michaeltodd1Apparently I am really into sample-sized skin care kits right now — first it was Soap & Glory, then Nuxe, and now Michael Todd True Organics.

I purchased this set from a Beyond the Rack sale.  BTR isn’t affiliated with any well-known larger company (i.e. HauteLook and Nordstrom); they are a web-based company that ships out of Québec and follows a similar business model, however; you buy something you like on their site for a discounted price, then you wait a really long time to have it shipped to you.  Reviews on BTR are mixed, but the only opinion I know for sure is my own, and having bought from HauteLook before, I can say that BTR’s shipping is actually a little better (they send you notifications about when their items have been received, and when things will ship, whereas HauteLook does absolutely nothing) and these products are authentic (I’ve independently determined this, based on other Michael Todd Organics samples I own).

Anywhoo, there are five product samples in this “Normal/Combination Skin Discovery Kit” — they run the gamut between cleanser to moisturizer, and several steps between. Ultimately, you get five deluxe-size samples that will basically cover all your skincare needs for about a month — and it’s super-handy for travel, especially week-long vacations when you don’t want to lug full-size bottles with you (bonus: all of these are TSA-regulation size for carry-ons!).

michaeltodd3michaeltodd9 HONEY AND OAT gentle deep pore cleanser – 30 ml / 1 fl oz

Every night, cleanse face thoroughly to get rid of dirt and impurities that can clog pores. Lightly cleanse again in the morning. If skin feels taut or tight, skip morning cleanse. Instead, rinse face with lukewarm water and proceed to toner. Be careful of over-cleansing so that skin feels dry or irritated. To cleanse, wet face and hands with warm (not hot or cold) water. Apply cleanser onto fingertips and gently massage onto damp face and neck in upward, circular motions. Oat extract draws out impurities and gently removes dirt, oil and makeup. Honey acts as a humectant to restore moisture. Rinses thoroughly without residue or irritation leaving skin feeling clean, soft and refreshed.

The ingredients list for this product is as follows: Aloe Barbadensis (Organic Aloe) Juice, Lavendula Angustifolia (Organic Lavender) Distillate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Cocopolyglucoside Tartrate, Sodium Cocopolyglucoside Citrate, Avena Sativa (Oat) Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Xanthan Gum (Polysaccharide Gum), Vegetable Glycerin, Euterpe Oleracea (Acai Fruit) Pulp Powder, Organic Honey, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Dl- Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B5), Tocopherol (Vitamin E), EDTA, Essential Oils.

This smells very strongly like sweet oranges, in a very natural way. There is very, very minimal foaming action to this cleanser – a tiny bit of suds, but nothing substantial. Still, when I wiped it away with a wet cloth, a lot of makeup came with it.  It didn’t irritate my eyes, and it didn’t dry my skin and give me that itchy feeling after use. I’m a fan – it seems gentle and effective. I think this is a very nice cleanser.

michaeltodd5michaeltodd10 BLUE GREEN ALGAE antibacterial toner – 30 ml / 1 fl oz

After each cleansing, apply a small amount of toner onto cotton pad and gently wipe over face and neck paying special attention to the T zone – the center part of your face, nose (including crevices around the nose), chin and forehead. Cleans and restores the skin’s proper pH without the drying effects of alcohol. Highly moisturizing, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, this toner is rich in vital nutrients, trace elements and amino acids. Algae, kelp and hyaluronic acid (a humectant that draws moisture to the skin) eliminates toxins, promotes cellular renewal, nourishes and remineralizes the skin. Cleans and maintains the skin’s proper pH without the drying effects of alcohol.

The ingredients list for this product is as follows: Aloe Barbadensis (Organic Aloe) Leaf Juice, Ascophyllum Nodosum (Organic Kelp) Extract, Aphanizomenon Flos Aquae (Organic Blue Green Algae) Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Hyaluronate (Hyaluronic Acid), Salix Nigra (Black Willowbark) Extract, Euterpe Oleracea (Acai Fruit) Pulp Powder, Sodium Chloride (Dead Sea Salt), Polysorbate, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Essential Oil, Tetrasodium EDTA, Citric Acid, Lavendula Angustifolia (Certifed Organic) Hydrosol.

I’m really trying to stay away from alcohol-based toners; I find them very harsh and drying, and they really only exacerbate any issues you have with sebum production by causing your skin to overproduce to compensate for the stripping of natural oils/damage to the moisture barrier. As such, an alcohol-free toner that also advertises as balancing, cleansing, and moisturizing is right up my alley. The smell is not overly astringent, but definitely clean, and while it does dry my skin a little bit, by no means as much as an alcohol based toner.  On those days when I was using a little extra makeup, I was surprised to see some more removed after the cleanser, thanks in part to the toner (and, I’m sure, in part to the extra wiping).

michaeltodd2michaeltodd11JOJOBA CHARCOAL facial scrub – 30 ml / 1 floz

Two or three times a week, perform a facial scrub to help get rid of dead skin cells and encourage cell turnover, which brings healthy skin to the surface faster. Wet face and hands with warm (not hot) water. Apply scrub onto fingertips and gently massage onto face and neck in upward, circular motions. Follow with toner and moisturizer or serum. Jojoba Wax Beads and Activated Charcoal effectively remove dead skin cells, impurities and toxins without microlacerations to delicate skin. Leaves skin smooth and refreshed.

The ingredients list for this product is as follows: Aloe Barbadensis (Organic Aloe) Juice, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut RBD) Oil, Cocamidopropyl  Betaine,  Simmondsia  Chinensis  (Jojoba)  Wax  Beads,  Emulsifying  Wax,  Palm Stearic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Euterpe Oleracea (Acai Fruit) Pulp Powder, Charcoal, Xanthan Gum (Polysaccharide Gum), Carbomer 980, Aleurites Moluccana (Kukui Nut) Oil, Spinacia Oleracea (Spinach) Extract, Tetrasodium EDTA, Citric Acid.

Honestly, I’m getting a little over facial scrubs, which is EXACTLY what I say every year when I’ve had a good four/five months of oilier skin thanks to the summer weather, and right before autumn hits and my face dries up like a desert and gets terribly flaky. You guys haven’t seen it yet. It’s atrocious. I’ll be eating my words in all of a few months. Anyway, so here’s a facial scrub!

It’s interesting to see multiple exfoliating components in a scrub like this, I think it helps to increase the efficacy of the overall product; different textures and sizes of scrubby bits. Still, it’s very gentle and despite this being a scrub, it didn’t feel harsh on my skin. There’s no foaming action, just a simple scrub that wipes away cleanly with water — no tightness after use.

michaeltodd6CITRUS CREAM MOISTURIZER with dmae and hyaluronic acid – 30 ml / 1 fl oz

Apply at least twice daily to clean skin of face and neck. Apply more frequently if skin feels taught or tight.. For best results, use after toner. Allow for absorption before applying makeup. Light, soothing hydrating cream moisturizer infused with essential oils of sweet and mandarin orange, tangerine, lemon and lime. DMAE firms skin, and improves fine lines and wrinkles. Hyaluronic Acid (humectant) attracts moisture to the skin restoring the skin’s optimal moisture balance. Skin is left feeling moist, smooth and younger looking all day.

The ingredients list for this product is as follows: Aloe Barbadensis (Organic Aloe Vera) Juice, Hibiscus Sp. (Hibiscus) Flower Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grapeseed) Oil, Rosa Mosqueta (Rosehip) Seed Oil, Emulsifying Wax, Palm Stearic Acid, Vegetable Glycerin, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Phenoxyethanol, Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), Beta Carotene (Pro Vitamin A), Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C Ester), Euterpe Oleracea (Acai Fruit) Pulp Extract, Hyaluronic Acid, DMAE (Dimethylaminoethanol), Dl-panthenol (Pro-vitamin B5), Xanthan Gum (Polysaccharide Gum), Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Oleoresin, Azadirachta Indica (Neem) Oil, Citrus Cinensis (Sweet Orange) Essential Oil, Citrus Deliciosa (Mandarin) Essential Oil, Citrus Limonium (Lemon) Essential Oil, Citrus Arauntifolia (Lime) Essential Oil, Citrus Bergamia (Bergamot) Essential Oil, Litsea Cubeba (Litsea)  Essential Oil, Citrus Aurantium (Neroli) Essential Oil, Citrus Reticulata (Tangerine) Essential Oil, Citric Acid.

I really, really like this moisturizer — so much so that I am offering it as part of my prize pack for the TSR Summer of Love Giveaway. It smells very fresh and almost like a candy.  The consistency is rich and creamy, but light on the skin — it melted in quickly and didn’t leave me feeling greasy. The downside? I didn’t find it overly moisturizing, and as my skin begins to dry out with the impending season change, I’ve needed to supplement this moisturizer with an additional patting of facial oil before bed. Still, I consider it one of my favourites for the smell and the light, comfortable feeling I have on my face when using it.

michaeltodd4PUMPKIN nutrient-rich facial mask – 30 ml / 1 fl oz

Once a week, after cleansing, apply an even layer over face and neck. Avoid eye area. Leave on 5-10 minutes and rinse. Follow with moisturizer and use sunscreen during the day. Rejuvenating facial treatment using nutrient-rich Pumpkin blended with Glycolic Acid and more than 100 other essential vitamins, minerals, phytosterols and fatty acids. Exfoliates to remove dead skin, impurities and toxins, moisturizes and firms, improves elasticity and pliability of the skin, unclogs pores allowing skin to breathe and facilitates movement of skin oils. Adds brightness and radiance to the skin and significantly improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

The ingredients list for this product is as follows: Cucurbita Pepo (Pumpkin), Vaccinium Myrtillus (Bilberry) Fruit Extract, Saccharum Officinarum  (Sugar  Cane)  Extract, Acer  Saccharinum  (Sugar  Maple)  Extract,  Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Extract, Aqua (Water), Vegetable Glycerin, Glycolic Acid, Tetrasodium EDTA, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Phenoxyethanol, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Oil, Xanthan Gum (Polysaccharide Gum), Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C), Cinnamomum Cassia (Cinnamon) Bark, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Powder, Euterpe Oleracea (Acai Fruit) Pulp Powder, Myristica Fragrans (Nutmeg) Powder, Pimenta Officinalis (Allspice) Powder, Rosmarinus Officnalis (Rosemary Oleoresin), Azadirachta Indica (Neem) Oil. Sun Alert: This product contains ingredients that may increase your skin’s sensitivity to sun and particularly the possibility of sunburn. Sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher and limiting exposure to the sun while using this product is highly recommended.

You’ll probably remember this from my August 2013 Ipsy bag, which I reviewed recently. How refreshing to see the very first item of a product match what we are expecting to find within the tube!  This mask is full of all sorts of goodies; tonnes of extracts, powders, oils and other ingredients that are designed to rejuvenate your skin. Apart from DIY masks I’ve made at home, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a mask that looks so natural — oh, and it smells like pumpkin pie. BRING ON THE STARBUCKS CARAMEL MACCHIATOS, BITCHES!

There was a very slight burning sensation at first, but it quickly disappeared within a few minutes of application. Did the mask work wonders? Not really. I didn’t notice anything special after using this mask (no irritation, but no remarkable results). It’s a nice, basic mask…similar to my Skin Food Royal Honey mask — nice to have, but nothing that I would need in my bathroom.

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At the top, you can see (duh) the charcoal scrub, then the pumpkin mask and moisturizing cream, in a clockwise direction.

All-in-all, this is a great kit with a great value and offers a solid introduction to a very high quality brand. Some products are more effective than others, but overall, I would strongly recommend you try out some Michael Todd Organics products if you ever get a chance!