Line up of BYOMA Skincare Products

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I tested all of the BYOMA skin care products to see how they stood up to my beauty and skincare routine. If you don't have a basic skincare routine, you should start. I've been obsessed with staying moisturized more than I have ever worried about any anti-aging skincare plan. I never thought about it really, I just didn't want to have dry skin or oily skin (depending on the season).

Even the best drugstore skincare products can be overwhelming. Where do you start? What do you need? There are so many options on the shelves that I just grab the most affordable skincare product and move on. As long as the moisturizer wasn't too heavy or thick, I'd be good. The problem is then I have a cabinet full of unused products and I need something that actually works.

Then, as I started reviewing beauty and grooming products, I realized there is actually some order to it. I started asking questions at my local beauty shop, I watched TikTok videos of skin care professionals. I realized that while I was moisturizing, I was missing a lot of other beneficial skincare products.

Here's a breakdown of each BYOMA Skin Care Product and how they stacked up.

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BYOMA Creamy Jelly Cleanser

Bottle of BYOMA Creamy Jelly Cleanser against a blue background with watermarks on it.

BYOMA Creamy Jelly Cleanser

The Creamy Jelly Cleanser sounds strange but when you squirt a couple of pumps in your hand, it makes sense. It’s a clear jelly substance that turns creamy and foamy as you wash your face. I found that two pumps are the perfect amount; any more is overkill and one didn’t seem like enough. The cleanser is lightweight, gentle, and alcohol and fragrance-free. Although it may be fragrance-free, it does have a fresh scent to it.

The ingredients for the jelly cleanser are Licorice Root and Green Tea. Licorice Root has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. It's used to treat eczema and acne since it is a rich source of anti-oxidants. Green Tea in skin care is acting as an antibacterial property that treats acne and prevents pores from clogging. It also helps reduce skin redness, irritation, and swelling.

BYOMA Balancing Face Mist

Orange bottle of BYOMA Balancing Face Mist against a yellow background.

BYOMA Balancing Face Mist

When I first tested the Balancing Face Mist, I was a bit confused because it felt like water and I didn’t understand the purpose. I realized if your face (or skin for that matter) was feeling dried out, you give it a quick spritz and rehydrate without having to put on more lotion. The face mist is extremely lightweight and is perfect after getting out of the shower. You can spritz your face and while it’s air-drying, you can get started on blow drying your hair.

Ingredients include probiotics which have been known to reduce acne and manage dry skin and eczema. It also includes allantoin which helps with removing dead skin cells and brings brightness to dull or dry skin.

BYOMA Hydrating Serum

Blue bottle of BYOMA Hydrating Serum against a yellow background.

BYOMA Hydrating Serum

This hydrating serum is perfect for the morning routine because it rehydrates the skin and removes the sometimes red blotches on my face. It has a creamy smooth texture that works into your skin rather quickly. Since it’s light and smooth, it’s perfect for year-round use. It’s not too heavy for the summer.

The ingredients in the Hydrating Serum are squalane and glycerin. Squalane has been known to penetrate pores and improve skin at a cellular level and is light feeling on the skin. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that help to reduce swelling and redness. Glycerin helps with relieving dryness, refreshing the skin surface, and increasing skin hydration by retaining moisture.

BYOMA Clarifying Serum

Green bottle of BYOMA Clarifying Serum agains a blue background.

BYOMA Clarifying Serum

This serum is clear and feels a little oily (all products are oil-free) but then as you work it in, the oiliness dissipates into the skin leaving it feeling fresh and clean. This clarifying serum is great if you feel your skin is on the verge of a breakout and even helps with oiliness and any redness. If your skin is prone to blemishes, this serum can help reduce clogged pores and keep your skin pimple and blackhead free.

The ingredients to be aware of here are Blue Tansy, PHA, and Zinc. Blue Tansy has been known to repair damaged skin by acting as an antioxidant. PHA helps with reversing sun damage, provides skin with more elasticity, and helps remove wrinkles. Zinc is an essential mineral that protects from UV rays, helps reduce scarring, and is an anti-inflammatory property that helps with acne; it can also stops cells from aging and dryness.

BYOMA Brightening Serum

Blue bottle of BYOMA Brightening Serum against a pink background.

BYOMA Brightening Serum

The Brightening Serum helps with hyperpigmentation and an uneven skin tone. Just like the Clarifying Serum, this has an oily texture but as soon as you work it into the skin, it leaves your skin smooth and soft.

One of the ingredients in this serum is Hyaluronic Acid which has been known to moisturize the skin and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Another ingredient is niacinamide, which is a form of vitamin B-3 and can help build keratin and helps your skin grow a ceramide barrier that will help retain moisture.

​BYOMA Moisturizing Gel-Cream

Pink bottle of BYOMA Moisturizing Gel Cream against a blue background.

BYOMA Moisturizing Gel Cream

The Gel-Cream is my go-to for the summer months because it's a lightweight formula that doesn't make my face sweat (yes, it's a thing). It has a consistency of a white gel-like substance then as you work it into the skin, it fades into a smooth cream that leaves the skin feeling soft.

The ingredients here are Niacinamide and Green Tea. We already know niacinamide helps lipids create a moisture barrier and that Green Tea acts as an antibacterial property that helps reduce skin redness, irritation, and swelling.

​BYOMA Moisturizing Rich Cream

Purple bottle of BYOMA Moisturizing Rich Cream against a yellow background.

BYOMA Moisturizing Rich Cream

The Moisturing Rich Cream is a thicker formula than the gel cream which provides a heavier texture and works into the skin to provide a strong skin barrier. This cream works best for me during the winter months due to its thick texture however, if you are prone to dryness year-round, it may be the moisturizer for you.

The target ingredients here are Bakuchiol and Shea Extract. Bakuchiol is a vegan skin care product that is a very strong anti-oxidant. It prevents fine lines and wrinkles, reduces skin discolorations, and helps with elasticity and firmness. Shea Extract is found in a lot of skincare brands because of its skin softening properties. It also has been known to reduce swelling and has anti-inflammatory and healing properties.

How Do You Use BYOMA Skin Care Products?

Each skincare brand has its own set of instructions on how to apply moisturizers and skin care products but they all agree on their order of them. Luckily, if you're unfamiliar with the process, BYOMA has listed the process for you.

  1. Cleanse
  2. Tone/Mist
  3. Treat
  4. Moisturize
  5. Protect (usually an SPF sunscreen)

​Is It Worth the Price?

I think BYOMA products are well worth the price. Each product ranges in price between $11.99 and $15.99 and lasts quite a bit so you will definitely get your money's worth.

Should You Buy BYOMA Skin Care Products?

In my opinion, yes. The products are non-comedogenic, vegan, and free from oil, alcohol, and fragrance as well as cruelty-free. Every product I tested worked with my skin type which is great since I often suffer from sensitive skin such as redness, oily skin in the summer, and dry skin in the winter. These products cover all the bases and offer daily protection from the elements. If that isn't enough, the BYOMA founder Marck Elrick is part of the LGBTQ+ community.


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Mjolnir

Like many of the recent Marvel Cinematic Universe films, LGBTQ+ fans awaited the release of Thor: Love and Thunder in open anticipation of the inclusivity that both Marvel and Disney had promised. However, the fans were only setting themselves up for disappointment when the film was finally released.

Despite passionate assurances from studio heads to key actors, Thor: Love and Thunder was NOT spectacularly gay. It wasn’t even that good…

Premiere Night Promises

A bolt of lightning cuts across a rainbow on a dark and stormy night.

Lightning bold across the sky

Photo by Bill D.

Standing on the red carpet at the London Premiere of the film, director and actor Taika Waititi and fellow cast members Natalie Portman and Tessa Thompson were offered up the inevitable question: “How gay is the film?

Amidst some laughter from the crowds, Waititi gestured towards Portman to respond. The actress (who plays Thor’s love interest, Jane Foster, throughout the franchise) raised the microphone to her lips and thought for a moment, before delivering a quiet yet fateful: “So gay!

Barely a moment had passed before the gathered fans went wild and Taika Waititi gave his own verdict: “Super gay!”. Tessa Thompson made no statement on the ‘gayness’ of the film, instead opting to swing her microphone around suggestively. As more cheers erupted, a second round of “super gay” slipped out of Waititi’s mouth, before he urged the fans to enjoy the film.

Thor: Love and Thunder’s LGBTQ+ Potential

Thor’s movie-goers were definitely hyped up for a gay extravaganza and they had a specific character in mind. The fan-favorite Valkyrie, played by Tessa Thompson, stumbled her way into the MCU during Thor’s third film, Ragnarok. The Asgardian warrior won many people over with her wit, sarcasm, and pure badassery.

After the events of Avengers: Endgame *spoilers*, Thor Odinson gives up his claim to the throne of Asgard and names Valkyrie as king in his stead. This left many fans excited to see what would become of the character, especially after certain revelations were made at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con:

“As a new king, she has to find her queen. So that’ll be her first order of business.”

With these words, Tessa Thompson threw her LGBTQ+ fans into a frenzy, with heavy expectations for the then-upcoming fourth installment of the Thor films. Indeed, in an interview with the LA Times, shortly before the film's release, Tessa Thompson was asked to comment on the sexuality of her character. She responded with several promising remarks, including “there’s a lot of folks that are righteously very hungry for that representation to exist in these movies, as am I”.

*Warning: spoilers ahead!*

So, How Gay Was Thor 4?

To put it simply: not gay at all. Not only did Valkyrie end up without a fabulous new queen, her non-heteronormative sexuality only got the barest mention (a brief line about a previous, now dead, girlfriend). Valkyrie may have made bedroom eyes at some pretty ladies before an action scene spoils the moment, but that’s about as much as we get.

The film does get some credit for introducing a trans character in a minor yet significant role. Thor returns to his people (after a brief stint as a Guardian of the Galaxy) only to find out that the daughter of one of his closest (and deceased) friends is now a boy. The issue is, whether due to personal prejudice or some alien inability to grasp the concept of being transgender, it does take Thor a frustrating few moments to come to terms with the change. And to stop deadnaming.

In fact, the only concession to the queer community was Taika Waititi’s extraterrestrial character Korg finding a husband in one of the closing scenes. This heartfelt moment was somewhat underscored by the revelation that Korg’s entire species is male, meaning he had no other choice but to be ‘gay’.

This Is Not Marvel’s First Queerbaiting Attempt

Close up of an eye reflecting an unknown scene as a rainbow crosses the image.

Photo by Harry Q.

This is, by far, not the first time that LGBTQ+ fans have been sorely disappointed by the workings of Marvel and Disney. In fact, people across many social media platforms have been chiding expectant viewers for once again falling for classic queerbaiting tactics. “Being queerbaited by the MCU is like being a golden retriever with a human who always pretends to throw the ball”, one Tumblr user declared.

Captain Marvel, starring Brie Larson, was the perfect moment for the MCU to introduce its first lesbian lead. Larson’s character seemed to have an intense relationship with another woman, going so far as to help raise her child (before Larson’s Carol Danvers disappeared from Earth for 6 years). Despite leaning into several romantic tropes, the status of their relationship was never fully fleshed out. However, it was also the franchise’s first female-led superhero movie, so maybe they thought that introducing her as a lesbian would make the film too awesome.

The heavily anticipated Avengers: Endgame was also slated to introduce the MCU’s ‘first gay character'. While many fans were excited, particularly as this would be the second of Larson’s appearances on screen, the big gay build-up was a massive letdown. The film’s director Joe Russo made a cameo as a blip survivor mourning the loss of his husband. A five-second throw-away scene that had no impact on the outcome of the film. Big whoop...

Even when we did see a film with a gay lead, The Eternals, there were also ten other straight leads. At that point, it just seemed more like basic probability than an attempt at pushing LGBT+ superheroes into the spotlight.

Why Can’t Disney Let Marvel Be Gay?

The big problem with allowing a few characters to be anything other than cishet is that there are still many countries in the world that outlaw homosexuality. As much as we like to think that the MCU is being made for comic book fans, we all know the purpose of the films is to make money for Disney. And without certain markets in Asia and the Middle East, Disney wouldn’t be raking in up to (and over) one billion dollars per theatrical release.

Is There Any Hope For LGBTQ+ Fans In The MCU’s Future?

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the second in the much-loved Black Panther arc, will be released in cinemas this November. The studio has confirmed that the film will contain a queer character. Actress Michaela Coel will play Aneka, a warrior, and trainer of the king’s guard. Whether or not her diversity will stand out in the film (let alone endure for more than a 10-second scene that can be easily cut) remains to be seen.


Next year’s The Marvels film, starring Brie Larson, Iman Vellani, and Lashana Lynch may offer the MCU a chance to redeem itself in the eyes of its LGBT+ fans. The studios may feel it’s finally time to offer us the heartwarming lesbian relationship between Larson’s Carol Danvers and Lynch’s Maria Rambeau that seemed to be teased in the first Captain Marvel. Don’t raise your hopes too high, though, as you may yet end up as a stubborn golden retriever waiting for a cinematic universe to finally throw that rainbow ball.