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My sensitive skincare favourites

Updated: Feb 11, 2022

I would like to disclose that I am not a skincare expert but I have dealt with sensitive skin for numerous years. I do occasionally visit my dermatologist and she has given a lot of insight into what I should be using. Niche products are difficult to find and not always accessible, so sometimes I have to improvise.

I have a combination of food and chemical allergies, creating a rather restricted list of products I can use. Additionally, I have eczema and have had it since a young age. My skin is reactive and easily turns red when allergic to products. I have found that the shorter the ingredient list, the more suitable a product will be. Products without parabens, linalool, limonene, citronellol, heavy fragrances and sulfates, tend to cause less irritation.

The Ordinary

A few years ago, I discovered The Ordinary, from DECIEM, the Abnormal Beauty Company. They were founded in Toronto in 2013 and are a Canadian company. Their products have limited ingredients and are very affordable. Each treatment is targeted for a specific issue and the product is generally in a glass bottle with a dropper. I have accumulated several serums from The Ordinary and will provide a brief overview of each one.

Caffeine Solution 5% and ECGC – My favourite product, a little goes a long way to perk up your under eyes. It’s a refreshing and light solution that easily absorbs into the skin.

100% Plant-Derived Squalane – A

Caffeine Solution 2% + ECGC – My favourite lightweight serum for the under-eye. I use it almost every day and it perks up my under eye area and feels refreshing. This solution absorbs quickly into the skin.

100% Plant-Derived Squalane – An easy and lightweight oil that is great for hydration.

Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 – Great for a light moisturizer underneath make up or when your skin needs a bit of extra hydration. It’s a very light solution that absorbs right into your skin.

Salicylic Acid 2% Solution – Great for treating localized blemishes.

Lactic Acid 5% + HA – Good for a gentle exfoliating mask. Superficial peel mask.

Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 2% – Supposed to be used for blemishes but I haven’t had much luck.

Retinol 0.5% in Squalane – A bit of a less concentrated retinol serum. Good for reducing fine lines and photo damage.

Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion – Used for anti-aging properties. I haven’t tried this one enough but it is light and doesn’t cause any irritation for me.

Mineral UV Filters SPF 30 with antioxidants – A mineral sunscreen that is a bit thick and leaves a layer of cream on your skin but definitely an effective sunscreen.

They have a huge variety of products and are worth checking out online. Some of their products are available at Sephora and Hudson’s Bay. Here is their web-page

Schmear Naturals

Schmear naturals is a Vancouver based and 100% food-based skin care company. I discovered this brand recently at JV Studios on Wellington West in Ottawa. I have re-filled my products from Schmear twice now and find their products very gentle.

I absolutely love their Matcha + Kelp Gentle Cleansing Powder with Indian Jasmine and French Lavender. I am sensitive to many sudsy soaps so this soap free cleansing powder is fantastic. Additionally, it lasts a long time, is easy to travel with and gives you a very gentle exfoliation. “A soap-free blend of matcha, kelp, and cucumber that smooths away uneven skin tone to reveal cleansed and healthy-looking skin. Natural fibres from colloidal oats and apple cider vinegar gently remove dead skin cells and balance pH levels, without disrupting the skin’s natural moisture and oil barrier.” – Schmear Naturals

The Argan and Tamanu clarifying facial oil is another one of my favourites. It’s a lovely scented oil that hydrates and removes blemishes from your skin. I found that it worked to remove a bit of scarring on my face and neck. Here is more information on the oil. “A lush green blend of organic, virgin botanical oils for combination, oily, or blemish-prone skin. This lightweight formulation of traditionally used non-comedogenic oils such as argan, tamanu, neem and moringa absorbs quickly, and provides a significant source of essential omega fatty acids for anti-inflammatory and balancing benefits. Deeply moisturizing with subtle floral tones to support healthy-looking skin.” – Schmear Naturals

All ingredients are thoughtfully sourced to be organic, virgin, and cold-pressed. Our face oils are vegan-friendly, and free from synthetic ingredients such as parabens, sulphates, and preservatives. For more information, please visit their website –

Pure SoapWorks

Pure SoapWorks is a family-onwed business in Toronto, ON. They use only natural ingredients and their products never contain parabens, SLS, phthalates, phosphates, bisphenols or microbeads. Additionally, their soaps are not tested on animals, have no added detergents and the majority have no added fragrance, are natural and biodegradable and vegan friendly. I discovered this brand on and they can also be found at Terra20 and the Herb & Spice shop on Bank and Wellington in Ottawa.

A few of my favourite soaps from this company are:

Creamy Clay – great for oily skin

Oatmeal – gentle for sensitive skin

Olive oil – for the moisture

Cucumber and Calendula – refreshing scent and gentle wash

Aloe Vera & Vitamin E – soothing for irritated skin or sun-exposed skin

For additional information, please visit their web-page

Indian Healing Clay

This 100% Natural Calcium Benonite Clay can be purchased from Amazon. It’s a highly effective clay mask you can use multiple times. You scoop clay powder into your palm or a bowl, add water and mix until you get a creamy texture. Then you spread it all over your face and let it harden. You will feel it pulsing and drawing out the oil and buildup. It truly is a deep pore cleanser. It’s $15.99 for a pound of clay. It’s a great mask to bring along when travelling, it’s a powder!

Kaia Naturals Charcoal Deodorant

I have switched to this activated charcoal deodorant for a few years now and have found that my underarms are less irritated. I typically get the sakura blossom or cold pressed rose scents. You can get the deodorant in two sizes, a large 65 g or a small 12g travel sized one. You can also find this wonderful Canadian brand at Terra20 in Ottawa.

Information from their web-page: They have formulated their deodorants with activated charcoal as it acts like a magnet to draw out toxins from your pores, while also fighting odor-causing bacteria. The deodorant dries to a clear powder finish.

Antiperspirants block the sweat glands, thereby preventing you from sweating. With natural deodorant, your underarms are free to breathe. The body goes through a detox phase when transitioning from an antiperspirant to a natural deodorant.

For more information, please visit their web-page –

Hope this post was helpful and insightful.


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