In the fall I was sent the Cherlyn Skincare System to try.  I was hesitant at first.  I have very fair and sensitive skin. Am allergic to a lot of scents.  Am allergic to the sun and need to regularly wear SPF on my face.  And I am becoming very watchful of the toxic ingredients in my cosmetics.    But upon further investigation I was convinced that Cherlyn had similar concerns for herself, and her customers.

The Cherlyn Skincare line was created as a gentle solution for a variety of skin types, including sensitive, oily, acne-prone and mature skin.  Depending on the time of the month, almost all of those descriptions can apply to my skin.

I wanted to make skincare products that best combine the most natural, body-friendly ingredients with extensive scientific proof of safety and effectiveness. This became my passion,” says Cherlyn.

My normal routine is a gentle face wash, a moisturizer and sun block (with the latter two preferably combined).   The Cherlyn Skincare System included:

  • Purifying Cleanser, with Malic and Tartaric Acid from Citrus Fruits.
  • Clarifying Serum, with Alpha Hydroxy Acids from Bilberry
  • Bio-Restore Cream, with Beta Hydroxy Acid from Willow Bark.

Since none of her products include an SPF I had to add that on top.  But in order to give the moisturizer a real test, I only used the SPF on sunny days (and when skiing), instead of everyday.

When trying new beauty products I am not necessarily very good at assessing if it minimizes fine lines and wrinkles, reduces the appearance of pore size, improves the look of uneven skin tones, blotches, etc.    What I notice is what is in it, how it smells, how easy it is to use, how it makes my skin feel, whether it manages my break-outs, if it can handle different environmental conditions and the cost.

I will be honest I gave the Cherlyn Skincare system an extra hard trial by taking it with me to Alberta over the holidays and on my ski vacation.  I also tested it over several months to see what it would do at the various phases of my hormonal cycle.

What is in it?  I really appreciate products where I know that no toxic chemicals are used.   I carry theDavid Suzuki Foundation's Dirty Dozen*  app on my phone. But cosmetics ingredients lists are very small and my eyes are starting to feel their age.  And I hate standing in a flourescent store aisle trying to read tiny little print.  Plus I am NOT a chemist.  It is much nicer knowing in advance which products you can trust.

Cherlyn uses natural skin care ingredients with no synthetic fragrances, toxic preservatives, or animal testing.   There is no mysterious "Fragrance" or "Natural" labelled ingredients.   She is also committed to transparency and honesty.  So you can read about ALL of the ingredients in Cherlyn's products on her website.  So I was able to compare the product list to the Dirty Dozen* ingredients and the Skin Deep Database* in the comfort of my own home - without any squinting involved.

I couldn't find any of the ingredients on the Dirty Dozen* list and most of them scored well in the green (robust and good) categories in the Skin Deep Database*. The exceptions were Beta Hydroxy Acids , Benzyl Alcohol , and Salicylic Acid which each received a yellow "fair" 4 score, as there are some restrictions to use in cosmetics in Canada.

Note that Cherlyn does not make any claims to her ingredients being organic.  Just that she uses natural ingredients and tries to avoid toxic preservatives, synthetic fragrances or animal-tested chemicals.  Also keep in mind that Natural does not necessarily mean better, as many minerals are natural.  So I always feel better reviewing the ingredients vs the Skin Deep* database list.

How does it smell?  There is slight citrus odour.  It did not bother my allergies and it disepated quickly.

How easy was it to use?  The cleanser comes out of the tube at a nice speed (so you don't waste any) and massaged easily into my face.  I often wash my face in the shower, which means I am handling the packaging with wet hands and spillage can happen with liquid products that are really runny. I had no issue with the Cherlyn cleanser.   And a little went a long way.

The moisturizer is also nice and thick so it feels rather luxurious going on.  I really hate thin moisturizer.  Just a little of the Cherlyn moisturizer went a long way.

I will admit I used the Serum only a handful of times.  And I applied it via my finger versus the recommended cotton ball or pad.  But it was easy to use - my problem was remembering to use it at night before bed (as my nighttime routine is pretty minimal).

How did it make my skin feel?  My skin is sensitive and I usually avoid cleansers that make it feel too dry or stripped after using it.  The cleanser gave me a tight clean feeling.  The moisturizer immediately took away any dry feeling and left my skin feeling healthy.   And it didn't feel dry again in an hour - even in the dry Alberta winter.  And it didn't feel heavy or greasy - even on the days when I also wore an SPF over top.  This was a particular concern when I went skiing, as I wore a heavy sports 60 SPF.  And still my skin didn't feel greasy or heavy with both the moisturizer and the SPF.

The serum left my skin feeling refreshed.  Like a nice light pick-me-up before bed.

Overall I had none of the itchy, red irritations I have had from (many) other products.

How did it manage my break-outs?  As I move through my 40s my hormone cycles have become less predictable.  And one of the by-products of this is I break out more (yep pimples are not just for teenagers).  Over the few months that I used the system I had one break-out.  But it was only one small-ish pimple and it cleared up faster than it normal.

How did it adapt to different environmental factors?  I found the performance of the system consistent between the rainy BC and dry/cold Alberta winters.  I wish I could have also tested in some hot, sandy climate.  But alas, there is no beach vacation in my near future.

How much does it cost? And how easy it is to find?   The system is still new and currently only available online at Cherlyn.ca.  It is also not inexpensive at $198 for the entire system.  But the cleanser individually at $38 is not that different from what I spend on other natural or organic cleansers.  And a little of the product goes a long way.

Final thoughts - A hard working system for someone with sensitive skin who is also careful of what ingredients they are using on their skin.

For myself, I still have quite a bit of product left in my trial size products (a little does go a long way).  As the cleanser starts to run out I will likely order more of it.  While I liked the moisturizer, as my skin is very sensitive to the sun and I am rather lazy, I will likely continue to invest in a moisturizer that includes an SPF.

* The David Suzuki Foundation has published a list of the Dirty Dozen toxic chemicals to avoid in your cosmetics.  The Skin Deep Data Cosmetics Database has assessed thousands or products and ingredients for their potential hazards. The site is run by the Environmental Working Group.

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Disclosure - Cherlyn provided me with trial sized products from their skincare system for me to trial and review. The opinions in the review above are 100% my own. And I receive no other compensation.