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Tried and True: 5 Beauty Products That Stood the Test of Time

Taryn Lowman
ByTaryn LowmanMay 4, 2021 | 20 comments

mirrored trinket tray with sample size skincare products

So many subscriptions have that one big-ticket item each month that has great reviews, comes from a well-known brand, but can be pricey. Obviously, the big question before you are going to want to purchase any beauty product is, “is it worth it?!” This is the number one question that I get from readers wondering how a product works for me over time. There are always products that, after a week or two, I wish I could change my review so that I can scream from the rooftops how it changed my skin, or maybe how I ended up not liking it as much as I thought I did. You are in luck, my dear readers! I have rounded up my top five beauty products that have stood the test of time for me over the past few months.

assortment of sample sized beauty products with serums, hyraulic acid, gel mask, and more

If you follow my reviews, then you know that I have very dry skin pretty much year-round, so be sure to factor that in before purchasing something if your skin is oily for example. Let’s dig into these standout products!

Sahara Rose


The Product: Sahara Rose Hydra C Serum Brightening & Plumping 

The Cost: $54.00

The Matchmaker: The Box by Fashionsta

I fumbled with this product a bit at first. The serum is pretty thick and leaves your skin feeling sticky. I also found that it reacted when paired with my water Hyaluronic Acid hydrating serum; the two combined almost made a soapy foam on my skin. I decided to use this as my first product in my nighttime routine, along with a night oil serum and moisturizer. This is made with vitamin C (3 glycerol ascorbate), which is a vitamin C derivative that brightens the overall appearance of your skin. It is also made with hyaluronic acid to hydrate, ceramides to smooth, tripeptides to make your skin more youthful, moth bean to reduce the signs of aging, licorice, mushroom, watermelon, and cactus to give your skin a healthy glow.

This serum really gives my skin a boost of hydration that it really needs year-round, but I also love that it smooths dry spots. I noticed a consistent glow I haven’t seen on myself in years after about two weeks of using this serum. The bottle is almost empty, and even though this is a higher price point for me, I am going to be purchasing another since it has changed my skin!




The Product: Elemis Dynamic Surfacing Gel Mask Deluxe Mini

The Cost: $27.00

The Matchmaker: GlossyBox

Elemis has always been that brand that I see on my favorite bloggers’ Instagram constantly, but have been nervous to just spring for the purchase without testing it myself, especially given their price points. I feel so lucky to have found this mask! When I first tried it, I experienced tingling and redness while the mask was on and when I removed it. What I’ve found though is that the tingling and redness doesn’t really happen if you use the mask consistently. I use this twice per week, leaving it on for about 8 minutes each time, and I don’t have the same sensation anymore. My skin is so dry that I get these patches, mainly on my chin and around my nose, that flake and create buildup that causes breakouts. When I really began diving into testing new skincare products, my goal was to keep these dry patches at bay. This mask has helped me achieve that goal! The formula combines patented Tri-Enzyme technology with Amazonian Acerola Cherry that encourages natural cell turnover in as early as two weeks. It targets uneven skin tone, fine lines, and any scarring, leaving your skin smooth and radiant.

Using this twice each week has been the magic number for my skin, giving me a great exfoliation without drying me out. This is another product that I will have to repurchase once this little bottle is empty, which will be soon.




The Product: ClarityRx Daily Dose of Water Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Serum

The Cost: $72.00

The Matchmaker: BeautyFIX

This was only my second bottle of hyaluronic acid that I had ever tried; I never bothered before because I thought the word about HA was all hype. I am so happy that I found this hydrating serum though! This is another product that can leave your skin feeling pretty sticky. I use this for my morning routine, applying it once I get out of the shower to damp skin. I give it about a minute to drink in before applying a hydrating oil serum followed by moisturizer. The ingredients in this blend are pretty straightforward, made of purified water, hyaluronic acid, phenoxyethanol, and ethylhexylglycerin. I have found that this HA is the perfect base to start prepping my skin in the mornings, and is another product that has allowed me to keep my dry skin hydrated and glowing.

I also saw one of my favorite Real Housewives of New York City post on her Insta stories that she started using this product shortly after I received mine, which made me feel really cool and fancy! This bottle is almost gone, and I’m really considering repurchasing.


TULA Skincare


The Product: TULA Skincare Face Filter Blurring & Moisturizing Primer

The Cost: $34.00

The Matchmaker: BeautyFIX

If you follow my reviews, then you know that I used to hate primers. I finally fell in love with the This Works In Transit Camera Close-Up primer and thought that was it for me. Once I tried this moisturizing primer I fell in love all over again… with a primer! When I first got this bottle, I still had some of my This Works, so I didn’t use it more than twice, but once I ran out of my bottle, I decided to give this one a go again. I think the thing that I noticed right away was how it evened the red undertones that I have naturally in my skin, which allows me to use less of my foundation (less uneven tones and redness, less I feel like I need to cover). This is made with chia seeds to boost your skin’s natural radiance, licorice extract to brighten and even skin tone, turmeric extract to minimize inflammation, and probiotic extracts to lock in moisture.

I have been so happy to have found a second primer that I love, and it has made my makeup application that much better. Plus, this primer seems to work really well with my other skincare products, making it that perfect final touch to smooth my skin while adding a creamy glow.




The Product: Caudalie Vinoperfect Serum

The Cost: $114.00 for 50 ml

The Matchmaker: GlossyBox

I received this serum in two separate boxes pretty close together. The first bottle I received I gave right to my husband because he has dark spots on both of his cheeks under his eyes that we have been working to minimize for a while now. We tried a product that we got from my esthetician that he used frequently, but it really dried his skin out, leaving it flakey and irritated (which was odd for him since he has oily skin). He was skeptical when I gave him this serum, saying that it wouldn’t work or that it would make his skin dry, but I encouraged him to give it a go. This serum has worked wonders! By no means are his dark spots gone, but they have lightened and minimized in size so much. The best part is that it leaves his skin feeling hydrated, while still working hard to minimize the dark spots. I was so impressed by the improvement to his skin, that I decided to claim the second bottle for myself.

This is the perfect nighttime product to help combat dark spots, even if they are on the smaller side like mine. The major ingredient in this serum is viniferine, which is an ingredient from grapevine sap. It is known to brighten, lighten, and even the skin’s appearance. We are now down to one bottle, and I am considering buying my husband his own for Father’s Day, since it has done so much to help his dark spots already!


I say this a lot, but for me, beauty subscriptions are all about the discovery. Once I started diving into the beauty sub box world more, I realized that my skincare routine was not where it needed to be. That was when I set my goal to really turn my skin around, to the point even where I wouldn’t need foundation every day. Getting my skin to a better place  required an open mind when it came to the products I test, which means I need to give a product more than a week to do its thing.

Do you have a product that blew you away after using it for a few weeks? Did you have success with any of my tried and true products? Let me know in the comments, and be sure to comment on any review if you would like to hear about a product again down the road to see how it worked!

Want to learn more about our favorite beauty products? Check out these other articles!

Taryn Lowman
Taryn Lowman
Taryn's passion for subscription boxes started when she was gifted a monthly Birchbox. She is excited to discover more Mom and baby boxes to share with her family!

Taryn Lowman
Taryn Lowman
Taryn's passion for subscription boxes started when she was gifted a monthly Birchbox. She is excited to discover more Mom and baby boxes to share with her family!
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Nice post.
I have loved every Caudalie product I’ve tried so far!


Thanks so much for sharing how you use the Sahara Rose. I loved this on first application but it doesn’t seem to play well with other products. I am going to try it at night.


Great article! My favorite products that I have found through beauty sun boxes are
1. Elemis Pro Collagen cleansing balm
2. Sunday Riley Good Genes
3. Dr Brandt antioxidant spray toner
4. Shiseido eye cream


What a great article! Sometimes things that seemed like hits end up being duds by the time the bottle is finished. I am always curious to see what HGs people find in beauty boxes (mine are Sunday Riley A+ and Origins Ginzing Eye Cream, which was a free sample not a subscription find, but close enough lol).

Taryn Lowman

Thank you so much, I’m glad you enjoyed it!

Cathy W

I can’t use that Caudalie serum on my face because I break out. However…I use it on the back of my hands with my regular hand lotion every night before bed and they look amazing now.

Taryn Lowman

Oh I need to try it on my hands, that is a great idea!


I really enjoyed reading this post. I hope we can get more of these posts in the future. 🙂

Taryn Lowman

I’m so glad you enjoyed it!


I agree. I love hearing about others hits and misses because I learn so much!

For myself personally, it’s hard to find a product that blows me away because I have had some serious issues with my skin and have needed prescription medication to deal with it. I honestly could just cry thinking about all the acne nightmares that have plagued me (tweens, teenagers, and young adults. Be so thankful there are now OTC products available to you like Differin!)

While I am in a much better place (thank you dermatologist!) I still have scarring that prevents me from feeling 100% confident in my skin. That said, some products that I personally like are Facetory’s oat facial oil, which I mix with powder vitamin C. The Ordinary’s niacinamide has been a great addition to my routine as well. The creme de la creme is good old tretinoin .025%. I don’t go higher in concentration because that just causes potentially more irritation and performs the same over time.

Like you Taryn, I definitely appreciate the discovery aspect of these beauty boxes. Thank you for your recommendations, I hope we see more posts like these! 🥰

Taryn Lowman

I need to try that Facetory oil! I am so glad you enjoyed this article!


Hey JojoB! Honestly, I have tried to go higher with the tretinoin but my dermatologist won’t let me and said it would just cause more irritation. I also take spironolactone 50 mg and that has eliminated my hormonal acne (I was still getting it on just the tretinoin alone.)

I would say try the higher dose if you think your skin can handle it. I’m pretty sure mine could handle the higher strength, but it’s hard to argue with a professional who is filling the script lol. I would love to know how things go for you. Acne is tough at any age!!


Snow I think we are in the same boat. I have had acne my entire life and it shows no signs of stopping with age. I went on Accutane in 2015 for 7 months. It did nothing. After that massive fail the Dermatologist said my acne is hormonal and Accutane won’t help hormonal acne. I then started seeing an Esthetician monthly for peels which didn’t help a whole lot either. I started experimenting with peels at home (like the FAB daily peel pads, Dr. Gross Universal peel pads, Paula’s Choice 8% AHA, stuff like that) and had a slight improvement.
Then like you, I started using the tretinoin at .025%. It has been a miracle worker of sorts. I am also on a low does of Spironolactone. While not completely gone, the acne I’ve had my entire life is a ghost of it’s former self! Since it’s been going so well I actually just called my Dermatologist yesterday and asked to bump up to .05% on the tretinoin and doubled my spiro. I know you say you stick with .0.25 on the tret-I hope you don’t mind me asking but have you tried increasing the strength and experienced more irritation or have you just been smart and never even tried increasing since you know this strength works for you? I’m wondering if I have made a mistake in increasing. I’d love your input if you don’t mind sharing. Thank you! 🙂


I have that same bottle of HA from my Beauty Fix unopened on my shelf. I also have super dry skin but I am way too nervous to try HA. It seems like it is too complicated. Between reading that it can draw moisture from deeper in your skin (therefore drying you out more) if you don’t layer it correctly to the fact that certain climates affect how it works, it just seems too daunting an ingredient for me to figure out. I don’t know if you participate in swaps or anything like that but you are welcome to my bottle. It still has the safety seal.

I LOVED that 2 of your holy grails (including the above HA) are from Beauty Fix! That box gets such a bad rap but I always love it. I have found several of my favorite products from them as well. One that REALLY surprised me was the HUM Glow Sweet Glow gummies. I swear I notice a huge difference in my skin when using them. Since Beauty Fix sent a full bottle I was able to truly try them out and see results. Actually, as I am typing this I just realized that they contain HA so I guess I am using it in a way! Interesting. They were in the AWESOME November 2019 Beauty Fix box which also contained another great find for me, the SLIP pure silk scrunchie. Love those things and would never have tried one otherwise.

This is a fun post. I’d love to see more like it, including a FAILS portion where you list items that didn’t impress you with further use. Thank you! 🙂

Taryn Lowman

I really had to do a lot of research on that HA, and even tossed an HA bottle before receiving this one after finding out that one of the ingredients was really dangerous, especially for sensitive skin. I use it very carefully and make sure I am combining it with the right products, but I will say if I go out of order I can see a difference. I don’t do swaps, but thank you so much for offering! I was shocked when I too over Beauty Fix that the reviews were so bad because I love it! I have found so many great products through that box alone. I have a lot of fails so maybe that will come next!


I got that recent Beautyfix for the ClarityRX HA serum and am liking it so far. I use it before bed with or without a night cream.

The other past BeautyFix item that amazed me was the Virtue Restorative Treatment Mask. It smelled so good and really helped my hair.


Glad to read this post. I don’t suffer from dry skin. Some great things I have discovered and use repeatedly are Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel, Sand and Sky Austrailan pink clay mask, Whish mud mask, Dermalogica hydro masque, Kate Somerville ExfoliKate, Laneige lip masks, Kopari lip glossy, StriVectin neck cream, and finally Glow Recipe watermelon glow pink juice and the new banana souffle cream. I have a very oily t-zone and all these products do not cause me clogged pores.
I have discovered all these items in boxes since finding this site over 4 years ago. I would have never known about them otherwise.

Taryn Lowman

That is so fun to hear what has worked for you and how much you have learned over the years following MSA!


I think I have that clarity rx serum lying around- I’ll try to find it and crack it open now!

Taryn Lowman

I hope it works for you!

Our reviewers research, test, and recommend the best subscriptions and products independently; click to learn more about our editorial guidelines. We may receive commissions on purchases made through links on our site.