Milky Mist – a hyaluronic acid-packed mist that Marie told me she loves; I cannot pass up a good mist, and it’s only $15, so had to have it

I’ll report back on the products that are new to me. In the meantime, if you’re new to the world of chemical exfoliating or just looking for a fantastic, mild acid to start your day, use the discount code grateful4you to try out Pixi Glow Tonic for yourself before the end of September. (If you’re still using grainy scrubs or ‘microdermabrasion’ cleansers, please do your skin a favor and switch to a chemical exfoliator. You’ll never regret it.)

Vichy Aqualia Thermal Power Serum

vichy aqualia thermal serumThank you all so much for the kind comments, emails, and Facebook messages about the blog. I’m so glad you’re finding it useful and fun. What’s interesting is how many of you are asking me for the same kinds of products: decent hydrators, spot faders, and serums that won’t bankrupt you.

It is on the latter point that I now write. If you’re looking for an affordable, effective serum, please do your best to get hold of Vichy Aqualia Thermal.

Those of you who follow European beauty bloggers likely know all about Aqualia Thermal. It’s a relatively inexpensive (under $40), oil-free serum that’s noted for being superb at instant hydration. Honestly, I’ve heard so many promises about serums that my expectations were pretty low. Also, it’s rare to find an impressive serum for less than $50. I was sure I’d be underwhelmed and say so here.

I’m happy to report that this stuff really surprised me. It’s a water-based formula rather than a gel, and has a very wet, smooth texture. Just a tiny bit plumps up my skin and hydrates beautifully. If your skin is oily rather than dry, you probably won’t even need to use moisturizer with this; I use one at night, but not during the day. If you’re suffering any dehydration at all, Aqualia Thermal will make a difference in no time. I keep reaching for it in preference over much more pricey serums, which says a lot. I’m not a fan of the packaging, but that hardly matters when the product is so excellent. This is mid-range/budget skincare that feels expensive.

You can try before you buy, too, because every Walgreens and Duane Reade stocking Vichy seems to have samples of it on hand – just ask. You can also find it on Amazon and at Ulta. Budget serums worth trying are few and far between, and this is definitely one of them. Check it out.

Note: This is not a sponsored post or ad. I genuinely like this product, acquired it myself, and use it on my own face.

EmerginC Pomegranate Cleanser

At last count, I own more than 50 cleansers. Some of those are stored for the summer as they are more suitable for winter skin, but there’s a selection of around 25 cleansers I like to have within arm’s reach at all times. I’ve only got one face, but I REALLY love washing it. This video of Sali Hughes and Caroline Hirons going through Caroline’s cleanser stash is one of the most pulse-quickening things I have ever seen on the internet:

I know this sounds insane, but allow me to rationalize: You never know how your skin is going to behave on any given day. You need a cleanser appropriate for its condition right now – dehydrated, greasy, congested, whatever. Having only one cleanser is, as The Hirons says, like having only one pair of shoes. Sure, you could probably get by. But why do that to yourself?

That said, cleansers are where I suggest you economize if money is a real issue. Tread carefully, avoiding anything with sodium laureth sulfate and other harsh surfactants, which will just strip your skin and make it a breeding ground for bacteria. If you’re one of those sickos who loves your skin to feel squeaky clean, I can only suggest you admit yourself to inpatient psychiatric treatment.


Know this: Foaming cleansers are the most socially acceptable form of self-mutilation, and they are to be avoided at all costs.

emerginc pomegranate cleanser emergencyIf you’re a foam addict and want to rehabilitate yourself, I would suggest trying EmerginC Pomegranate Cleanser. I was sent this by the brand’s PR team, and find myself reaching for it most mornings lately. It’s a mild, refreshing cleanser suitable for all skin types, very appropriate for summer mornings, and about one step removed from being a foaming gel. There’s no major lather, forbidden suds, or verboten ingredients. (Do not, as the brand suggests, apply this to wet skin. Always put cleanser straight onto dry skin.) I also really love the dispenser, which is the best I’ve ever seen on a beauty product.

Yes, it’s $39, which is more than one need spend on a cleanser. But it’s a giant bottle, more than eight ounces, and should last you the better part of a year. And if you don’t think your face is worth 11 cents a day, you’re on the wrong blog, sister. Get it here.

NOTE: This is not a sponsored post or an ad. I was not compensated to write this positive review. I like and use this product on my own face.

SPF Battle: Chanel Vs. SkinMedica

chanel spf essentiel beauty blogHere’s the thing about SPF: You cannot be conservative with how much you use, because proper coverage is key. And if you’re spending upwards of $55 per ounce for your SPF, you’re probably going to be a bit stingy when applying it. So I’m not a huge fan of pricey sun protection in general. But I was intrigued by Chanel UV Essentiel, because Caroline Hirons raved about it in a recent video.

It just goes to show, once again, that what works for one person won’t necessarily work for you. This product has a lovely, silky texture. But on my oily skin, it leaves just a bit too much shine. If you have a drier or more mature skin, this might be just the luxury SPF you’re looking for. But make sure you don’t skimp when you apply it, or else you’re really wasting your money. (Go check it out in person first, and I think you’ll be surprised at how teeny a one-ounce bottle really is. This one will fit in the palm of your hand.)

skinmedica daily physical defense broad spectrum sunscreen spf 30My very favorite SPF is SkinMedica Daily Physical Defense Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30+, which comes in at a reasonable price and leaves NO shine, white-cast, or other annoying residue. Every dermatologist I’ve spoken to has vouched for it, and it’s recommended for its effectiveness by the Skin Cancer Foundation. You really cannot go wrong with any SkinMedica product, and I point you toward this SPF without hesitation.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar BB Blur Instant Oil-Absorbing Coverage BB Cream


La Roche-Posay Effaclar BB Blur Instant Oil-Absorbing Coverage BB Cream — DraftBased on my own trials of La Roche-Posay Effaclar BB Blur Instant Oil-Absorbing Coverage BB Cream and discussing it with others, it’s clearly very hit and miss. This product from the legendary French pharmacy brand has a solid 4.0 rating on Makeup Alley, and 74% of reviewers there said they’d repurchase it. Those for whom it works absolutely love it.

I did not.

I have always had very active sebaceous glands, so am always intrigued by anything that promises to absorb oil. But as with almost every other BB cream I have tried, this just left me looking kind of chalky. The mousse-y, silicone-heavy texture is wonderfully silky to touch, but that doesn’t translate into a smooth look on my skin. It doesn’t help that the color range is extremely limited; the darkest shade, a medium, is still a tad too light for me even in winter. So you’re totally out of luck if you’re not relatively pale. As it’s only an SPF 20, your skin wouldn’t be very protected by this anyway.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar BB Blur is available in the US at CVS or on Amazon. Many CVS stores have skincare departments where you can try product, and they always have testers of this out in my local shops. Like I said, those who love it will never give it up, so if you’re white and tend to be super-oily, check it out.

Tomorrow I’ll tell you about an awesome BB cream I found recently that delivers on every hope and promise a BB cream has ever made. (UPDATE: Here’s the post!)