Budget friendly beauty. A lot of brands make it, few make it really well. But let me tell you about Maelove and why I firmly believe it needs to be in your skincare routine.
Note: If you want the Cliffs Notes version of this post, buy the Maelove Serum Trio for $63.85. I highly recommend for everyone, all skin types. Come back later to read how to use them when you have time.
In full transparency, I can’t take credit for finding this brand myself. After being asked multiple times in one day about the brand, something had to be going on. Turns out Allure wrote an article on the Maelove Glow Maker serum comparing it to SkinCeuticals’ C E Ferulic for a fraction of the price. If you’ve been following my Instagram stories, you know the C E Ferulic is my ride or die antioxidant. It’s my religion. I use it every single morning and my skin has never looked better. So could a $27.95 product really do the same thing?
Before reviewing every product I tested, here’s a little background on the brand. Maelove is a cleaner beauty brand that formulates products without parabens, SLS, dyes, and fragrance. Click on those to read more details on why NOT using those ingredients matters. So where does that land them on the clean beauty scale? Not 100% “clean” (one of the products I tried contained a PEG) but the ingredient lists look pretty darn good otherwise. They’re 100% transparent with their ingredient lists online and don’t use common marketing tactics that mislead their customers which sits really well with me. I’m not EWG or the Think Dirty iPhone app but if I had to guess, I’d say the products are about a 3 or less which is better than brands like Colleen Rothschild and TULA and on par with Drunk Elephant in terms of ranking. But they’re at a better this price point and they’re equally, if not more, effective.
Without further adieu, here is what I recommend! GET EXCITED!
1. The Glow Maker ($27.95).
What skin type this is for: all.
How I recommend using it: every morning after your wash your face/use toner (toner is optional in the morning based on skin type).
The Glow Maker serum was the reason I wanted to test the brand. I’ve been asked so many times for a budget friendly SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic dupe and this is it. Literally, this is it. The Allure article raving about this product, the fact it has sold out 3 times, and the 5,633 reviews on their website (that’s on the level of Amazon!) speak for themselves. If that wasn’t enough for you, I love it and will be using it going forward. Are you convinced now?
What does an antioxidant do? This is one of my most asked questions on Instagram. Antioxidants serve a couple purposes. Largely, to protect and prevent your skin from your environment. This is especially important in areas with high pollution or smog. Vitamin C brightens your skin to give it that highly coveted natural glow. Hyaluronic Acid hydrates your skin throughout the day. All of these make your skin look healthy, require you to wear less makeup, and make your makeup look more natural. I mean it when I say, everyone needs this serum.
I know I’ll be asked if I will be switching out permanently to The Glow Maker and here is my honest response. I still think there is benefit to the C E Ferulic (the product formulas aren’t identical). If you have the beauty budget for SkinCeuticals and take advantage of the sales when I share them, you absolutely can keep using. C E Ferulic is the “gold standard for an effective antioxidant” among board certified dermatologists. But I’m also the first to be financially responsible and the price point of Maelove offers considerable savings for almost the same performance. So, here’s a solution (and this is my plan) – alternate between the two! And if you’re on a budget, snag The Glow Maker ASAP before it sells out for the 4th time!
2. Nia 10 Calming Serum ($27.95).
What skin type this is for: all, especially sensitive skin, mild to moderate acne, and rosacea.
How I recommend using it: at night in place of your normal serum (right after you wash your face/use toner) – can be layered in with your existing serum as a booster too.
Who doesn’t love a product that turns back time for your skin? I always say that if I could have done my life over, I’d start using serums like this one when I turned 20, if not sooner. I’ve struggled with finding good serums that I’m loyal to. While this is partly because I’m always trying to find new options for you, it’s also because few have really impressed me. In fact, I can think of one that I’ve repurchased. However, the Nia 10 Calming Serum is one that I would 100% repurchase.
What does it do? As with every serum, the main purpose is anti-aging. Serums containing Niacinamide improve the elasticity of your skin making it look plumper, reducing fine lines and wrinkles, which in turn makes you look younger. The remaining ingredients cater to sensitive skin, mild to moderate acne (it’s oil free!), and rosacea to soothe and reduce redness.
When it comes to comparing to other products, the consistency of the formula is preferred (in my opinion) over the SkinCeuticals HA Intensifier because it absorbs better. On days when I want to use a serum in addition to an antioxidant, the Nia 10 works better under my makeup for that reason. Definitely a must have for everyone.
3. Hydrator B5 Gel $27.95.
What skin type this is for: depends on climate and time of year.
How I recommend using it: after your serum for an added boost of hydration, morning (optional) and night.
Again, Maelove delivers a formula that is a great alternative to the luxury price points of other brands. Hydrated skin looks younger. That’s a fact. So, let me explain when to use this because this is where it gets a little more personalized to you. A gel isn’t typically a single solution for people with naturally dry skin or those that live in harsh winter climates. You’ll need a thick cream or a balm in addition (I’ve shared a few on Instagram). So, while someone with dry skin can absolutely add this as a booster to their routine, I recommend the Hydrator B5 Gel for oily skin year round as a single solution. It won’t clog your pores and overwhelm your skin, causing breakouts.
If you didn’t know, your skincare routine should change based on your skin type, the climate, and time of year. This is where (I should say when) the benefit of this product lies for all skin types. For summer, the Hydrator B5 Gel would be a great solution for especially if you live in a humid climate. Think tropical spring vacations as well. Humidity can cause breakouts for skin that isn’t used to the extra moisture so grab this in advance!
In summary, all skin types can use it year round – just make sure the rest of your skincare routine compliments your climate.
4. Love 31 Face Oil $74.95.
What skin type this is for: normal to oily skin.
How I recommend using it: mixed into your moisturizer in the morning for normal to oily skin, mixed into your moisturizer at night for oily skin.
Chances are, you’ve probably heard me say that face oil is a game changer for your skin. If I could only choose one skincare product to use the rest of my life, it’d be face oil. Why? It hydrates, it repairs, it protects, it anti-ages. Face oil does it all. It’s like a wife for your skin. Since I love bringing you new options I had to try the Love 31 Face Oil. It took 90 iterations of this formula to get it right because of the complexity – it contains 31 botanical extracts! As someone who formerly worked in the beauty industry, I respect that commitment to the formula.
The description on the website is very accurate. Again, Maelove calls it like it is and I respect that. The Love 31 Face Oil is moisturizing without leaving an oily residue behind. So what exactly does that mean for you? Full transparency? Is it the most hydrating face oil on the market? No. BUT the formula makes it a GREAT option for oily skin and anyone that is new to face oil. It takes times for skin to get used to extra oil and incorporating a face oil like this into your skincare routine can actually help reduce your skin’s oiliness in the long run. It also is a GREAT option for your morning face oil if you’re the type of person who likes to control the glow since it absorbs so well into your skin. It also primes your skin for a flawless makeup application.
5. Night Renewer $27.95.
What skin type this is for: any skin type with texture issues or hyperpigmentation (dark spots)
How I recommend using it: a few nights a week as the last step of your skincare routine.
We can’t all afford, make time for, or want the side effects of a chemical peel, right? I know I am always wary of looking like Samantha from that Sex and the City episode where she gets a chemical peel. Maelove’s Night Renewer is a much better solution for me. No peeling, just resurfacing with 10% medical grade Glycolic Acid to improve skin texture, hyperpigmentation, and signs of aging. I love a product that does multiple things at once. I did experience a tingling sensation (as the label notes) when I first applied the product. I still feel it 2 weeks in (I forgot to pack it when I went to Chicago for work so I basically had to restart introducing my skin to it).
How will I be incorporating this? I plan to use this 2-3 nights a week to help reduce my melasma. For my skin type (dry to normal), it isn’t as hydrating during winter to use every night. However, in summer, it might be the perfect amount of hydrating to use nightly! I will keep you guys posted.
It would be remiss of me to not mention that if you want to grab more than one of the products I recommended, take a look at the Maelove collections because they come at a discount. I’d recommend that almost everyone reading this post get the Serum Trio which is only $63.85 for the 3 serums I talked about in this post. That’s an insane deal for the value they deliver. I’m highly impressed with how well Maelove put collections together to target specific issues like the Face Scar-Spots Kit or the Clear Skin Kit. Usually I feel like collections leave you with one or 2 products that you could have probably done with out. Not the case here and I appreciate that immensely.
I’ll wrap up this post by saying that finding the right product combination for you can be extremely complicated and can get overwhelming. The best products for you are probably different from your 5 closest girlfriends (except for the Maelove serums) which is why I believe in personalized recommendations for everything. Feel free to DM me on Instagram and I can help you figure out your skincare routine!
Lastly, I want to thank the people that asked me about Maelove. Without you, I wouldn’t have discovered this brand – and it’s a brand that I don’t think I can live without now. I’m still shocked that cleaner products, at this price point, and with this effectiveness exist. And that’s why I think Maelove belongs in everyone’s skincare routine.
*In partnership with Maelove but as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Danielle Chicago says
I have a very simple skincare routine, 2 steps in the morning and 4 steps in the evening. I’ve been using a night serum in the past but had stop, I’m loving the suppleness of my skin when using it. From this brand MaeLove, I would like to try the Glow Make Antioxidant Serum, can’t wait :)
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