If there’s one thing I miss in the wake of the pandemic, it’s attending beauty events. Last year I had the privilege of going to several skincare-related workshops, conventions, and parties in Philadelphia and New York. But this weekend, thanks to a stroke of good luck, I took part in a virtual skincare party hosted by Philly-based Sabbatical Beauty.
I won a pair of tickets to the Sabbatical Beauty Summer Skin & Sip Party through an Instagram giveaway and invited my friend, Susan, to join me.
So how does one partake in a virtual skincare party? Here’s my experience.
Days prior to the party, participants received a box from Sabbatical Beauty containing foil packets of the skincare products we would be using. The box also included a bottle of Vital Proteins Collagen Water (which fulfills the “sip” requirement of the party) and a blue spa headband with a Velcro fastener that is very comfortable.
The evening before the party, attendees got an email with instructions on how to access the party via Zoom, notes about the party games we would be playing throughout the event, and a 10% off online coupon valid on all Sabbatical Beauty Summer Skin 2020 items.
A half-hour before the event, I set up my wash station (my bathroom!) with the foil packets, three washcloths, a cotton pad, my wellness drink, and a stool so I could comfortably sit in front of my sink. Fortunately, I was able to balance my laptop on top of the toilet basin.
Virtual Skincare Party Time!
The Sabbatical Beauty Summer Skin & Sip Party began at 9:30 am Philly time. There were approximately 25 participants from all across the United States and around the globe, which means some of them got up even earlier than I did. (Respect!)
Sabbatical Beauty founder Adeline moderated the event, which began with her leading everyone through a short grounding exercise. Once we were good and zen, it was time to begin our skincare routine.
Step 1: Wash Spa Lavender Hinoki Essential Oil
We were instructed to add the Wash Spa Lavender Hinoki Essential Oil to our washbasins for “an aromatherapeutic experience.” It smelled heavenly. If I recall correctly, this item isn’t available for sale, but the demand among guests was very high!
Step 2: Kombucha Vinegar Green Tea Foaming Cleanser
Kombucha, which purportedly helps maintain a healthy skin microbiome, is a focal point of Sabbatical Beauty’s newest summer products. This cleanser is formulated with kombucha from Baba’s Brew (another Philly-area company) and green tea extract.
This is a lightweight gel that turns to foam upon adding water. It didn’t get very foamy for me, but it did develop a nice lather. Upon washing it off, my skin felt refreshed. I liked this cleanser quite a bit. It’s billed as a gentle, low pH formula, although I’m unsure of the exact pH. (I didn’t test.)
Step 3: Kombucha Essence Toner
Like the cleanser above, this toner contains Baba’s Brew kombucha in addition to a fruit acid complex and salicylic acid for exfoliation. It also has white willow bark to temper oiliness.
To be blunt, I was not fond of the Kombucha Essence Toner. The pungent fermented smell was too much for my senses. Also, my skin had a slight tingling sensation after using it, which may have been the exfoliating properties at work. Nothing severe, just not what I personally look for in a toner.
Step 4a: Kiki’s Seaweed & Coconut Mask
This wash-off mask was inspired by (and named after) Kiki Aranita, the owner of Hawaiian eatery Poi Dog Philly. It’s a mix of purple laver seaweed, sea kelp bio ferment, and coconut water. The Kiki Mask is meant to soothe, balance, and rejuvenate skin.
Compared to the other guests, I didn’t get very much of this mask in my foil packet. I don’t know if it dried up in transit or while my package was sitting for hours on my porch in the sun. (Mail delivery has been lacking in my area lately.) I did have enough to cover most of my troublesome areas, at least.
Step 4b: Breakout Rooms + Mask Wash-Off
While the Kiki Mask was setting, the party was divided into smaller sections known as “breakout rooms” to socialize. We were encouraged to get to know one another by playing “Two Truths and a Lie.” (I was bad at convincing my group that I once met Joan Rivers, but good at convincing them that I am a Villanova grad!)
My group — which included another Philadelphian, a mother and daughter from Michigan, and a Wisconsonite — also chatted about how we discovered Sabbatical Beauty and which products we liked the most. We had about 20 minutes to socialize amongst ourselves before returning to the larger party and rinsing off our masks.
Despite not wearing too much of it, the Kiki Mask left my face soft and smooth!
Step 5: Magic Dragon Serum
This multipurpose serum is heavy on the dragon — as in, dragon’s blood extract and dragonfruit extract. It’s also a reformulated version of an existing product, with the addition of potato and algae starches to make it less tacky and easier to spread.
While I had too little of the Kiki Mask, I had double the serum I actually needed. I should have been wise and only applied half of the packet, but nope! I had to go all in and use every last drop. As a result, the serum took some time to work into my skin. It also felt a little grainy, which may have been pilling. Once I wiped away the excess, my skin was able to absorb the serum.
Step 6: Bright Eyes Gel
This eye gel is another reformulated Sabbatical Beauty product. It features a mix of caffeine, green tea, fermented cocoa, cucumber, red algae, and licorice to help combat puffiness and dark circles.
Despite being someone who is a prime candidate for eye cream, I don’t use one regularly and I’m not inclined to change that soon. The Bright Eyes Gel is thicker than I thought it would be but still spreadable. I can’t say that I saw a drastic change in my dark circles — genetics are a B! — but my eye area did look a little brighter after use.
Step 7a: Hinoki Rose Hand Purifier
After caring for our faces, it was time to tend to our hands. First, we rubbed on this botanical hand purifier made with hinoki (Japanese Cypress), dried rosebuds, aloe vera, and 70% ethyl alcohol to kill those nasty germs.
I own a small bottle of the Lavender & Chamomille Hand Purifier that I got as part of the Philly Self Care Box and like it a lot. Not only do these sanitizers smell good, but they’re not terribly drying, either. I carry mine in my purse. The only downside is that the spray on my tube doesn’t work very well, so I have to unscrew the cap each time I need to use it.
Step 7b: Strawberry Hand Potion
After cleansing our hands, we nourished them with this moisturizer. It’s made with chamomile extract, avocado oil, coconut oil, shea butter, and (of course) strawberry extract. The mild pink hue comes from the house-made hibiscus extract.
Let me get this out of the way: I love the smell! I would eat this hand cream if I could. Reactions were mixed throughout the group, with people either loving or loathing the smell. As for its moisturizing properties, the Strawberry Hand Potion was non-greasy and left my skin feeling soft.
Step 8: Bingo!
To end the event, everyone gathered to play bingo using the name of Sabbatical Beauty products. Three lucky winners received a $25 gift card.
First, I want to thank Adeline of Sabbatical Beauty for putting together this virtual skincare party and offering such a generous prize. Everything was well-organized and timely. Plus, it was fun to mingle with fellow skincare fans outside of Instagram for the first time in a long while!
How was my skin after the party? Quite nice! I don’t normally do longer routines in the morning, so this was a change of pace for me. However, it was a Sunday and I had plans later in the day so it was the perfect opportunity to make myself look fresh…before I melted into the concrete. It’s too damn hot here!
Regarding the products, I certainly had my favorites: the Kombucha Essence Toner, the Hinoki Rose Hand Purifier, and the Strawberry Hand Potion (mainly for the smell). I also enjoyed the Kiki’s Seaweed & Coconut Mask but wish I had more of it in my packet.
Speaking of the packets, I think they were a convenient way to distribute the suitable amount of product for each step of the skincare routine, although they were a little tricky for me to open further in the routine. (Slippery fingers.) Also, it seems like a few other guests had varying amounts of product in some of their packets, for better or worse.
Overall, the Summer Sip & Skin Party was a fun way to test some new beauty products, enjoy an at-home spa session, and meet other skincare enthusiasts. I’m also happy that I was able to share the experience with one of my good friends. We met up for coffee later and swapped stories about how calm we felt and radiant we looked.
Oh, and one final benefit to mention: my bathroom still smells like lavender and strawberries!
Now Over to You…
Have you ever participated in a virtual skincare party? Would you ever host one? Share your thoughts in the comments!
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I am not a professional. All opinions are my own.