I’m not going to lie. As a skin scientist with a microbiology background, I am weary when it comes to skin care claims. I’m able to detect bogus cosmetic claims and poorly designed clinical studies from a thousand miles away. And frankly, I’m getting really tired of the pseudo science in the cosmetic industry. While I am able to separate fact from fiction, I understand that the general population is not so clear on whether a product will work or (once again) offer false promises.


Having worked for the largest cosmetic company in the world, I am well aware that through smart marketing, you can ‘say things without saying them’. The general public is then left with the impression that a particular skin care product ‘looks like it would work and deliver on unsaid promises’. By using proper marketing angles, Health Canada (or the FDA) will leave you alone and let you advertise if you don’t make certain claims. Hey, you can even stage your ad with a petri dish, a lab flask and a pipette to give the impression that your product has science behind it. And people will fall for it. Again. And chances are high it won’t give visible results. Again.


It takes a tremendous amount of time to keep your knowledge up-to-date on cosmetic products these days. But for me, it’s what gives my business (and myself) an edge amongst a plethora of competitors – knowledge, science, cutting-edge discoveries, ethics, accountability and customization.

~Marie Bertrand, skin care expert, microbiologist & entrepreneur


I study thousands of skin care products yearly and have been doing so for the past 15 years. Once a year, I truly fall in love with a product. Sometimes it’s because of the formulation, sometimes it’s the science behind it, but always because it consistently gives outstanding results, for myself and my clients. Sometimes my favourite products are affordable, sometimes they are more expensive. But they are always worth it. We’ve got the pictures and clients’ feedback to show for it.


In the spirit of helping women and men stop wasting money on products that don’t work, here are my favourite products (analyzed, tried, tested and true) from the past couple of years:


Best Skin Care Tool: ClariSonic Brush

If you still haven’t invested in this skin care tool, you are missing out, my friends. Best long term investment for all skin types. I’ve had mine for 5 years, and it’s still going strong. The latest research shows that it not only removes makeup better than a manual cleansing, it even helps remove daily environmental pollutants that might have an effect on your skin’s health. Who would have thought. Anti-pollution skin care is the next big thing, and having a ClariSonic brush will put you ahead of the game. ($180-$275, depending on the model you choose)


Best Product for Ingrown Hairs: MinSolution for Ingrown Hairs

Forget what you’ve tried before for ingrown hairs – this product WORKS. Once they’ve tried it, patients come back to the office and buy 3-4 bottles to share with their friends, I kid you not. Even the toughest ingrowns hairs on the beard and neck of African American men cannot resist this product. Super easy application from the rollerball format, works on legs, thighs, bikini line, chin, neck and everywhere else you might be getting those pesky ingrowns. ($35 for a 2- to 9-month supply, depending on area covered)


Best Foundation: Laura Mercier Oil-free Tinted Moisturizer

Where would I be without this makeup? Even when a product claims to be ‘non comedogenic’, I still get clogged pores. Story of my life. This is the only liquid makeup that has never given me breakouts. And if I want more coverage, I layer a compact powder foundation and voila! Best. Makeup. Ever. ($56 for a 4-month supply)


Best Acne Serum: SkinCeuticals Blemish & Age Defense

This serum packs some serious scientific punch to unclog pores and fight acne bacteria. It’s a life saver for thousands of my patients and I’ve always joked that if SkinCeuticals discontinued this product, a lot of people (including myself) would be in serious skin trouble (and I would probably have to start my own skin care line). The best serum for acne and to unclog pores, hands down. ($95 for a 6-month supply)


Best Lightening Serum: VivierSkin Seequin IDS Lightening Serum

If you have melasma, this product will change your life. Vitamin C and lightening ingredients are synergetically formulated to visibly lighten and even out brown spots, pigmentation and melasma. For normal to dry skin types. ($136 for a 6-month supply)


Best Mechanical Exfoliant: Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant

This product is called a ‘cult product’ for a good reason. The results are immediate and it will leave your skin unbelievably radiant and smooth. When used on a daily basis, it will also help with skin hydration and will enhance the results of your skin care products. A must for all skin care junkies. ($74 for a 6-month supply)


Best Facial Cleanser: IMAGE Ormedic Balancing Facial Cleanser

Get ready to fall in love with this organic, soap-free, sulfate-free cleanser! Made from organic aloe, organic green tea, organic chamomille, organic calendula, it smells absolutely delicious and removes face and eye makeup gently, without drying out. It is pH balanced, which eliminates the need for a toner. I also like the fact that it can be used for all skin types, even sensitive ones. ($48 for a 4-month supply)


Best Body Product: Nerium Firming Body Contour Cream

Ok, so I never thought I could find a product that would actually improve the overall condition of the skin on my body – but this one won’t disappoint. It’s like a whole body anti-aging cream that exfoliates, smoothes, tightens, tones – all in one formula. And (for once) there is strong science behind a body product, which is rare in the industry. Patients have reported an improvement in the look of stretch marks, cellulite, mummy tummy, bumps on the back of the arms, ingrowns on the legs and overall smoothness of the skin. It even improves the appearance of the skin on the neck (note to millenials – it even works on tech neck). The formulation is unique and very complete – just look up “forskolin” on Google, and you’ll understand why this product really delivers on its promises. ($150 for a 1- to 4- month supply, depending on area covered).


What are YOUR skin care essentials? Please comment below and let’s help our community take the guesswork out of skin care!

In healthy skin,

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DISCLAIMER: Information on this blog is provided for informational purposes and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own dermatologist or other medical professional. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are solely my own and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the companies, brands and products mentioned.


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