Beauty Review: Moisturizer Mania

review of three face moisturizers - dr hauschka quince day cream, juice beauty green apple moisturizer, arcona magic dry ice

This is the true story of three face creams picked to live in my house. Find out what happens when seasons and climates change, and great skin starts getting real.

Ok, now that that’s out of my system…in all seriousness, these are three creams I’ve been transitioning through since last December. Yes, December! It’s been a bit of an experiment re-working my skincare routine with temperate weather and higher humidity here in California, hence all the product tinkering.

All of them have great things going for them, and since I love hearing about what other people are trying and using, I thought I’d share my experiences with each of these, in case you’re looking for a new brand to try. This way to gorgeous skin:

dr hauschka quince day cream

Dr. Hauschka Quince Day Cream

You might remember when I mentioned using this cream back in the winter time in New York. I actually repurchased it one or two more times, but for whatever reason, when we got to SF, I found that it wasn’t moisturizing as well. It would still “work,” technically, it just didn’t feel like it worked as well as it had, and that I needed to use gobs more of it for any kind of efficacy. Which was bizarre, since I had been using it happily during the harsh New York winter!

Here’s why I’m still okay with it: Quince Day Cream is a great, lightweight moisturizer that can work in a variety of climates and times of year. And it might be a silly feature, but I think it’s an ideal product to travel with, because the small, flexible tube is easy to tuck into the tiniest (or most packed) beauty bag. However, I think it’s best for a very specific skin type. If your skin is well-balanced, but perhaps a little sensitive, or if you only feel like you need a very thin layer of moisture, this is a good option to have around. Dr. Hauschka’s products are beloved by spas and estheticians the world over, and for good reason — I have found them to be gentle and great for when my skin is flaring up or feeling sensitive (more on that in a sec). I still adore their cleansing milk for morning face washing, too. The only problem with this one and why I probably won’t repurchase here in SF is the price. I found that when I needed to use more product in California for my skin to feel hydrated, I was going through a tube of this stuff wayyyy too fast. Too pricey for that!

So, it was on to the next…

arcona magic dry ice

Arcona Magic Dry Ice Ultra Daily Hydrator

I’ve tried samples of Arcona products before and always really liked them, and late in the spring, decided to order Magic Dry Ice (which is really just a fancy name for one of their most moisturizing products). After settling in to California, my cheeks had felt drier, and during a visit to Marion at Ensoma, she commented that it seemed like they had very minor rosacea, perhaps due to said dryness. That’s when you know it’s time to try something new! This is actually what definitively prompted me to set aside the Quince Day Cream mentioned above.

Magic Dry Ice has both witch hazel water (second ingredient!) and hyaluronic acid, so I found that it’s really good for shrinking pores and works fabulously under makeup. I don’t typically use a lot of foundation, but when I dab on RMS “Un” Cover-up or Vapour’s Atmosphere Luminous foundation stick, both blend in beautifully. The hyaluronic acid is a humectant, which means it attracts moisture and keeps your skin very hydrated. 1-2 pumps spread across the face soak in very quickly — it doesn’t have that feeling of sitting on top of the skin. For me, I found my skin felt comfortable and moisturized all day, and visually looked soft and hydrated. Interestingly, the texture of Magic Dry Ice is more gel or serum-like than lotion-like — similar to an aloe gel texture, albeit a lot less viscous and sticky (makes sense, since there is a bit of aloe in the formula).

To be honest, I really love this lotion and found it worked wonders on my skin, and with a very short ingredient list to boot. But I wouldn’t repurchase it. Why? The smell! Some people might really like it, but for me it was too fruity and sweet. To me, it smells exactly like the way a SweeTart candy tastes, and Joe commented the same. The aroma wouldn’t really dissipate throughout the day either, so even though the lotion was extremely effective, I wouldn’t repurchase because of that.

So, it was on to the next…

juice beauty green apple age defy moisturizer

And I actually found my current solution (and skincare love!) right in my own medicine cabinet. I had purchased a jar of Juice Beauty’s Green Apple Age Defy Moisturizer last autumn, when we were still in New York. It was at the same time that I purchased their CC cream, discussed here. I bought this at the time because I had tried a sample of it and my skin seemed to love it! But for whatever reason, when I began using it in earnest, my skin didn’t react so well — it felt more sensitive and my cheeks became a little red. I couldn’t figure it out, so I just shelved it and thought I might use it later or give it to a friend.

I ended up bringing it with me to SF, and on a whim in early July, started using it again. This time, my skin LOVES it. It’s like it was with the sample! Constantly hydrated, super smooth to the touch, very glowy. I’ve been using it in the morning on its own after washing my skin with a milky cleanser, and at night, as a layer over (yes, over!) my Dr. Alkaitis oil (as I like to think of it each night, “sealing in all the juices.” Gross?). This will definitely be my routine until it stops working, which hopefully, it won’t.

What I like about this moisturizer: the scent, while there, isn’t overpowering, and it goes away quickly once you apply the lotion. The moisturizer feels like a traditional face cream, but absorbs quickly and performs well under makeup, including cream based blush and foundation. I find that once I apply, by the time I brush out my eyebrows my face feels prepped and ready!

The lotion is full of a lot of the things I liked about Magic Dry Ice, including hyaluronic acid and aloe. It also has CoQ10 and Vitamin C, which I think accounts for how bright my skin has been looking. Lately, my makeup routine has simply been mascara, some of Wander Beauty’s On-The-Glow blush, and RMS Un-Coverup dotted where needed. I’ve been so happy having my good skin back!

But here’s something interesting…

I will say that I think part of what has contributed to better skin in California — and my skin being able to tolerate the Juice Beauty lotion where it couldn’t before — is that we’re feeling better and eating healthier. Towards the end there in NY, we were in a pretty bad takeout routine, plus the weather was just so cold. I think the higher humidity, better access to and eating a lot more fruits and vegetables, plus drinking tons more water has helped my skin immensely and made it a lot less sensitive. Funny how that works. Beauty really does start from the inside!

Where to Buy

Dr. Hauschka sells products in a lot of specialty boutiques and spas. You can also order directly from their website, or from or Amazon.

Arcona also sells in a number of spas and salons. I’ve found that has a great selection of their products, as does Nordstrom.

Juice Beauty products are very readily available, which I love. You can typically find them at your local Whole Foods store, and here in SF, Credo Beauty also sells them. And of course, you can order them directly off the Juice website. They also sell online at Ulta, and


Post Photographs by Victoria McGinley   •   All items purchased by reviewer


  1. 8.25.15

    These look like amazing products!

  2. 8.26.15

    I’ve definitely experienced the same phenomenon with different products working more/less well depending on how my skin is doing overall. I love the Juice Beauty CC cream pretty much all the time, but had to pull back using their Sensitive Green Apple Peel over the winter. Now? My skin is loving the peel again.

  3. 8.27.15
    Shirsha said:

    I love the styling that you used. Simple and effective. Historically, I’ve never paid much attention to what products I use – I just go with whatever is available on hand. However, as I find myself approaching 30, and my skin not the same as it used to be, I think I need to seriously start considering a better skincare routine. Thanks you for the recommendations.

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